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View Poll Results: Rate the BDA of XTC - Oranges and Lemons

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Thread: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

  1. #1
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    5.1 icon XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Please post your thoughts and comments on this October 15, 2015 CD+BluRay Audio release, remixed by Steven Wilson, for 5.1.

    PRE-RELEASE DISCUSSION THREAD: http://www.quadraphonicquad.com/foru...read.php?19792





    Last edited by rtbluray; 10-16-2016 at 06:52 PM. Reason: scans added
    :-jon

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    When I bought this album in 1989, I essentially had a love affair with it. I played all or part of it in my car or in my house every day for a year. In between, I was buying and listening to everything else by XTC I could get my hands on. I spent hours learning Colin's bass parts and then playing along with the album whenever my housemate wasn't home. This is a *very* special album to me. And it has been one my top "most wanted in surround sound" wish list entries for years. So the fact that this exists at all is like a dream come true. But could Steven Wilson possibly do this album justice and match the overblown expectations I had created in my imagination? YES! Yes he could and did! I can only say that his stereo and 5.1 mixes sound like the album I know and love, but then go beyond that to the next level of satisfaction. And that alone would be reason enough for me to give this release a 10 vote. But the inclusion of the 2 1/2 hours of bonus audio PLUS the instrumental mix is so generous that I wish I could give this an 11!

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    a splendid release....but it's still a little bright though in spots...vocals are much clearer and easier to understand...probably the only version to get of this release...I should compare the MFSL but I expect this one would win...and the bonus extras are fantastic.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Excellent release of a great album. The brightness of the original CD release has been tamed but not entirely removed. The surround sound image placement is very well handled and gives the impression of everything happening in a much larger venue than my listening room. Standout track for me is Across this antheap it sounds huge! I love it 9/10.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Im conflicted. I've always considered this to be a fine album of meat and potatoes XTC pop, that suffered some major personality flaws.

    It was clear that Partridge and the boys were fishing for a meaty US hit with their new label Geffen, and that they threw everything they had at this little pop record. And here lies the problem, for in 1988 the digital sheen of a shiny LA production simply sucked much of the life/personality out of this little band from Swindon. "Oranges and Lemons" still cannot withstand the "modern" LA production that removed all the warts and quirkiness from the bands vocabulary (that "perfect" drumming is a good example). And it's a shame, because there are some remarkably melodic gems on this record...Songs that deserved far better treatment.

    Having said all that...Wilson does an expert job of tempering the horrific high end sheen of this beleaguered production, offering the definitive version of this album. All the extra cuts and associated material certainly sweeten the deal. And if this album is a fave (and for many it is) this is a XTC must have.

    I will have to just sit on my hands and wait for Skylarking, Black Sea, Mummer, The Big Express and English Settlement and (please let it come true) a Dukes release in 5.1.

    7 out of 10.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    This was the release I was most looking forward to writing a proper review for, so here it goes!

    First off, the pause before "Garden of Earthly Delights" kicks in was a little jarring for me at first as I'm used to it going straight in after the short psychedelic intro, but enough about that! On to the surround mix!
    "Garden of Earthly Delights" has a very good surround mix that expands on the dense blend of percussion, guitars, keyboards, and vocals. Steven particularly has some fun with the psychedelic-style guitar solo in the middle. After that, I love when the backing vocals come in from behind you in the surround channels as you can more clearly hear exactly what's being sung by Colin. It's a wonderful way to start this album, that's for sure, and the long fade-out at the end sounds great too!
    Next up is probably the most well-known song from this particular album, "The Mayor of Simpleton". Steven's use of the surround channels for the backing vocals is particularly effective in this song with the call-and-response effect between the lead vocal and the backing vocals in the verse sections, plus the backing vocals towards the end sound great in surround too. Not a standout mix, but it's solid and does exactly what it should do.
    Then comes one of my absolute favorite songs on the album, "King for a Day". Andy's guitar part is in the surround channels with the guitar on one side and the echo on the other. Really nice, and once again the backing vocals feature prominently in the surround channels. Man, XTC had some fantastic harmonies!
    The next track, "Here Comes President Kill Again", delves into the political realm. Like the other tracks that come before, there's no real surprises or effects to butter up this surround mix, but everything sits in its right place.

    On vinyl, it would be time to flip over to Side 2, for "The Loving"! It starts off with the fake crowd noise in the surrounds (as those of you who know the album well might have guessed) before going into the verse. There's one thing that annoys me about this particular surround mix, and that is the vocal echo in the surround channels. I never remembered hearing it on any of the stereo mixes before, so it came off as a surprise to me on this mix, but it's tucked back enough to where it really doesn't bother me that much. Also like other songs heard so far, the backing vocals are placed in the surround channels to a great and enveloping effect.
    Then comes what is probably the first really big standout track on this album from a surround perspective, "Poor Skeleton Steps Out". The slinky skeleton-like percussion emanates from behind you along with the backing vocals, and it just sounds too cool! Then after verse 1 comes a clean guitar part that's brought to the forefront for this surround mix. Those of you who love really discrete and full surround mixes will just love this track!
    Next up is another Colin Moulding composition, "One of the Millions". The trend of backing vocals in the surround channels continues, but it's a good trend, that's for sure!
    "Scarecrow People" follows "One of the Millions" with its bluesy acoustic guitar fills centered in the surround channels. There's also some cool percussion parts from Pat Mastelotto that feature in the surround channels too. Like "Poor Skeleton Steps Out", it's another stand-out surround mix on the album.

    Side 3 always begins with a song that initially gives me a headache before my brain could get adjusted to the overly bright and harsh sound of this particular song entitled "Merely A Man". Yet, when I listen to Steven Wilson's remixes of this song (both in stereo and surround), the bright and overly harsh sound is gone, and instead, we get a warm and rocking track with amazing baroque-like trumpet parts by Mark Isham, who's fantastic playing is sprinkled all over this album!
    The final Colin Moulding composition, "Cynical Days", is up next. The song is rather tame in surround until the chorus when the guitars decorate the sides of the mix. There's also a lovely muted trumpet part from Isham. A very beautiful composition, made even more beautiful by the Beach Boys-like counter melodies emanating from the surround channels.
    The end of "Side 3" has what is probably the best and most immersive surround mix on the whole album, "Across this Antheap". The surrounds are punctuated by Mastelotto's wonderful percussion playing along with Andy's crowd shouts. If there ever was a song on this album that was too big for stereo to contain, it's this one. There's also some keyboard stabs by David Gregory, an essential and incredibly underrated part of the indelible XTC sound. Isham continues to decorate the album with his trumpet playing and it circles around the surround channels with frantic energy. This is just pure surround fun and a demonstration track from this demonstration disc!

    The final side begins with what have always been for me the two weakest tracks on the album, "Hold Me My Daddy" and "Pink Thing". The former track is not really that special in surround until the closing African-inspired coda. "Pink Thing" has the handclaps punctuating the surround channels, but like "Hold Me My Daddy" there's not really a lot of special surround action happening in this song either.
    Closing out the album are two of Andy's best songs for this album, "Miniature Sun" and "Chalkhills and Children". To me, "Miniature Sun" has changed the most from the original stereo mix to the new mixes, all in very subtle ways, but I'm so attuned to how this particular track sounds that nothing escapes my grasp! One cool thing about this remix is the trumpet as now its double-tracked nature comes to the forefront in a way I never noticed before. The human element comes to the forefront with slight tuning issues that actually add color to the double-tracked performance. The keyboards also sound different in the bridge section, complementing the Pet Sounds-like backing vocals. The 2nd time the bridge comes in, we're treated to one of my favorite bass lines from Colin Moulding, an incredibly prolific and underrated bass player that came up with some of the most melodic and unique bass lines I have ever heard on record.
    "Chalkhills and Children" finishes things off in the most beautiful and profound way. Andy's vocals are spread around, and once again, the Pet Sounds influence comes off very strongly. You almost need to get a hanky out to wipe the tears away after this one finishes. The surround mix does everything it should do without distracting you from the beautiful composition that Andy wrote. I always got chills listening to it in stereo, but in surround, the feelings evoked are even stronger!

    How does it get any better than this? It simply doesn't. I know I have recently written glowing reviews for both "Fragle" and "Octopus", and yet if there's any release you absolutely need, it's this one! Along with "Hand Cannot Erase", this is simply the best surround release of 2015 and one that you would be remiss to not own yourself. XTC's songs are among the best the world has ever received, and that is only more readily apparent thanks to Steven Wilson's stellar surround mix!

    10! 10! 10! (Need I say more?!)

    Surround yourself with the best.

    Here's to 2017!

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Thanks RT for that wonderful review!!
    "Surround Sound From The End of the World to Your Town"
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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    I agree with most of what's been said already (brightness and clutter etc, thanks RT!), so I'll just say that I gave it a 9. It's been vastly improved but the album content itself is not my favourite meaning that I'm saving my 10 for 'Apple Venus' or 'Skylarking'.....eventually and hopefully!! I always felt that this would have been much better and tighter as a 11-12 track album, and this disc has done nothing to change that opinion. It's XTC though, even at their most ordinary it's still better than most bands best!!

    Several tracks like 'Across This Antheap' and 'Poor Skeleton' though have risen in my estimation now, due to the immersion of the mix.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    It was not just the bright metallic and cramped sound of the mix that bothered me on original release, but the high end is low resolution sounding Like sibilance had crept into the mix with too much 16/44 bits being slammed together. Hard to describe but it had those cymbals sounding pinched into graininess.

    So I'll be fine if it's still bright but bass kicks ass and it no longer sounds like a low res production. That's a tall order but one that is doable.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksrt View Post
    It was not just the bright metallic and cramped sound of the mix that bothered me on original release, but the high end is low resolution sounding Like sibilance had crept into the mix with too much 16/44 bits being slammed together. Hard to describe but it had those cymbals sounding pinched into graininess.

    So I'll be fine if it's still bright but bass kicks ass and it no longer sounds like a low res production. That's a tall order but one that is doable.
    I think you will be very happy with this release quicksrt. The bass is not overblown but very clear and musical. I too hate that gritty low res digital sound and my system is ruthless in exposing that sort of horror! Good news here, the top end despite being prominent is smooth and a joy to hear.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksrt View Post
    It was not just the bright metallic and cramped sound of the mix that bothered me on original release, but the high end is low resolution sounding Like sibilance had crept into the mix with too much 16/44 bits being slammed together. Hard to describe but it had those cymbals sounding pinched into graininess.

    So I'll be fine if it's still bright but bass kicks ass and it no longer sounds like a low res production. That's a tall order but one that is doable.
    I seriously think you will NOT find it to sound like the original you described. I didn't hear the original - and I admit that when I played this the first time I thought "bright". But far from overly bright. Yes, it has crisp low end. Sort of like the low end in Bryan Adams Reckless....not Steve Wilson low end...but crisp, solid and musical just like "Foot" said.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Mine arrived from Burning Shed with an "Oranges and Lemons" postcard signed in the back "A. ...(with an undecipherable last name)", is that Andy Partridge????
    Avatar: a Goddess...Capucine -...The Ice Queen
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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by kap'n krunch View Post
    Mine arrived from Burning Shed with an "Oranges and Lemons" postcard signed in the back "A. ...(with an undecipherable last name)", is that Andy Partridge????
    Colin has been signing these. Mine reads "C. Moulding" (but is not terribly legible).

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by blue.monk View Post
    Colin has been signing these. Mine reads "C. Moulding" (but is not terribly legible).
    yeah, you are right...although it looks like an "A", upon closer inspection, I see a "CL"(very close , that's why it looks like an "A")
    BUT
    the giveaway was the dot for the "i",,,and , yes, the fist letter on the last name looks like an "M"...

    COOOOOLLLLLLL!!!
    Even better..one of my favorite bass players in the world!!! (and he ain't no slouch in the songwriting dept either!),
    Now I got Tony Levin's, Colin Moulding AND John Entwistle's autographs!!!
    Only missing Geddy Lee's...
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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by blue.monk View Post
    Colin has been signing these. Mine reads "C. Moulding" (but is not terribly legible).
    And, is it a real signature...or copies? I have one also...just tossed it on the shelf. Once you open the package, the card doesn't fit in the case in any useful manner.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by GOS View Post
    And, is it a real signature...or copies? I have one also...just tossed it on the shelf. Once you open the package, the card doesn't fit in the case in any useful manner.
    Yes, they are individually signed. Andy signed the cards for "Drums & Wires".

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Quote Originally Posted by blue.monk View Post
    Yes, they are individually signed. Andy signed the cards for "Drums & Wires".
    Huh, well damn. Maybe I'll take better care of it. Why not?

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    I haven't given this release a fair shake. Wife is leaving town Sunday morning...that will be my chance to wind up the system and let it loose.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    This gets my vote for disc of the year. O&L is one of XTC’s most ambitiously arranged LPs. Every tune is overflowing with layers and layers of carefully crafted sonic goodness with special emphasis on lush vocal harmonies and counter lines. It was always begging for a bigger soundstage. And this new mix delivers that beautifully. The surround format allows all these many and varied elements to breathe comfortably in their own space. And, most boldly of all, previously buried parts are frequently pushed to the foreground. This is a risky move as it could most definitely redefine your perception of a tune. But for me it all works brilliantly and only enhances my enjoyment and appreciation for the songs and arrangements. I’m always happy to get instrumental mixes. They allow us geeky few the chance to deconstruct and analyze the arrangements in greater detail. There’s always some nice discoveries for me. For instance in “Chalkhills” I never noticed before how after the first “Even I never know where I go…” line Colin’s bass continues that motive throughout the second verse. Clever stuff and I hear it now every time. No surprise, a big 10 for me. Buy it!!

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Well,I don't like this nearly as much as the other two XTC's.The mix is good , but I don't like the songs on this one.Won't get played much by me.7.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Probably my favourite XTC album, definitely the one I know best. This version sounds amazing, crisp, clear and immersive . I'm hearing loads of things that I've never heard before with this album. I'm loving the backing vocals in the rears, I guess I'm listening out for this in particular after hearing Fragile again just now.

    Loads of extra songs and versions as usual with this great series.

    So, its another 10 from me. I've been voting on so much new stuff recently my ears are ringing - I've got ten(10)itus !!

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Full on 10.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Just gave this another spin. It really doesn't get any better than this. SW has worked his magic yet again. Back in 1989 I bought this album on the day of its release. I fell in love with it immediately. It has been a constant presence in my home, my car and on my radio show ever since. I know the album intimately.......or so I thought. I now realize that with an album that is as densely layered as this one is, there was no way to really hear everything that was going on when mixed into stereo. Steven's mix has really opened this one up and I'm hearing lots that I never heard before. It's an incredibly active and fun mix. "Across This Antheap" is insane in surround. Steven's mix has also provided a greater clarity to the album.. I always thought Colin's vocals on "King For a Day" sounded like he was mumbling and I had to refer to the lyric sheet to know what the lyrics were. On this new mix it's all very clear.

    As I've said regarding the other XTC releases, their surround sound reissues are the standard that all other bands should be aspiring to. The disc is loaded with so many extras that I still haven't gotten through them all.

    Plus, in "Pink Thing", XTC gave us the greatest love song ever written, LOL.

    As the noted musicologist Nigel Tuffnel would say, this goes to 11. But since that's not an option in the poll, I will have to settle for giving it a 10.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    Might be of interest. XTC from 1989. A nice companion to the Oranges and Lemons release.
    King for a Day (with Pat and Schaffer band) : https://youtu.be/Amx5CK7vdoc
    Scarecrow people, Blue Beret, King for a Day : https://youtu.be/AI8MalyCCGU
    King for a Day, Great Fire/Dear God: https://youtu.be/buENneEy4bc

    An incredible live band. The vocals are especially impressive.

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    Default Re: XTC - Oranges and Lemons [BluRay Audio]

    I'll vote a 10 for the release, though I would give the album an 8. It was released in an era of excess and overly long albums, and now it seems it would flow better without Scarecrow People, Cynical Days, Hold Me My Daddy, and Pink Thing, but maybe that's just me. Those songs just don't seem to stand up to the others. I don't expect them to change it now, I'm just being hyper-critical.
    The new mixes are phenomenal, and I like that they've cleverly hidden and buried a lot of the era-specific guitar wankery.
    What a band!
    (as noted earlier, the amount of extra stuff on the bluray is insane)

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