(13 January 2001) While Musical Discoveries normally
features music with female
vocalists, ELP's Brain Salad Surgery is probably one of the
greatest progressive rock albums ever made. The new DVD Audio
version (Rhino Records (USA) R9 75980, 2000) of the album is nothing
short of spectacular and must not be overlooked.
Three versions of the album exist on the DVD. The first is a
brand new 5.1 surround remix that will play on any DVD player.
The second contains advanced resolution multichannel surround
mixes while the third version is the original stereo mix
presented in 24 bit 96 MHz advanced audio resolution. Since
a DVD Audio player is needed for the latter two versions
we have reviewed the 5.1 surround mix since it is compatible
with all DVD players. The remix was produced by John Kellogg;
it was engineered and mixed by Paul Klingberg using the
original master tapes.
The DVD opens with "Jerusalem" a beautiful reworking of the
traditional hymn in the grand epic style that ELP is known for.
"Toccata," an adaptation of the 4th Movement of Ginastera's
Piano Concerto, features an impressive percussion movement
from Carl Palmer and a stunning arrangement by Keith Emerson.
Alberto Ginastera once said, "Keith Emerson has beautifully
caught the mood of my piece". On this DVD Audio the sound is
so clear that the piano parts actually sound like you're in
the studio with the band. The Next track, "Still ... You Turn Me
On," is a gorgeous Greg Lake ballad that sounds much warmer
and fuller on this release. Lake's vocals and acoustic guitar
are brought up much more in the mix and the results make the
standard CD version pale by comparison. "Benny the Bouncer" is
a cute vaudevillian number and features some fine honkey tonk
piano by Keith.
"Karn Evil 9" is a three-part suite that features lyrical
contributions by Peter Sinfield (of King Crimson heritage).
"1st Impression—Part 1" features some of the best progressive
keyboard work ever recorded. Emerson's use of the Hammond
organ and Moog synthesizer along with Carl's syncopated
drum work and Greg Lake's superb bass, lead guitar and
vocals create such an excitement one can listen to it
again and again and never tire of its sheer musical
"1st Impression—Part 2" is probably the most popular
track by ELP with the classic line "Welcome back my
friends to the show that never ends." This track f
eatures the classic fat Moog synth sound that Keith
Emerson pioneered along with one of the best Hammond
organ solo's ever recorded. This is ELP at their
absolute finest. "2nd Impression" showcases Keith and
Carl in a jazz setting. Excellent brushwork by Carl
along with pristine piano parts by Keith highlight
this section. The piece concludes with "3rd Impression,"
another Sinfield lyrical contribution, which brings the
epic full circle. It paints a vivid picture of battle
with aggressive solos and great synth effects.
"Lucky Man" from the band's self-titled debut album
is included as a bonus track.
player owners will also find four short video tracks
This album is a true masterpiece of Progressive
rock and has something for everyone on it. The lovely 20-page
booklet that accompanies the DVD includes photos and
insightful notes on the "making of" by Jerry McCulley.
You can order Brain Salad Surgery on DVD Audio
The DVD audio remix brings unrivaled clarity to the sound and
you won't believe this album was originally recorded almost 30
years ago. Kudos to the folks at Rhino for going through the
painstaking process of remixing this entire DVD from
the original multi track master tapes. The astonishing
results are certainly worth a transatlantic journey—a must
listen! —Scott Bassin and Russ Elliot