Reviews

Review: David Bowie’s Lodger. 2017 Remaster vs 2017 Visconti Remix

SDE Editor Paul Sinclair contrasts and compares the two versions of David Bowie‘s Lodger within the new A New Career In A New Town box set…

As you may be aware there are two versions of David Bowie’s 1979 album Lodger within the new box set. One is the original 1979 mix, newly remastered by Ray Staff “with Tony Visconti” and the other is a brand new 2017 remix by Tony Visconti.

Despite the credit, the original mix is effectively remastered by Tony Visconti with Ray there to assist from an engineering point of view and basically twiddle the knobs. Tony is the one making the decision on sounds, EQ etc. This remaster was carried out on a digital 192/24 file taken newly transferred from the original master tape.

The remix is a different beast. This is Tony Visconti going right back to the original multi-tracks and newly remixing the entire album. Unlike the remaster, he has the ability to change levels of individual instruments or vocals and add EQ/compression/effects to any individual ‘track’ within the multi-track recording. He can also move things around the stereo field from left to right. The remix was started while David Bowie was still with us and with his approval. Unfortunately, it wasn’t completed at the time of his death.

This review directly compares the remaster to the remix and regularly refers to the old 1991 Rykodisc remastering (the ’91 EMIs should sound identical to those).


Fantastic Voyage

A recent discussion on the SDE Facebook page revealed that Fantastic Voyage was many readers’ favourite track off of Lodger. Tony Visconti has done a very good job on the remix and for the first minute or so there doesn’t appear to be an obvious difference. The “we’ll never do anything nice again, WILL WE?” line is clearly different though, with the remix having lots of reverb added, whereas the original, Bowie’s ‘we’ just ends fairly cold. The same treatment is given later on to the ‘HOW CAN I?” ending. The lead vocal in the remix sounds a tad lower and with more space/air around the instrumentation it sounds less like Bowie singing ‘on top’ of the music and more singing within the arrangement. The 2017 remaster is quite bass heavy. A comparison with the 1991 Rykodisc mastering confirms this, although you could argue that the old disc now sounds a bit ‘thin’ (I’ve always enjoyed it). The 2017 remix is also has plenty of bottom end, but – presumably because it’s a remix –  the mid and high range frequencies cut through the bass better than the remastered original mix. It’s less muddy. For that reason I think I prefer the remix to the remaster.
Winner: 2017 Remix.


African Night Flight

The first 25 seconds of this track on the remix sound amazing, but then you listen to the remaster and realise it sounds amazing on that too! In terms of the 2017 remix, like Fantastic Voyage, the lead vocal feels a fraction amount lower in the mix and there’s more clarity on the words. Bowie’s voice appears to have less bottom end on it (which sounds better). The backing vocal line about “the dollar went down” comes in a bit louder on the remix than on the remastered original. On the chanty “Asanti Habari Habari” bit, Visconti opts for some call-and-response with the left and right channels on the remix, whereas that’s rooted in the centre on the original mix. Again, it works quite well. A listen to the Ryko is a surprise, because the vocals have much more clarity then the 2017 remaster. Like Fantastic Voyage the bottom end on the remaster isn’t necessarily doing great things for David’s voice, which is, after all, the most important instrument in the mix. The remix seems to meet nicely in the middle, which is why I prefer the remix over the remaster for this song.
Winner: 2017 Remix.


Move On

The first mis-step for the 2017 remix. The opening line of Move On is simply too low in the mix. It’s very weak sounding, compared to the remastered original, and and also means that when David sings “move on” after “pack a bag” it sounds too loud. On the original, the levels are about the same, so you don’t experience any change in volume. Also, that sound in the left channel that is a bit like a jet engine is missing from the beginning section of the remix (or is just too low), so some of the subtlety of the original mix is lost. The remix has some delay/echo on the “trick of the mind” line and the “place like that”. I don’t think Visconti’s treatment of David’s lead vocal is really an improvement and the second half of the song feels a bit messy with lots of reverb/echoey tricks on bits of vocal. A listen to the Rykodisc mastering underlines quite how much bass has been added to the new remaster. I don’t really like the remix, so I’m giving this to the 1991 Ryko remaster, which just sounds more pleasant and easier on the ears than the new 2017 mastering. So three tracks in and the 2017 remaster isn’t my preferred version for any of them…
Winner: 1991 Rykodisc Remaster


Yassassin

The first 30 seconds sound great on the remix. The bass is nicer than on the remaster which again sounds too big. However, I don’t know what Tony has done with Bowie’s lead vocal but the result is that I feel that some of the ‘grit’ has gone from lines like “I’m not a moody guy / I walk without a sound”. It sounds a little bit more processed and less ‘real’ than the original, which isn’t really a good thing. Everything on the remix probably sounds better, except Bowie’s vocal. I prefer the drier original. Interestingly, on the outro at around the 3.55 mark there’s a new bit of David vocal that isn’t present on the original. The remix is almost great, but not quite. A quick comparison of the Ryko with the 2017 remaster and in my view 26 years hasn’t made this sound better on CD. The Ryko wins on points.
Winner: 1991 Rykodisc Remaster


Red Sails

The remix sounds great, but I prefer the vocal on the original mix. Also, I gave the Ryko a spin and in fact for once it didn’t sound superior. I think the 2017 remaster version of Red Sails is actually the best version.
Winner: 2017 Remaster


DJ

This is no contest. Tony Visconti’s remix is spectacularly good. The high-hat on the drums comes through crisply and really helps drive the track whereas it’s somewhat buried in the slightly murky remaster. The remix sounds perfectly balanced and the bass is spot on. For once, the vocals are also excellent on the remix. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but the remaster just has too much bottom end. Flipping back and forth between the remix and the remaster really demonstrates that clearly. Going back to the Ryko it’s not bad, but does sound a bit thin. You can understand why they wanted to ‘up’ the bottom end on the 2017 remaster, but it feels like they’ve overdone it.The Tony Visconti remix makes you love this song all over again.
Winner: 2017 Remix.


Look Back In Anger

Powerful intro sounds great on both remaster and remix, although the latter does have more clarity. As with Fantastic Voyage the vocals seem to sit more within a 3D soundscape on the remix, whereas the original the vocal is a bit more booming and sung ‘over’ the music. The extended guitar break from about 1.20 to 1.50 feels a little bit submerged in the remix, particularly the end section and I think I might prefer the remastered version for this part of the song. Those noises (towards the very end) that sound like a car alarm are much clearly on the remix, but this is one occasion where by unpicking the individual threads of the music and putting them together again I think the remix has lost some of the spirit or ‘vibe’ of the original and therefore I’m going with the 2017 remaster for Look Back In Anger.
Verdict: 2017 Remaster


Boys Keep Swinging

The drums on the intro are a lot drier on the remix and the “when you’re a boy / you get a girl” backing vocals are spread quite wide, left and right on the remix, whereas they’re in the middle on the original mix. The oohs and aah backing vocals (behind “love just kissed you hello” / “you’re always first on the line” ) on the remix are similarly placed and are a clear improvement on the original mix. I’m not sure Visconti totally pulls off the challenge of recreating the clatter and clutter of the original mix of this song (the guitar solo sounds more ‘violent’ on the original) but the backing vocals are quite an important part of this track and I do like his treatment on the remix. Not much in it, to be honest, but I”m giving it to the 2017 remix. The Ryko is a bit trebly while the remaster again veers towards too much bass.
Winner: 2017 Remix


Repetition

Fairly noticeable changes on the remix. It starts differently, for a start, with a cymbal sound not present on the original. There’s more separation and depth to the music on the remix but it slightly detracts from Bowie’s deliberate low-key vocal performance which doesn’t dominate quite as much as it does on the original mix. The pumped up bass suits this song which is driven by drums and bass. Between the Ryko (which is a bit weedy), the 2017 remaster and the 2017 remix I’d go with the remaster.
Winner: 2017 Remaster


Red Money

FAR too much bottom end in the remaster, for me. The percussive elements (that noise the sounds a bit like a typewriter) is quite a bit higher in the remix than on the original which takes a bit of getting used to. However like DJ, I think Visconti’s new remix sounds fantastic. You can hear all the individual elements working alongside or against each other and it’s fascinating. The remaster is rather swampy.
Winner: 2017 Remix.


Summary

Overall, the 2017 Tony Visconti Remix ‘wins’. Five tracks, from the ten-track album, I prefer on the remix. The 2017 remaster gets the silver medal with three tracks ‘the best’, while there’s only a couple on the old Ryko that really stand the test. In some ways it’s not a fair contest, with the remix offering Visconti the ability to be able to basically do whatever he wants. It’s as if the remixed Lodger is on steroids or some other banned performance enhancing substance while the remaster is competing ‘clean’!

It’s no mean feat, creating a successful remix of Lodger, since having listened to the album quite a lot for this piece, you remember quite how much is going on in each track. The work must have been challenging and probably quite tedious at times.

The one pertinent point from all of this, picking up on yesterday’s post about the remastering in general, is that the levels of bass with the remaster and the remix don’t match. The remix isn’t as bass-heavy. Which suggests that the remix demonstrates Visconti’s IDEAL level of bottom end, whereas the remaster is a bit of a compromise, because adjusting low-end frequencies will impact everything, not just the bass guitar and drums. It’s this that I feel contributes on occasions to a rather ‘swampy’ sound on the remaster. If you’ve had a listen to both versions, I’d love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment.

A New Career In A New Town 1977-1982 is out now. You can watch the SDEtv unboxing video of the CD box here.

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DAVID BOWIE / A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (1977-1982)

13LP Box Set:

84 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1LP)
“Heroes” 
(remastered) (1LP)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (12” Single)*
Stage 
(remastered) (2LP Yellow Vinyl) *
Stage (2017) 
(remastered)  (3LP)
Lodger 
(remastered) (1LP)
Lodger 
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1LP)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
 (1LP)
Re:Call 3 
(non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (2LP)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’

11 CD Box Set:

128 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1CD)
“Heroes” 
(remastered) (1CD)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (CD EP)*
Stage 
(remastered) (2CD)*
Stage (2017) 
(remastered) (2CD)
Lodger 
(remastered) (1CD)
Lodger 
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1CD)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) 
(1CD)

Re:Call 3 (non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (1CD)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’


Detailed CD & Vinyl Tracklistings (showing Vinyl side breaks)

A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (1977-1982)

LOW

Released on RCA PL 12030 (U.K.) / CPL1-2030 (U.S.) on 14thJanuary, 1977.

Side 1
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. What In The World
4. Sound And Vision
5. Always Crashing In The Same Car
6. Be My Wife
7. A New Career In A New Town

Side 2
1. Warszawa
2. Art Decade
3. Weeping Wall
4. Subterraneans

“HEROES”

Released on RCA PL 12522 (U.K.) / AFL1-2522 (U.S.) on 14th October, 1977.

Side 1
1. Beauty And The Beast
2. Joe The Lion
3. “Heroes”
4. Sons Of The Silent Age
5. Blackout

Side 2
1. V-2 Schneider
2. Sense Of Doubt
3. Moss Garden
4. Neuköln
5. The Secret Life Of Arabia

“HEROES” E.P.
Side 1
1. “Heroes”/”Helden” (German album version)
2. “Helden” (German single version)

Side 2
1. “Heroes”/”Héros” (French album version)
2. “Héros” (French single version)

STAGE (Original)

Released on RCA PL 02913 (U.K.) / CPL2-2913 (U.S.) on 8thSeptember, 1978.

Side 1
1. Hang On To Yourself
2. Ziggy Stardust
3. Five Years
4. Soul Love
5. Star

Side 2
1. Station To Station
2. Fame
3. TVC 15

Side 3
1. Warszawa
2. Speed Of Life
3. Art Decade
4. Sense Of Doubt
5. Breaking Glass

Side 4
1. “Heroes”
2. What In The World
3. Blackout
4. Beauty And The Beast

STAGE (2017)
Side 1
1. Warszawa
2. “Heroes”
3. What In The World

Side 2
1. Be My Wife
2. The Jean Genie *
3. Blackout
4. Sense Of Doubt

Side 3
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. Beauty And The Beast
4. Fame

Side 4
1. Five Years
2. Soul Love
3. Star
4. Hang On To Yourself
5. Ziggy Stardust
6. Suffragette City *

Side 5
1. Art Decade
2. Alabama Song
3. Station To Station

Side 6
1. Stay
2. TVC 15

* Previously unreleased

LODGER

Released on RCA PL 13254 (U.K.) / APL1-3254 (U.S.) on 18th May, 1979.

LODGER (2017 Tony Visconti mix)
Side 1
1. Fantastic Voyage
2. African Night Flight
3. Move On
4. Yassassin (Turkish for: Long Live)
5. Red Sails

Side 2
1. D.J.
2. Look Back In Anger
3. Boys Keep Swinging
4. Repetition
5. Red Money

SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)

Released on RCA BOWLP 2 (PL 13647) (U.K.) / AQL1-3647 (U.S.) on 12th September, 1980.

Side 1
1. It’s No Game (Part 1)
2. Up The Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
4. Ashes To Ashes
5. Fashion

Side 2
1. Teenage Wildlife
2. Scream Like A Baby
3. Kingdom Come
4. Because You’re Young
5. It’s No Game (Part 2)

RE:CALL 3
Side 1
1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)

Side 2
1. Alabama Song
2. Space Oddity (1979 version)
3. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
4. Fashion (single version)
5. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)

Side 3
1. Crystal Japan
2. Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie
3. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)
4. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono

Side 4
Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
1. Baal’s Hymn
2. Remembering Marie A.
3. Ballad Of The Adventurers
4. The Drowned Girl
5. The Dirty Song

The running order for Re:Call 3 CD differs from the vinyl version

1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)
6. Alabama Song
7. Space Oddity (1979 version)
8. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
9. Fashion (single version)
10.Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)
11.Crystal Japan
12.Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie

Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
13.Baal’s Hymn
14.Remembering Marie A.
15.Ballad Of The Adventurers
16.The Drowned Girl
17.The Dirty Song
18.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)

19.Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono

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79 responses to Review: David Bowie’s Lodger. 2017 Remaster vs 2017 Visconti Remix

  1. Patrick says:

    Hello Paul, Thanks for your analysis but I assume it very much depends upon your equipment. I trust your readers will appreciate to know which Hi Fi components you are using, especially for the loudspeakers. Also, do you put he bass andd treble level on neutral ? Regards. Patrick

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      This was done on headphones, actually. I wasn’t setting it up in lab conditions, but both discs were played on the same equipment and listened to on the same set of headphones.

      • Juan Antonio Agudelo V says:

        Thank you, Mr. Sinclair, for all your clarifications that always come close to good sense and help us clarify doubts. I have insisted on an idea, these new editions are not defective in themselves, they simply retain the essence and can not be expected to be exactly the same as the original or first press. Even editions of that time, of each disc had their deficiencies. In fact, I think that in this new edition there are more details of perfection and improvement than failures. Each criterion obeys the level of subjectivity. Sometimes we say blindly trying to follow the voice more aggressive and hard, without making sure if these voices have real arguments. This is why I think your opinions are the most sensible and correct.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Thanks! I don’t necessarily think my opinions are more ‘correct’ than anyone else’s but I’m glad they’ve resonated with you.

      • GAULT says:

        Indeed, you have to do the test by using headphones and not loudspeakers to check the quality of the mastering.

      • Mikael says:

        At the same volume? At the same perceived volume? Or at the same volume setting? Slight variations in volume can change your perception quite a lot, so ideally levels should be matched, if possible, but that can be hard if the new remaster has more compression.

  2. Daveyman says:

    Thanks Paul – I’m also liking the new 2017 remix overall too, its made Lodger a brand new listening experience and also a new appreciation of it!

    Now I’d like to hear new remixes of all the other albums for the multi-tracks – would be well worth it in my opinion – remastering be damned ha!

  3. Charles says:

    Very interesting. I’m wondering if there will be a new mix of Never Let Me Down on the next set. The MM Remix of Time Will Crawl on iSelect really makes me hopeful.

    From David’s liner notes: “Oh, to redo the rest of that album.”

  4. Ian says:

    Thanks for your comparison Paul. Interestingly on the Hoffman forums for every naysayer there’s a lover of the remix. Ultimately it’s subjective and if some folk love it I guess it’s a success.
    (Interestingly you didn’t mention the alteration of the Boys Keep Swinging coda which wrecks the song for me)

  5. Shaun says:

    I find the new remix fascinating and have been listening to it quite a bit. But I do think it was a mistake to change Belew’s searing guitar solo at the end of “Boys Keep Swinging”. What’s there now is not nearly as intense. Also, didn’t the EMI editions come out in ’99?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      EMI licensed the Ryko sets for Europe in 1990/91. They then remastered the albums all over again and issued them without bonus tracks in 1999.

  6. LeBaron says:

    When do you sleep, Paul? :)

  7. Trash says:

    Interesting in-depth review.

    I found that I could hear the difference in the remix right from the first drum beats that open the album. They sound less soggy and are more defined in the stereo image (but then I am an amateur producer that is obsessed by all things rhythmic so I tend to listen out for such things).

    At first I was underwhelmed overall but I have now listened to the remix 4 or 5 times and I am beginning to think it might become my ‘goto’ version of Lodger in the same way that the Maslin remix is currently my ‘goto’ version of Station to Station. However I am willing to admit that some of that might be down to the novelty factor of hearing new aspects to an album that you have lived with for so many years.

    I havent really listened to the remastered version as I tend to listen to my Japanese Minisleeve editions (apart from Heroes just to see if I could hear the volume drop on the eponymous track… and yes I can but it wont kill me).

  8. RJS says:

    Very comprehensive but I don’t agree with your “for the first minute or so there doesn’t appear to be an obvious difference” assessment of Fantastic Voyage. The the first beats that open the song are completely different much like the drums at the 20 second point and thereafter. I like the new remix very much.

  9. brickwalled-billy says:

    I didn’t think the remix had enough sudden rises and falls in volume for my liking. Keep the listener on their toes!

  10. paolo says:

    Ryko reissues were for his RCA period, from ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘Scary Monsters’, right? So for the 80s output the first remastering was EMI versions from 1999, including Tin Machine first album, right?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, although did they remaster Tin Machine?

      • Iain McCarthy says:

        Hi Paul – Yes, EMI definitely did remaster Tin Machine (1st album only) in 1999. It is actually credited as ‘David Bowie – Tin Machine’ on the spine!

    • wRonG says:

      There were actually reissues of Let’s Dance, Tonight, and Never Let Me Down with a few bonus tracks around 1995. These are noticeably louder than the 1999 remasters but I haven’t otherwise compared them closely.

  11. Iain McCarthy says:

    Does anyone have an opinion on how the 1999 Remaster sounds compared to the 1991 Ryko and the 2017 Remaster?

    • RJS says:

      The music sounds just as good as when I bought all of Bowie’s classic albums on cassette back in eighties. I really think people lose focus on enjoying the music when they obsess too much about comparing different masters and remasters. I like the 2017 remix of Lodger because it offers something different.

    • ADT says:

      The ’99s are very widely regarded as the worst Bowie CDs of all time, with in sound and vision. Take a look at this article for more infos:

      http://stevepafford.com/bowie-ballistic-part-1/

    • John says:

      I was/am very much a fan of the 1999 “Young Americans,” though I can’t tell if last year’s boxed set version is the same one or a similar one.

  12. James says:

    I wish the remix were being sold separately!

  13. BRS says:

    After 25 years listening to the Ryko edition, can´t wait to hear these. Love the fact that they are bass heavy. That´s how I like it.

  14. Kevin S says:

    Nice review.

    Nice shirt!

  15. Erick Haight says:

    Echoing the “thanks much” from the other posters — it’s been a fantastic voyage to surf through all the comments. The passion for Bowie and his music shines through, format and mastering aside. And if you want to start another fundraiser for your time on this, I have a spare dollar or three…

  16. Dave H says:

    Iain,
    If I had to rate the various remasters of the Bowie CD’s, here’s my preference. I know some people rate remasters comparing them to how they remember hearing them on vinyl but I haven’t compared anything to vinyl, this is just how I find them on CD alone.

    EMI 24 bit remasters – I was led to believe a new remaster meant the sound quality will be better, unfortunately comparing five different versions this comes bottom. The problem is the high frequency or treble on these CD’s. It was also released at a time when CD’s start to get louder and brick-walled (blame Oasis, they wanted to be louder in the pubs) and this suffers from that.

    Ryko – To me these lack a bit on the bottom end but they do sound cleaner and bright without being too bright like the EMI version. It’s like putting on the radio and turning up the treble slightly while turning down the bass slightly. A lot of people like this version so it becomes a question of personal preference.

    RCA Japan/Germany – As far as I know the original run of RCA CD’s were straight transfers from tapes without anything tickering. The Japan version is slightly brighter than the German version as different tape sources were used. I prefer the German version of the two.

    New Box Set – When I compared this version to all of the others, it was closer to the original German RCA version. It’s been given a bit more punch and bass and there isn’t too much high end like the EMI version. This is definitely an improvement.

    To conclude, to my ears the new box sets is the best set of CD’s with a fuller sound compared to all the other versions. If you don’t like a fuller bass sound then the Ryko version with the bonus track is best version for you.

  17. Gansbarre says:

    Well done Paul. To echo Kevin S, nice shirt, did you get the promo slip mat too?

  18. Randy Metro says:

    The remix of Lodger sonically brings it closer to the sound of it’s siblings Low & Heroes.

    I put both Lodgers into a single folder (which sequences both versions of each song together). Bounced them onto to my thumb-drive which I can plug into my “big boy” stereo in the living room. The Lodger remix won hands down, except, of course, Boys Keep Swinging. How could TV mess with the freak-out guitars? I heard the difference on Fantastic Voyage right out of the gate. Bowie’s vocals have been sweetened, are much clearer, and I can understand the lyrics much better throughout the entire album. Many songs won out simply due to the clarity, and the murk and mud of the originals being removed. Lodger has gone from an album I avoided to my new favorite, though, as one person above noted, it could be the novelty of hearing a “new” album.

    As always, I will be creating a new lodger on a CDR, re-sequencing the song order, switching out the original BKS and adding the new BKS as a bonus track at the end. I have the bonus tracks from the Ryko version, single versions from Recall 3. I may add Bowie’s live version from the Reality tour of Sister Midnight (Red Money) and possibly Iggy Pop’s Sister Midnight as extras.

    Lastly, has anyone seen the video of the preteen kid on YouTube who lip sync’s almost manically but spot-on to African Night Flight? I suddenly realized how quirky & interesting the song is, and I created an extended edit of it, which I will use as a bonus or possibly as the opening song on my compilation.

  19. Randy Metro says:

    Addition to my first post: I will dig out my Rykos based on your recommendations and add a few of them as alternate versions.

  20. Steve W says:

    Thanks for the indepth analysis. Lodger is (by a small margin) my favourite Bowie album so I have been putting off listening to the remaster. I’ve now decided to bite & your review has made that decision easier.

    PS Desperate to get one of theose t-shirts – are they available anywhere else?

  21. fredpostman says:

    For years i’ve only really listened to the RCA cds which to my ageing ears sound fine though Mr Visconti’s remix is ok [though i will only listen to it a few times].It’s a shame the RCA cds are so expensive now because they really do sound good [and untampered with].Thanks again Paul for all these brilliant Bowie articles;it’s really appreciated fella.

  22. Mike the Fish says:

    I’m not familiar with this album, but still found it an interesting analysis. Thanks for putting in the leg/ear work!

  23. colin says:

    Any unboxing videos on the way this week Paul as there were a lot of Box Set Releases recently? TIA, Colin.

  24. eric says:

    People are absolutely going bat shit crazy over this set on the Steve Hoffman forum….and i am starting to agree it kills your enjoyment.

  25. Francis says:

    I notice on Amazon that most of the reviews of this box set are only a 1 star rating due to there apparently being errors and problems with it ( both the CD and Vinyl ). As for 5 star ratings, only 11 praise it up. So Paul, did you notice anything wrong with the box set?

  26. Will says:

    I enjoyed this new Scary Monsters-esque remix of Lodger when I heard it on Spotify. And I wouldn’t second-guess an artist like Visconti in regards to echo/reverb effects, even if they seem excessive to me. The Spotify stream turned out not to be the whole picture, though. I was not hearing the full range of sound on that lossy stream. When I received the actual album, I was disappointed by the excessive bass. I don’t like cars that drive around the city plowing their subwoofer’s bass through nearby cars and buildings, so I don’t care for the excessive bass here either. If I can turn the bass down I believe I will enjoy this new mix of Lodger. It won’t replace the original, but as a bonus album it is a bit of fun.

  27. Dean T says:

    Yes Eric…I agree ..trust your own ears and judgment…
    Some it would seem have cancelled their orders and past judgment on something they have not even listened too…
    It’s all gotten a bit out of hand …never seen a backlash like this before .

    • MainMan says:

      I have not passed judgement on something I have not heard.

      I just thought it was appropriate to hold fire until certain my £200 was going on a decent box set. In my opinion sound matters.

      I may well order the set again once I start seeing more positive reviews than negative.

      Like a lot of other Bowie fans I own all the RCA, Rykodisc and EMI versions on vinyl and CD.

      I don’t sit and analyse music as I listen unless asked to do a comparison. I do think flaws in production spoil the enjoyment of listening.

      Yes different remastered or remixes will sound different – I have no problem with that.

      Issues like distortion, over emphasised treble/bass, dropouts do spoil the enjoyment of listening.

  28. Michael says:

    Thanks for this! Lodger has been one of my top few Bowie albums (hard to pick just one favorite), and I was curious about these new versions. I’ve yet to buy the box given the complaints that immediately came out, but… we’ll see. For now, you’ve made me want to put on my Ryko cd copy again (I usually play the ’99 remaster), so I will listen to that again for now.

    • Michael says:

      That said, I still have not listened to the alternate version of Station to Station… but it is hard for me to imagine improving that album at all. Am I missing out there, too?

      • Trash says:

        @Michael: Yes I honestly think you are missing out.
        I love Station to Station – it is in my set of favourite Bowie albums. I wasn’t sure about the idea of tampering with it (even if it was done my the original producer) BUT I stand corrected. Even from the first listen I was pleasantly surprised.
        Not all of it works, admittedly, but the remix generally adds a lot more than it takes away. There are new levels of detail revealed and the sound overall is punchier and has more space/air (where the original was a bit dense and mushy in places).

        The more familiar you are with the album the more you will get from the remix I think. Definitely worth a listen if you can.

        • Sunbird says:

          I’m going to give STS remix another go, based on your enthusiasm. There was one track where something different happened (sorry can’t remember specifics) and my love for the original mix couldn’t handle the change!!!

          Just listening to the new “Heroes” remaster on vinyl…it is a wondrous thing of beauty!! I’d not have bothered about the ‘glitch’ if such a big deal hadn’t been made about it.

  29. Initial thoughts – first four songs act as a very interesting alternate version of Lodger, even if for me ‘Yassassin’ is the only one that improves on the original. ‘Fantastic Voyage’ is given more oomph, the more stereophonic approach to ‘African Night Flight’ is nice and I like the more forceful galloping rhythms on ‘Move On’. ‘Yassassin’ sounds excellent, like it’s been given extra dimensions.

    I don’t like what’s been done with ‘Red Sails’, ‘Boys Keep Swinging’, Repetition’ and ‘Red Money’ – all the edges have been taken off, they both sound really pale and monotonous now. I’ve always felt that ‘Look Back in Anger’ is one of the most perfectly executed songs of all time, so an alternate version was always going to be second-best, and I was unsurprised to find out that this just doesn’t work as well for me ! ‘DJ’ has some cool new touches, though. I’m going to keep listening to this new version, because it’s nice to hear a different mix of one of my favourites, but it’s the original mix for me. To be fair though, I’ve lived with that version for almost twenty years now (first heard it in ’99)!

  30. Brian says:

    I prefer the newer version of Yassassin and Repetition The thing is with Red Sails after all these years, I never realised there was a sax on it.

  31. Doug B says:

    “I think the 2017 remaster version of Red Sails is actually the best version.”

    I’d think more highly of it if the first kick-drum note at the very start of the song wasn’t truncated or faded; it’s missing what should be the first strong hit.

    I hope you’ll get to compare these three versions with the ’80s-vintage RCA CD and the 1999 EMI re-issue someday, just for completeness’ sake.

  32. paolo says:

    Up to this point I’ve been very pleased with these remasters, they all sound nice and clear to me, and most of all I finally have Bowie’s main discography (the 70s) on CD in a coherent packaging, cause the artwork here replicates that of the original LPs, I think for the first time ever since Bowie’s music have been released on CDs. I’m not concerned about the sound of the remastering on ‘Low’ or ‘Lodger’, it’s mostly audiophile’s nitpicking, but what really worries me is the change of volume in the ‘Heroes’ track. I’ve heard the MP3 version and it’s evident, it really spoils a bit that album. Guess there’s no chance the thing will be corrected when the standalone CDs will be pressed, at least judging on the label’s response.

  33. KennyR says:

    That’s interesting Paul, I played the remix the other day and really liked it but did not do a head to head as you have. Thanks for taking the time to feedback on that, it’s always good to hear someone else’s thoughts.

  34. Aaron says:

    Any idea why Revolutionary Song from the Just A Gigilo soundtrack is not on Recall 3?

  35. StephenBC says:

    It’s a pity they didn’t release a 5.1 remix whist they were working with the original multitracks.

  36. Dave says:

    One man s meat is another mans poison !!

  37. Dean T says:

    Dear Mr MainMan
    Sorry if my comment offended you …it was not aimed at you personally but how will waiting for other people’s approval tell how this set sounds to you in your own environment with your system and your own ears….?
    Again no offence was meant…I just hope you get to hear this set for your self and then can decide if it’s worth the price if you are already happy with your other cds.Remember returns are easy with Amazon.

  38. danmac says:

    For me, the remix is a vulgar mess apart from Red Money. But as we all agree it’s a subjective thing

  39. Jozek says:

    Lodger was my re-introduction to Bowie, when I was younger a friend of the family used to play Bowie’s earlier LP’s and I did enjoy them. When punk came on the scene I got really into it and by ’79 my friend played me Lodger and it has been one of my favourite Bowie albums.

    I have listened to the new mix a few times over the last week and I must admit, first listen I really didn’t like it, after a few listens, it is growing on me, but just for personal reasons the original mix I think I will always like more.

    Thanks Paul for your thoughts on both versions, it’s always good to have another view. The friend who first played Lodger to me hasn’t listened to the new mix yet, I can’t wait for his views.

  40. stephendking says:

    Have just listened to the remaster and remix myself and thought that the former did reveal some more sounds I don’t really recall from the original (though maybe just that I hadn’t heard it on headphones for a while) but thought it was okay bass-wise. The latter was fantastic with all sorts of new sounds and instrumentation which I thought worked really well.
    It’s not supposed to be the same as the original mix and I am happy to have a new version to listen to side by side with the original. Though that doesn’t mean I require a remix of Let’s Dance and Tonight by Nile Rodger or Hugh Padgham, thanks.

    And all the work on the Bowie box is much appreciated Paul.

  41. TimH says:

    Thank you, Paul, Lodger has always been among my favorite Bowie records–bummed no 5.1 but I’m slowly accepting that mch music is dying (…again…for now). Greatly appreciate all that you do.

  42. Adey says:

    Thanks for the info Paul its much appreciated!
    At the moment, I’m still holding back from forking out for the “new career” set, in the hope something will be done about the whole “heroesgte” saga.

  43. Rob says:

    Is ‘Lodger’ (2017 Tony Visconti mix) available only in the boxset or can you buy it separately?

  44. Ian Nipper says:

    I’ve now listened to the remaster and the remix (I also have the Rykodisc one but left it out of this comparison). I’m a big fan of remixes, I like to hear a different slant on familiar material, HOWEVER… this remix just sounds clumsy to me. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d do myself, lots of unnecessary flourishes and tricks, a very ‘look what I can do’ mix. That’s why I’m a librarian, not a producer/remixer.

    The remaster’s fine, I’m not enough of an audiophile to notice such things.

  45. Mark Calvert says:

    Will The Lodger 2017 remaster and remix be released individually? I really want them. But do not have enough to purchase the box set.

    • Kwork says:

      Remaster: yes. Remix: don’t hold your breath.

      • Kevin says:

        I have the latest issue of Mojo (Nov. 2017 with Bowie on the cover) with a review of the Lodger 2017 remix as a standalone CD/download/LP issue in it’s Filter Reissues section. I haven’t found anything online to suggest this actually exists. Paul, can you lend any credence to this? Was there a standalone CD issued to press contacts?

  46. Kwork says:

    Paul: Very interesting review and analysis. Thank you: I really have to wonder though. Why no mention of the change in guitar solos at the end of Boys Keep Swinging? For me, that’s the most obvious difference between the original mix and the 2017 Lodger remix, and it sticks out like a sore thumb that grew out to huge proportions, as if the powers of fairy forgot it was Pinocchio’s nose that was supposed to grow instead of his thumb. Yes, I hate it that badly! I personally can’t stand what was done with it, but I know mileage does vary. I see that there are comments above agreeing with how I feel.

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