I gave it a 10 as well. Not being a huge Tull fan (prior to all these surround releases, of course), I wasn't sure what to expect and, based on some of the history of the album I read, I was sort of dreading an overly pompous prog mess (and this coming from someone who thinks "Tales from Topographic Oceans" is one of the best albums of all time!). However, I REALLY dig this album, both "Passion Play" proper and the "Chateau" album. It's amazing that they recorded two albums of such complexity in the same span of time.
And Wilson's surround mix is just perfect, with very active rear speakers and lots of sonic goodies all around. It's clear that this album was recorded well and SW capitalizes on that. I really do think he's getting better and better with every release that he does.
The booklet just puts it over the top....Again, as someone who knew very little about the genesis of this album, I was fascinated by the whole story that unfolds in the liner notes. The Chateau stories are particularly entertaining.
Want to listen to this a few more times before I rate this as a ten ...but it's worth having for the 5.1 mix of the "chateau" tapes alone, which is imho better than A Passion Play by a considerable margin! Awesome stuff and essential for any Tull fan.
Yes, I echo the previous reviews. It's a terrific package in every way. The 5.1 mixes by Steven Wilson are perfect - immersive and always complimentary to the material. The Chateau disc is an amazing bonus. The new presentation works very well. The early 'Skating Away' arrangement is delightful. Like TAAB the booklet is loaded with informative and entertaining recollections, reviews, pictures and details on recording and compiling the material. 10.
A geeky sidebar: I've always loved this album and find it to be essential Tull. It's interesting to read about its difficult journey to be accepted as such. The addition of the synthesizers and sax certainly do set it apart. But another defining element for me is the octave shifting device used on Ian's sax and flute. At first this might appear to be the sound of a bass clarinet or synth but these musical lines are derived from Ian's reeds (the articulation, pitch, vibrato and dynamics are too exact to be separate performances). Most frequently this technique is used in tandem with the sax (the pitch shift two octaves lower). It's used extensively throughout. You can here it isolated in the center channel during the Prelude, first with sax (2 octaves lower) and then with flute (octave lower then unison). In Critique Oblique the sax is in the rears with its octave-shifted part fed to the center. It's quite a unique sound and helps to distinguish this recording from other Tull LPs.
I have to confess, I didn't like Passion Play when I first heard it in 1973. Years later probably in the mid 80's when I was buying Tull on CD, I played Passion Play again and loved it. I don't know if my tastes had matured after listening to more varied music, but Passion Play quickly became one of my favorites of Tull. I know it is a controversial album; so never expected it in surround. When I read a few years ago that Passion Play is one of Steven Wilson's favorites, I dared not hope it would one day be available in surround. So, this is truly a dream come true for me.
One other note, has anyone else noticed the dissonant keyboards on the Chateau version of Critique Oblique? I love it and it is unfortunate it was dropped in the final Passion Play version.
This is so well done from all angles - mix, music & packaging - a beautiful hard bound book and extensive notes - not to mention an entire "bonus" disc mixed in 5.1 96/24 DTS - a tremendously well done job by all! A 10! Passion Play was always a fave of mine (sorta the equivalent to KC's Lizard) - not everyone get's it - but it contains moments of pure brilliance. Oddly enough, I drove a girl, who at the time was just my best friend's cute teenage sister to the Tull show at the Nassau Colesseum in support of Passion Play. Now almost 40 years later I get to hear it like never before. My wife recognized the music when I played it yesterday, said it was cool, and then asked if I could turn down the volume a bit...oh well...
I have to say, Mr Wilson's mixes just seem to get more UNCANNY all of the time! Enjoyed the 2014 stereo mix yesterday as an appetizer and had the main course of APP in 5.1 today. The extras and packaging are really cool all around. Still need to read the book and get the Chateau disc(s) on this weekend before I vote but the top notch seems inevitable on just what I've enjoyed so far.
I've listened to each of the A Passion Play and Chateau 5.1 discs 4 times now. I considered knocking a point off as they are "only" DTS, but then I thought "sod that, your ears are telling you that this is a 10, so vote a 10", so there it is, no doubt:
Music - 10
Sound and mix - 10
Packaging - 10
Value for money, compared to some that we could mention - 20!!
APP has always been one of my favourite Tull albums, up there with Minstrel in the Gallery and Thick as a Brick. Some say that there is too much sax on it, but I've never found it over powering, and thankfully SW didn't play around with this. He just did what he does, produce an amazing version of a great album. A couple of adjustments here and there, and he managed to find 2 extra verses to put back into Foot of our Stairs . The surround version is a great listen. If it wasn't for Chateau (and Division Bell!) I would be playing this over and over again.
As for Chateau, the Nightcap version was great, but the presentation of it here sounds more complete with a different track order and an extra 10 minutes, and it is now an amazing album in its own right. The Nightcap version had some later sound adjustments and some added flute that Ian Anderson thought was necessary, but these are now gone. Yes there are now a few bits that some people may say sound bare, but personally I love it. In those parts, the band (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards) sound really great - chugging along nicely.
As for presentation, similar to Thick as a Brick. With the added bonus of live band still photos on rotation on the screen as the Chateau disc plays. A delicious book in the middle with loads of photos and lots to read. I read through a lot of it last night, and its a very interesting read, talking you through the development of both albums, with comments from band members and others included.
Having waited for this album in 5.1 since Aqualung (or since I knew about surround sound music) I was really excited to hear this disc. I'm a quarter of the way through it in the car, and the only complaint I have so far is that the snare is nebulous and a little strange compared with the amazing snare sound that Steven brought out of Benefit and Aqualung. Also Ian's voice is a little bassy. But the mix is thoroughly amazing otherwise. I'm really stoked to have this disc.
Mine came today had the chance to check it out at a good volume , once again Mr Wilson has presented us Tull fans with another gem! o great to hear this recording without the stonewalling of past versions. Bass is up front dynamics are great ! Vocals locked to center channel till the middle of side 2 where the harmonies and doubling fill the rears. packaging is fantastic and what a treat to have a clean HD version of The Hare !!!! not sure why The Hare video doesn't play while listening to the 5.1 selection ( just audio plays, video is an extra option) I can't wait for the next installment ! i hope we don't skip over Stand Up which has some great tunes ! Thank You once again Steve Wilson YOU ROCK !!!
No Doc, but his ale rations should definitely be monitored closely at this point.
@Good Sir Keenly: No way pal. Chateau is a work in progress at best. Its tough to compare the two on any grounds though.
Ok after careful consideration and playing it again I concluded there is no reason to hold back points just because I don't get APP. I never warmed up to it or Minstrel. Aqualung, TAAB, WarChild, SFTW simply blow my mind, however. Oh well...
Drum roll please......
Voting simply by the criteria that Jon has set forth: APP = 10
Another brilliant mix, almost a full 2nd album as a bonus..... and classic Tull.
What more could one ask from this issue?
To be frank, I bought this & Benefit, not being a fan of either but i try to support prog 5.1 whenever I can. And young Sir Steven Wilson should be encouraged at every turn. He is doing God's work, like few people before him.
I say, screw the order and give us War Child and Songs From The Wood next. :yikes
I'm rating this a 9... there are a few little elements that are missing from the mix that are there on the original mix. This is more of a casualty of myself being intimately familiar with the original mix. I've got no qualms with it, it may be an Ian Anderson Not Liking His Saxophone Work than anything else... he has said that he hates how much tenor sax is on the album. I personally think it's the character of this album, but it's not my choice and I'm happy to have what we have, especially in 5.1. But there are definitely a handful of moments that are missing parts, a hi-hat tick-a-tick there, a sax part here. It's mostly little moments, nothing major.
The mix... what can I say. SW has done it again. I'm excited for the rest of the catalog, and I hope they go all the way up through A and Under Wraps. I really love those two records and hope they get their day in the spotlight.
So...I've listened to both discs so far....
I VERY RECENTLY (OK , about a year ago or less. finally got and listened to APP- a MINT sealed US pressing) and was NOT impressed at all with it..it's still kind of a letdown...
I find the Chateau disc WAY MORE interesting than APP, and I think they should have stuck to it as a follow up instead of trying to make an LP out of thin air with as little time in their hands...
APP is basically a "curio" in the JT catalogue...interesting concept, the ballerina and all , but , musically ...wellllllll.....
anyway, who am I to judge? it's my .02 EUR ....
REALLY digging the Chateau disc....another example that artists give their best under REALLY bad circumstances....
as for the SW mixes...I may sound as a heathen , but I can see right through his mixes...they are becoming a bit formulaic..wonderful, nevertheless but formulaic....
(any icon for hiding under the umbrella?..and again I should not criticize...wish I could mix like SW)