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Archive for November 2nd, 2010

Fans of Paul’s “Band” May “Run” for Best Buy Exclusive (UPDATED 11/2)

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It’s been a very good year for Beatles fans, especially those with deep pockets! First came The John Lennon Signature Box and reissue campaign, then George Harrison’s Collaborations box set preserving his work with Ravi Shankar. Last Tuesday delivered a sparkling batch of Apple Records remasters, and after months of anticipation, Concord’s Paul McCartney reissue campaign finally kicks off next Tuesday with the reissue of Band on the Run. The 1973 Wings smash takes flight in four configurations: a single-disc remaster available on either LP or CD, a two-CD/one-DVD edition and a three-CD/one-DVD box set. Or at least we thought there were only those four configurations.  Word has arrived that Best Buy will have a store exclusive for Band on the Run: a bonus DVD “featuring interview footage.”

Best Buy’s weekly ad shows the bonus disc as being included with the two-CD/one-DVD edition at the sale price of $14.99; Best Buy’s website, however, appends it to the $9.99 single disc remaster.

The length of the DVD or origin of the interview footage is likely to remain a mystery until someone actually buys the set. That said, this release is sure to be greeted by many McCartney completists with the same frustration that accompanies most news of store exclusives. Other than in its packaging and 120-page book, the box set (listing at $99.98) only bests the much less expensive two-CD/one-DVD version with a previously-released CD that most McCartney fans already own (from the 25th anniversary edition in 1999). Now, thanks to the Best Buy exclusive, a purchaser of the $14.99 set from the retailer will now have more video material than a buyer who plunks down many times that for the ultra-deluxe (but apparently incomplete) box set at Best Buy or anywhere else.

(UPDATE 11/2: Further details of the Best Buy exclusive bonus DVD have been revealed. The DVD runs nearly 25 minutes, and contains four chapters. The first of these is the eight-minute EPK (Electronic Press Kit) created to promote this remaster. The disc is rounded out by three live performances of Band tracks which, although unidentified on the sleeve, appear to be taken from last year’s Good Evening, New York City concert film: “Jet,” “Mrs Vandebilt” and “Band on the Run.” In store, the bonus DVD is bundled not with the single-disc remaster, but rather with the 2-CD/1-DVD edition, at a sale price of $14.99. It comes in a paper sleeve replicating the album’s cover and is attached to the top of the digipak, but it is able to be removed cleanly.)

Still, with retailers struggling to remain competitive in a challenging sales climate, these ever-controversial retailer exclusives are here to stay. For those who haven’t yet pre-ordered Band on the Run and planned to purchase the “mid-sized” edition anyway, two CDs and two DVDs for $14.99 at the big box giant might just be a viable way to go.

Written by Joe Marchese

November 2, 2010 at 23:15

Crom Smiles Upon Us on This Day

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One of the most-requested score expansions is finally happening – but with a twist.

Basil Poledouris’ score to the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian has been considered by many fans and critics to be one of the best film scores of the 1980s. It’s a massive, classically-minded affair – easily as massive as the film’s star, Arnold Schwarzenegger – with heavy use of leitmotif to represent various locations, moods and characters. The music has been lauded by fantasy fans for years, and opened the door for a lot of scoring opportunities for Poledouris, including the Robocop series, The Hunt for Red October, Starship Troopers and a composition for the 1996 Olympic Games.

The original soundtrack, first issued on MCA Records at the time of release, featured a sizable portion of the original score, and Varese Sarabande further expanded the set in 1992. But it was still largely incomplete – there was nearly two hours of score to include, after all – and things got worse when the film score community began to discuss the very real possibility that the master tapes had been damaged.

Now, to honor the life and career of Poledouris (who died in 2006), the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Nic Raine, have re-recorded the original score to Conan, using the best recording technology and the original film orchestrations. Every note heard in the film is included in this two-disc set, along with alternate cues and a piece from the 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer. The liner notes feature a new, in-depth essay by composer/scholar Frank K. DeWald as well as an introduction by Poledouris’ children, Zoe and Alexis.

Pre-orders are now being taken for what is sure to be a great set. View the specs for Conan after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 2, 2010 at 14:00

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

“Dead of Winter” Comes This Fall

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Composer Richard Einhorn may be best known for Voices of Light, his 1994 work inspired by the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. But Einhorn has a lengthy resume in both the worlds of classical and film, successfully marrying both in Voices. On Monday, Kritzerland began taking pre-orders for a world premiere release, Einhorn’s score to Arthur Penn’s 1987 thriller, Dead of Winter.

Despite Penn’s stellar pedigree and a cast including Mary Steenburgen and Roddy McDowall, Dead of Winter was met with decidedly mixed reviews. The plot was pretty standard issue horror in the faux Hitchcock vein, with Steenburgen as the imperiled heroine, Katie, who bears a striking resemblance to actress Julia Ross (also played by Steenburgen), who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Penn enjoyed playing with genre staples like the ominous house, blackmail, mistaken identity and looming paranoia. Roger Ebert found the end result “an exercise in silliness,” but other critics found the film “fun,” “clever” and “hair-raising.” Dead of Winter may have appeared as a throwback in 1987, but at least in the musical department, it was a throwback of the best kind. Rather than bow to then-current tastes, Einhorn provided a score in the classic suspense mode, utilizing an orchestra instead of synthesizers. His atmospheric, moody score complemented Penn’s vision exceptionally well, and Kritzerland’s soundtrack marks its first-ever release. In addition to the full score mastered directly from Einhorn’s personal digital tapes, a bonus suite of alternate cues is presented.

Dead of Winter is a limited edition of 1,000 copies and can be pre-ordered here for $19.98. The official release date is the first week of December, but pre-orders likely will arrive earlier. Hit the jump for the track listing and sound samples! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 2, 2010 at 10:51

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Release Round-Up: Week of November 2

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Another week, another batch of reissues!

Wings, Band on the Run: Special Edition (Concord)

After reissues of John Lennon’s solo catalogue and the Apple Records discography, another Beatles-oriented campaign kicks off with a new reissue of Band on the Run, Paul McCartney and Wings’ classic LP. It’s the first of his classic discs to be re-released on Concord, and will be available in a wide variety of formats. (Best of all, it’s the first drop in the bucket – an insert inside the sets confirms upcoming reissues of more McCartney and Wings sets.) (Official Site)

Weezer, Pinkerton: Deluxe Edition / Death to False Metal (Geffen/UMe)

With Weezer no longer a part of the Geffen roster, UMe begins mining the pop-rock band’s considerable back catalogue (after a 10th anniversary reissue of the band’s 1994 debut). This week brings a similar deluxe edition of 1995’s Pinkerton, long thought to be the band’s crowning achievement, and a compilation of outtakes, Death to False Metal. (Official Site)

Various Artists, The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition (RCA/Legacy)

To time with the film’s debut on Blu-Ray, Sony reissues The Sound of Music yet again, with a rendition of “My Favorite Things” by Glee star Lea Michele as a bonus track. (Amazon)

Pet Shop Boys, Ultimate Pet Shop Boys (EMI)

A slim, single-disc distillation of the PSB discography, with a new track, “Together.” A deluxe edition adds a DVD full of goodies, including all the band’s live BBC performances and their acclaimed set at Glastonbury back in June. (Amazon U.K.) Read the rest of this entry »