It might seem peculiar that classic albums are being remixed to attain ever-higher levels of sonic fidelity at the very same time as low-fidelity listening is increasingly the norm, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone when it’s Steven Wilson doing the grunt work. Prog’s go-to alchemist (there’s even a Facebook page devoted to his extracurricular work) has now worked his magic on three of Steve Hackett’s post-Genesis classics, providing new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes for Spectral Mornings and Please Don’t Touch, plus a ‘pseudo’ 5.1 mix of Defector, as the original multitracks couldn’t be found.
If this is of any real benefit in an age when many people enjoy music while battling the commute is debatable, but comparing the different versions of Land Of A Thousand Autumns or Clocks – The Angel Of Mons suggests we’re in the realm of diminishing returns.
More interesting is the excellent live disc accompanying Defector, which features Hackett’s 1981 Reading Festival set in full, and at least has the distinction of being released (officially) on CD for the first time. Beware the sleeve notes, which cover a lot of similar ground, whichever album you pick.