by Lake & Palmer Emerson

I was introduced to ELP in high school and have always liked their stuff. However, aside from Brain Salad Surgery, ELPowell, one of their “Best Of” collections and a King Biscuit CD, I’ve never purchased their back catalog or listened to much of their more obscure songs. Regardless, I love BSS. I bought the DVD-Audio version of it this week and I’m currently being blown away by the clarity of the mix and the wild use of the surround sound field.

Some of the vocal and instrumental parts are obviously different than the original release of the album. Greg Lake’s first few lines of “Jerusalem” are fresh, clean-sounding, and apparently changed to anyone familiar with the original. Some of the parts I’m hearing I don’t believe were even present on the original mix. Perhaps the spreading allowed in the surround mix is finally opening them up to my ears. Keith Emerson’s liberal use of synthesizers for effect provides plenty of roaming elements in the mix. I can really hear Lake’s bass a lot more, too. And I heard some Carl Palmer percussion that sounded fresh to my ears.

They left plenty of headroom on the mix. Apparently this was one of the early DVD-Audio releases, published in 2000. It’s a bombastic mix at times, but always fun. I’ve been listening to “Hoedown” in the car recently and would love to hear that treated like this. Another notable event: this is the first time I’m aware of that the studio versions of Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Parts 1 and 2 have been joined seamlessly. It threw me off when I saw one 13-minute track there. 😉 The inclusion of a surround mix of “Lucky Man” is a nice bonus.

There’s also some video content on this disc, but I haven’t checked that out yet. Suffice it to say, if you like ELP and have a DVD-Audio compatible system, you better get this before it goes away. It’s great.