Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bowie RCA

The forthcoming Bowie boxset Who Can I Be Now 1974-1976 (due September) has me obsessing over album mixes again and I’m reminded of an excellent blog post which details the production of RCA’s CD series in 1984/5. Bowie’s RCA CDs are highly coveted these days, despite their 30 year vintage, the general consensus among audiophiles is that the RCA discs remain superior to the subsequent Rykodisc and EMI re-issues and best reflect the sound of the original LPs. The Steve Hoffman audiophile forums has many discussions on the merits of the RCA CDs, and while I don't indulge in the kind of obsessive compulsive nit-picking of that forum, I can say that I hated the Tony Visconti mix of the Ziggy Stardust Motion Picture album, I remember being quite appalled by the 2010 30th anniversary edition of the album, which simply sounded wrong. And the All Saints (Collected Instrumentals 1977-1999) album is marred by a particularly horrible sounding Subterraneans. The RCA CDs do not come cheap though – a NM copy of Aladdin Sane, purportedly the finest sounding of the RCA discs will cost you the equivalent of the Five Years boxset…



The majority of my Bowie CDs are the old Rykodisc issues from the early 90's, so I was curious to see what's emerged since... I see one of more recent CD re-issues of Space Oddity has had the George Underwood painting Depth of a Circle which first appeared on the original 1969 Philips album (when it was simply titled David Bowie) restored - it wasn't included in previous issues (at least it's not part of my Rykodisc CD), but it's nice to have it back in again, as it forges an interesting link between Space Oddity (the song) and Ashes to Ashes (the video). Look to the left hand side of the Underwood artwork, there is an illustration of a Pierrot type figure walking, presumably, with his mother, a la the coda of the Ashes to Ashes video...



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