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    November 2004 will go down in the books as the most expensive month for fans of Genesis proper and related. Almost simultaneously, the various camps in the Genesis universe released DVDs. They reach from Phil Collins’ live recording of the First Final Farewell tour, Peter Gabriel’s video omnibus Play and Steve Hackett’s tour documentary Once Above A Time to a not quite official double DVD documentary entitled Inside Genesis – A Critical Review 1970-1980. To all that, Virgin Records added their costumary Christmas releases. This year, it’s The Video Show, a compilation of Genesis promo videos and the only CD box amongst the flood of releases meant to attract those looking for just the right gift for a Genesis fan. We’re talking about the 3CD Platinum Collection box, of course. In North America, waiting time is also over. Rhino has released both The Video Show and Platinum Collection in mid-September 2005!
    Even though some fans were disappointed by the lack of new material, the Platinum Collection deserves a closer look, not least because it is the first compilation of Genesis songs to cover the band’s whole career. Genesis buffs will be delighted to find that many of the older songs were carefully remixed so that they appear in a whole new light. The reason why Genesis went to such lengths with the songs is, of course, the upcoming release of the band’s complete back catalogue on SACD in 5.1 surround mixes, their very first album From Genesis To Revelation, however, excepted. To accomplish the remixes, one has to separate the original multitrack recordings and remix them completely. Many of these songs have been treated like that already. The by-products of the 5.1 mixes, i.e. the all-new stereo mixes, were used for this Genesis starter kit. The Platinum Collection does not consist of newly recorded or restructured versions of the songs, which is what many people would call a ‘remix’. There were neither additions nor was anything left out. The songs were simply brushed up using modern technology. The net result is a much more homogenous audio tour through the history of Genesis than it was hitherto possible to have. People who are familiar only with the more recent and better-known output of our heroes will find it much easier to discover Genesis’ past. That’s why the tracks are in an (almost correctly) anti-chronological order, starting with more recent material and proceeding to older songs.


    CD1 1997 – 1982

    CD1 covers the last four studio releases. There may not be a lot of material to choose from from those last 15 years, in particular if you compare it to the output of their first 15 years. But it certainly was the period in which the band were at their most popular and successful. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the songs featured here also appeared on the 1999 Hits Collection. On this CD, however, you will find almost nothing but complete album versions.
    The disc opens with hits from the 1992 We Can’t Dance album. Not only fans of post-Collins Genesis and Ray Wilson’s voice won’t find that too logical, but it makes sense for people who are not yet familiar with the band: It is familiar sounds that lead them into the world of Genesis. The following songs make their appearance: No Son Of Mine (with an intro shortened by two bars), I Can’t Dance, Jesus He Knows Me and Hold On My Heart.
    The next five songs take you back in time, precisely to 1986, because they are all from Invisible Touch. Again, the focus was on single releases. The live classic Domino would have been a very welcome addition to many, but, well, these are the songs: Invisible Touch, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (shortened single version), Land Of Confusion and In Too Deep.
    The self-titled album from 1983 was worthily represented by all tracks from side one of the album, i.e. the single hits Mama and That’s All, the live classic Home By The Sea and its other half, Second Home By The Sea. Illegal Alien was not quite as successful a single, but it is included here, too. We are pleased to note that it is a remixed version of the song and that the backing vocals are much more differentiated.
    The next song, Paperlate, was never released on a regular album but only as a single / EP (in 1982). It is a leftover from the 1981 Abacab sessions. This is a new mix compared to Paperlate’s latest appearance on the Archive 2 box set. The brass is much stronger, the vocals were moved into the foreground and some of the keyboard parts are more prominent than before.
    The title song of the first album the band released with new singer Ray Wilson after Collins‘ departure closes the first disc. Curiously enough, it was Calling All Stations and not the album’s most successful single Congo that was picked. Apparently, even One Man’s Fool was shortlisted for this box at one time. It seems that the band felt they did not need any other tracks from that album, though.


    CD2 1981 – 1975
    The next disc takes us back to the days when Phil Collins first became the new singer with the band. In those six years, five albums were recorded.
    Abacab (1981) was covered with the singles Abacab and Keep It Dark. Both songs profit from the remixing. The guiar sound on Abacab is enhanced as are Phil’s inconspicuous percussion and some keyboard lines on Keep It Dark.

    coverThe album before that, Duke (1981), is featured with four songs, of which only Behind The Lines is included in the original mix. Turn It On Again has stronger lead vocals and more powerful drums. A finely tuned set of echo effects vastly adds atmosphere and sparkle to the band favorite Duchess. Genesis‘ first U.S. hit Misunderstanding enjoys more prominence in Phil’s voice and some drum reverb.
    And Then There Were Three songs that were included from Genesis‘ slightly less beloved 1978 album. Many Too Many sounds well-rounded in its new guise. It took the new mix to show just how groovy Collins‘ drumming and percussion work is on the band’s commercial breakthrough Follow You Follow Me. The third remixed track fromAnd Then There Were Three is Tony Banks‘ Undertow with a noticably softer string section.
    We go back another two years to find lead guitarist Steve Hackett still with Genesis. Three songs were selected from Wind And Wuthering. The live classic ... In That Quiet Earth has the complete drum roll intro and leads into that other live classic, Afterglow. The album’s only single, Your Own Special Way was included in its original album version, while ... In That Quiet Earth and Afterglow were remixed to have stronger drums and more prominent guitar work.
    The final three songs on CD2 were originally released on A Trick Of The Tail in 1976. Even though the title song was released as a single, it is largely unknown. The remix sets off lead and backing vocals as well as some guitar parts. For Ripples the balance of frequencies to volume was corrected. Collins‘ drums were enhanced, too. The CD closes with the obvious perfect song. Los Endos was changed almost imperceptibly. Dance On A Volcano, always a big classic live, may be seen as a glaring omission.


    CD3 1974 – 1970

    The third disc is undoubtedly that part of the collection that people were looking forward to most. It features classics from the band’s early days when Peter Gabriel was the singer. Genesis recorded six albums with him. The somewhat immature first album, From Genesis To Revelation from 1969, was excluded from the present collection.
    Only three songs from the concept double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974) can be found in this set. The title song has the complete intro, stronger drums and improved stereo sound. Counting Out Time, at the time a not so successful single, is included with a shortened intro but it’s not the single version. Marvellous drum sound, stronger backing vocals and a slightly longer vocal ending make up for it, though. The version of Carpet Crawlers included here is some 15 seconds shorter than on the album, but the drums come out better and Gabriel’s voice sounds much warmer. It is a pity, though, that cult classic In the cage did not make it onto this collection.
    Not only fans rate 1973’s Selling England By The Pound highly. It should not take wonder that three great songs from the album made the collection. The new mix of Firth Of Fifth delights us with its exquisitely clear sound. You can even hear the pedals of the grand piano. The drums do not sound dry anymore, but they are still very powerful throughout the song. Hackett’s guitar is so much more brilliant and Rutherford’s picking technique really begins to shine. The Cinema Show pleases with a more airy sound probably caused by the minuscule reverb effect on the drum tracks. I Know What I Like was cut just a little bit, but with this remix the vocals are enjoyably distinct.
    When Genesis released Foxtrot in 1972 it became their international breakthrough. The album is honored with the inclusion of Supper’s Ready in this collection. Regrettably, however, it is the original, un-remixed version that was used. Many people will also miss the album’s opening song Watcher Of The Skies that was scheduled to be included in the collection.
    We are then treated to the core of Nursery Cryme (1971), which was the first album with newcomers Phil Collins on drums and Steve Hackett on guitar. The Musical Box is an opus of more than ten minutes‘ length. The new mix brings out the bass sound and the dynamic leaps of the song while it also corrects volume problems of the original version.
    The collections follows the concept of Genesis‘ 1970 release Trespass and of the early live shows: Go out with a bang, or, in this case, with their first big classic The Knife.
    On this song, it’s still founding member Anthony Phillips plucking the strings and short-time member John Mayhew on the drums. Both their efforts come out very nicely in the new mix. Compared to the original version, this mix has (sometimes drastically) different vocal effects, less muddy drums and some interesting stereo tricks in the instrumental parts.

    The Platinum Collection is not just another 3CD compilation. It is the only release so far to include all eras of the band’s history and provide a decent general view of the three decades of this unique band for newcomers. It is regrettable that some classics had to be left out (had they really?) because not all songs fully represent the variety of music on the album they come from. With 15 albums under their belt, the band should have gone for a 4CD box with the appropriate layout. The 20 page booklet is another missed opportunity. It only includes brief texts by Hugh Fielder, fotos of the album covers but no single image of the band. Surely there would have been a way to tell the history of the band in a more interesting way. We applaud the fact that most of the older tracks were used in the remixed versions made by Genesis’ mixer-in-residence Nick Davis. Still it may be asked why some of the songs did not get a thorough overhaul. There would have been space for the odd single mix to please collectors of rarities, particularly since this collection has such a strong focus on single releases. Be that as it may, a price of around EUR 20 is quite attractive. The Genesis fan community will hopefully grow strongly this Christmas.


    by Steffen Gerlach

    translated by Martin Klinkhardt


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