Renaissance fans are delighted that the British progressive rock band have reissued their 1979 album “Azure D'Or” as a deluxe 2 CD + 1 Blu-ray edition featuring an all-new surround mix. The album features a mix of rock, classical, and folk influences, with some songs featuring elaborate orchestrations and others featuring more stripped-down arrangements. The band's lead vocalist, Annie Haslam, with her distinctive soprano voice is featured prominently on the album. Working once again with David Hentschel (who had also produced the albums A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering for Genesis), the record features excellent material such as “Jekyll and Hyde,” “Kalynda,” and “The Flood at Lyons.” As it turns out, this ended up being the last album by the band's classic line-up and their last to chart in the UK.
This deluxe edition has been digitally remastered and expanded comprising of two CDs and a region-free Blu-ray disc that features a newly remastered original stereo mix from the original master tapes, plus all-new 5. 1 surround sound and stereo mixes in 96kHz / 24-bit by engineer Stephen W Tayler. The second CD includes additional unreleased bonus material from the album sessions, as well as bonus visual content found on the Blu-ray from a promotional film made at The Mill House and Bray Studios in 1979. The package contains an illustrated booklet with a reproduction of the band's 1979 UK tour program and a new essay with exclusive interviews.
The album followed the successful album “A Song for all Seasons” and their hit single “Northern Lights” which were released the previous year. Certainly, Azure D'Or is considered one of the better late-era Renaissance albums from the original continuity of the "mark II" lineup of the group, which is the one fans are most familiar with. Unlike the two preceding albums, it is orchestrated with lush melodic passages, beautiful lyrics, and remarkable playing by every member. Azure d'Or is rather similar to the group's earlier albums, excepting the emphasis on the use of the synthesizer, a departure from the piano that was prominent in their earlier work, plus the extended instrumental passages that offer an updated sound for the band.
Check back for a complete review of the album on the high-resolution Blu-ray.
Released December 16, 2022
2CD + 1 Blu-ray expanded deluxe edition with 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo 96kHz / 24-bit mixes. Also available via streaming sites.
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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.