Pink Floyd, 5.1 mixes, and Obama’s Libya

25 10 2011

Animals remix, by Pink Floyd. Nice lean sound reconfiguration but the thudding snare and toms must be unfixable. Vocals and guitars are up front and sparkling. Rick Wright drifts in and out in all the right places, never overstaying his welcome. Nice to hear a classic well served by technology.

Animals was unfortunately birthed between two giants: Wish You Were Here and The Wall. It’s not neglected as much as overshadowed, and could have well stood the 5.1 treatment its brethren are now receiving.

Animals is sometimes referred to as Pink Floyd’s response to punk. Maybe. But the sheer length of these songs says no. And punk never could never touch something like Animals. It’s a whole different animal. And not a dinosaur.

Like all music, over time, styles like prog slide in and out of favor. The best of the  bunch, like Pink Floyd and a few others, overshadow their contemparies and continue to easily do so. No one ever made a mistake buying a PInk Floyd album, going to one of their concerts, or sitting in a car way too long on a cold day for Welcome to the Machine to end on the radio.

Pink Floyd continue to deliver the thematic goods too — the wag of the finger at big business by Animals‘ is as relevant today as ever. Let that pig fly over the Battersea power station every day as a reminder of the struggle between business and the rest of the nation’s well being.

The Dark Side box, which came out about a month ago, contains the 2003 5.1 mix, which was, oddly enough, originally released as an SACD. Evidently the two formats are actually compatible with each other. SACDs have gone out of favor, but they pack a solid sonic punch. Knowing a 5.1 mix can be embedded into an SACD is news. Old news, probably, but still news here at the Prog Desk.

—  Discipline and Starless & Bible Black by King Crimson. The 5.1 mixes are getting wide release this week. If they’re anything like the previous work by Steve Wilson, they’re worth having. Sitting in a wide audio field of prime Crimson is a few hours well spent. The stereo mixes, no matter how good, can’t compare.

— Archiving vast musical performances and then selling them at just the right cadence and price is just another day at work for the Grateful Dead. The band’s third serial archive series will be launched in February. Dick’s Picks and Road Trips did their jobs, but the branding sprouts another branch next year. Read all about it here. Thirty-five years and more than 3,000 shows — the snowflakes of rock. Now that’s an archive.

“Inside Obama’s War Room,” in Rolling Stone. This is a revealing look into high-level diplomacy and international politics.

“As he analyzed the crisis, Obama kept his own cards close – so much so that even those deeply engaged in the strategy sessions found it hard to get an accurate impression of where he came down on the issue. But in a move that seemed squarely aimed at avoiding the mistakes of Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama also laid down what insiders say was a set of five guiding principles for any intervention in Libya: that it be effective, multilateral, follow international law, put no American boots on the ground, and pursue a well-defined, achievable goal.”

Must reading, here.