Bowie: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Parlophone DBZS50 (LP). 2020/1972. David Bowie and Ken Scott, prods. Ken Scott, John Webber, engs.
Overall performance *****
Sonics *****

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was 1 of the initially albums I ever acquired. A week just before, an uncle had provided me his aged pink Dansette record player I employed gathered pocket dollars to christen it. Just after just a person engage in, the 10-yr-aged me was blown absent. But it was not just elementary faculty young children who beloved this album, leading to it to crack into the top rated 30 US and Uk album charts. This was the album that released Bowie to superstardom.

Glam experienced been throwing color into grey 1970s Britain, but Bowie, with influences as assorted as the Velvet Underground and A Clockwork Orange, took it even more than the Sweets and Slades. His lyrics and his interviews were being not aimed at a secure audience tracks about alienation and his bulletins of bisexuality ended up not the usual things of the pop earth of the time. Bowie was pop and rock, available and edgy. His arm close to Mick Ronson on the BBC’s tunes flagship, Best of the Pops, may well appear tame now, but in 1972, British living rooms shook when it arrived on the display screen. Now that instant is hailed as significant in Uk LGBT+ cultural history.

Fifty many years later, there is considerably hullabaloo about the album’s anniversary, which (between a lot else) reveals that Ziggy’s place in rock record is safe (if anyone had any uncertainties). One piece of the 50 percent-century celebration is this new pressing, issued by Parlophone, lower by John Webber “on a fully customised late Neumann VMS80 lathe with completely recapped electronics from 192kHz restored masters of the original Trident Studios master tapes, with no extra processing on transfer,” according to the press release. (A photograph disc is also readily available.) So that’s the tech things the major question is, does it seem far better? Is it a plus for the audio or a advertising and marketing ploy? I’ve purchased a handful of 50 percent-speed masters from other bands and not read a fantastic offer of variance.

The operate-in to “Five Many years” is absolutely silent there’s not even an h of a hiss, then, to quote a song later on the album, wham bam thank you ma’am! The epic “Five Many years” sounds even additional epic. The echoing cry-in and dying away of Bowie’s vocal look to achieve farther again behind the speakers. You can find a lot more power and additional depth. From that issue on, the sound quality in no way allows up. The only pops you hear on the file are the songs the only history sound is the sound I make in appreciation.

Compared to the 2020 remaster (Parlophone DB69734), Bowie’s voice appears much better and a lot more soulful, primarily in quieter times, together with on the title keep track of or on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” But when he is rocking, it truly does rock: “Suffragette Metropolis” and “Moonage Daydream” are just amazing. The excess oomph offered Mick Ronson reveals when yet again that he is 1 of rock’s most underrated guitarists (and, it has to be explained, pianists). Purer seem also will allow Mick Woodmansey (drums) and Trevor Bolder (bass) to be read much more evidently, exhibiting that they weren’t in the band only for the sideburns and flared trousers.

It may sound contradictory, but you can find a feeling that particular person components are getting presented much more space, but at the exact time, they’re extra blended. The devices are more to the fore in the new music, surrounding the voice as opposed to backing it.

This goes as much as the backing vocals, these types of as on “It Ain’t Simple,” exactly where they positively explode out of the speakers. If nothing else, maybe this launch will assist rehabilitate the most less than-rated of the Ziggy music. Under no circumstances brain the facile “must it have been bundled?” debates, just hear to Dana Gillespie in those people vocals, to Bowie’s very own efficiency, and to Ronson’s gorgeous slide guitar. The depth tilts this Ziggy marginally away from the Marc Bolan impact and towards the Iggy Pop, which, as quite a few have talked over, was a important reference level for this generation.

This far more-3D Ziggy allows me listen to things I earlier hadn’t. It all appears to be extra true, more considerable, more genuine. But: Bowie was by no means fascinated in authenticity. He reveled in artificiality. Ziggy was a plastic pop star. In a 1973 interview, Bowie likened himself to a copying equipment. Does additional depth and compound indicate a phase away from the “real” Bowie sound?

Bowie could have not been intrigued in authenticity, but he was fascinated in real truth. Bowie (and hence Ziggy) appears a lot less fragile listed here. And for me, at his very best, Bowie’s music is about fragility. Lessen that, and probably you lessen Bowie’s reality. (Then all over again, as I wrote just before, even though the masters were being restored, there was no supplemental processing on the transfer.)

Does Ziggy have the identical outcome on me that it did all those people yrs ago? Put it this way: Guess what my cat is named?

About this reissue, as opposed to my early pressing, I am reminded of a dialogue I as soon as had with Artwork Dudley, the much-beloved and considerably-skipped deputy editor of Stereophile, about the Beatles’ early songs. Artwork appreciated the new Beatles remasters but thought those people early mono variations had been really hard to conquer. Just after all, that was how he’d 1st heard the tracks.

This document seems exceptional, but will just about anything ever once more evaluate to hearing Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on my next-hand crimson Dansette—Phil Brett