I have mixed feelings about re-mixing and re-recording…
Especially when new parts are recorded in place of old, there have been some musically dubious near disasters over the years (such as Zappa’s dreadful re-recordings of 1980s drum and bass parts over classic mid-60s albums).
However there have also been some amazing remix success stories, many of which I have reviewed here are audio file review.
Some notable remixes that come to mind are of course Giles Martin’s wave of Beatles reinventions, many of which I have reviewed here including The White Album, Sgt. Pepper and most recently Let It Be.
Robbie Robertson’s dramatic work on albums by The Band — including their third album, Stage Fright — have been nothing short of revelatory.
One of the most stunning is a complete re-think of the drum parts on a late era King Crimson album, appropriately re-titled Re-ConstruKction of Light. This latter one was notable because of the reason for replacing the drums: the original drummer did not like the sound of the digital drums which were used out of necessity in the home studio where the recordings were made at that time. The resultant new album is a night and day improvement to the point where I now like this album a lot. Actually, I love it and previously I’d pretty much written it off, preferring the band’s renditions of that music live in concert.
For those who are interested, please click on any of those highlighted titles above to jump back to my earlier reviews….
All that said, my mind was quite open and appreciative of the efforts by David Gilmour and producer Bob Ezrin in their redesign of Pink Floyd’s 1987 Top 5 smash-hit come-back album, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. It has been clearly renamed for this release to avoid any confusion as to what is inside: A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated.
As I was listening to this I had to poke around in the booklet to discover that this is not only a remix but also a major re-recording and reinvention of the album both in stereo and 5.1 surround sound. All in all it sounds fantastic but when I went back to listen to the original version I could hear why they wanted to do some things differently this time around.
The liner notes clued me in to the intent of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated:
“The release of The Later Years project gave an opportunity for a fresh overview of the A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album. By recording new drum tracks with Nick Mason and by revisiting some of Richard Wright’s original keyboard parts, producers David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin helped restore the creative balance between the three Pink Floyd members.”
You can really hear it on songs like “One Slip” where the snare drum hits now sit in more balanced fashion with the rest of the instruments instead of dominating the mix. The introduction to that song may even be more of good Stereo audio demo disc than it was before. In addition to the stellar new drums there are some different and rich keyboard parts that are more audible in the mix. The vocals seem to be a bit more direct sounding and Tony Levin’s bass parts appear more focused.
Overall, the high resolution 96 kHz, 24-bit version of the album on the Blu-ray disc included in this Deluxe Edition package sounds great. It sounds warmer than the original which I think in part has to do with the new drums and the overall approach to assembling the recordings.
The 5.1 surround sound mix is really enjoyable as well — it is not gimmicky yet it is immersive and enveloping. Nick Mason’s drums are pretty much all over the surround listening field – and I mean this in a good way – which kind of puts you as the listener in the drummers seat, if you will. The guitars, bass and vocals are basically centered upfront. Periodic special effects are tastefully peppered in the surround speakers. Rick Wright’s keyboards often appear in the rear fields, nicely blended into the room.
The intro do “Dogs Of War” is especially haunting and when the drums finally coming around the three-minute mark, the impact is massive.
Pro tip: Play loud!
The bonus materials on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated are good but a wee bit frustrating and perhaps my only disappointment. A handful of songs from the 1987 concert in Atlanta are included in Stereo — it would’ve been nice if at least give us the full concert on a CD or two or as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray Disc.
The videos included on the Blu-ray disc are wonderful. It is especially fascinating to see the mini documentary included on the making of the cover design. I also really liked the video for The first single from the album “Learning To Fly” which oddly enough I don’t remember seeing back in the day. So much for wanting my MTV…
I like this new mix so much I may well spring for the 2LP Vinyl edition which is pressed on 180 gram vinyl and mastered to spin at 45 RPM. But for now I’m more than happy with this fine re-issue package on Blu-ray Disc.
You can also find A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated streaming in 96 kHz, 24-bit fidelity on Tidal MQA (click here) and Qobuz Hi Res (click here). Both versions sound very good — especially when you turn them up loud! It is handy as well because there on these streaming platforms you’ll find the original versions (in CD quality) , making it easy to jump back and forth to compare the recordings.
If you like this period of Pink Floyd’s evolution, you owe it to yourself to hear this new version of the album. A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated sounds just right now. It is how the album probably should have sounded in the first place back in the day.