Love and Rockets – ‘Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven’ – UK/US/EU Pure Audio Blu-ray (Beggars Banquet, BBQBD2025, 2016)

One more return to an already well featured album on VersionCrazy, Love and Rockets and their wonderful debut, ‘Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven’ – this time round in a remixed form, courtesy of the 2016 Pure Audio Blu-ray release that features 5.1 Surround Sound and new Stereo Mix versions that significantly cleans up (and alters, along the way) the original 1985 album mix.

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - front cover
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – front cover

Tracklist:

2016 5.1 Mix:

  1. If There’s A Heaven Above (4’53”)
  2. A Private Future (5’09”)
  3. The Dog End Of A Day Gone By (7’35”)
  4. The Game (5’10”)
  5. Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven (6’35”)
  6. Haunted When The Minutes Drag (8’11”)
  7. Saudade (5’07”)

2016 5.1 Mix Bonus Tracks:

  1. Ball Of Confusion (3’34”)
  2. Lucifer Sam (3’20”)
  3. Inside The Outside (5’33”)

2016 Stereo Mix:

  1. If There’s A Heaven Above (4’53”)
  2. A Private Future (5’09”)
  3. The Dog End Of A Day Gone By (7’35”)
  4. The Game (5’10”)
  5. Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven (6’35”)
  6. Haunted When The Minutes Drag (8’11”)
  7. Saudade (5’07”)

2016 Stereo Mix Bonus Tracks:

  1. Ball Of Confusion (3’34”)
  2. Lucifer Sam (3’20”)
  3. Inside The Outside (5’33”)
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - rear cover
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – rear cover

I personally don’t have the technology to listen to 5.1 surround sound mixes, so my comments are all related ONLY to the 2016 Stereo Mix, just to be clear from the outset.

Inevitably, decisions need to be taken with a project like this about what the approach is. Do you recreate the new mix to replicate every last detail, ‘warts and all’, regardless of how that might sound in comparison to modern mixes? Do you take an approach of subtly cleaning things up so that they are barely noticeable in comparison? Do you take advantage of having access to the individual tracks to go further and alter the mix and introduce/remove elements?

This release goes somewhere between options 2 and 3 – it is very noticeably ‘cleaner’ sounding, largely due to dialling down the large amounts of reverb present on the original mix – but it does also very noticeably alter the instrumentation – you hear that from the off with the choice of instruments to focus on for ‘If There’s A Heaven Above’, for example, the bass comes in that bit earlier at the start of ‘The Dog-End Of A Day Gone By’, and so on and so on…

But in general, the arrangements stick largely to the 1985 mix as issued on LP/cassette in the UK first of all, it is worth noting – since there have been so many variations on the releases in different territories over the years. If you need a primer on that check out this previous post.

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray cover inner fold
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray cover inner fold

So, where are the notable differences? In general, its all pretty subtle changes – to my ears, these stood out though…

‘If There’s A Heaven Above’ – it is fashioned after the UK LP mix from 1985, but there are a few change along the way from the very start – the opening guitar strums have a very different echo treatment… all original versions tend to have that very clipped/gated feel whereas this version has a full strum-like quality to those opening chords as well as the clipped, rhythmic elements. As the track hits something of a middle-eight/break around about the 2’10” mark through to 2’28” or so there are quite a few changes made – the e-bow guitar is totally missing, so it sounds a good deal sparser and there are quite a few changes to the drums, the snare beats in particular, and hitting more of a double-time feel as it progresses (a bit like the intro to the ‘Canada’ mix). Earlier, at the 1’39” mark the low, thunder-likeĀ  ‘boom’ effect is removed altogether.

‘The Dog-End Of A Day Gone By’ – as noted earlier, David J’s bass gets going much earlier on the intro, before the drums come thundering in – but the remainder is largely the same, just that bit crisper, clearer.

‘Saudade’ – the ending is a bit different, focusing more on Daniel Ash’s feedback guitar-wrangling as it fades – the mix and its reduction of the amount of reverb employed very noticeably reveals, to my ears anyway, the synthesized strings arrangement, its pretty heavy on some kind of chorus/modulation effect and drastically reins in the reverb – it really highlights its from a keyboard rather than real strings, from about 1’27” onwards in particular. The other things that jumps out is the increase in the volume level of a particular two note figure that comes in at about 27 seconds – it is present on the original mix (some kind of synth drum marimba?) – but is far more prominent in this mix. I swear I never really noticed it on the original, but going back, prompted by listening to the new mix, it is there right enough – but much more subtly.

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray disc/tray
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray disc/tray

The selection of bonus tracks is a little odd perhaps, on first sight – some may well question what ‘Lucifer Sam’ is doing on there, since it is a B side from the period of the subsequent album, ‘Express’? There is an interesting thread to be found on the Steve Hoffman music forums with contributions from Neil Wilkes, who was responsible for the new mixes and also Steve Webbon of Beggars Banquet records that give some interesting detail on the background and decisions to be made related to the project. View that discussion thread in full here.

On the question of ‘Lucifer Sam’, from that discussion thread Steve Webbon notes:

“The track Lucifer Sam was on the same multis as Ball Of Confusion / Inside The Outside although it wasn’t actually released until around the second album but it belongs with these sessions.”

The same reply also gives some details on the sonics:

“Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven was recorded at John A. Rivers’ Woodbine Street Studio onto 2” multi-tracks. At the time John mixed down onto the latest technology i.e. digital, and the masters for both vinyl and CD were on a F1 digital format. For the 2000 re-issue John re-visited his digital masters and corrected faults that were inherent in his gear at the time but the quality was still 44.1 / 16 bit.

For the Blu-ray release Neil Wilkes made 94/24 transfers from the analog multi-tracks and took it from there. As an afterthought it was decided to also do a new stereo mix at 96/24.”

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet front cover
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet front cover

Returning to the decisions that are involved in making new mixes, on the Steve Hoffman music forums thread, Neil Wilkes notes the following:

“‘If There’s a Heaven Above’ – this has so many different versions it was hard to pick a way through it, as the original UK release on vinyl has a very different version to that on most CD releases (which had the ‘Canada Mix’ instead of the UK mix) and even a very strange one called ‘God & Mr Smith’ on some CD versions as well as the extended version.”

He also notes:

“When we started this project it was in the way of being a demo/test mix for Beggars, and Steve (Webbon) loved it, so wanted it released – this is why the 12″ mixes are missing…”

Interesting stuff, I urge you to check out the full thread, particularly from page 2 onwards, if interested in more detail.

Sadly, its not so easy to track this release down now and the mixes don’t appearĀ  to have been given any online release that would make them easy to come by digitally. Beggars Arkive have been active in recent times with digital re-releases such as back catalogue Bauhaus and Gary Numan singles – so, perhaps the stereo mix at least could be given an online re-release too?

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 2
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 2
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 3
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 3
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 4
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 4
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 5
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 5
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 6
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 6
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 7
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 7
Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven - Blu-ray - booklet page 8
^ Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven – Blu-ray – booklet page 8

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