Sound + Vision

Performers David Bowie

Rykodisc | December 2, 2003 | Compact Disc

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Since Sound + Vision in its original 1989 incarnation was designed to introduce David Bowie's Rykodisc reissue series, it was hardly the ideal career retrospective: not only did it end before Let's Dance, but it was constructed to showcase Ryko's remastering expertise while showing off rarities lurking in Bowie's vaults. When the rights to the recordings reverted to Bowie, he took them over to EMI, where the albums were reissued yet again, this time without any of the much-lauded bonus tracks that graced the Ryko reissues. Those bonus tracks weren't the only casualty of the EMI conversion -- Sound + Vision was left behind, and it became a favorite of collectors, since the rarities on the box never showed up on other Bowie reissues. In 2003, a few years after the initial round of EMI reissues and into a sporadic reissue campaign of double-disc deluxe editions, Sound + Vision was re-released, expanded from three to four disc. Those who were hoping that this expansion would include Ryko rarities currently unavailable on CD -- such as the superb "Bombers," now stranded on the Hunky Dory Ryko issue -- will be disappointed that this is not the case. Instead, the 2003 Sound + Vision brings Bowie up to The Buddha of Suburbia, stopping short of 1995's Outside, but including cuts with Tin Machine. The new material follows the conceit of the original, favoring album tracks and rarities to hits (though both "China Girl" and "Blue Jean" are present), which is problematic for an era where even the good material is widely considered to be well below Bowie's high standards. So, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that new material pales considerably next to the original box set, where even curious inclusions still carried the spark of mad genius. This era had some good moments of craftsmanship, including "Loving the Alien" and "Jump They Say" (the latter the first sign that Bowie was beginning to regain his gifts), but he was drifting, as this expanded material proves. It makes Sound + Vision a bit of a chore as it reaches its conclusion, especially because the first three discs are now resequenced, lacking the momentum and logic behind the original box ("Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" made for a far better second-disc opener than "1984/Dodo"). Then, the new packaging is absurd -- the see-through plastic on the original box is carried through to ridiculous extremes, with each disc encased in a see-through plastic sleeve containing all the track information, which is unreadable when the disc is out of the sleeve, and that's not even mentioning the pointless purple poster and four superfluous prints that come in the box. On whole, this is an expanded reissue that diminishes the original. It is nice for those collectors who haven't gotten the rarities from the original, and the remastering is much better, but anybody who owns the first box need not repurchase it in its new incarnation. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: December 2, 2003

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 4

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Mixed

Originally Released: 1989

Label Name: Rykodisc

UPC: 724359451121

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– More About This Product –

Sound + Vision

Performers David Bowie

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: December 2, 2003

Genre: Art Rock

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 4

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Mixed

Originally Released: 1989

Label Name: Rykodisc

UPC: 724359451121


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Space Oddity - (demo) --
2.Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud -(single b-side) --
3.Prettiest Star, The - (single version) --
4.London Bye Ta-Ta - (previously unreleased) --
5.Black Country Rock --
6.Man Who Sold The World --
7.Bewlay Brothers --
8.Changes --
9.Round And Round - (alternate vocal mix) --
10.Moonage Daydream --
11.John, I'm Only Dancing - (saxophone version) --
12.Drive In Saturday --
13.Panic In Detroit --
14.Ziggy Stardust - (live from "Ziggy Stardust") --
15.White Light/White Heat -(live Ziggy Stardust) --
16.Rock 'N' Roll Suicide - (live Ziggy Stardust) --
17.Anyway Anyhow Anywhere --
18.Sorrow --
19.Don't Bring Me Down --
0.DISC 2: --
1.1984/Dodo - (previously unreleased) --
2.Big Brother --
3.Rebel Rebel - (U.S. single version) --
4.Suffragette City - (live, 1974) --
5.Watch That Man - (live, 1974) --
6.Cracked Actor - (live, 1974) --
7.Young Americans --
8.Fascination --
9.After Today - (previously unreleased, Young Americans Outtake) --
10.It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City - (previously unreleased, Station To Station Outtake) --
11.TVC 15 --
12.Wild Is The Wind --
13.Sound And Vision --
14.Be My Wife --
15.Speed Of Life --
16.Helden - (1989 remix, German "Heroes") --
17.Joe The Lion --
18.Sons Of The Silent Age --
0.DISC 3: --
1.Station To Station - (live, 1978) --
2.Warsazawa - (live, 1978) --
3.Breaking Glass - (live, 1978) --
4.Red Sails --
5.Look Back In Anger --
6.Boys Keep Swinging --
7.Up The Hill Backwards --
8.Kingdom Come --
9.Ashes To Ashes --
10.Baal's Hymn --
11.Drowned Girl, The --
12.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) - (album version) --
13.China Girl --
14.Richochet --
15.Modern Love - (live) --
16.Loving The Alien --
17.Dancing With The Big Boys --
0.DISC 4: --
1.Blue Jean --
2.Time Will Crawl --
3.Baby Can Dance --
4.Amazing --
5.I Can't Read --
6.Shopping For Girls --
7.Goodbye Mr. Ed --
8.Amlapura --
9.You've Been Around --
10.Nite Flights - (Moodswings Back To Basics remix) --
11.Pallas Athena - (Gone Midnight mix) --
12.Jump They Say --
13.Buddha Of Suburbia --
14.Dead Against It --
15.South Horizon --
16.Pallas Athena - (live) --

Editorial Notes

Since Sound + Vision in its original 1989 incarnation was designed to introduce David Bowie's Rykodisc reissue series, it was hardly the ideal career retrospective: not only did it end before Let's Dance, but it was constructed to showcase Ryko's remastering expertise while showing off rarities lurking in Bowie's vaults. When the rights to the recordings reverted to Bowie, he took them over to EMI, where the albums were reissued yet again, this time without any of the much-lauded bonus tracks that graced the Ryko reissues. Those bonus tracks weren't the only casualty of the EMI conversion -- Sound + Vision was left behind, and it became a favorite of collectors, since the rarities on the box never showed up on other Bowie reissues. In 2003, a few years after the initial round of EMI reissues and into a sporadic reissue campaign of double-disc deluxe editions, Sound + Vision was re-released, expanded from three to four disc. Those who were hoping that this expansion would include Ryko rarities currently unavailable on CD -- such as the superb "Bombers," now stranded on the Hunky Dory Ryko issue -- will be disappointed that this is not the case. Instead, the 2003 Sound + Vision brings Bowie up to The Buddha of Suburbia, stopping short of 1995's Outside, but including cuts with Tin Machine. The new material follows the conceit of the original, favoring album tracks and rarities to hits (though both "China Girl" and "Blue Jean" are present), which is problematic for an era where even the good material is widely considered to be well below Bowie's high standards. So, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that new material pales considerably next to the original box set, where even curious inclusions still carried the spark of mad genius. This era had some good moments of craftsmanship, including "Loving the Alien" and "Jump They Say" (the latter the first sign that Bowie was beginning to regain his gifts), but he was drifting, as this expanded material proves. It makes Sound + Vision a bit of a chore as it reaches its conclusion, especially because the first three discs are now resequenced, lacking the momentum and logic behind the original box ("Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" made for a far better second-disc opener than "1984/Dodo"). Then, the new packaging is absurd -- the see-through plastic on the original box is carried through to ridiculous extremes, with each disc encased in a see-through plastic sleeve containing all the track information, which is unreadable when the disc is out of the sleeve, and that's not even mentioning the pointless purple poster and four superfluous prints that come in the box. On whole, this is an expanded reissue that diminishes the original. It is nice for those collectors who haven't gotten the rarities from the original, and the remastering is much better, but anybody who owns the first box need not repurchase it in its new incarnation. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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