In case you didn’t notice, surround sound is alive and well not only in jazz and classical niche markets but mainstream classic rock and pop music. Think about it: major artists have all released numerous 5.1 surround sound albums, including The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, REM, Frank Zappa, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, Tom Petty, Jethro Tull, Porcupine Tree, Bjork, Los Lonely Boys, Marvin Gaye, The Grateful Dead, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Chicago, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, The Who, Queen, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, The Beach Boys, Sting, Steely Dan, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues, Pere Ubu, and Elton John… just to name a few. Many (if not most) of these are pretty amazing mixes and frequently greatly enhance the music you know and love into a dazzling new experience that fully brings you into the heart of the music. And I’m not even scratching the surface on live recordings that artists have released in surround sound, which is a whole other experience.
Point is: if you are not listening to the music your favorite artists have made available to you in surround sound, you are missing an important and compelling part of their artistic output — in many cases I am talking about what amounts to essential listening! Most fans of Rush know by now that the band’s landmark album Moving Pictures has been reissued in a deluxe edition that features a 5.1 surround sound mix that is reportedly fabulous and essential for all true Rush fans to hear.
And this was the tip of the iceberg from these Canadian prog-metal rock legends. Hot on the heels of that release, Universal Music has officially announced that the entire back catalog of the band’s output for Mercury Records — 15 albums! — will be issued in a series of three six-disc CD+DVD box sets, each set featuring one additional seminal Rush album presented in 5.1 surround sound at 96 kHz, 24-bit resolution! In layman’s terms those numbers mean that the discs will probably sound killer when played on most any home theater surround sound system.
From the official press release:
“Each “Sector” contains five of their 15 Mercury albums in chronological order, all transferred to high resolution 96kHz/24-bit audio and digitally remastered for optimal quality. In addition, each volume includes an exclusive booklet packed with unpublished photos, original album lyrics and credits, and features one album from each set specially remixed on DVD in high resolution 96kHz/24-bit, 5.1 surround sound and stereo, compatible with both DVD-Audio players and DVD-Video players. Each album is packaged in a replica vinyl mini-jacket of the original album release with all three box sets forming a Rush CD road case.”
SECTOR 1 will include the band’s self-titled 1974 debut Rush, along with Fly By Night, Caress of Steel, 2112, and All the World’s a Stage, the band’s hit live album. The package will also include a DVD featuring Fly By Night remixed in high-resolution surround sound and stereo (both 96kHz/24-bit high resolution).
SECTOR 2 includes A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Exit: Stage Left. The surround sound high resolution DVD features their classic A Farewell to Kings.
SECTOR 3 compiles Signals, Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, and A Show of Hands. Signals is featured on the 5.1 surround sound 96/24 DVD.
And for those of you who haven’t been paying attention and are reading this story somewhat surprised that Rush is still around, check out some of these details from the band’s biography on their press release:
“Topped only by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Rush remains at the No. 3 spot for the most consecutive gold/platinum studio albums by a rock band certified by the RIAA, and their current single “Caravan” went to No. 3 on the radio chart. In addition to their commercial success, Rush has also been recognized with a number of Juno Awards, multiple Grammy® nominations and, with their recent pop culture renaissance, the band made a rare and a memorable cameo in the hit comedy I Love You, Man. With sold-out concerts worldwide, including the recent critically acclaimed “Time Machine Tour,” Rush continue to gain new generations of fans worldwide. A career-chronicling Rolling Stone feature summed up the renowned rock trio’s continuing artistic vitality by observing, “It’s true that Rush doesn’t mean today what it did in ’76 or even ’96. It may mean more.”