Title: Aqualung: 40th Anniversary Adapted Edition
Following in the recent release schedule of reissuing their albums in portrait-style book format ‘box sets’, this classic 1971 release was a mighty leap in terms of quality and evolution, coming as it did from the folk rock of Benefit.
The conceptual nature of Aqualung (religious hypocrisy…how about that for a subject, eh?) proved to be a sophisticated step forward that appeared to miss out several expected steps along the way. The theme aside, though, the music itself was also worthy of high praise.
Locomotive Breath was a rocking experience while the lyrical insight heard on the title track and Cross Eyed Mary offered almost Dickensian literary leanings.
The mastering for this set has been completed by Steven Wilson. Many of you will be familiar with Wilson as the lead singer and core member of prog rock outfit, Porcupine Tree. I must say that he’s done a jolly good job with the discs here. Taking the title track of the album disc, for example, I was happy to hear a distinct distance between the lead vocal and the lead guitar while I never lost a subtle acoustic guitar track on the left channel that could easily have been lost in any available noise while the soundstage is appreciably wide and epic in nature.
This edition is effusive in terms of extras. A four CD set, it offers the original album on one CD (with the Wilson remix) plus a second CD containing Associated 1970 & 1971 Recordings. They include a flat transfer of the original EP, Life Is A Long Song plus alternative and early versions of other tracks. Two other DVDs feature a 5.1 surround sound version of the album plus extras while the fourth DVD offers a 24bit/96kHz version of the flat transfer album version, an original 1974 quad mix and promo film. Phew!