2010 in review

January 3, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 79 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 267 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 190mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 30th with 412 views. The most popular post that day was From the archives: Tony Levin interview 2003, Part 1 of 3: on Peter Gabriel.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were forum.dvdtalk.com, dgmlive.com, ideensynthese.de, facebook.com, and squidoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for thin white duke, melanie gabriel, david bowie 2010, ben bridwell, and tony levin.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

From the archives: Tony Levin interview 2003, Part 1 of 3: on Peter Gabriel April 2010
2 comments

2

David Bowie’s Station to Station to be reissued in fancy 9-disc package July 2010
4 comments

3

Brian Eno and the Lovely Bones February 2010
12 comments

4

Advance copies for Bowie’s Station to Station features DVD-A August 2010
7 comments

5

From the archives: Tony Levin interview 2003, Part 2 of 3: on tour with Peter Gabriel April 2010
2 comments

Thanks to all for the support. I couldn’t have kept this blog without you! A special thanks to my wife Ana who pushed me to start this thing in the first place.

As promised, here’s a note recognizing the reissue of 2010: EMI’s Deluxe vinyl/DVD/CD set of David Bowie’s 1976 album Station to Station. Of course, I spent a lot of this year blogging in anticipation of this release (Bowie’s Station to Station and ’76 Nassau concert streaming online now!,Advance copies for Bowie’s Station to Station features DVD-A,U.S. release date announced for Bowie’s Station to Station reissue,David Bowie’s Station to Station to be reissued in fancy 9-disc package), so I shan’t repeat myself here.

Still, despite a whopping array of nine different mixes of the same album across vinyl, CD and DVD, there remained something missing. Many have argued: why no video footage from the era, but I would say, where was the record store promo only ashtray?:

We got buttons and reproduced promo 8x10s and a fan club pack from the time, among other bonus goodies, after all.

Still, in all seriousness, when it came to the music, there was one thing that flashed “oversight.” On the CD EP version of the album, featuring the single edits of every song on the six-track album, one edit was glaringly omitted: The “Wild is the Wind” video edit. Well, my friend Ray Garcia has re-created that mix using the remastered track off this set. Download it here. Sure, some might say that video was produced during 1980, anyhow, resulting in that edit that came long after the actual album. But some of the “edits” on the EP are a stretch anyhow (the title track reduced to only its second up-beat half?).

Beyond that, this set also includes one of Bowie’s most famous concert performances from the time, at New York’s Nassau Colosseum: on CD and vinyl. The vinyl actually does sound better than the CD, I found, as the CD sounded quite over-modulated, and the vinyl indeed sounded better on headphones. Though I never received the set as a promo from the label to review the vinyl here, I did get a cool consolation prize:

There were more cool reissues in 2010. There was high praise thrown about for Bruce Springsteen’s The Promise, featuring a whole second album’s worth of outtakes as good as the original album (studio outtakes were also sorely missing from the Station to Station reissue), including several DVDs. However, no vinyl.

If ever there was a runner-up to the Station to Station reissue in my book, it would be King Crimson’s 6-disc set of their debut 1969 album, In the Court of the Crimson King. It not only did it feature an array of studio takes of the music, but also a DVD audio with live video footage from the time and even a very rare mono mix for radio stations only taken off a vinyl record from Robert Fripp’s own library. Later on in the year, they even followed up on this release with a vinyl release on 200 g vinyl that sounded amazing. The box also even had buttons and a reproduction of the gatefold LP, as it was a 12-inch size anyhow. Here’s a look inside the box at how the discs were presented:

Very cool. Get it while you can, as it is a limited edition that seems to be selling out fast.

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

I know I’ve already written tons about it, but I’d be remiss not to mention that you can now stream the entire remastered album of David Bowie’s Station to Station (as good as a live stream can be) by accepting a Facebook  app, here:

NOW!

Beyond the entire album streaming live 4 days ahead of the US release, you can also hear the entire Nassau Coliseum Show, as detailed in the image above.

There is also a microsite where you can more closely examine each and every goodie enclosed in the deluxe box set and hear snippets of the songs, for both the album and the concert. The microsite also features a very informative “production notes” section written by Harry Maslin, who co-produced the original album with Bowie back in ’76 and did the various DVD mixes in this new box set.

Again, stay tuned here for an up-coming post examining the slabs of vinyl in the deluxe set (I already have a good look at the CDs and DVD in this earlier post).

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

EMI/Capitol has begun sending out advance review copies of the upcoming 3-CD special edition reissue of David Bowie’s 1976 masterpiece Station to Station. One of the best parts about this promo-only edition, as pictured above, is the inclusion of a DVD audio disc. This DVD is indeed the one slated for exclusive release with the limited deluxe edition, which will also include the vinyl version of the album, among other exclusive extras.

As posted earlier, there are two different versions of the reissues slated for release. The 3-CD version has the album plus the famously bootlegged Nassau Coliseum show from 1976 spread across the other two CDs. The limited edition deluxe version, has the same CDs plus vinyl versions and an extra CD of single edits of five cuts from the album, and of course there are four different mixes of the album in DVD audio format.

Now, to address the elephant in the room: why isn’t EMI officially including this DVD-A with the CD-only version? As much as I love the idea that vinyl is making a comeback among audiophiles, the fact of the matter is most music listeners have easier access to a DVD player with a surround system than a record player. The most recent reissue EMI released for Bowie was 1975’s Young Americans, in 2007.  That included a DVD that not only included videos of the era but also a 5.1 mix of the album. Anyone prepared to buy a 3-CD version of Station to Station that will include a concert famous only among the most hardcore of Bowie fans will also most likely be interested in a DVD audio version of the album (I’ve already heard as much across message boards from fans*).

The release of the advance including this DVD will only add fuel to the fervor of fans clamoring for such a release. And let me, say, as I have had a chance to review, the DVD-A of this album sounds amazing. Included are a total of four varied mixes (which counters the DVD-A details in the original EMI press release published in an earlier post from July 9, which only noted 3 mixes). Here are the four mixes offered:

1. The original analogue master in 48/24 LPCM stereo.

Then there are three versions of the “New Harry Maslin Mix”:

2. 5.1 surround sound DTS 96/24

3. 5.1 AC3 surround sound D0lby48/24

4. LPCM stereo 48/24 (it’s typoed on the main menu of the DVD as LCPM– hopefully that will be fixed by the time of the official release)

I’m not sure if my dated Yamaha amp can properly decode all these varied audio streams, but the real standout is the DTS 5.1 96/24 mix re-envisioned by Harry Maslin, who produced the original album with Bowie. If you want to hear the album up-dated for 5.1 surround with an amazing separation of the varied tracks (down to Roy Bittan pushing the keys on the piano opening “Word on the Wing”), the DTS track is remarkable. You can hear every subtlety in Bowie’s voice. It makes you wonder if modern pop artists can truly measure up to the musicianship as revealed by this uncompromising audio mix. The detail of the mix could never forgive any lack of musicianship as exhibited here, laid bare without the contemporary studio trickery so many pop acts rely upon in this day and age.

There is a subtle difference between the original analogue master in 48/24 LPCM stereo versus the original RCA vinyl LP, which I own, but I still side with my vinyl. It has more punch and is still miraculously clean enough to have undetectable surface noise. I’m not sure how it compares with the original RCA analogue CD, however, because I sadly got rid of that CD years ago, as confessed in my posting on July 2.

The two other re-envisioned Maslin mixes seem for the true purists. The last mix especially is actually more akin to the original RCA vinyl than the first mix. Side by side, the two are really hard to distinguish. Otherwise, the quality in differences do not stand out to me on my system. Maybe someone with more experience in audiophilia can offer more insight.

Now, the next big headline to be revealed in hearing this new version of Station to Station, is the Nassau Coliseum show. Most curious is how the Dennis Davis drum solo has been edited down. Let me see, I do not miss the 13 minute, plus version. In this shortened version, the runs are reduced to a minimum and the out-of-place scat singing is completely gone. Supposedly the complete track will be made available via digital download, but I always thought it slowed down the pace of the bootleg, and I don’t miss it. The only thing that sucks for a Bowie fan so familiar with the original bootleg is that you cannot help but notice where it was chopped away, so, either way, it still takes you out of the concert. Besides, this does not mark the first time a lengthy live solo was chopped up for a live Bowie album. For the soundtrack of Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture, Mick R0nson’s solo on “Width of a Circle” was also pared back while Bowie went backstage for a costume change.

As for the sound quality of the concert, with the quiet opening of “Station to Station,” I could not help but notice some tape hiss at the start of the concert. Granted, this was a show never intended for official release and, as such, never recorded with that in mind, but why boost the volume on it so loud it takes away the future dynamics of the show? Still, it is great having live versions of songs like “Waiting for the Man” and “Stay” in better quality than ever on an official live release. It’s a high energy show and one of the greatest Bowie performed in his live recorded history. Now, I’m looking forward to hearing how the vinyl version sounds.

*Teenage Wildlife Bowie fansite thread
David Bowie Illustrated Discography thread
DVD Talk thread

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

EMI America has issued a press release today regarding the upcoming reissue for David Bowie’s 1976 album Station to Station. It highlights further details of the content (including the exact edits of E.P. of singles included in the deluxe edition, among other things).

Most importantly, the press release finally confirms the U.S. release date for special edition and deluxe edition releases of this album: Sept. 28. That would be a week and a day after the U.K. release hits store shelves. Without further ado, here is the announcement from EMI, word for word:

DAVID BOWIE

‘STATION TO STATION’

- SPECIAL & DELUXE EDITIONS -

INCLUDING THE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED AND MUCH SOUGHT-AFTER CONCERT

‘LIVE NASSAU COLISEUM ‘76’

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

- PLUS NEW LINER NOTES BY CAMERON CROWE -

Hollywood, California – July 9, 2010 – Virgin/EMI is pleased to announce September 28 as the North American release date for David Bowie’s hugely influential 1976 album, Station To Station, in two expanded packages: a 3CD and digital Special Edition and a limited edition 5CD, DVD (Audio) and three 180gram vinyl LP Deluxe Edition. Both new editions include the original album, remastered from the analogue master, and the much-bootlegged, but previously unreleased concert favorite, Live Nassau Coliseum ’76, as well as new liner notes by Cameron Crowe. As exclusively announced by BowieNet (www.davidbowie.com), September 20 has been confirmed as the European release date.

The 3CD Special Edition features the remastered original studio album on disc one, plus Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 on discs two and three.  Packaged in a lift-top box, the set also includes a 16-page booklet and three David Bowie postcards.  The Special Edition will also be available for digital download purchase with an exclusive bonus track, “Panic In Detroit” (unedited alt. mix), from the recordings for Live Nassau Coliseum ’76.

The Deluxe Edition is the ultimate experience, featuring extensive additional content:

-          A 24-page booklet, including:

  • *NEVER SEEN BEFORE Steve Schapiro photo
  • *Geoff MacCormack photos
  • *Andrew Kent live Nassau photos
  • *Extensive memorabilia from the Bowie.net archives

-          CD: Station To Station – RCA CD Master

-          CD: 5-track Singles Versions EP including a previously unreleased version of Station To    Station, and for first time on CD, Word On A Wing (*see page 3 for full details)

-          3 x 12” heavyweight vinyl (see page 3 for details)

-          DVD Audio (see page 2 for details)

-          6 panel folded poster – Steve Schapiro photo

-          Onstage folder

-          Replica Backstage pass, 97 x 67 mm, fabric with adhesive back

-          Replica Biog, A4-size

-          Replica Ticket on art paper matt

-          3x10x8” press shots

-          Replica Fan club folder

-          Replica Fan Club Membership card, 60 x 90 mm

-          Fan club certificate, 195 x 255 mm, 4/0clr, 200 gsm art paper matt

-          2 small Collectors cards

-          2 A4-size photo prints

-          Replica 4-page biography

-          2 x badges

*Along with the 5-CDs, it’s all housed in a foam-packed box, 325x325x50mm.

Digital release: The 3-CD set is also available as a Digital download.

Tracklistings:

Special Edition & Digital Download

CD 1: Station To Station (original analogue master)

1. Station To Station (10.11)

2. Golden Years (4.02)

3. Word On A Wing (6.01)

4. TVC15 (5.31)

5. Stay (6.12)

6. Wild Is The Wind (6.02)

CD 2:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 -  PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

(Recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, NY, USA March 23, 1976):

1. Station To Station (11.53)

2. Suffragette City (3.31)

3. Fame (4.02)

4. Word On A Wing (6.06)

5. Stay (7.25)

6. Waiting For The Man (6.20)

7. Queen Bitch (3.12)

CD 3: Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

1. Life On Mars? (2.13)

2. Five Years (5.03)

3. Panic In Detroit (6.03)

4. Changes (4.11)

5. TVC15 (4.58)

6. Diamond Dogs (6.38)

7. Rebel Rebel (4.07)

8. The Jean Genie (7.28)

Super Deluxe Limited Edition

CD 1: Station To Station (original analogue master) – tracklisting same as above.

CD 2: Station To Station (1985 RCA CD master) – tracklisting same as above.

CD 3:  Singles Versions E.P. *(see below for further info)

1. Golden Years

2. TVC15

3. Stay

4. Word On A Wing  (first time on CD)

5. Station To Station  (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED VERSION)

CD 4:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (tracklisting same as above)

CD 5: Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

DVD: Audio:

Station To Station (original analogue master, 48/24 LPCM stereo)

Station To Station (5.1 surround sound DTS 48/24 and dolby digital)

Station To Station (new stereo mix 48/24 LPCM stereo)

LP 1: Station To Station (original analogue master)

Side 1:

1. Station To Station (10.11)

2. Golden Years (4.02)

3. Word On A Wing (6.01)

Side 2:

1. TVC15 (5.31)

2. Stay (6.12)

3. Wild Is The Wind (6.02)

LP 2:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76  PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

(Recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, NY, USA March 23, 1976)

Side 1:

1. Station To Station (11.53)

2. Suffragette City (3.31)

3. Fame (4.02)

Side 2:

1. Word On A Wing (6.06)

2. Stay (7.25)

3. Waiting For The Man (6.20)

4. Queen Bitch (3.12)

LP 3:  Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Side 3:

1. Life On Mars? (2.13)

2. Five Years (5.03)

3. Panic In Detroit (6.03)

4. Changes (4.11)

5. TVC15 (4.58)

Side 4:

1. Diamond Dogs (6.38)

2. Rebel Rebel (4.07)

3. The Jean Genie (7.28)

*CD 3:  Singles Versions E.P.

1. Golden Years

The first single released from the album Station To Station, it was released in edited form in November 1975 (RCA 2640), appearing the following year in full-length on the album.

2. TVC15
Released in edited form as the second single from Station To Station (RCA 2682) in April 1976. The single peaked on the singles charts at number 33 in the UK and number 64 in the U.S.

3. Stay
This edit was released as the third single from Station To Station in the US (RCA PB 10736) in July 1976 and several other countries outside the UK.

4. Word On A Wing
Appearing on the reverse of the original Stay single (RCA PB 10736) in July 1976, this particular edit is making its official debut here on CD.

5. Station To Station
This is an extremely edited version (down from 10 minutes 13 seconds) appeared on a very rare French factory single sample (RCA 42549) in 1976. This edit eliminates the entire first part of the song. This marks its first official release.

[end press release]

So the single edits are the only real diversion we are getting from the album, besides the various mixes of the album tracks. No B-sides existed from these sessions, not to mention any officially available outtakes or unofficial studio leaks that I know of. Correct me if I am wrong, fellow Bowie fans (and provide any mp3s to back that up, too).

I’ll leave with a nice, big advertisement promoting the album and Bowie’s then U.S. tour. Reminisce…

DAVID BOWIE

‘STATION TO STATION’

- SPECIAL & DELUXE EDITIONS -

INCLUDING THE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED AND MUCH SOUGHT-AFTER CONCERT

‘LIVE NASSAU COLISEUM ‘76’

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

- PLUS NEW LINER NOTES BY CAMERON CROWE -

Hollywood, California – July 9, 2010 – Virgin/EMI is pleased to announce September 28 as the North American release date for David Bowie’s hugely influential 1976 album, Station To Station, in two expanded packages: a 3CD and digital Special Edition and a limited edition 5CD, DVD (Audio) and three 180gram vinyl LP Deluxe Edition. Both new editions include the original album, remastered from the analogue master, and the much-bootlegged, but previously unreleased concert favorite, Live Nassau Coliseum ’76, as well as new liner notes by Cameron Crowe. As exclusively announced by BowieNet (www.davidbowie.com), September 20 has been confirmed as the European release date.

The 3CD Special Edition features the remastered original studio album on disc one, plus Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 on discs two and three.  Packaged in a lift-top box, the set also includes a 16-page booklet and three David Bowie postcards.  The Special Edition will also be available for digital download purchase with an exclusive bonus track, “Panic In Detroit” (unedited alt. mix), from the recordings for Live Nassau Coliseum ’76.

The Deluxe Edition is the ultimate experience, featuring extensive additional content:

- A 24-page booklet, including:

o *NEVER SEEN BEFORE Steve Schapiro photo

o *Geoff MacCormack photos

o *Andrew Kent live Nassau photos

o *Extensive memorabilia from the Bowie.net archives

- CD: Station To Station – RCA CD Master

- CD: 5-track Singles Versions EP including a previously unreleased version of Station To    Station, and for first time on CD, Word On A Wing (*see page 3 for full details)

- 3 x 12” heavyweight vinyl (see page 3 for details)

- DVD Audio (see page 2 for details)

- 6 panel folded poster – Steve Schapiro photo

- Onstage folder

- Replica Backstage pass, 97 x 67 mm, fabric with adhesive back

- Replica Biog, A4-size

- Replica Ticket on art paper matt

- 3x10x8” press shots

- Replica Fan club folder

- Replica Fan Club Membership card, 60 x 90 mm

- Fan club certificate, 195 x 255 mm, 4/0clr, 200 gsm art paper matt

- 2 small Collectors cards

- 2 A4-size photo prints

- Replica 4-page biography

- 2 x badges

*Along with the 5-CDs, it’s all housed in a foam-packed box, 325x325x50mm.

Digital release: The 3-CD set is also available as a Digital download.

Tracklistings:

Special Edition & Digital Download

CD 1: Station To Station (original analogue master)

1. Station To Station (10.11)

2. Golden Years (4.02)

3. Word On A Wing (6.01)

4. TVC15 (5.31)

5. Stay (6.12)

6. Wild Is The Wind (6.02)

CD 2:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 -  PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

(Recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, NY, USA March 23, 1976):

1. Station To Station (11.53)

2. Suffragette City (3.31)

3. Fame (4.02)

4. Word On A Wing (6.06)

5. Stay (7.25)

6. Waiting For The Man (6.20)

7. Queen Bitch (3.12)

CD 3: Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

1. Life On Mars? (2.13)

2. Five Years (5.03)

3. Panic In Detroit (6.03)

4. Changes (4.11)

5. TVC15 (4.58)

6. Diamond Dogs (6.38)

7. Rebel Rebel (4.07)

8. The Jean Genie (7.28)

Super Deluxe Limited Edition

CD 1: Station To Station (original analogue master) – tracklisting same as above.

CD 2: Station To Station (1985 RCA CD master) – tracklisting same as above.

CD 3:  Singles Versions E.P. *(see below for further info)

1. Golden Years

2. TVC15

3. Stay

4. Word On A Wing (first time on CD)

5. Station To Station (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED VERSION)

CD 4:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (tracklisting same as above)

CD 5: Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

DVD: Audio:

Station To Station (original analogue master, 48/24 LPCM stereo)

Station To Station (5.1 surround sound DTS 48/24 and dolby digital)

Station To Station (new stereo mix 48/24 LPCM stereo)

LP 1: Station To Station (original analogue master)

Side 1:

1. Station To Station (10.11)

2. Golden Years (4.02)

3. Word On A Wing (6.01)

Side 2:

1. TVC15 (5.31)

2. Stay (6.12)

3. Wild Is The Wind (6.02)

LP 2:  Live Nassau Coliseum ’76  PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

(Recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum Uniondale, NY, USA March 23, 1976)

Side 1:

1. Station To Station (11.53)

2. Suffragette City (3.31)

3. Fame (4.02)

Side 2:

1. Word On A Wing (6.06)

2. Stay (7.25)

3. Waiting For The Man (6.20)

4. Queen Bitch (3.12)

LP 3: Nassau Coliseum concert continued… PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Side 3:

1. Life On Mars? (2.13)

2. Five Years (5.03)

3. Panic In Detroit (6.03)

4. Changes (4.11)

5. TVC15 (4.58)

Side 4:

1. Diamond Dogs (6.38)

2. Rebel Rebel (4.07)

3. The Jean Genie (7.28)

*CD 3:  Singles Versions E.P.

1. Golden Years

The first single released from the album Station To Station, it was released in edited form in November 1975 (RCA 2640), appearing the following year in full-length on the album.

2. TVC15
Released in edited form as the second single from Station To Station (RCA 2682) in April 1976. The single peaked on the singles charts at number 33 in the UK and number 64 in the U.S.

3. Stay
This edit was released as the third single from Station To Station in the US (RCA PB 10736) in July 1976 and several other countries outside the UK.

4. Word On A Wing
Appearing on the reverse of the original Stay single (RCA PB 10736) in July 1976, this particular edit is making its official debut here on CD.

5. Station To Station
This is an extremely edited version (down from 10 minutes 13 seconds) appeared on a very rare French factory single sample (RCA 42549) in 1976. This edit eliminates the entire first part of the song. This marks its first official release.

After nearly a year’s worth of anticipation, the reissue of David Bowie’s vital 1976 album, Station to Station, has been scheduled for release (Sept. 20). David Bowie’s official website revealed the details yesterday of the two versions of this reissue, which include a 3-CD special edition and a 5-CD/DVD/3-LP deluxe edition, which will probably cost more than $150.

Will it be worth dropping the money on a fancy version of what was a mere 6-track album when Station to Station first dropped in January of 1976? There are many reasons it will.

First, consider the historical context of album. Bowie, seen pictured above in a mug shot of that area due to his trouble with drugs at the time, was on the cusp of revolutionizing pop rock, setting the ground work for countless of new romantic/post-punk/new wave artists to come. The influences of Kraut Rock artists like Kraftwerk and Neu! had begun informing his music, which was mutating from his prior fascination with blue-eyed soul into something much more interesting.

This was also the height of Bowie’s cocaine-fueled days of oddball behavior. Taking on the persona of the Thin White Duke– as eluded to by the title track of this album– he would wear his hair slicked back and dress in minimal black and white suits while on tour for the album. He also made the unfortunate decision to exploit the fascist imagery and sometimes mentality, of Germany’s Nazi past, including the Hitler salute. But that was the punk rock thing to do at the time (let us not forget Sid Vicious would wear T-shirts with the swastika painted on them and Joy Division and later New Order took their names from the Nazi lexicon).

But Station to Station transcended all that. What has really endured is the strength of the music, even as experimental as it was at the time. It was the literal precursor to his much more popularly influential, if not stranger 1977 Bowie album Low. Musically, Station to Station does not contain the rambling instrumental ambient pieces that made Low’s B-side so famous nor does it have the shorter, quirkier pop/anti-pop songs of Low‘s A-side. Station to Station does however feature Bowie shedding the plastic soul of 1975′s Young Americans and exploring more progressive elements, like the long epic majesty of the title track and the layers of melody and din in “TVC-15,” a song that explores virtual sex through technology that long pre-dated its actualization. There are also truly soulful bits that still connect Bowie to Young Americans, like “Golden Years,” a single he performed on “Soul Train.”

As for the quality of extras tacked on to this reissue, this by far seems to outshine any previous Bowie reissue in the history of his catalog, including his more famous the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album, a mere 2-CD set reissued in 2002, marking its 30th anniversary. Though this reissue of Station to Station does not feature any studio outtakes, demos or B-sides (there were none for this album), there are two major aural aspects of this reissue to herald: the use of the original analog master tapes for the album (which will probably sound awesome on the vinyl version) and the first official release of Bowie’s much bootlegged Nassau Coliseum show from March 23, 1976.

There are a ton of paper extra goodies, too, as seen in the image on Bowie’s site, and which I have borrowed to illustrate here:

Again a shout-out to Bowie’s official website, where you can read the full details of these extras. What’s most important beyond these extras is the significance of the masters that will supposedly be used on this reissue.

Bowie’s catalog has suffered many so-called remasters since the early 90s, which, for the most part, were the albums with louder volume and this high treble quality that sometimes irritated the ears of the close listener. Only the original and short-lived RCA CD editions of 1985 came from the original stereo analogue master source and remain quite collectible for audiophiles to this day. I once owned the RCA CD of Station to Station but succumbed to the high collector’s prices it was garnering at the time, content to stick with my vinyl version. Here is that original CD, scanned for auction on eBay (I think it sold for about $60 or more):

As seen in the image for the Deluxe box, EMI has restored the original black and white cover art longtime Bowie fans have grown up with. Later reissues by Rykodisc and EMI had changed the cover to full color art, which, if I recall correctly, had been the original intended presentation for the cover art. But the original actual first release, in 1976 was the stark black and white image, a still of Bowie as the alien in the 1975 Nicholas Roeg film, the Man Who Fell to Earth. Maybe I am biased, but to me, its stark quality best suited the music inside. Here is the revised full color cover art:

But back to the music, the deluxe edition will feature the album on heavyweight vinyl (most likely 180 gram) and presented from the same analog masters, which will probably sound even better than the CD, as vinyl, many audiophiles will argue, is the only way to fully appreciate the warmth and depth of analog recordings. Unlike EMI’s earlier mistake to reissue Space Oddity on its 40th anniversary earlier this year on vinyl from the same digital masters Ryko used for its vinyl 1990 reissue, EMI has taken the proper steps to present the Station to Station vinyl as it should sound. Still, it remains to be heard by these ears, as the official release remains a couple of months away, but that’s for another post…

Yes, there is also a DVD audio version of the album, which should be neat to hear in its various forms. It includes a total of four different mixes: a new 5.1 surround mix and stereo mix by Harry Maslin, and the original analogue mix in LPCM stereo and 96kHz/24bit LPCM stereo. But I still see myself going to the vinyl over these mixes, personally.

The other audio aspect worth highlighting is the inclusion of the Nassau Coliseum show, which will also be featured in the more affordable, though not as comprehensive, 3-CD set, as pictured here (again, image from Bowienet):

The only thing that seems exclusive in the special edition are the three period photocards. There will also be an exclusive digital download of the special edition featuring the full length version of “Panic in Detroit” from the live show. Anyone who has heard the many bootlegs of this show will know that means the extended drum solo in the middle is left fully intact only on this digital version, where as the CDs will have it edited back.

The show has been widely regarded by Bowie bootleg collectors as one of Bowie’s greatest live shows, but the quality of these illegal pressings never did the audio justice. The only hint we had of the potential audio quality of this show appeared on the Ryko CD reissue of the 1990s, which featured the two live bonus tracks of “Word on a Wing” and “Stay” from that show.  Now, finally, after those two quality live tracks were revealed in 1991, collectors can have the full concert in officially-sanctioned, high quality audio and, as can be seen in the image of the deluxe edition, on vinyl to boot.

Beyond the inclusion of the Nassau Coliseum show and the analogue masters as source material for the album, everything else is icing (oh, the final CD included as an extra in the deluxe edition is an EP of single mixes of five Station to Station tracks, which should prove an interesting curiosity).

After nearly a year’s worth of anticipation, the reissue of David Bowie’s vital 1976 album, Station to Station, has been scheduled for release (Sept. 20!). David Bowie’s official website revealed the details yesterday of the two versions of this reissue, which include a 3-CD special edition and a 4-CD/DVD/3-LP deluxe edition, which will probably cost more than $100.

Will it be worth dropping the money on fancy version of what was a mere 6-track album when it was released in January of 1976. There are many reasons it will.

First, consider the historical context of album. Bowie, seen pictured in a mug shot of that area due to his trouble with drugs at the time, was on the cusp of revolutionizing pop rock, setting the ground work for countless of new romantics/post-punk/new wave artists to come. The influences of Kraut Rock artists like Kraftwerk and Neu! had begun informing his music, which was mutating from his prior fascination with blue-eyed soul into something much more interesting.

This was also the height of Bowie’s cocaine-fueled days of oddball behavior. Taking on the persona of the Thin White Duke, as eluded to by the title track of this album, he would wear his hair slicked back and dress in minimal back and white suits while on tour. He also made the unfortunate decision to exploit the fascist imagery of Germany’s nazi past, including the Hitler salute. But that was the punk rock thing to do at the time.

With Station to Station, what has really endured is the strength of the music, even as experimental as it was at the time. It was the literal precursor to his much more popularly influential, if not stranger Low. Musically, it does not contain the rambling instrumental ambient pieces that made Low’s B-side so famous nor does it have the shorter quirkier anti-pop songs of the A-side. It does however …

(Copyright 2010 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
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