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An Update on Steven Wilson's Remix Work

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rtbluray

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Found this by chance via Google search today:

http://stevenwilsonhq.com/sw/an-update-on-steven-wilsons-remix-work/

In recent years, Steven has garnered a reputation as one of the world’s top go-to guys to remix classic albums. In an interview last year, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) described Steven’s approach to remixes this way: “[Steven] has got a lot of sympathetic, natural ways of listening to things to give you a clarity, a little edge, a little definition, but not to fundamentally change either the stereo layout, the positioning of instruments, or to hugely change the sound and the balance of things. He just gives it clarity and polish.”

We caught up with Steven to ask him about his recent remixes and plans for future remixes.

Who knows how you find the time, but you somehow seemed to have stepped up your work on remixing classic albums over the past year. During the past few months alone we’ve had remixed editions of two albums by Steve Hackett, Gentle Giant “Octopus”, XTC “Oranges and Lemons”, Yes “Fragile”, Opeth “Damnation”, and Jethro Tull “Too Old To Rock ’n’ Roll: Too Young to Die”.

Ha, yes, but that’s probably a false impression, because these were done over a very long period of time. It was just coincidence that they were all released almost on top of each other. The Opeth mix was done as long ago as 2009, and the rest were all done at various times over the last 2 years or so. To be honest, I’m probably slowing down a bit if anything, because of my own commitments. My touring plans for 2016 already stretch through to September, on and off. Plus, I’m already thinking about my next album, so I don’t think I’ll have time to do a lot of remixing, particularly as when I do, I always want to give each album the care and attention it deserves. But there are still a few mixes I’ve completed in recent years that haven’t come out yet.

Can you tell us what they are?

Some of them. There’s the first Roxy Music album, which sounds wonderful in 5.1. That was overseen by Phil Manzanera, but initially it got held up when Virgin were sold to Universal, and now I think it’s just taking time to get all the other material together they want to include in the set. I’d love to move on and do more Roxy albums, and Phil is keen. Then there are two more King Crimson mixes, “Beat” and “Three of a Perfect Pair”—again, these were finished a while ago, so I don’t know when they will finally come out, but hopefully in 2016.

Steve Howe of Yes recently mentioned that you were also working on “Tales from Topographic Oceans”?

Steve heard some work-in-progress mixes I was working on in 2013 of that album, including my first attempt at a 5.1 mix, but as things stand, there aren’t any more Yes releases planned. There was talk about me doing “Drama”, an album I really love and that would sound great in 5.1, but not all the members of that line up are keen for the album to be remixed—which is totally understandable—and I wouldn’t want to do something without the band being behind it.

Another one that was pretty much confirmed you were doing is Tears for Fears “Seeds of Love”…

Yes! That has to be the most complicated mix I’ve ever done. It took us about a year just to identify all the right multi-track tapes, but now we are edging towards completion. Roland Orzabal and producer David Bascombe have been involved. What an incredible album it is; probably one of my top 10 ever.

Jethro Tull?

I’m really happy with how that series has developed, respect to Tim Chacksfield at Warners. The next one is actually going to be a reissue of something older, the 40th anniversary “Aqualung” in the now-standard hardback book form, and using my own mastering this time. After that, the plan is to go back and remix the second album “Stand Up”, and I hope at least that one can be done in time to come out late next year. Even if I’m not always involved, I’m pretty sure the series will move forward, the limited deluxe editions have been very well received, and I’m far from being the only guy that can do this work these days. When the series started no one was thinking about deluxe multi-disc editions of some of the less acclaimed albums like “War Child” and “Too Old”, but now here we are.

XTC?

Definitely. It’s just a question of what multitrack tapes can be located next.

Gentle Giant?
Not sure. The one I really felt could have benefitted from a remix was “In a Glass House”, but the multitrack tapes are missing unfortunately.
So there you have it. There's some things we already knew, like the constant delays on releasing "Roxy Music", "Beat", and "Three of a Perfect Pair", the struggles to find more XTC and Gentle Giant multitrack tapes, and confirmation from Steven directly about remixing "Stand Up" and the reissue of "Aqualung" with no mastering and in the smaller (and less expensive) hard-book format.
The big nugget of this interview however was the brief discussion on remixing "The Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears. At least now we know why it wasn't released this year, as it took such a long time to just find and assemble all the multitrack tapes so they could begin remixing it, but I'm now more excited about this one than ever before since Steven has just said it's one of his top-10 favorite albums of all time!
Finally, "Tales". I'm still puzzled as to why Steven is so apprehensive about whether the remix of "Tales from Topographic Oceans" will or will not be released, but I'm still hopeful that any barriers towards that happening can be toppled over in 2016 so we can all enjoy it.

Happy New Year, QQ! :)
 

Fourplay

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Wow, what an amazing find! Thanks so much for sharing this.

No mention of Songs From the Wood, which I would love to hear in surround, although Stand Up is a great piece of news. There are some ways in which this really is the golden age of surround sound. Even though many titles are out of print, many of these can be heard through the magic of downloading (if the labels are unwilling to take our money for the material). I think that with AF we are showing that if great product is offered for sale the market will support it. So with all the old quad coming out on modern formats, along with the newer mixes of both old and new material, we have surround coming out of our rears!

I wonder if we can get the message to Steven that if he gets too overbooked maybe he could refer some of the offers to remix over to Andy Jackson? Andy clearly deserves to be more busy at this task, and I am not sure how much he is doing for Gilmour who is engaged in touring and promoting his recent release.

Anyway, joy to the whirls!

Ken
 

rtbluray

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No mention of Songs From the Wood, which I would love to hear in surround, although Stand Up is a great piece of news.

I wonder if we can get the message to Steven that if he gets too overbooked maybe he could refer some of the offers to remix over to Andy Jackson? Andy clearly deserves to be more busy at this task, and I am not sure how much he is doing for Gilmour who is engaged in touring and promoting his recent release.
Steven probably will not say much about "Songs from the Wood" until after he is completely finished remixing "Stand Up" and can therefore move on to "Songs from the Wood" after that.
And as for other people taking up remixing duties, if anyone's going to get a first crack at remixing albums Steven is not interested in or doesn't have enough time for, it will be Jakko Jakszyk, a man whose last name I constantly misspell every time I first try to type it, lol ;)
 

rtbluray

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The article was part of one of the first SW newsletters when I am not mistaken. Well worth signing up to the newsletter.
If it was already part of an email newsletter, then I never got that one, lol. When I originally found that link through Google, I thought it hadn't been published yet. Regardless, this is the first time it's made its appearance on QQ. :)
 

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Nice Find and it gets 2016 off to a glowing start!!! Thank You RT :snoodhug: :banana:
 

rtbluray

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The article was part of one of the first SW newsletters when I am not mistaken. Well worth signing up to the newsletter.
Well actually Steven Wilson just said this on his Facebook page as part of his New Year's post:
Also a reminder that if you haven't already you can subscribe to the recently introduced official SW newsletter, which includes a lot of exclusive content. The first 2 editions carried a 2 part interview about 4 ½, and the next one due later this month will have an extensive update on my work remixing classic albums.
So there you have it. It hasn't "officially" been published yet, and you all read it here first! :)
 

FVDnz

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An excellent read. By late next year for Stand Up must mean this year given the interview must have been conducted last month?! Awesome news regarding Seeds of Love too. Pity about certain Yes members not wanting Drama remixed (such a downer you are, Geoff Downes) and Wilson acknowledging wanting to remix In a Glass House too. And best of all, an Aqualung hardbook - YES! :-D

Sent from my HTC_0PJA10 using Tapatalk
 

Ninecats

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This is some seriously thrilling read, soooo glad being able to hear Aqualung in 5.1 without paying a small fortune. And if Seeds Of Love would be nearly as great as Songs... Wow! However my most anticipated listen is without a doubt Roxy Music, that will kick some serious ass!
 

rtbluray

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This is some seriously thrilling read, soooo glad being able to hear Aqualung in 5.1 without paying a small fortune. And if Seeds Of Love would be nearly as great as Songs... Wow! However my most anticipated listen is without a doubt Roxy Music, that will kick some serious ass!
Yes, "Roxy Music" will likely kick some serious ass, but Universal needs to hurry up and release it! Time is ticking… :violin
 

rtbluray

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Today was the day that Steven Wilson's website "officially" posted this update on his remix work as part of his latest email newsletter. However it's not the same as what I posted above. It's even longer!

Here's an expanded answer on what's up with releasing (or not releasing) the "Tales from Topographic Oceans" remixes:
Well, Steve [Howe] heard some work-in-progress mixes I was working on in 2013 of that album, including my first attempt at a 5.1 mix. But it was abandoned shortly afterwards in favour of moving on to some of the more popular albums and, as things stand, there aren’t any more Yes releases planned. For a band like Yes where the core catalogue is owned by a major company and under license to a smaller UK company, what Steve, the band, or I would like to happen doesn’t always hold much sway.
So it looks like the Atlantic/Rhino/Warner conglomerate may be the issue when it comes to "Tales".
He also says that since Tears for Fears are close to completing and releasing a new album, it will still be a while before "The Seeds of Love" reissue (with his remixes) is released, but the final icing on this cake is that despite the rough time finding full XTC multitrack tapes for remixing, he says they recovered a full set of multitracks for at least one more album, and he's already in the process of remixing it as we read this.

If you want to read the new and extended update, just click on the link in the 1st post of this thread, but while you're at it, please do SW a favor and subscribe to the email newsletter too! :)
 

DoctorO

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The Tales comments wipe away the ambiguity of his earlier remarks into which many of us injected hope, and leaves me utterly in dark despair. The remixes that are mentioned as coming in 2016 can't hold a candle. :(
 
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