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  Universal (Japan) -
  Camel: Moonmadness
Track listing:
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 2

Review by OleTroll July 4, 2014 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A pricey acquisition, to be sure, but well worth it for anyone who appreciates this title. Camel was what they call a "pretty prog" band which committed its most important works to... what else... vinyl in the mid 1970s. This is one of their two most noteworthy releases, and beyond any doubts, their most progressive. If you haven't heard Camel start with this one. It's the top of their hump...
There are other cheaper 'releases' you could wet your feet with, if you want, but I don't recommend the SHM-CD release from just a couple years ago. It had my ears bleeding by the end of track 2 and I honestly NEVER listened to it again. I'll bet my prog collection that most Japanese fans felt exactly the same way, hence this current product, so soon after.
It's WAY better in every way I know how to explicate. Universal-Japan got their 'co-workers' in the UK to make a new DSD transfer of the master tape for this edition specifically, and boy can I tell... There's no Steven Wilson 5.1 magic here, but maybe giving their all for the Single layer SACD did the trick. My previous favorite copy of _Moonmadness_ was German vinyl from the 70s, and this "audiophile only" (according to the OBI strip) release equals or bests it. All Camel releases were more or less, "wall-of-sound" type productions, so the very nature of their beast meant this music does not, and was never intended to produce the thunderous dynamics SACD is capable of. The disc can only give you what's on the Master tape, and this one does!
In fact I'm amazingly delighted at how little this almost 40-year-old analogue (BTW, thanks for the previous review...) tape has degraded. It SO sounds like my German Lp that I 'bout cried on first audition (yea, I did actually). What dynamics WERE there, are STILL there, so drummer Andy Ward's BEST work for Camel can easily be studied and appreciated. He was primarily a finesse percussionist like Bill Bruford. Camel's Lennon-McCartney were their late keyboardist Peter Bardens and guitarist Andrew Latimer. After composing great pieces, they went into the studio (Island Records' Basing St. in this case) to basically trade mind-melting leads which were mixed up, and average vocals which were treated with studio processing and mixed down. For me, they do NOT detract from the experience. They sang in tune, that's all I ever needed. By its High Resolution nature, this SHM-SACD permits one to focus a bit more attention to each player and for a Camel record, that's not a good thing, it's the PERFECT thing. You can hear the monophonic Moog bend the notes in between each of Bardens' fingers and Latimer's shredding is SO fluid that I used to think some of it was played via synth. Warp factor WOW. If you're interested, I wouldn't dawdle as these Japanese products tend to have a very limited lifespan. And given the source material, I can't hear how this edition could be topped.

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Review by analogue March 31, 2014 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This new disc highlights what a good prog- rock band Camel was. They always kept things interesting and experimented with different instruments and tempo changes.
I wont get into a track by track review.

The sound on this disc illuminates that the recording is a little gentle on the ears so volume needs to be pushed up louder than usual. Except for the first track that is. Sound stage, vocals and low end are well represented.

This Shm Sacd features good bass and guitar all sounds good. Synths, flute and textures are spot on.

This new disc features two bonus cuts. The latter features a magnificent live cut of Lunar Sea which showcases what a great live band they were. It starts off easy and ends in an incredible long and blazing guitar solo. A fantastic cut to be sure. Camel was going for the throat on this cut.
It would be awesome is Universal Japan would release a live album. Im tempted to say they sound and play better live.

Recommended with very good sound that needs to be cranked.

Good mastering.

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