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Superb sounding re-mastered re-issue with bonus tracks and expanded artwork.
Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, the best sounding CD release of this album. The second part of the famous Gong Trilogy - Zero's story continues. Recorded under extraordinary circumstances on the Manor mobile with speakers deep in the forest that surrounded their house in France, and all manner of other unique and often ritualistic goings on occurring.
Of the bonus tracks, 16 was the band's idea of a Top 40 'hit' single no less and has appeared before on the CD issue of 'Live Etc'. Here it is restored to a more appropriate setting as it was recorded around the 'Angel's Egg' sessions and sounding amazing. It joined by 3 previously un-released tracks. Track 15 is labelled as the planned B side of that never to be released single and is in fact a very spacey edited live cut that you may well recognize. Tracks 17 and 18 give you a very enjoyable glimpse into the recording and mixing process of the album, with track 17 in particular being what I see to be the pure Gong message.
All of this wonderful music has been re-mastered from the original master tapes to make this the only CD version of this classic album to consider owning. The expanded booklet contains the entire legendary Blue Book, which came with early pressings of the original vinyl release. Therein lie not only all the lyrics and track-linking text, but more background on the Planet Gong and it's characters and mythos than is really good for anyone to know - you might need a magnifying glass to read it all though.
My greatest disappointment with this CD and the new 'You' (although I'm being a bit of a perfectionist here), is with the design and layout. It isn't tight enough and has a rather odd colour sensibility. It was always going to hard to squeeze in the entire Blue Book text in good order, (and it's great that it's here) but another level of design could have achieved great things rather than a job done. Oh well, time and budget I suppose.
The sound is however quite magnificent - this is how 'Angel's Egg' should be. Here's a verdict from Udi in Isreal:- "After listening for my pleasure I loaded up my Pro Tools HD for the 'showdown' a/b test. My conclusions: The new cd is about 2.5 db louder then the old version. The new cd is slightly brighter and the stereo image was improved. Overall I could not hear a loss in the dynamic of the music due to compressing. The light EQ applied helps lift a few instruments that were buried in the old version. A touch of noise reduction helps the very faint and soft passages (like on the start of Sprinkling Of Clouds). My subjective verdict: This re-master was done with care and attention to the music-overall the enhancement is subtle yet noticed."