I don't have any Renaissance albums and this is the first time I really listened to the group. This album is a very nice fusion of Prog and Pop. I really like it. No run-songs. The material begs for multi-channel treatment, and Stephen's 5.1 mix is excellent.
The lead singer, Annie Haslam...what a voice! I usually don't watch the videos that come in these sets, but I wanted to see her perform. She often sings with her hands on her hips.
It's so nice to discover an older album like this. As with a number of albums, I probably would have missed out had it not been released in multi-channel.
This first time I ever heard this album and I find it very enjoyable. I have several Renaissance albums and this might be my new favorite. Songs are catchy. I just love The Winter Tree. Solid album from start to finish. I think it's one of the better late 70's prog album. Mix is excellent. I like the clamshell. You get two booklets! I'm quite happy with this purchase. I give it a 9.
Finally getting to the Renaissance Azure d’or reissue. Now this is how it should be done. Beautiful remastering job, the surround mix is wonderful. Great video of the band from the period. The book and box aren’t too elaborate, but that allowed them to keep the price reasonable. A 10 from me.
I first heard Renaissance when they performed "Carpet of the Sun" on The Midnight Special back in the mid/late 1970's. Of course, fell in love with Annie Haslam's voice, but it was the big sound with great orchestrations that made me a huge fan. "Novella" is still probably one of my desert island discs. (Shame the masters were lost for that recording.) Azure d'Or was the last recording with the classic line up, with a completely different direction from what they had been doing. With David Henschel's "success" at turning Genesis into more of a pop act, it seems a similar thought was behind his production here. Gone were the long complex songs and the orchestrations, replaced by electronic keyboards, and instead were shorter more radio friendly songs. There are still some wonderful songs on this album. "Jekyll And Hyde," "The Winter Tree," and "Kalynda" are all great songs, and Annie's voice never sounded better. However, I REALLY enjoyed Stephen W. Tayler's mix of this. It breathed new life into the old songs. For example, "Only Angels Have Wings" I always thought sounded like a Camel reject. The vocals by Jon Camp were weak, especially compared to Annie's. But Stephen's mix fills the room with sound and brings out the best in the music. I thoroughly enjoyed his mix of the entire album. The best praise I can give is when something sounds new, even after listening to something for dozens of times. That is the case here. It was like hearing it for the first time. So I give the mix a solid 10. Content an 8, for a total of 9.
I guess it's about time that I review a multi-channel release of mine. Being a longtime Renaissance fan I bought many of their releases on vinyl "a few years ago", including Azure d'Or. As mentioned by others, this release was a departure from their more classical music influenced ones in an attempt to remain relevant (and obviously make a living in the process!) While as many were at the time I'm sure, I was a bit taken aback by the "glossiness/sheen" of the production. However, the more I listened the more it grew on me as some of the songs have absolutely beautiful melodies. Not to mention the fact that this is a) Annie Haslam singing, b) a group of consummate musicians backing her in the classic lineup of this legendary group. But what about this surround sound release you ask. I'll say this and I say it in all seriousness...I was literally smiling while listening to much of it. In my non-professional opinion Mr. Stephen Tayler did a very good job with the 5.1 remaster, with the end result being a pretty impressive discrete mix overall. Sure, I guess the multi-channel aspect could have been even more pronounced (as could be the case with many releases), but I suspect he struck a happy medium here especially for those familiar with these songs from long ago. I think it's a wonderful release with the sturdy box, 2 booklets, etc. There are very few multi-channel releases that I would give a 10, however it's a 9 in my book! Kudos to Cherry Red Records and all involved.
Although it's very different from early albums, other than Live at Carnegie Hall, it remains my favorite album since the live album. and I've long awaited its surround mix. My favorite track has always been Kalynda since its refrain is double tracked and harmonized by Annie herself, and that angelic voice times 3, wow, and in an amazing surround mix, amazing!!! Overall a 10 remix for me!!!
Finally a great sounding version of this album! The original and remasters of this album always seemed overly compressed to me. Stephen W. Taylor has done a fantastic job with his remix in both surround and stereo.