Review by Tim Darbyshire
Fragile is the fourth classic Yes album to be remixed by Steven Wilson, with a brand new 2015 Stereo mix and 5.1 Surround Sound mix. This Panegyric release comes in two formats, a double disc cd/dvd-a digipack version and a double disc cd/blu-ray audio gatefold mini-LP sleeve version.
The blu-ray version pretty much mirrors my old vinyl LP, the insert booklet that came with the LP is replicated here in mini form. The original Roger Dean artwork has been expanded and additional material from Roger Dean’s archive has been included. The main CD booklet itself is entirely original, including a new essay by Sid Smith.
So what about the music? Personally I’m always happy to hear another version of a classic Yes album. As ever the Wilson mix is balanced and very clean. His love of the music shines through, but in the end it’s a matter of personal taste whether this becomes your ‘go to’ version of Fragile. It is for me, with the surround versions of ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ and ‘South Side Of The Sky’ sounding particularly fresh.
Highlight of the extra tracks would probably be ‘All Fighters Past’, which was found at the end of a tape, the majority of the song having been recorded over. We do get nearly three minutes of ‘new’ Yes music, which includes early sections of ‘The Revealing Science Of God’ and a melody that became part of ‘Siberian Khatru’.
Panegyric should be commended for producing another high quality value for money release.
So Panegyric Definitive Editions now exist for ‘Fragile’, ‘The Yes Album’, ‘Close To The Edge’ and ‘Relayer’ .Steven Wilson has confirmed he has worked on ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’, but is unsure as to whether this will see the light of day. His facebook page also says this is the last of the scheduled Yes releases. Steve Howe, however, did seem to indicate on the recent Cruise To The Edge that ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ will be released. ‘Tales’ might not have the general appeal of the other four, but I’m sure enough units would be sold to justify the release.
The contents of the blu-ray disc are as follows:
– Album mixed in 24-96 5.1 PCM Surround Sound & in DTS-HD MA 5.1 from original multi-track sources.
– New Album mix in High Resolution Stereo
– Original Album mix (flat transfer) in High Resolution Stereo
– Six additional tracks (see below)
– Full album instrumental mixes by Steven Wilson
– Two additional alternate takes
– A full album needle-drop of an original UK vinyl pressing
– US promo singles edits as needle-drops.
As a bonus, the 2001 dvd-a 5.1 version of ‘Fragile’ is included, including ‘America’ – and it sounds very different to the Wilson version, bass heavy to my ears…
02 Cans & Brahms
03 We Have Heaven
04 South Side of the Sky
05 Five Percent for Nothing
06 Long Distance Runaround
07 The Fish
08 Mood for a Day
09 Heart of The Sunrise
10 We Have Heaven (full mix)
11 South Side of the Sky (early version)
12 All Fighters Past (previously unheard)
13 We Have Heaven (acapella) mixed by Steven Wilson
14 Roundabout (rehearsal take/early mix)
15 Mood for Another Day (alternate take of Mood for a Day)