The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for June 3rd, 2010

Take Them On…Later

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Another quick update on a catalogue reissue: Rhino has pushed back the shipping date of the upcoming Deluxe Editions of a-ha’s Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days to July 6 in the U.S. and August 6 in the U.K. All together now: noooooooooooo.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 3, 2010 at 15:49

Posted in a-ha, News, Reissues

Reissue Theory: “Born in the U.S.A.: The Remixes”

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I’m not sure how old I was when I learned what a remix was. I certainly didn’t have a childhood of going through 12″ singles and hearing alternate, longer versions of my favorite pop songs. But I do know that when I first started realizing that songs would be edited for radio (or extended for single consumption), my mind was blown.

This increased tenfold with the discovery of remixes through the ’80s. Say what you will about the music at that time, some of it was made better by remixing on vinyl. Those extended passages, done by cutting and splicing tape instead of hacking stuff together in Pro Tools, was studio art. (It didn’t hurt that I also had no concept of studio recording, and thought each individual track was laid down one at a time.)

As remixes got more avant-garde, adding more ridiculous overdubs and entirely different backing tracks, the idea got boring. But thanks to lots of reissue projects in the past decade or so, ’80s remixes live on. And even if they aren’t always better, they’re certainly always interesting.

Take Bruce Springsteen, for instance. Born in the U.S.A., his 1984 LP, was a smash success that yielded seven hits (in an already big year for radio hits in general – Prince, Madonna, Michael, etc.). But it was also a minor change in direction for him, in that he had a bit more modernity in his sound (particularly compared to his last album, the incredibly spare Nebraska (1982)). Songs like “Dancing in the Dark” and the title track were heavy on synths and big drum sounds – the typical order of the day for ’80s pop – and the first three singles from the record were commercially remixed by Arthur Baker, who was on the rise thanks to his work with Afrika Bambaaataa and Cyndi Lauper (he would produce and/or mix for Hall and Oates and Bob Dylan within the next two years).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these remixes have ever been put out on CD. And to be honest, I can’t imagine that the ten mixes Baker did (two of which were actually Top 20 Club hits on Billboard‘s chart) would ever turn up on a reissue of Born in the U.S.A. But would a digital EP or limited CD release be impossible? I think not.

Join us after the jump to speculate on how a remixes EP for Born in the U.S.A. would look. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 3, 2010 at 15:45

Clouds on the Horizon

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Even though The Second Disc is primarily geared toward catalogue matters, I’d be doing myself a disservice by not paying attention to music as it stands in the present day.

There’s a trend I’ve been trying to wrap my head around on the tech side of music, one which could actually have spectacular implications for catalogue works if done properly. They’re calling it “the cloud” – mobile, streaming music services that keep the music on a server instead of directly downloading it to your computer. Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, MOG and Rdio are some of the biggest names in cloud-based technology that you may have come across in recent times. Even Apple itself, which has had a firm hold on the music market for years with the iTunes Store, seems like it’s going to switch over to a cloud-based model, having recently bought recently-shuttered streaming service Lala with possible intent to use its technology for their purposes.

If you’ve used a cloud-based model in your online listening, you have probably had a pretty darn good experience with it. Pandora is a constant fixture on my laptop or iPod touch; say you like an artist like Squeeze, you type the band name in and get a host of tracks from them and other similar artists (Elvis Costello, XTC, The La’s, Blur, The Clash and so on). Chances are you’ll not only hear “only music that you like,” as the site advertises, but new songs by other acts you might dig too. It’s awesome – mostly. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 3, 2010 at 13:22

Paul Simon to Embrace His Legacy

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It may not be as big a news item as Paul McCartney shifting his solo catalog from sinking ship major EMI to rising indie Concord, but Paul Simon has told Showbiz411’s Roger Friedman of his plans to move his entire output from Warner Music Group to Sony/Columbia. Or more accurately, back to Sony/Columbia. Simon recorded his very first solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook, for Columbia’s U.K. arm in 1965, and of course, the entire Simon and Garfunkel catalog has long resided there. When Simon and Garfunkel launched solo careers post-1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, both stayed with the label that had supported them through their joint success, and Simon is now promising to bring his entire catalog – both with Art and without – under the same umbrella. Read more of Paul’s recording history and current plans after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 3, 2010 at 00:24

Posted in News, Paul Simon, Reissues