[personal profile] accozzaglia

From memory, I can count about nine different CD issues and re-issues since Island Records produced CID126 for West Germany in 1985. CID126 was the only correct edition, in my opinion, and I've listened to my long-out-of-print CD ever since I found it still in an import bin in early 1991. All the re-issues since — Japanese CD edition 1986, Island-Polygram 1990, ZTT 1994, Island-Universal 1997/8, Repertoire 1999, the CD + DVD limited edition of 2003, the SACD 2004 re-issue — they were all wrong, all detracting from the original content, either through remixed editions prepared at around the same time for alternate markets (North American) or for packaging limitations (vinyl LP). Each re-issue came with that terrible letdown of "Why did you clowns bother?"

But this week, thanks to a tip from my friend in the forever awesome music group LMP, a proper 25th anniversary release of my all-time favourite album ever made, Propaganda's A Secret Wish, was announced and just put to sale.

At long last, hallelujah: THEY GOT IT RIGHT. Buy this as if your life depended on it.

By this, the original 9-track CD album (the fabled CID126 — that is, a product number — edition) has been restored for the first time since 1985. This was technically referred to as the "analogue recording." And oh my lord, it sounds astounding. It sounds like things that words haven't yet been made to describe. It is so much improved that I can still hear new elements within the music that I have never heard before in a thousand listenings. It is so good that you can undoubtedly make out synthesizer oscillations! What this means is here's what was restored to original splendour:

  • "A Dream With a Dream" is the 9.08 version, the one with the immediate percussion rather than the echo chamber-slow entry of percussion. The 9.08 includes the smashingly awesome Stewart Copeland drum solo.
  • "Jewel" is the full 6.20 album version (some re-issues restored this from the woefully truncated, lyric-void version dumped onto the U.S. and Canadian Island Records issues and re-issues from 1986).
  • "Duel" is the version without the extra echo when Claudia sings "made by fate" (the extra echo means it was the U.S. hack/original LP version)
  • As restored along the way, "Frozen Faces" follows "Duel."
  • "p-Machinery" differs in subtle ways between the CID126 original German issue and the U.S./hack-job, and on this, it's the original and proper version. It's generally louder, fuller, and more complete. It's akin to holding a bouquet more so than grabbing a bunch of weedy flowers in one hand.
  • "Dr. Mabuse" is BACK for the FIRST TIME SINCE 1985. This means it is no longer chopped into two or three pieces, but one contiguous movement at 10.41. As originally visioned, "Dr. Mabuse" returns as a three-part opus (and it varies somewhat from the slightly shorter "Die Tausend Augen Des Mabuse" ("The Thousand Eyes of Mabuse") found on the 1984 12" single). AMAZING, FOR I AM OVERJOYED.

THEN, it continues. Tracks 10 to 15 on disc 1 are the U.S./Canada/original LP Island hack-job versions retained (technically, the hack-job version was the "digital recording" edition, but it pales pales pales to the "analogue" original), but kept segregated to their rightful place: after the proper album. So if you prefer that "digital original" over the real ("analogue") thing, you can programme your play list accordingly. But for the ASW purists: this is like repatriation.

Disc 2 includes most of the extended and rare alternate versions of tracks, but leaves a couple out. I would gripe a little, but since the excluded stuff appeared already in one or more of the re-issues over the last 16 years since the ZANCE-era ZTT re-issues, I'm not going to complain much. This means the "Bittersweet" version of "Duel" is not on here, BUT instead the long-rare and cassette-only "Duel (Do Well)," a five-part epic journey of the Jewel/Duel Jekyll/Hyde duo, appears on disc for the first time. "Do Well" is 20.07 of some versions known already (e.g., "Jewel (Cut Rough)") but has parts new even to obsessive-me (like "Wonder," which is a delightful surprise to these virgin ears).

Then there's the "Sorry for Laughing (Unapologetic 12")" that I've never heard before on CD EVER. It completely differs from the version of "Laughed" on the 1986 Wishful Thinking remix album. Paul Haig and the rest of Josef K. will be pleased. But from said remix album, both versions of "Thought" appear on disc 2 here. Then there's a version of "p-Machinery" I don't think I've ever heard before called "Goodnight 32." I'd tell you more about it, but I'm just now listening to everything, in proper order, for the first time (and we're not that far along yet).

The alternate "The Chase" — called here the "The Goodnight Mix" — is on CD, but had already appeared on CD before on, I believe, the Repertoire re-issue and on one or more of the Japanese editions of the ASW CD is not like "The Chase (Lied)"; this is new to me, too. I always enjoyed it because it was my favourite non-single, non-extended ASW track. Same with the next track, "(Echo of) Frozen Faces" (odd, in that I've always heard it called "Echoes of," but no matter); it's a joy to hear, especially for that "wounded animal" sax solo (a bit of a meme back in 1985 was to make saxophones sound like a bit like feral and wounded animals — witness the extended "Some Like It Hot . . . and the Heat Is On" by The Power Station). p-Machinery's "Polish" appears here, but not the "Beta Wrap-around," so take of that what you may. It's a minor oversight, but the exclusion of this and "Bittersweet" probably are victim to the limits of the 80-minute CD format (how very 20th century).

So it's a dual-disc edition, and I'm obviously ordering a copy for my library. If a limited edition, audiophile quality vinyl production of this is made available, I will buy that, too, as probable as there will continue to be oxygen on this planet.

In the meantime, I'm listening to a "preview" from the internets, and it is truly without peer, oh my god. I haven't smoked in seven years, but once this ends, I'll be looking for a cigarette. It is truly that much better — even to ears that have heard this album north of a thousand times since the first time a co-worker friend in October 1990 lent me a copy of the 90288-2 U.S. Island CD version to preview. This was back when I was raving on end about Propaganda's 1990 reformation LP called 1234 that most Propaganda obsessives won't even dignify with their precious breath (mostly because Claudia Brücken had long since moved on to Act and to her solo work, while Ralf Dörper and Susanne Freytag only made brief cameos, leaving Michael Mertens to his own devices to assemble a "new" Propaganda with ex-members of Simple Minds and vocalist Betsi Miller. It was a critical and commercial disaster, though I still like it). My friend thought I could use a shakeup and made me listen to ASW.

Good move, Eric — wherever you are now.

Date: 2010-10-13 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bunnyhero.livejournal.com
cooool. i loved this album. i only ever had it on cassette, haha (why i ever bought cassettes instead of vinyl back then is beyond me). i'll have to get this edition.

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