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Review / Peter Gabriel: vinyl reissues

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Peter Gabriel‘s 1986 album So is 30 years old this year, but it’s not afforded any kind of deluxe reissue, presumably because Gabriel thinks he got that job done back in 2012. That set, as any longtime SDE reader will be all too aware, was more than a little flawed and it’s still extremely frustrating that all those B-sides, remixes and a 5.1 mix (which apparently exists) have not yet surfaced on a So celebratory release.

No matter, So has just been reissued, this time as a part of a trio of 45RPM double (and triple) half-speed mastered vinyl pressings, that include 1992’s Us and 20o2’s Up, PG’s last song-based studio album.

All of these sets are numbered and include hi-res download cards. If you bought the pre-order bundle from Gabriel’s website (no longer available), these were remarkably affordable, but even if you didn’t, they are not unreasonably priced.

Each album is a gatefold, and I don’t think I ever get bored of looking at Peter Saville and Brett Wicken’s design for So. The lyrics and credits are on the inside gatefold panels and front and back are as you’d expect. Of the three, So is actually the only double with Us and Up requiring not quite six sides, but five sides of vinyl for the running time at 45RPM (the sixth sides are etched). The records all come in poly-lined sleeves (except for Us, which has printed sleeves for lyrics and artwork) and for the most part, you don’t get more than two tracks per side of vinyl.

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This 45RPM, multi-disc format has quite an impact on the listening experience. You are up and down to the turntable like a yo-yo, which is annoying or ‘involving’ depending on which way you want to look at it. Listening to the albums feels a lot less linear than a CD or even a standard vinyl album. The running orders of Us and Up aren’t etched in my brain in the way So is, so when a ‘side’ finishes you find yourself picking up records, flipping them over and trying to work out ‘what’s next?’. Not a critcism as such, but you do have to put the work in!

The format also exposes strengths and weaknesses. So is ludicrously strong with its pairings of Red Rain/Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up/That Voice Again and Mercy Street/Big Time, but side four doesn’t really work, if I’m honest. The three tracks on the last side are We Do What We’re Told milgram’s 37, This Is The Picture and In Your Eyes. In truth, it’s not really the fault of the format, but more to do with Gabriel’s decision to re-order the album many years ago and put In Your Eyes at the end. I’m sorry, but In Your Eyes just worked SO (no pun intended) much better at the beginning of side two.

We Do What We’re Told was brilliant as an evocative low key album closer and was a respite, in a way, after all that massively BIG commercial pop. But with this new format that track becomes the start of something, rather than the end, kicking off a side of vinyl, which seems just…wrong. This Is The Picture is another quirky and hypnotic track. Originally excluded from the vinyl, it’s included here, since there are no pesky running time limitations with the two LPs (although it did also feature on the 2012 33RPM vinyl that came in the box). In Your Eyes still sounds fantastic, but I just can’t get used to it being at the end.

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Talking of sound, sonically, the albums are very good indeed. The low end on So is excellent and I’d forgotten just how good Us is as an album – a fine and worthy follow-up to So, with some amazing highlights such as Love To Be Loved and Blood of Eden.

I confess that the Up album rather passed me by at the time of its release, so this triple vinyl version will be an opportunity to correct that neglect and examine Peter Gabriel’s last collection of songs recorded in the studio. As mentioned above, at least this physical format insists I get involved in the process!

Record labels get a lot of flack (rightly so) for lazy vinyl reissues, but these are definitely a cut above. Although all three of our gatefold sleeves suffered from a slightly warped ‘pillowing’ effect, overall, the packaging and presentation is very good, although it doesn’t come close to the recent, more expensive, XTC vinyl reissues. However, the inclusion of hi-res audio makes all the difference, especially if you’re paying £25 for a vinyl record.

So, Us and Up are all out now in half-speed remastered 45RPM vinyl packages.

Compare prices and pre-order

Peter Gabriel

So 45RPM vinyl 2LP

Shop Price GBP Stock
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.79
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 22.68
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.19
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 33.63
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 28.76
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.85
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.53
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Peter Gabriel

US 45RPM vinyl 3LP

Shop Price GBP Stock
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.30
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 22.32
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.95
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 22.99
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.30
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.40
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 28.99
Currency:

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Peter Gabriel

UP 45RPM vinyl 3LP

Shop Price GBP Stock
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.30
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.15
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.07
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.72
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.30
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.39
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 31.19
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40 responses to Review / Peter Gabriel: vinyl reissues

  1. I have been nothing short of blown away by these, and the previous reissues. Sonically, they are head and shoulders above so much of what is referred to as “audiophile” vinyl. I am honestly hearing more in these versions than I ever did before, and I own originals and reissues of all of them. These half speed masters are, without question, the definitive versions.

    I agree that the packaging was a little lacking. I’d expected Us & Up to have triple gatefold. As it is, extracting and inserting the 2nd and 3rd discs is a delicate affair, should you with to preserve the pristine nature of what are, otherwise, superb sleeve recreations. Also surprised at the lack of anti-static covering on Us, that is present in So and Up.

    The booklet in Up is nice too, but its inclusion meant that I suffered a small “burst” on the lower edge of the sleeve on my copy. Nothing to really moan about, but hey.

    I cannot recommend these highly enough.

    P.S. That 5.1 mix of So is looooong overdue ;-)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Wow, literally had not noticed that booklet in Up. Had to go back to mine right now and dig down into one of the sleeve pockets and bingo! there it was :)

  2. richie says:

    Good review and overview Paul. I was never really into so at the time of release, I found it too `Poppy`, especially after `Security`. So, get it, this is my first real listen to `So` and the track juggling hasn`t had an effect on me.

    `Us` & `Up` are a different matter, I have always liked the Proggy sound of both and I am more familiar with both than their predecessors.

    The quality of the packaging and the quality of the pressings is, as you say, exceptional. Gabriel now needs to pull his finger out and give us something new.

  3. Ben Williams says:

    Its a shame that Peter Gabriel didnt include this version of SO vinyl in the 25th anniversary box, as it just means the die-hards have to buy the album again, or for some, the umpteenth time.. And I agree, wish all those SO b-sides would be released properly and that song Courage that he finished after the box came out.. Like his old band mate Mr Collins, they both seem to slightly miss the point of a reissue, and don’t understand that fans just want a ‘mop up’ of the hard to find on disc stuff and have it all in one collection. Maybe one day?

    • Straker says:

      “Like his old band mate Mr Collins, they both seem to slightly miss the point of a reissue, and don’t understand that fans just want a ‘mop up’ of the hard to find on disc stuff and have it all in one collection.”

      A cynic might say they understand perfectly but know the hard-core will buy everything regardless so why not milk them along the way and eventually at the very end, as the sun is dying and mankind has journeyed to distant galaxies, release what the fans wanted all along? Ker-ching!

    • RJSWinchester says:

      “it just means the die-hards have to buy the album again, or for some, the umpteenth time.. ”

      That’s the whole idea!

      • Ben Williams says:

        I know, and I am a cynic cos they must know we buy everything. Ive bought SO three times.. Just thinking out loud. But do wish whilst we’re all alive and buying discs they would hurry up release what we want!

        But the quality of these particular reissues, is very good

  4. Scott G says:

    I would agree the quality and sound of all 3 is excellent.

    My copy of So was missing its download card :(. They emailed me a download code but the card would have been nice.

    I have SO in 5.1 but as I remember I was not that impressed with the mix.

    • Shaun says:

      I think you mean ‘Up’ in 5.1 yes? ‘So’ was never available 5.1, officially, I think. Correct me if I’m wrong though.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Yes, the Play DVD is the only place any So tracks have been delivered in 5.1 as far as I’m aware…

      • Scott G says:

        Apologies. You are correct SO is not completely released in 5.1. I was listening to PLAY (which contains tracks from SO), the DTS 5.1 24/96 RIP, in the car the other day and was not impressed by the 5.1 mix of sledgehammer. Don’t Give Up is better but Kate Bush has been assigned to the rear speakers and her vocals are not as prominent as the stereo mix.

    • Mic Smith says:

      So isn’t available in 5:1. Up is the only Gabriel album issued in 5:1.

  5. Jon says:

    My copy of So has a marked edge warping on the first LP, tracks and plays ok but looks awful, especially when playing side 2. Am contemplating returning it as at £25 a pop, I feel it shoudl be perfectly flat!

  6. James says:

    The vinyl reissues have all sounded fantastic and I hope we extends this to include Passion, OVO, and even Rabbit Proof Fence. Or even the live albums. ‘Us’ has always been one of my favourites and while ‘Up’ sounds great I much prefer the 5.1 release so I doubt the vinyl will get many spins.

  7. Justin says:

    Completely agree with the placement of ‘In Your Eyes’. I am aware of the reasons why PG changed for reissues, but it works so much better where it was originally. I still ‘hear’ this album in two sides (it’s hard not to after 30 years, even without ‘This is the
    Picture”!) and as much as I love ‘Mercy Street’, it is not a side opener. The flow of the original SIDE 2 release was perfect IMHO.

  8. Trash says:

    Haven’t stumped up the cash for these -decided to pick up the XTC vinyl reissues instead as I prefer those two albums to these three.
    I got the So box (was that really back in 2012?).
    I have too I have had a problem with the positioning of ‘In Your Eyes’ since Gabriel decided to reorder the tracks back when there was a complete remastering of his back catalogue (can’t recall what year). It’s partly down to familiarity but also, as you state Paul, it just does not seem the right note to end the album on whereas ‘Milgram’s 37′ made a really fitting, eerie ending…

    Ah well…

  9. Trash says:

    P.S. Do you plan to review the XTC vinyl releases?

  10. Shaun says:

    I bought the QUIEX-SVP (Classic Records) pressing of ‘So’ on LP when it came out about 12 years or so ago. Had to return it. The sibilance was so bad it was unbearable. Perhaps it was just a faulty pressing. Glad to hear this pressing sounds good.

  11. Jay Kranz says:

    agree with the in your eyes complaint. now I have 3 copies on vinyl cause I can’t lose the original cause that is the running order I prefer to the super deluxe 33RPM and this 45RPM. sigh.

  12. Sean Lawler says:

    The SO deluxe boxset is being re-issued folks !!!! With extra content !!!! Look at the real world website for more details !

  13. Mike the Fish says:

    I agree about the changed order of So. In Your Eyes just doesn’t work with the flow at the end. I was used to the cassette originally and This Is The Picture feels like the end track for me.

  14. Daniel Lalla says:

    These have been well made. If you want the Deutsche album get them while you can prices already going up. If you want the best sound quality: Classic Records 4 LP box sets are out of print for years but amazing (single side 45 rpm LPs). I have all the sacds as well – very good!

  15. Justin says:

    If PG would release the 24/96 downloads separately, that would make me a happy fan. I don’t really want/need the vinyl but would LOVE the hi-res. Apart from the marketing angle of a perceived ‘bonus’, I’ve never understood the inclusion of these downloads with vinyl.

    • rob deighton says:

      Quite simple really. It’s so you can take the digital copy with you – i.e. in the car, on your iPOD, MP3 player.

      Not everyone buys the CD-release when they come out and you can’t play a Vinyl record in the car :)

  16. Daniel Wylie says:

    Genesis albums are all being sneaked out / reissued on vinyl next month. Amazon have pre-orders up for all but Selling England By The Pound.

  17. Steve Burke says:

    It is nice to have an affordable option on 45rpm editions of these albums but if you keep your eyes open and you want go for broke sonics on So, there really is no comparison to the 45rpm Classic which was cut all analogue from the original 1/2″ 30ips analogue tapes by Bernie Grundman. These new 45rpms aren’t AAA which doesn’t mean they’re rubbish, but shooting out with the SACD, original CD, 2012 24-bit remastering (which wasn’t as loudness wars slammed as the 16-bit 2012 version), 33rpm Classic, 45rpm Classic and 45rpm 1/2 Speed Mastered, the 45rpm AAA Classic is the clear winner.

    All really depends on how much money you want to spend and how big a fan of the album you are, similar to Zeppelin. I wouldn’t trade my Classic AAA of III for any of the remastered, but I also wouldn’t pay the $200 or so a sealed copy now goes for!!

    Really would like a proper 5.1 mix of So on Blu-ray Audio or SACD, the 5.1 SACD of Up is really well done…I Grieve is one of a few reference tracks for me to show how incredible surround music can be when mixed properly.

  18. Andy Massey says:

    I’ve only just opened my copy of So and I have two copies of disc 2 and the site I bought it from have not even got the listing anymore so no point returning it to them. I guess there will be a reissue of the reissue as everyone seems out of stock at the moment but who would be best to contact to get a replacement?

  19. Kevin S says:

    For Andy Massey

    I would contact the site you bought the album from.

    I bought the vinyl bundle (So, Us, Up) from the Peter Gabriel site store.
    All discs across all three albums were warped to a greater or lesser degree.
    I contacted the site store and they offered a partial refund and for me to keep the vinyl.
    Worked well for me so I’d recommend an email to your seller.

  20. Darren Vickers says:

    I bought the first 4 PG albums in HK when i was shopping ( I live in Southern China ) didnt open them right away and I too have warped discs in 3 of the albums.
    I have bought the new releases of SO & US.
    Was disappointed that for a PG release the QC is not up to scratch.

    PG and his website should offer replacements without question for these, they spend so much time to get the best possible sound then press shitty warped discs, they play OK but i hate watching the bump every revolution.

    Come on PG, get a grip and sort this out.

    Wonder if he even knows about this issue ?

  21. Mark Wood says:

    As has been already said these sound amazing, I have done comparisons with both the original lp’s and cd’s and the new ones are sonically a massive improvement.

    Unfortunately that is where it ends, as others have commented they could have produced covers that actually hold the discs in such a way that you could get them out easily, I also think the booklet is too easily damaged by sitting in with the lp.

    My biggest gripe is the amount of warping on all three releases, so far I have had 3 copies of each album and all of them are warped on every single lp. My contact at Real World eventually told me that in his opinion I would not get a flat copy . They all play, just, but I can’t help thinking it is such a waste of time producing a great sounding album only for it to be ruined by poor storage. If anyone actually has a ‘flat’ copy of any of these please let me know!

  22. Pingback:Peter Gabriel vinyl back to 33RPM | superdeluxeedition

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