Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
After parting ways with the Sugarcubes, the Icelandic band and alt-pop/rock phenomenon she fronted to stardom, Bjork launched a spectacularly successful solo career in 1993. Her aptly titled first album Debut was a smash i... more »
After parting ways with the Sugarcubes, the Icelandic band and alt-pop/rock phenomenon she fronted to stardom, Bjork launched a spectacularly successful solo career in 1993. Her aptly titled first album Debut was a smash in the U.K., where it was NME?s Album of the Year and won her the Newcomer and International Female Solo Artist categories at that year?s BRIT Awards. In the U.S., the disc was a gold album and a #1 Billboard Heatseeker, announcing her arrival as a major new talent. This distinctive singer-songwriter?s artistry continued to evolve through an acclaimed string of adventurous albums that still sound fresh and exciting. The many sounds of Bjork?s truly distinctive dance-flavored, spirited, arty, and elegantly conceived electronic pop are a revelation on Rhino?s new DualDisc releases of seven of her classic titles.
Too many screw-ups.
Daniel Hirshleifer | Los Angeles, CA | 08/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Good: The surround mixes on all the discs sound spectacular. While not true DVD Audio, the DTS is really impressive, and at times, such as the climax of Hunter, were almost awe-inspiring. Every album included the original booklet and on the inside cover was the rear cover art, so you could turn it inside out to replicate the look of the original CD. Every album except for Selmasongs and Drawing Restraint (which had no videos) have the corresponding music videos on the disc, all available in Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and the original stereo. The best part is, if the single used a different mix (such as All Is Full Of Love), the single mix got the surround treatment for the video. The mixes feel very natural, with a broad soundstage and excellent mixing all around. Compare this against the Depeche Mode 5.1 mixes (also done by Rhino), which sound very artificial and the tracks are too separate from each other. Bjork's 5.1 mixes are far more organic. Also, Debut tacks the song Play Dead onto the end, which originally was only available on a movie soundtrack and import versions of the album as a bonus track. The U.S. version ended with The Anchor Song. So I'm glad they added that.
The bad: Telegram is not in this box. Now, I know that it's not an album of all-new Bjork material, but considering how different each song sounds, it should be considered a separate album. And considering how closely Bjork oversaw each track, I think it's criminal that such an inventive work be kept out on a technicality, especially since this of all of her albums might have seen the most benefit from a 5.1 mix. They were already doing extra work by making new surround mixes of Medulla and Vespertine, which both have proper SACD and DVD-A releases, so why not go the extra mile and make the set definitive by including Telegram? They could even have made it a box-set only extra, since currently the box offers nothing you cannot get on the standard DualDisc releases.
Oh yeah, these are all DualDiscs. DualDiscs suck. A lot. I hate them. A lot. They leave no side you can touch, and they are so thick that they do not conform to industry standards. This means they may not play in all CD or DVD players. If Depeche Mode can get seperate DVDs for their surround mixes, so can Bjork, dammit. No more DualDiscs, Rhino.
Not only are these DualDiscs, but, other than the inclusion of Play Dead on Debut, absolutely nothing has been done to the CD side of these albums. Now, I know that from Selmasongs on, the albums are a little too recent to be remastered, but I think Debut, Post, Telegram, and Homogenic could all use a nice remastering (not that they currently sound bad by any means).
None of the videos are anamorphic, even when they're widescreen. Even the videos for Vespertine and Medulla, which were surely shot when widescreen TVs and anamorphic enhancement were commonplace are not anamorphic. Also, nowhere on or in the box do they list the directing credits for the videos. This is minor, but a little annoying, since this set is clearly for Bjork completists.
And now, easily the most annoying thing, Post is a faulty disc on the DVD side. Specifically, no matter whether you select DTS, Dolby Digital, or stereo for the music videos, they play in stereo. I cannot find any way to access the DTS or Dolby Digital versions. I am emailing Rhino about this, because I want to make them aware of this error, and I want them to replace my disc as soon as they press fixed copies.
So, in the end, this is an easy way to get all of Bjork albums (except for Telegram) in 5.1. On the other hand, you might want to buy these separately, and then get the SACD or DVD-A versions of Vespertine and Medulla for the better sound quality. The only thing you'd miss by doing that is getting non-anamorphic versions of the videos for those two albums with 5.1. For serious Bjork fans, I'm iffy about recommending it, because I've bought every major Bjork release (including the Family Tree and Live Box sets), and this is easily the weakest. I'm angry at the lack of Telegram and lack of anamorphic enhancement for the videos. The lack of any changes to the CD side make these release seem even more superfluous. Why not just do DVD-A or SACD versions of these? If you really consider those formats dead, just do DVD-A versions that also offer DD and DTS, problem solved. Making them DualDiscs was a bad idea, excluding Telegram was a bad idea, and the overall execution just feels lazy. I will keep it because the 5.1 mixes really are awesome and I'm a Bjork completist, but I really cannot recommend this to anyone who hasn't already bought it, as there are better ways to get this music."
Laurie Lear | Wisconsin, USA | 06/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know that this is going to be a very "like it" or "hate it" box set, due to the apparent recycling of past material, begging the question of: was this necessary? If you have 5.1 equipment, of course it is, but if not, then the set really shouldn't be purchased by you, for it wasn't geared towards that section of the Björk audience.
The real reason I am writing this review, is to let people in on a little fact: this US-produced version of the box set contains all the albums in regular Jewel cases. If you would like to purchase the set with the discs being housed in the more attractive DualDisc cases, then try to find a Polydor version of the set, being sold in all countries excluding the US, UK, and Iceland. There have also been quite a few differences between sets involving booklet-art and what's inlayed behind the disc.
So many possibilities..."
This is NOT recycled material
James Steele | 07/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems that many reviewers here have little to no understanding of how vastly different 5.1 surround sound (let alone DTS 5.1) is from a standard redbook stereo audio CD. Of course, I'm in the minority here among the masses of MP3-only music listeners (MP3 Surround format notwithstanding.)
Imagine having to go back to the mixing board and re-mix every single audio track (vocal tracks, synth tracks, drum tracks, bass tracks, guitar tracks, etc, etc) into a new stereo (2 channel) mix. You have to decide where the best sonic position for every instrument should be, while ensuring that the relative output levels for each track allow the instruments to be heard individually. Doing this for one song alone is a chore. Now multiply that effort by three (for six discrete tracks.) You no longer just have to decide how tracks should appear in the soundfield relative to center (how much should be panned left or right between the two stereo speakers) but you now also have to distribute the music to the sides (or rear) of the listener and have to re-implement how you made sounds appear to come from the front center (because in your stereo mix, you could only acoustically simulate sounds coming from center by panning them equally to the left and right.) Now do this for every song on the album. Then do it for every album. Then encode everything twice (once for Dolby Digital, once for DTS.)
Hopefully you're beginning to understand just how mammoth this undertaking was.
Although it is technically possible to generate five discrete channels from a stereo recording by using out-of-the-box processing (like Dolby Pro Logic IIx, for instance), quality surround sound mixes are generally created from the constituent tracks laid down in the recording studio, with the intended target output device being a 5.1 capable sound system. 5.1 multichannel surround sound mixing opens up all sorts of artistic avenues for those artists who are willing and able to embrace the new sonic palettes offered by the technology; and Bjork has always been of this persuasion.
That being said, if you don't have such a system and you already own the majority of these recordings in their original stereo format, you're certainly not going to gain much by purchasing this compilaion and ripping the CD side of the DualDisc to your MP3 player.
If, however, you DO have a 5.1 setup (and it's configured properly to receive the full multichannel signal from your DVD player) then this is the set you're going to want to buy. You most CERTAINLY want this collection if you don't already have Bjork's music on CD: the DualDisc format provides the music in a standard CD stereo format on one side and the 5.1 mixes on the other when you are ready to take the plunge into surround sound.
For anyone who CAN appreciate the difference that 6 discrete channels of audio brings to such highly-crafted, audiophile-friendly music... this release is sure to please (the "Pagan Poetry" DVD single from the Vespertine era sounded amazing.) I'm looking forward to re-discovering the entire Bjork catalog in full surround sound, and am buying this collection despite already owning the previous releases. Many thanks to the Bjork camp for adding such a lush collection of music to the catalog of surround sound recordings."