Great review, Comrade! I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is my fav 2020 surround release thus far. I simply cannot get enough of it - as soon as I finish listening to it, I’m ready to start again. I totally agree that the extended Jets At Dawn is an amazingly immersive sonic marvel, but it seems like every song comes to new life in Tayler’s mix. Bill’s beautiful guitar solos just pop in this new mix - to such a degree, they’re almost tangible. I could go on and on. I may have to change my vote to a 10.i have to concur with my QQ comrades regarding Stephen Taylor's mix on this one; he gets better with each reissue, and for my ears, this is his best effort so far. A dear friend in high school turned me onto this band in 1977. We spent a LOT of time entranced by his favorite release, Futurama. The cover of Sunburst Finish sucked me in; the contents made it my favorite. Live in the Air Age was a treat for my guitar-solo-loving high school self. Modern Music and Drastic Plastic were basically new and received a fair amount of air play on Chicago's WXRT. Which is my typically long-winded way of saying that Be-Bop Deluxe's first release, Axe Victim, was the last one i discovered! It used to strike me as a Ziggy-light endeavor with superior guitar work and was my least-played release of theirs. This reissue is really turning me around, and it is in no small part to the 5.1 DTS mix i have been soaking in!
@The56Kid does a wonderful job in his assessment of the mix, nailing what makes it so wonderful for me. @elmer gushing over the guitar solos also resonates with me (especially the deliciously extended "Jets at Dawn"); not only could i listen to Nelson's solos all day long--i did! The multichannel mix brings a depth to the production that i did not recall from my high school headphone daze, and Nelson's guitar work really shines--it is, after all, this release's raison d'être!
As far as the complaints about the packaging go, my copy arrived with a disc dislodged--drag. But i will say that i am glad to have the original stereo mix, the new mix, and the revelatory Peel sessions on CD. And the book is a nice visual and intellectual accompaniment to my listening forays. Nelson's lengthy assessment of the release ends with his noting that Axe Victim "is one brief snapshot of a band in the process of becoming something else. . . . a modest beginning, flawed but not without charm." This listener is charmed enough to take this reissue to a 10 because of the way it presents what i recollected as a muddy sounding schizophrenic assemblage and polishes it to a scintillating surprise of a debut, adding some nice ephemera (though the poster may eventually end up framed on my wall!) and bonus tracks in 5.1 as well as those great Peel sessions.