Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Can Remember It For You

Yesterday's UPS delivery brought a copy of the DVD-A of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, one of the half-dozen best albums of all time. Stephen Barncard has been working on the surround-sound mix of this disc for quite a while, and I had pretty much given up hope that it would ever see release. Thankfully, Atlantic Records proved me wrong and put this classic album out in a two-fer package--one disc, a remixed version of the CD, the other a surround-sound mix on DVD-A.

Once it arrived, I decided it was time to run some errands so that I could listen to the disc in the Acura RL. When the first bars of "Music Is Love" began, I was concerned; the sound was front-channel heavy, with virtually nothing but ambient reverb in the rear channel. My worries were assuaged, though, as the song developed and Barncard began to open up the rear sound field a bit, bringing in guitars and vocals.

From there on, the disc opened up. "Cowboy Movie" is full-bodied with a wide-open field, using each speaker the way they should be used. "Tamalpais High" and "Laughing" are wonderful mixes, enveloping the listener in sound.

The real gems, though, are the final three pieces: "Song With No Words," "Orleans," and "I'd Swear There Was Somebody There." Two of the three are wordless, using David Crosby's rich voice as an instrument; the middle song is an old musical mnemonic device that is actually nothing more than a list of cathedrals. Crosby turns it into a harmonic litany that is an aural delight.

The Beatles and David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name in surround sound on the same week--what more could I ask for musically?

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