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Wind & Wuthering - SACD-Hybrid / DVD - 2007


Tracks on the SACD / CD:

Eleventh Earl Of Mar
One For The Vine
Your Own Special Way
Wot Gorilla
All In A Mouses Night
Blood On The Rooftops
Unquiet Slumber For The Sleepers...
...In That Quiet Earth
Afterglow


DVD content:

full album in Dolby Digital 5.1 (audio only)
full album in dts Surround (audio only)
Making of Wind & Wuthering - 2007 band interviews
U.S. Television - bootleg video 1977
Japanese Television - bootleg video 1977
World Tour programme 1977 (gallery, 13 pictures) 


Technical data:
The music videos are available in stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts sound (as on the Video Show DVD). All other videos are Dolby Digital 2.0. There are no subtitles.


Review


The Album
The successor to A Trick Of The Tail came out in the U.S. in late December 1976, but was released in Europe only in January 1977. This is why either year is frequently given as the year of publication. The album was recorded directly after the successful Trick tour had ended in the fall of 1976. The Wind & Wuthering tour began on New Year’s Day 1977 with a three day stand at London’s Rainbow before audiences had had a real opportunity to listen to the new material.

The album met a critical response. A Trick Of The Tail had received praise from critics and fans mainly for the courageous decision to make their drummer the front man and lead singer, but the album after that felt a bit like the second album of a newcomer band who need to prove after an excellent debut that they are not a flash in the pan. The press they received from British music magazines became barbed. December 1976 had seen the release of the Sex Pistols’ first single, Anarchy In The UK, after weeks of arguments with various record companies and lots of headlines and had made punk the topic of the day – and the media began to question everything that had gone before punk in the world of pop music with suspicion.

Genesis had not seen that coming. Their new album was „only“ a good continuation of their successful previous album which in turn was a further development of Selling England By The Pound from 1973 – apparently the band felt no desire to continue the experiments of the 1974 concept piece The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway). There is nothing fundamentally new or even revolutionary on Wind & Wuthering; Genesis would go for that four years later. With casual disregard for the current upheaval they presented epic songs about Scottish noblemen, would-be saviours, monster mice and other cryptic irrealities, in a word: Cannon-fodder for the music press. It was easy for reviewers to ignore the fact that one song (Blood On The Rooftop) was an ironic take on the realities of American TV and another unironic, simple lovesong called Your Own Special Way was released as a single. It was also disregarded that the excellent instrumentals Wot Gorilla? and the jazz-oriented, two-part Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers … In That Quiet Earth continued the tradition of Los Endos.

Fans accepted the album and in the end it sold even better than Trick. It was obvious, though, that the time when Genesis records were praised by the critics had passed for good.

Wind & Wuthering spawned four classics, i.e. songs that stayed in the live repertoire of later tours: Eleventh Earl Of Mar, One For The Vine and the grandiose In That Quiet Earth and Afterglow. No singles were released except for the ones mentioned above. While Genesis were still on tour in summer 1977 the Spot The Pigeon EP was released with three outtakes from the Wind & Wuthering sessions. While it was clear why Match Of The Day and Pigeons had not made it onto the album, it was surprising that Inside And Out was not used. Many fans would have preferred this grand, two-part song that begins as a gentle acoustic ballad and ends with a furious instrumental after seven minutes to Your Own Special Way, which has never been a fan favourite. Once Spot The Pigeon had come out Inside And Out made it into the setlist (All In A Mouse’s Night was dropped for it) and received live accolades.

The new mixes

Even before the SACDs were released Nick Davis said he felt that Wind & Wuthering had benefitted most from the new mixes – and that it certainly true for the first boxset. Wind is the album that has changed most compared to the original mixes. Collins’s voice is much clearer than before, and the music sounds less muffled and is balanced better. For the first time all instruments can be distinguished from the others – David Hentschel, the original producer, was apparently more into blending them all together which turned into a bit of a mud, particular in the mid to lower frequencies.

What is particularly pleasing about the 5.1 mix is the wise use of the surround speakers; parts of the keyboard sounds, mellotron choirs, brief sound effects or voices can be found here and demand your attention. The words “Eleventh Earl Of Mar couldn’t get them very far” are suddenly whispered from the surround speakers which makes the thing even more spooky. Collins’s lead vocals have the centre speaker for themselves (as on the other surround mixes). What little effects are added to his voice on Wind & Wuthering are distributed to the front left and right speakers. One For The Vine proves that the lead vocals are much clearer than before and have moved to the front – if you compare the mixes back to back the original mix sounds as if Hentschel had not felt very confident about Collins’s vocal potential and opted for a conservative mix.

The drums sound fuller, have more bite and are distributed across all speakers  (except for the centre); the cymbals are frequently but not always on the rear speakers. The percussion part in One For The Vine has been mixed particularly well –  the percussion rattles out of every speaker, but it is exactly at this moment (and only here) that the original mix (i.e. the 1994 Definitive Edition Remaster) sounds better and more brilliant in the trebles as the remix. The final guitar solo is also very interesting. It seems to fill the space and come from everywhere simultaneously – and turns out to be a duet with the organ; both instruments are placed in different speakers so that one can distinguish them. The same thing happens on All In A Mouse’s Night where Steve plays the final solo after “took one blow” a third deeper than the organ that doubles his solo. Every now and then the instruments appear to move. Tony’s CP-70 piano, for example slides from the rear to the front speakers during the marching rhythm of All In A Mouse’s Night.

Your Own Special Way has a pretty acoustic sound though the main guitar is an electric one and can be heard in the front and rear speakers alike. Glockenspiel, organ and backing vocals from the rear as, interestingly, does the bass drum resonance.

Wot Gorilla is expansive with percussion sounds all around; a terrific, frequently underrates piece. The long break after between it and All In A Mouse’s Night is a nice touch. This was where the first side of the LP would end and you would have to turn over the vinyl which normally takes much longer than the usual two-second gap on CDs.

The nylon guitar intro to Blood On The Rooftops appears in almost pure stereo; only the smallest traces of echo can be heard from the rear speakers. The keyboards on the other hand are more expansive (and always a bit too sweet). Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers is very compact and has a great mood. The keyboard melody resembles a cold gust, surrounded by guitars and drum beats from the front right speaker. This creates an atmosphere that fits very well to the cover artwork. In That Quiet Earth on the other hand is almost pure stereo with just a little surround echo. Afterglow has changed a lot, the drums are stronger and more expansive and the mellotron choir is all over the place. After the final line of “I miss you more” you can suddenly hear an electric guitar. It was not in the original mix, and it continues the slow jingle-jangle-melody of the preceding verses. Quite a surprise, and one wonders why the guitar was left off the original mix. One possible explanation is that the band wanted the final section after the vocals to sound distinctly different from the previous part. In the live version this is the moment where the double drums begin to drive the song to its peak. The new guitar bit helps link these two parts and soften the difference. Since the studio version does not have any double drums and Collins’s voice goes down for “I miss you more” (it would go up live, like a yell) Afterglow simply goes on and resigns itself to the fadeout.

by Tom Morgenstern
translated by Martin Klinkhardt 

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