Esoteric Records first selected the third album by the British art rock band Be Bop Deluxe titled “Sunburst Finish” to receive a deluxe treatment. The 3 CD + 1 DVD NTSC-0 limited edition features an additional 39 bonus tracks mixed into DTS 24-bit / 96kHz 5. 1 surround and stereo taken directly from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W Tayler. The set also contains previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, a BBC Radio In Concert performance from January 1976, along with a rare John Peel Show session from February 1976, plus an unissued and previously unreleased 1976 Harvest Records promotional video for 'Ships in the Night' and a session for BBC TV's "Old Grey Whistle Test" show from January 1976.
Veering more towards Pop Rock than their prescribe progressive and art rock roots, the album lays it out beautifully, particularly on the opener Fair Exchange. Although this is their most accessible release in their five album canon, the inventiveness across all eleven tracks is remarkably evident. OK, so “Ships In The Night” is Pop Reggae, and Southern Rock blazes out on “Life In The Air Age.” Sunburst Finish puts Bill Nelson into the Pop Rock spotlight, a place he may not have wanted to be in, but did put a this album on many more turntables, making it a wonderful selection for a deluxe edition.
Surround enthusiasts who aren’t familiar with Be Bop Deluxe are advised to take a chance on this release. Although the surround mix is somewhat conservative, it is still very effective. Listeners have posted that the fidelity is merely OK, most likely attributed to the original studio session recordings, rather than the actual new 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. We have come a long way in recording techniques and technology for that matter over the past four decase, and am sure they brought out the best of what was available from the source material. A common flaw from that era is the drums and bass, which notably aren’t clear in the mix. Enthusiasts who are picking this up should be aware of these limitations, but also will likely find the enhancements and depth of the surround scape to exceed previous releases.
Released November 23, 2018.
3 CD + 1 DVD NTSC-0 DTS 24b/96k 5.1 and 2.0 mixes limited edition.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.