Ok I know there are going to be an avalanche of questions as to choices/ formats etc etc etc so I’ll try and cover what I think will be FAQ’s now.
In 2001 when I moved from the house to my present residence ,The Studio a lot of things went missing including some demos and other recordings of ideas.
I was never one for making demos as there was no one to get opinions from, no record company to get an ok from and when we worked on songs we rarely kept track of progress.What there was wasn’t really logged as the material wasn’t that great in early stages so I wasn’t inspired to hoard it as some artists do.
Because I had my own studio we worked on ideas and erased what wasn’t good enough. I never took the Bruce Springsteen route of writing loads of material and choosing the best for the album. If it wasn’t good enough I mostly discarded it or salvaged sections to be worked on that became the finished songs.
As the studio recordings up until 1998 were made using a Mitsubishi 32 track digital and a 24 track Studer analogue machine I have 2 different sizes of tape ( one inch and 2 inch respectively). I closed the studio at the end of 98.
These machines are now relative rarities and expensive to hire to make digital copies. I had to sell mine when I closed the studio as a refurbishment to keep it commercially viable was impossible to realise and I was under tremendous pressure from my bank to pay back loans and a crippling overdraft. The recorders and most of the equipment went in a “fire sale” delivering a pittance that was a band aid on a burst artery!
Another story for the autobiography!
The tapes, which I still have would have to be “baked” to allow them to run on the machines. To be absolutely frank the cost of doing this is prohibitive as I don’t honestly think there are enough potential sales outside the loyal fan base to make it viable. More harsh realities!
Full remixes on “Sunsets” and “Raingods” are therefore not feasible.
“Fellini Days” is another issue. That album was recorded on hard drives. The tech was young and the formats now old. The drives were not backed up and when I examined them 2 years ago the actual physical characteristics of the drive were totally corrupted and despite sending them off to be rescued at a recognised firm the contents were irretrievable.The multi track copy was lost forever!
Chris Kimsey was to remix “Raingods”, “Fellini Days” and “Field of Crows” but in the end only “Field” was accessible. He’s done a superlative job on the songs and his remix alone makes it practically a brand new album!
Calum Malcolm has mastered nearly all the albums and the live material so he has access to the stereo files. These are decent sizes but not all available in 24 bit. Please don’t go into techy issues with me as I am a singer not an engineer. I can get info from Calum but even I know now we don’t have sooper dooper sizes available.He is remastering every single track to get the best out of them that he can and I know he will make them sound great.
Regarding 5-1 mixes again the expense overrules the implementation. I talked to Steven Wilson and Nick Beggs about this at the gig in Edinburgh recently and had already discussed them with Calum on the “Feast” sessions. There isn’t the demand you may think and once again the cost overrules the reality. It’s a promo tool that is very expensive and even Steve said that he is overrun with requests from clients with far bigger fan bases than I have with far heftier budgets from major labels supporting them.
The live tracks I have chosen together with Steve Vantsis are what I consider great versions and stand together with the studio material in the packages. A lot of the original live albums are out of print or deleted and the others that exist will not be reproduced. The live versions stand together with the original recordings to give an overall insight into the different renditions across the years and across the various line ups. They are I believe the definitive versions although some of you will disagree. They are what I have available and were chosen originally from ranks of recordings as being the best at the time.
Vinyl versions will eventually be available but it won’t be the 3 cd version and they will be 2 albums on 180 gramme vinyl. Again tbh I can’t afford to invest huge amounts in production of titles across different formats. It has to be done bit by bit.
The full albums will be available for download but I am restricting streaming sites to a few tracks per album and won’t be putting everything up.
I’ve thought long and hard about these re releases and seeing copies of the originals going on e bay for 30-60 pounds it’s time to get my solo catalogue out there in a final definitive form at a reasonable price.
I’ve got a hell of a lot of work to put in on the content of the actual packaging together with Mark Wilkinson in the coming months to make this something really worth having for fans and people discovering my songs.
These are the final versions that I’m delivering as the legacy. I hope you like them!