SUPERIOR 2008 JAPAN DSD-REMASTERS AVAILABLE
BOB | LOS ANGELES, CA | 07/12/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
Sony Japan has just released the entire Argent Epic Records seven-disc catalog ("Counterpoints" was on a different label) in remastered, mini-LP sleeve format.
The 2008 Sony DSD-processed remastering trumps all previous releases, including the BGO, Edsel, Koch & Acadia-label CD's, not to mention the pathetic-sounding Collectables and Wounded Bird discs.
It is wonderful to finally have the primary Argent repertoire in dynamically-matched sound, as all the different releases (from the plethora of labels mentioned above) had varying audio levels, not to mention quality.
And, as always, the `sleeves themselves are fabulous, all being faithful replicas of the original gatefold LP record covers (except for "Nexus", which was a single-pocket LP design).
Unfortunately, however, Sony did not include two non-album tracks, "Kingdom", and "Closer To Heaven", which appeared on the "All Together Now" 2001-Koch & 2007-Acadia releases.
Curiously, though, Koch & Acadia also included as "bonus" tracks, songs that originally belonged to other Argent albums. These all appear in their proper place on the 2008 Japan releases.
Here are the links to the 2008 `sleeves:
Ring Of Hands
All Together Now
WHAT IS A JAPAN "MINI-LP-SLEEVE" CD?
Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.
Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 135MM X 135MM cardboard precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, anything contained in the original LP, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and/or die cuts, are precisely replicated and included. An English-language lyric sheet is always included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.
Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2/K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "obi" ("oh-bee"), a removable Japan-language promotional strip. The obi lists the Japan street date of that particular release, the catalog number, the mastering info, and often the original album's release date. Bonus tracks are only listed on the obi, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork. The obi's are collectable, and should not be discarded.
All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common (again, not always). The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake mini-sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs."
Coming to a town near you!
G. W. Sanders | Sacramento, CA USA | 06/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Argents first effort without Russ Ballard and it doesn't miss. Russ did make some important contributions over the years and for many he was or should have been the primary focus of this band as he's talented and did write some of Argent's most notable songs; "Liar" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" but this band existed and moved forward because of Rod Argent.
This release and the last effort; "Counterpoints" are the two least known efforts by the group that were hardly recognized and quickly faded. Rod finally had the opportunity to complete the transformation of the bands sound that began with the "Nexus" release. He handles all the lead vocals and writes six of the seven songs. "Highwire" is the real standout. Clocking in at just over nine minutes it is a collage of keyboard and guitars, time changes, rock and roll, classical and jazz all captured and molded into an epic arrangment. The guitar work by the two new Argent members is not to be overlooked. Rodford and Henrit continue to drive the band onward as they always have.
With this Japanese release everyone can finally experience "Circus" as it must have sounded to Rod and Chris White after the final mix. Retire any previous CD release you may have and enjoy it all over again."