An Innocent Plea to Remove Remasters from Your Content Release Plan
"Also... our fans are smart enough to know that if there is a new release coming out that we haven’t advertised... it is only profiting some third party that has no association with the band. "
As I work, I often listen to music, and want to keep things fresh by pulling from a rotating list of albums. (That's right, I still listen to whole albums at a time.) So I jumped at the opportunity to list through Between the Buried and Me yet again. The way their music flows as would the many forks of a river is unparalleled, interleaving motifs and rhythms that give you a true sense of their stories. Needless to say, I could put on Alaska and listen all the way through Automata II.
Today, I opened their page on Spotify and found that they've been releasing remixed/remastered of their older catalogue. I guess I didn't pay attention last year when they came out with the revised The Great Misdirect, so I opted to put it on and see what had changed.
For starters, although I learned about BtBaM later (I first heard The Parallax 2 when I was in college), they immediately rose to the top of my playlists, and it might be for that reason that I don't ogle over Colors as so many a fan-lad/lass do. No, my love calcified over The Great Misdirect; I nearly spilled my coffee reaching for my headphones too quickly to hear the remaster...
...Until I remembered why I dislike remixes. OK. Yes, it's nice to hear a polished snare hit and perfectly a triggered bass drum, but Richardson's playing reflected that without any processing. It carries through even when they play live! But it's refreshing to hear the bass and synth parts. They weren't there before? Of course they were, but perhaps it simply took a deeper listen to hear their intricacies. All the additions did little more (for me) than subtract from the raw grit Metal is known for. I felt the music placated by modern production tricks you could sum up on a Top 10 Ways to Make Your Mix... The Same as Everyone Else's.
What's wrong with a genuine raw tone? What's wrong with letting bygones be bygones? The album came out 10 years before the remaster, and, conveniently, the remix/remaster came out a year after their last full-length. How am I supposed to enjoy something that seems so obviously tailored to making a label money? Why does genuine art get so easily subsumed by the monster jaws of industry?
"Also... our fans are smart enough to know that if there is a new release coming out that we haven’t advertised... it is only profiting some third party that has no association with the band. --Between the Buried and Me, 2013 "
BtBaM, I know this isn't your doing, so this is to the fans, to the labels, to the future generations. Listen to what you know is true. There's too many new, original pieces of music being released to get stuck on re-releases and unscrupulous attention-grabbing.
I've been caught once before, with Opeth's rerelease of Deliverance/Damnation, and maybe the remaster was they way Akerfeldt had originally meant it. I'll never know, but I can guarantee I'll take new music over a re-release, even if I have to wait another year to hear it.