Robin Trower - Bridge of SighsBridge of Sighs, Robin Trower's second album after blazing out of Procol Harum, is a rip-roaring, soul-stirring rock ripping magic. Often hailed as a blues-rock supernova that streaked like a comet across the music scene. Trower, with his power trio, tore through boundaries, shredding the very fabric of sound with electrifying fervor.

Joined by the soulful crooner and bass virtuoso James Dewar, and the rhythmic sorcerer Reg Isidore, they summoned a psychedelic blues tempest that grooved with every note and beat. Behind the mixing boards, the dynamic duo of Matthew Fisher and Geoff Emerick, themselves legends of the rock pantheon, created this audiophile landscape that has reverberated with timeless intensity.

Now, half a century later, these sonic relics have been unearthed, remixed, and remastered from their original master tape. High-resolution immersive enthusiasts have been asking for a physical spatial release of the Bridge of Sighs, and this 50th Anniversary Edition is on its way, a sprawling opus pulsating with unreleased treasures and live performances that'll make listeners speakers quake and their heart race.

Delve into the 24-page tome within, where David Sinclair's prose guides fans through the labyrinth of rock history. Interviews with Robin Trower and Matthew Fisher illuminate the creative crucible where this masterpiece was forged. Icons of rock like Bryan Ferry, Robert Fripp, and Steve Lukather add their voices to the chorus, alongside rare snapshots that capture the essence of an era.

So, get ready, on May 17, Chrysalis Records will release the 50th Anniversary of Bridge of Sighs 3 CD + Blu-ray edition. Featuring a freshly minted stereo mix, coupled with unearthed gems and a live performance that will transport rockers back in time. Certainly, for those seeking true immersion, the Blu-ray beckons, with a Dolby Atmos and 5.1 Surround Mix, sure to be a sonic carnival for the senses.

Sensibly the anniversary edition is available in various versions: a 3CD/Blu-ray box as described above, brimming with sonic treasures and a lavish booklet, ensconced in a media book for safekeeping. Vinyl enthusiasts can revel in the 2LP set, pressed on 180g black vinyl, and housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. Also, for the digital denizens, download editions and streaming are likely to be available too.

CD 1: contains the original album, remastered from the tape transfers. CD 2: 2024 Stereo Mix along with a selection of outtakes and rarities never heard before, plus USA radio spots. CD 3: entire show from the US tour supporting the album, available for the first time and newly remastered from the original tape transfers. Blu-ray with all the material from the CD’s, plus a newly created Dolby Atmos and 5.1 Surround mix, along with stereo album instrumentals and additional outtakes that are only available here.

At the center of this package is a 24-page booklet featuring liner notes by David Sinclair, newly conducted interviews with Robin Trower and Matthew Fisher and testimonials by Bryan Ferry, Robert Fripp, Steve Lukather, Clive Bunker, Andy Parker and album cover designer Paul Olsen, all alongside previously unseen photographs.

Bridge of Sighs is undoubtably a monument to the enduring power of rock and roll, and no collector of any sort will want to miss this edition.

Bridge of Sighs, Robin Trower's second album after blazing out of Procol Harum, is a rip-roaring, soul-stirring rock ripping magic. Often hailed as a blues-rock supernova that streaked like a comet across the music scene. Trower, with his power trio, tore through boundaries, shredding the very fabric of sound with electrifying fervor.

Joined by the soulful crooner and bass virtuoso James Dewar, and the rhythmic sorcerer Reg Isidore, they summoned a psychedelic blues tempest that grooved with every note and beat. Behind the mixing boards, the dynamic duo of producer Matthew Fisher and engineer Geoff Emerick, themselves legends of the rock pantheon, created this audiophile landscape that has reverberated with timeless intensity.

Now, half a century later, these sonic relics have been unearthed, remixed, and remastered from their original master tape. High-resolution immersive enthusiasts have been asking for a physical spatial release of the Bridge of Sighs, and this 50th Anniversary Edition has arrived as a sprawling opus pulsating with unreleased treasures and live performances that'll make listeners speakers quake and their heart race.

Let’s head over now to the 50th Anniversary of “Bridge of Sighs,” released in May of 2024. Sensibly the anniversary edition is available in various versions: as a 3 CD + 1 Blu-ray box reviewed here and brimming with sonic treasures and a lavish booklet, ensconced in a media book for safekeeping. Vinyl enthusiasts can revel in the 2LP set, pressed on 180g black vinyl, and housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. Also, for the digital denizens, download editions and streaming are available too.

CD 1: contains the original album, remastered from the tape transfers. CD 2: 2024 Stereo Mix along with a selection of outtakes and rarities never heard before, plus USA radio spots. CD 3: Live At the Record Plant, Sausalito May 29th, 1974, available for the first time and newly remastered from the original tape transfers. Blu-ray with all the material from the CD’s, plus a newly created Dolby Atmos and 5.1 Surround mix of the original album, along with stereo album instrumentals and additional outtakes that are only available on the Blu-ray. No matter the codec, these are all at 48kHz / 24-bit.

Now, to decipher all of various mixes, one must think a little outside the box. I admit to a literal reading of the menus which identify 2024 Remasters and 2024 Stereo Remixes. One would think that the 2024 Remaster would contain only the original stereo album remastered, only to find out this menu is the main entrance to the house. Under this menu there are four audio options, three of which are Remixes, not Remasters. The first option is the original stereo album mix remastered, the second is the all-new Dolby Atmos mix, the third is the all new DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround mix, and the fourth is the LPCM new stereo instrumental mix.

Back out on the Main Menu, the next option is the 2024 Stereo Remix, which is very intriguing, especially for musicians. This all-new stereo mix has unearthed and presented the entire take to listeners. There are no fade outs, that were common practice back in the day, and incorporated on every song on the original album. Instead, the remix reveals the additional playing that extends some songs by as much as two minutes. That is a tone more Trower to listen to! I don’t really know what they really thought when the songs were recorded, but it is almost as if they just jammed at the end of the track and turned it over to the producer to find the best spot to start the fade out. From my perspective, these remixes are truly revealing.

It is time now to talk about the immersive mixes. First, I applaud having a dedicated surround mix on a release that features Atmos. I do want to be clear that these versions mimic the original album fade outs, and do not contain the additional jamming. In other words, these are the production versions, now mixed in multi-channel audio. While these mixes do the best to retain the same energy and balance, there are critical differences in the immersive aspect. Bluntly, the DTS HD Master 5.1 surround mix is a pass for me, as this mix tends to be front centric, lacking the immersive nature of the Dolby Atmos mix. Sure, some guitar parts are delayed in the back channels, and of course the wind on the title track is distinctly behind the sweet spot. Let’s keep moving on.

On the other hand, the Dolby Atmos mix takes the album to new heights, albeit only lightly up top. Dewar’s vocals rise out of the center into the heights, allowing them to spread nicely across the room. Occasional secondary guitars rise off the floor a bit, and the wind extends into the rear heights. With all of this said, it is the core Atmos bed where all the action happens, and there is plenty of it. Guitars strongly emanate from the rear speakers, while bass and drums prominently are rooted up front. Vocals soar out from the center and the entire room is filled with a Trower of sonic bliss.

The overall sonics are excellent, with a smoothness to the vocals and fullness of the bass. Guitars are clear and lack any bite that exits from earlier masters, and the balance of the new mixes is even more remarkable than the original mix. An easy to notice difference is the more pronounced backing vocals on “Too Rolling Stoned” along with plenty of other subtleties. All in all, I personally find myself most drawn to the Dolby Atmos mix followed by the Stereo Remix. The instrumental mixes are cool too and may be best for guitar players to pour over.

Now, a collectors knit-pick, it is not possible to delve into the 24-page book where David Sinclair's prose guides fans through the labyrinth of rock history, unless one removes all the discs from the case! Gotta remove those buggers and place them elsewhere to read the interviews with Robin Trower and Matthew Fisher which illuminate the creative crucible where this masterpiece was forged. Also, within those pages, icons of rock like Bryan Ferry, Robert Fripp, and Steve Lukather add their voices to the chorus, alongside rare snapshots that capture the essence of an era. And to make matters worse, the discs are tightly slipped in side by side, just ready to rub against the other as they are removed and replaced. While the overall box looks awesome from the outside, these basic design problems decrease its overall appeal for me.

Setting aside the design and menu issues with the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Bridge of Sighs is still undoubtably a monument to the enduring power of rock and roll, and no collector of any sort will want to miss this edition. Spatial audio enthusiasts especially will want to add this into their collection. Fans of jam bands, blues rock, and of course Jimi Hendrix too will likely want to grab this too before it goes out of print.

Release May 17, 2024.

 

 Format Info

3CD + Blu-ray 50th Anniversary Box Set with Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo mixes all at 48kHz / 24-bit lossless. Bonus material, including concert.  Also available on vinyl, and via streaming with different mastering.

 

 

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 About the Author

Wesley Derbyshire Profile Image

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 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.

 

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