And Now for Something "Unique" - Another Reissue of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain

I'm not attending the Munich Hi-End show this week, but that doesn't prevent me from receiving a plethora of news releases from manufacturers who are there. One missive that caught my attention last week was from PMC, who are a UK-based manufacturer of professional and audiophile speaker systems. According to the release PMC is unveiling two "world exclusives" at the Munich show. Both happen to be remixes of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain.

AR-atmos8a.pngMade in Capitol Records newly-renovated Studio C in L.A., which is now equipped with a Dolby Atmos system using PMC transducers, Maurice Patist, David Redeau and Steve Genewick gained permission from Miles Davis' estate to remix two jazz' most iconic albums in Dolby Atmos. Made from "the original master tapes" that were archived at Sony's archives.

The press release states, ""People have to hear this! This is the way Miles' music should be heard!" As a result of the reaction of the (Davis) family and Sony executives, PMC has been granted exclusive permission to share the results with the audience at the High End Show..." The release does not mention whether this mix will be available for consumers to enjoy or even when it might be available.

AR-atmos4a.jpgContinuing, the release states, "Revealing the resolution and detail of these brand new and priceless releases will be PMC's flagship model, the fact fenestria, complemented by an array of its Wafer on-wall speakers for the surround and height channels and a selection of its professional subwoofers, mimicking the system at Capitol Studios. PMC's approach to both studio and domestic loudspeaker design places the company in an enviable position of bridging the gap between the recording and the playback that no other company can achieve." 

Ok, a bit of hyperbole is to be expected in a press release, but it would have been more compelling if the copy devoted some time to the how's and why's of these new versions of Davis' classics. Why will they be something that music lovers must have... At least the copy did not use the terms "enveloping", or "warmer" to describe potential sonic differences, but why besides the new format, should we be interested in this new remix. Not, I hope, simply because it's newer...

AR-atmos7a.jpgAs with every release of Kind of Blue, since the first mono six-eyes version, my complaint with KOB has been the amounts of wow and flutter in the original recording. From the opening piano notes of "So What" the wow and flutter are so obvious, and for me, so distracting...and so far EVERY SINGLE VERSION of KOB has had this glaring sonic flaw...and the saddest part of this is it could be remedied if only they remixers had employed the Plangent Process to reduce the time-based machine errors of the original recording.

Both Mark Smotroff and I have written in the past about Plangent Process, and you if you have a top-tier streaming service, either Tidal or Qobuz, you can hear how Plangent can improve the sound of an analog recording - listen to Erroll Garner's Concert by the Sea or the re-releases of Bruce Springsteen's back catalog.

AR-atmos5a.jpgWhile I applaud PMC's political expertise in negotiating and arranging to have two of the most iconic jazz recordings re-mixed, I can't help but lament that another opportunity to really improve the overall sonics of KOB has been squandered. And every time a recording is re-mixed and re-issued reduces the chances that it will be done again...and Kind of Blue deserves to be done right, with the wow and flutter reduced so that we can actually tell what chords are being played without the fudge-factors of time domain flutter and wow interfering with the music...

Maybe next time...

 

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