RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Emerson Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (Super Deluxe Edition)
Razor & Tie

http://www.razorandtie.com
http://www.emersonlakepalmer.com

Rating: A+

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends ... 

Ahh man! The original Brain Salad Surgery was just the second rock music LP I’ve purchased in my life, sometime around 1974. It has been a monumental influence on my musical world ever since. So you can imagine my delight at seeing this three disc super deluxe edition arrive at my home. I know every note, click, and LFO bleep on this album - the 1973 release, that is. 

The Super Deluxe Version of Brain Salad Surgery not only gives the listener a wonderfully remastered version of the original album, it also contains an additional disc of alternate versions of the original songs, as well as some material written and recorded during that time relating to the album. And, if that just wasn’t enough, it also delivers a third DVD disc featuring the remastered original version and a “2014” mastered version. 

Remasters can be a tricky thing. On one hand, modern technology can clean up a lot of the mud and lower fidelity inherent in older recordings. On the other hand, the artists knew the limitations were there when they put the tracks down and created a mood anticipating those limitations. There is always a risk of going too far and having much of the artists’ intended expressions get lost in the newer “updated” mix.

Fortunately, the remixing of the original disc is very subtle in the sense that there are no dramatic shifts in any singular emphasis. It’s just a much cleaner and more vibrant sound. The overall bandwidth is expanded giving crisper highs and more expressive lows, which is to be expected on remixed recordings from the 1970’s. The mix also may have been panned a little more open, but that’s about it. Best yet, it still retains the comforting warmth found in older recordings that is often lost in the sterility of the digital era. Could they have possibly been able to further reduce some of the original low level tape hiss? Probably. But why? Who knows what else would have been lost in the process? The songs on this album are some of progressive rock’s greatest masterpieces. They should be left alone whenever possible, which is exactly what they did. The result is an expanded and thoroughly enjoyable experience of a spectacular album. 

The second “alternate” disk is an interesting walk through the writing and mixing process involved when recording the original album. The listener is treated to several different mixes along the path to production. It also includes a few tunes without the vocal track (Karn Evil 9 super-prog karaoke party, anyone?) This disc will be a treat for die-hard fans curious about various iterations of the pieces and the alternative approaches considered before the final product was produced. It also contains songs not present on the original album, as well as marketing excerpts.

There have been grumblings about the price of this set. So, should you run out and buy it? If you’re a die-hard fan of ELP and think Brain Salad Surgery should be one of the albums on progressive rock’s Mount Olympus, then yes, buy it immediately. There is a ton of great stuff in this set. If you’re looking for just the remastered version of the classic album I believe it is available on its own for less cost. In either case, no prog devotee should be without an updated copy of this album. Genius is timeless, and this album is pure genius.

TRACK LISTING

DISC ONE

THE ORIGINAL ALBUM (REMASTERED)

  1. Jerusalem
  2. Toccata
  3. Still ... YouTurn Me On
  4. Benny The Bouncer
  5. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1
  6. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2
  7. Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression
  8. Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression

DISC TWO

THE ALTERNATE BRAIN SALAD SURGERY

  1. Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression (Original Backing Track)
  2. Jerusalem (First Mix)
  3. Still ... You Turn Me On (First Mix)
  4. Toccata (Alternate Version)
  5. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1 (Alternate Version)
  6. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 (Alternate Version)
  7. Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression (Alternate Version)
  8. Karn Evil 9 Third Impression 3rd Impression (Alternate Version)
  9. Excerpts From Brain Salad Surgery (NME Flexi Disc Version)
  10. When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills Of Your Mind

             I’ll Be Your Valentine (B Side Single K13503)

  1. Brain Salad Surgery (Instrumental)
  2. Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression (Different Version)

 

DISC THREE

DVD-A: SUPER STEREO

BRAIN SALAD SURGERY

  1. Jerusalem
  2. Toccata
  3. Still ... YouTurn Me On
  4. Benny The Bouncer
  5. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1
  6. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2
  7. Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression
  8. Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression

By Roy Rahl

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