Hear the new 5.1 mix of Roger Waters 1992 concept album Amused to Death before you can buy it.
While not as well-known as many of his albums with Pink Floyd, Amused to Death, deserves careful listening. Waters comments on many things we may have missed because we are “amusing ourselves to death” watching television. Fans will be in familiar territory while finding new ways to think about the world.
The original mix was known for its expansive stereo image, with some sounds seeming to come from outside your speakers. The barking dog at the beginning truly sounded like it was coming from the house next door. The new surround sound mix builds on this, creating an immersive environment in which the listener is enveloped by the sound effects and music. This cinematic experience suits the album perfectly. My dogs ignore my home theater system. The war scenes near the beginning of Pink Floyd: The Wall don’t affect them no matter how loud I play it. The barking dog at the beginning fooled them and thought their buddy Sawyer was outside.
The sound effects are really cool, but it’s the music where the mix really matters. There is a lot going on, so pulling some of the instruments around the sides and to the back makes everything a little easier to hear. And you do want to hear Jeff Beck’s guitar solos, don’t you? (Side note: If you ever wondered how Jeff Beck might have handled the opening of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” from Wish You Were Here, find out here.)
The album was very well engineered to begin with and sounds fantastic in stereo or 5.1. The big songs are huge. “What God Wants” is nice and heavy, the gentle moments are super quiet, and the all the vocals jump right out at you. Waters uses all his vocal tricks while often sharing the mike with some incredibly strong female singers. (Another aside: after my first complete audition of the Blu-ray, I checked out Audio Fidelity’s new SACD release of Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends. I’d have to give the sonic nod to Roger Waters and sounding better than an Audio Fidelity release is no small feat. I still recommend the Cocker disc, naturally.)
I encourage anyone who is curious about listening to music in surround sound to attend Thursday’s event. It’s an amazing way to experience great music. I promise you will be blown away. (Also, Sony was kind enough to donate a CD, a CD/Blu-ray package, and some posters to give away Thursday night. )
Quick note on the packages available Friday
The album will now be available in five versions:
- Standard CD with new stereo mix
- CD (new stereo mix) and Blu-ray (new stereo and surround sound mixes) in a nice book-like package
- 2LP Picture disc
- 2LP audiophile vinyl release from Analogue Productions
- SACD from Analogue Productions