Lee Speaks About Music…#216

Animals 2018 Remix (Blu Ray Edition) – Pink Floyd

Introduction…

Animals by Pink Floyd has always been amongst my personal favourites of Floyd albums along with Meddle, The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. I would also say that Animals is most likely the bands most PROGIEST! album (if there is such a word) and basically it came out of a time when the band had found their feet and were on a roll. If there ever was a downside to the album it was only ever down to its mix and production which is why like many I have had my eagers eyes on this new release since it was mentioned it was coming out back in 2018.

Finally, after four years and all the bickering and squabbling between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, it has finally arrived in the shape of various formats. Although for some even that is not enough and one of the many complaints is that it never got the same treatment as the TDSOTM and WYWH by releasing them in an Immersion Box Set. Having just reviewed the Immersion Box of TDSOTM all I have to say to that is thank GOD! are you people out of your mind 😊😊😊.

To be perfectly honest this is the first time Pink Floyd has finally seen sense by releasing the Blu Ray in a standalone package outside of the box giving surround FREAKS! like myself the chance of getting our hands on the 5.1 mix without having to sell a kidney. I have the most utter respect for them doing this and I certainly don’t see any real value in all the SWAG! that comes in those things that are only put there to bump up the cost and look like you are getting something extra for your money.

Even though I don’t collect vinyl I did pre-order the Deluxe Boxset on Amazon a good while back, the reason for this was to fill up some of the empty space I have in the new media cabinet I brought. Unlike most Floyd box sets it was more reasonably priced at £57. However, as it was being released a month later than the blu ray I could not wait to get my hands on the new mix.

Having done so I cancelled my pre-order for the Deluxe Boxset even though I was deeply disappointed with how they packaged the blu ray. But in Roger Waters’s own words from one of the songs on his 1992 album Amused To Death, you could say that it all made “Perfect Sense”. To be perfectly honest the way things were done for this release nothing seems to make sense but before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…

When it comes down to the packaging of the various release editions for the new mix of the album I can honestly say that the blu ray drew the short straw and lacks the presentation that the other packages got. It’s as if they said OK! we will put out an individual release but we’re going to make it look SHIT! 😊😊😊.

I am of course being a bit too harsh and it’s not the first time I have seen this type of packaging and to be honest, the presentation is quite good. However, in relation to the new artwork that has been used for all the other releases, I was disappointed that it was not used for this release.

The biggest gripe I have with this release is the flaw in the design of the package itself (as seen above) and if you can retrieve the disc with your mitts without getting any fingerprints on it you will be doing exceptionally well. Perhaps the designer intended it to come with some soft padded tweezers 😊😊😊.

All jokes aside the disc that does come in this package will certainly give you a lot more than any of the other releases and at its much cheaper price point of £16.94 I paid for it, I would consider it a steal. It also comes with a 16-page booklet that contains the liner notes, credits plus lyrics and as usual, comes with an array of photos instead of more useful informative information.


The very fact that all Floyd releases come with no informative information was also one of the killing factors for me not to purchase the Deluxe Boxset Edition and had Gilmour not been pigheaded about including the informative liner notes that Waters wanted to be included I may have had second thoughts regarding cancelling my pre-order of it. Though in all honesty being the surround FREAK! that I am the blu ray would have been the only thing that would have interested me in that package.

Artwork.
The original concept design for the album cover was done by Roger Waters with coordination and photography done by the team at Hipgnosis. Just like the new remix of the album things have been reworked and reimagined and many things have changed since Aubrey Powell and Storm Thorgerson tried to capture an inflatable pig flying over Battersea Power Station back in 1977.

The new artwork was photographed by Rupert Truman and Powell and basically, they took snaps from different locations around the power station to get the new artwork. The photo that was shot across the railway lines (as seen above) was used on all releases except the blu ray to which they used a colour photo that was taken across the river Thames. No pigs were inflated or harmed for the snap this time around and were put into the photo afterwards.

Being in colour the photo that was used for the blu ray looks more like the original album cover and I must admit that I originally thought that the water had been superimposed like they did with the new artwork for the standalone blu ray edition of Pulse that was released earlier this year. The pig however had to be superimposed on the original album cover in the end due to it escaping on the day of the first photo shoot and they did not like the lighting on the day of the second photo shoot.

I do prefer the photo of the view across the railway lines and the fact that they made it Monochrome (or Greyscale if you like) brings out much more detail. Although I was disappointed that the blu ray never got this photo all is not lost as you will later see when I go into the blu ray section of my review.

Release Editions…

All editions apart from the Deluxe Edition Boxset were released in September and the new remix of Animals gives you plenty of options to choose from to suit your pocket. I daresay there is also a Digital Download of the album though I doubt you will be saving any money in relation to the cheapest physical format option so why even bother especially as you can pick up the CD (as seen below) on Amazon for as little as £10.99.

The standalone Blu Ray (as seen below) is Amazon’s best seller out of all the physical formats and it’s not surprising with not only its high-end quality but also down to the fact that it gives you a lot more than any of the other formats when it comes to the musical side of things. It can also still be picked up from Amazon for the same price I paid for it £16.94.


For Vinyl lovers, the new remix of the album has been pressed onto 180gram vinyl and considering the price of vinyl these days it’s also sold at a reasonable price and can still be picked up for around £22.99 on places like Amazon.

The Deluxe Boxset was released almost a month later on the 7th of October and with this release, you get all four physical formats CD, LP, DVD and Blu Ray hence its higher price tag of £57.95. To be honest, the boxset does offer value and is priced a lot cheaper than I expected it, but this is only really for those who want all formats and the question is does one really need the same thing four times over?

The very fact that I personally DON’T! is another reason why I opted in the end not to go with this package and even though it is much better packaged those things should not be put before the musical content and I suppose in a way it’s a bit like vanity. Though I will stress that when you weigh up the prices of each format that comes in this box set you are not being ripped off like most packages like this.

Speaking of being ripped off, there is also another format the new remix was released on done by another company. When it comes to vanity I personally think they packaged it better than any of these formats. However, it does come at a PRICE! That much more that I decided to write my own personal opinion about this so-called company in the section that is coming up next.

The Audiophile Rip-Off…

Prior to the release of the new 2018 remix of Animals, I was looking at the various packages it came in and noticed that there was also an SACD release. The reason why I never included it in the “Release Edition” section was that it was made by another company and you will not find it being sold in the store on Pink Floyd’s official website. I first clapped my eyes on this release in this video on Youtube (as seen below) and it was actually this video that opened up to me a completely new can of worms with what is going on in the audiophile world today.

The company involved in the release of the SACD Edition of Animals is Acoustic Sounds which makes Analogue Productions yet here they are advertising a Digital release. How much analogue actually goes into their productions even has me wondering, though I am not going to go into a war over the difference between analogue and digital, it would also be pointless for me to do so simply because you are always going to get two sides of the coin. However, in this section, I will point out some of the ripoff products that have been put on the market in both worlds.

Now I am not suggesting that the package we have here in question is a ripoff or that it’s an unofficial release because it has been sanctioned by the bands record company EMI, though it is not endorsed by Pink Floyd which is why it does not appear in their record store. However, the product is well overpriced and here in the UK, it can cost you as much as the Deluxe Edition Boxset and the cheapest I saw it for was £48.

That is more than twice the price one would expect to pay for an SACD here in the UK and is more like the price you would pay for one that has gone out of print and sold second-hand on the black market. Granted the package is made of quality material in that they have used thick cardboard, I also personally believe it is better packaged than the Blu Ray and all the other packages.

The thing I like the most about it is that the booklet has been fixed inside, this is where I personally think this package wins over all other releases. This is by far not the first time I have come across this quality packaging and no way on this earth does it cost that much more to make it in relation to other packages that use thinner material. I have several of them by other artists made of exactly the same quality and not one of them cost me more than £20. Some I even got for as little as £12.

As much as I like the SACD format there is no way I would throw my money at this thing with its extortionate price tag. They say a fool and his money are soon departed and in this case, I honestly believe that only fools would buy it simply because the Blu Ray will give a lot more than the SACD has to offer and at its price of just under £17 it has to be the real winner of them all in my book.

Acoustic Sounds is a company that believes everything that they are selling to you is of the highest standards and best quality, that is why their price point for their products is much higher than everyone else. In the case of the SACD, I certainly do not think that is the case and one would be fooled to fall into their trap.

It was through watching this video that led me onto some of the other products they sell and in the case of vinyl this is where things got even more shocking and here I honestly do believe you are being totally ripped off. As I already mentioned I am not going to into a war between analogue and digital however I will point out the way things have changed over the years especially when it comes down to the actual price of Vinyl and CD’s in particular and a few other things.

When I first started collecting vinyl back in the early seventies here in the UK the price of an album was around £3. As we moved into the early eighties the price had gone up to £5 and by the mid-eighties with the birth of the CD Player and the Compact Disc, it rose again to £8 then after a short while to £10.

Back in those days, the CD was the most expensive format of the two and cost £12. The increasing popularity of the CD eventually caused vinyl to go out of circulation and by the late nineties, it was practically nonexistent. By then I had given up on vinyl and I had my reasons for it. One of the major reasons back then was not just because vinyl had gone out of circulation but because I had got into multichannel recordings although I do not need to go into that to explain why I had given up on vinyl.

Believe it or not vinyl has always been an inferior format (not in its sound quality) but in that, it has its limitations of what you can squeeze onto it. The very fact that technology had moved on in the digital realm meant that recording studios had more tracks to play with and other formats such as CD’s, DVD-Audio, SACD & Blu Ray had more capacity to squeeze the information onto. This enabled less mud and far more clarity in a recording.

Though of course, many analogue purists and audiophiles would argue that this took away the bass response or the warmth of a recording which I personally feel is complete nonsense. Over the years I have played on analogue and digital keyboards and many will argue that a digital keyboard cannot produce the same bass or in keyboard terms FAT! as an old analogue synth. All I have to say to that is BOLLOX! because it really is not the case at all.

Speaking of mud that can be found in many older recordings the original recording of Animals was wallowing in the stuff. Although in the case of that album I personally do not see it as a bad thing and some albums are better off with it than without it. Sometimes it does serve as a purpose and is there for a reason and I truly do believe that to be the case with this particular album.

One of the things I find hard to comprehend is that ever since the resurgence of vinyl that was starting to flood the market once again from 2017 onwards is how much more expensive it is. The vinyl album these days has shot way up in price and they expect you to pay anywhere from £18 – £30 whilst the CD has never changed its price and in most cases can be had for less at £10.

I know there are way fewer printing presses than what we had years ago but that should only reflect on how much longer it takes to get your album pressed and not the price. The stories floating around about how there is a shortage of vinyl I honestly find ridiculous especially when they are using more of the stuff these days on one album by making 45rpm albums and having to use two or more vinyl albums just to fit what an artist put out as one album on a CD.

The biggest majority of recordings that are put onto vinyl these days and for many years are digital so I would like to know where these analogue purists and audiophiles are coming from. In my personal opinion, there is no way on this earth that a vinyl album should cost any more than a CD. But now thanks to Acoustic Sounds you can pay a lot more than the price of a box set for one vinyl album or two LP’s in some cases where they have been pressed at the speed of 45rpm and by the looks of things you are paying even more money for the packaging.

Yes, today folks, we have what’s known as (UHQR) which stands for Ultra High-Quality Records and by the looks of things in this video I stumbled upon, this guy is spinning you a right yarn and web of deceit.

This set of Steeley Dan albums comes at the price of £220 a pop for each album here in the UK and has to be one of the biggest ripoffs I have ever come across regarding the price of an album. The album even comes boxed like a box set and will take up a lot more storage space. CAN’T Buy A THRILL! I’m not surprised at these prices and when it comes to THE ROYAL SCAM! This is a complete SCAM! and this guy is taking you for a right MUG!

At the end of the day, he is a businessman and I am not saying he is there to rip you off because he believes in what he is doing and has put a lot of time and investment to try and give you the best possible quality. But at the price, he is selling these records I don’t see the logic never mind the PRETZEL LOGIC! and when it comes to diminishing returns I fail to see any here at all especially how well the original albums had such a good quality sound and production in the first place.

Having just done a bit of research to see what Acoustic Sounds are all about and the way they are doing things with their plant it looks very impressive however certain things don’t add up. For example, the way the guy talks about his company gives me the impression that he likes to reproduce good-quality and even reference point recordings and make the albums that had exceptional quality in the first place sound better. If this is the case why on earth did he choose to do Jethro Tull’s Aqualung which was never very well produced or did it have a real quality recording in the first place.

That album needed a remix and thanks to Steven Wilson it got a very good one, in many ways he resurrected that album and brought it back to life. If you want to throw your bucks away on the UHQR Vinyl release of that album you have to be a fool because I guarantee you that no way will it beat Wilson’s remix. You would get a much better result by spending £10 on the CD of Wilson’s remix you don’t even need vinyl to be onto a winner in the case of that album. But at the end of the day, I suppose you will never stop people from throwing their money away, especially those who have it.

Though I am used to it in the audiophile community and nothing surprises me anymore, scams such as this have always been around especially when it comes to accessories. They don’t just exist in the analogue audiophile world either and this next video shows you how they can also appear in the digital realm of things.

I have always found this guy’s Youtube channel very interesting and when it comes to logic he tends to make a lot of sense of it, he also has an honest point of view and will give you his honest opinion of the products he reviews. The device he is reviewing here is clearly a SCAM! and one that most likely will give you the same result as UHQR Vinyl when it comes down to diminishing returns.

The Album In Review…

The 2018 remix of Animals by Pink Floyd was released on the 16th of September 2022, just like the original version of the album that was released on the 27th of January 1977 it comes with 5 tracks spread over and an overall playing time of 41 minutes and 40 seconds. No matter what edition (including the Deluxe Boxset) you decide to purchase it does not come with any bonus material. The album comes from a time when the band were doing very little apart from touring at bigger stadiums and due to most of their audience not paying attention to their music they even got sick of that. Even to the point that Roger Waters eventually spat at one over-excited fan on the final night of their live tour.

The biggest majority of the material that made up Animals was written back in 1974 and the early live versions of songs such as “Raving and Drooling” and “You’ve Got to Be Crazy” were included in the Wish You Were Here Immersion Boxset. Those songs were originally intended to be for that album but Waters had other ideas for them and held them back. You could say by this point that Waters was “Pink” and had taken over not only the lion’s share of the writing but the control of the band and the only other member to get a co-credit to one of the tracks on this album was David Gilmour.

Animals was the first Floyd album to leave Richard Wright out of the writing credits which very much caused conflict between band members whose royalties were earned on a per-song basis and not equally divided by all four members. The conflict between Wright and Waters was only to get worse and came to a head-on collision a couple of years later when Waters presented The Wall to the band which was another album that left very little for the other members to contribute any writing to.

Animals would be the final album (of this four-piece band lineup) that Wright played on as an official band member and by 1979 he had enough of Waters’s ego trips of how he was keeping the band going which eventually led to him being fired. You could say that the album Animals was the starting point of where much of the cohesion and collaboration side of things regarding the writing had gone out of the window and Waters was not only doing the lion’s share of the writing but was also taking the lion’s share of the profits regarding royalties.

There is no doubt that Waters was the ideas man behind the band and when you look back at how the album cover and stage props (such as all the inflatables) that were made for the following live tour to promote the album, they were all his ideas. The control he had over the band was the very thing that forced him out of it in the end.

Besides the pig designed by Gerald Scarfe, Waters had designed a nuclear family to which other inflatables such as a car and fridge were added for their North American leg of the tour. These were designed by Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park and pretty much all of these designers were used for the album that was to follow it The Wall. It was the sense of alienation that Waters had on the tour with the audience that inspired him to write that album.

With no single release from the album, the Animals Tour (or In The Flesh Tour as it was later called) more or less went on the road to promote the album in the same week it was released. It was during this period that things were not going that well with the band and Waters isolated himself from the other members at the shows by turning up alone and leaving immediately after each performance. At one stage during the tour Wright jumped on a plane back to England threatening to leave.

However, things were not quite as patchy in making the band’s 10th studio album though there were some teething problems. In 1975 the band purchased a three-storey building at 35 Britannia Row in Islington, London and set up their own recording studio on the ground floor. The second floor was used to store all their stage equipment which (like the ground floor studio) they hired out to other bands and made another business out of it to keep the skills of their road crew together. The third floor was used for their offices.

Much of that year and into the following year was spent on constructing everything and between April to December of 1976, the band got down to recording the material that was to make up the album Animals. It was also in the same year that the band took a break from touring.

Much of the material for the album had already been written (as I mentioned earlier) but by now the concept idea that was loosely adapted to George Orwell’s Animal Farm had come to Waters so he reworked the lyrics and titles to fit in with the concept. The only new material that was written for the album “Pigs On The Wing” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” was also written by him to tie in with the rest of the theme.

The band decided to use recording engineer Brian Humphries who had worked on their previous album (WYWH) and as with most new built studios that are built with state-of-the-art new technology teething problems were bound to arise such as things breaking down and not going to plan. Things even got erased as we will later learn in the album tracks section of my review.

Part of their next album The Wall was also recorded at 35 Britannia Row. Nick Mason eventually assumed full ownership of the studio and in the 90’s he sold the business to Kate Koumi, who had been managing it since the mid-1980s. Mason retained the original building in 2012 and in 2016 it was converted into flats.

Upon its release, even though the album peaked at number 2 in the UK and 3 in the US it did not do as well as their previous couple of albums and took much longer to circulate its way around most likely down to its lack of promotion. It’s perhaps an album that sits well with the US market where it eventually went on to go 4 X Platinum selling over 4 million copies in relation to the Gold status of a hundred thousand copies it sold in the UK.

The Blu Ray…

The standalone Blu Ray is effectively like the Deluxe Edition Boxset in that it gives you the album a good few times over only not in different formats but in the way of mixes. This is where this format wins by a huge margin and the fact that it can do this at a much lower price point literally blows that well-overpriced Analogue Productions SACD out of the water. The blu ray is without a shred of a doubt the king of all formats down to its capacity and the amount of high-end quality information you can squeeze onto it and you could say it reigns in SUPREMACY!

The blu ray’s main menu is crisp, sharp and pristine as to be expected and here you get to see the new artwork in its full glory and as large as life on your TV. The very fact that the image can be displayed in high-quality HD resolution will even make the artwork on the vinyl album look inferior to this and that is down to the fact that it is practically near enough impossible to print HD without degradation.

Its navigation is nice and simple giving you the choice of three options “Play The Album”, “Song Selection” and “Audio Selection” to choose from. The other advantage is that the interface is most likely made with Flash making it smoother and faster to work your way around as we can see in the next menu.

Clicking on the “Song Selection” menu the album’s tracklist simply pops up rather than having to load to another menu cutting out a lot of time and making it fast and efficient. Here you can see there is no bonus material and all you get is the album’s five tracks which might be a bit disappointing. However, there are multiple ways you can listen to them as we can see in the next set of menus.

The “Audio Selection” menu offers you an array of options to listen to the album (as you can see in the screenshots above) and they are all high-end hi-resolution audio formats. It’s also good to see that once again the inferior Dolby Digital format has been thrown out of the window. You have the choice of “Uncompressed Audio” (LPCM) or “DTS Master Audio” both come with 24/96 5.1 mixes and 24/192 Stereo mixes.

The other good thing is that they have not only included the new surround and stereo mixes but also the original album which is something you do not get with the SACD. They really have gone to town with this release.

Also included in the audio section is a surround setup guide which provides some useful information over several screens to help calibrate your 5.1 setup. You used to get these guides on many music and film releases on DVD back in the 90’s when AV Systems first hit the market and is very rare to see them included these days. Pink Floyd always include them with their releases and even though they are useful I prefer to set up my system via the operating manual that comes with your AV Reciever.

One of the good things that have been included with this release is that you get something to look at whilst listening to the album and these are just a few examples as it literally goes through night and day with the snaps that were taken for the new album’s artwork. The authorising was done by Joel Plante and overall even though it comes with no extra bonus content least they had the sense to include some photos, unlike the Immersion Boxsets which I found very disappointing for not doing so, especially with all the artwork that was done for TDSOTM and WYWH.

The Stereo & Surround Mixes.
As I already mentioned earlier there is no doubt that the original mix done by Brian Humphries back in 1977 was murky and muddy and in many respects, it could easily have been seen as the worst mix any Floyd album got back then. Both the new stereo and surround mixes were done by James Guthrie and you could say that he has done a very good job of cleaning things up here. If anything the new mix of Animals makes it sound like it was mixed today and not all those years ago and for those like myself who brought the album on its release some may very well prefer the original mix.

You will get to hear more things pop out of the woodwork with the 5.1 mix in relation to the stereo mix though I would not say that this is an exciting surround mix in relation to others I have or would it rank as high as those either.

What we have here is perhaps best described as a clinical mix in that it brings out far more detail in the instrumentation making the instruments more true to life and defined. Even though the surround mix is not an exciting one it will give you a very good immersive experience and with the outstanding work Guthrie has done here I am left with no other alternative but to give it top marks and it is well worthy of 10 out of 10.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by Pink Floyd. All Music & Lyrics by Roger Waters except track 2 Music by David Gilmour & Roger Waters. Recorded & Mixed at Britannia Row Studios, London between April – December 1976. Engineered by Brian Humphries. 2018 Stereo & 5.1 Remix by James Guthrie. Assistant Engineer Joel Plante. Mastered by James Guthrie & Joel Plante at das boot recording. Blu Ray Authored by Joel Plante. 1977 & 2022 Front Cover Design by Roger Waters. Album Cover Coordination by Aubrey Powell. Graphic Design by Peter Curzon. Photography by Rupert Truman & Aubrey Powell.

Musicians.
David Gilmour: Lead Vocals (Track 2) – Guitars – Bass (Tracks 2, 3 & 4) – Keyboards.
Roger Waters: Lead Vocals – Bass – Guitar – Harmony Vocals (Tracks 2 & 3)
Richard Wright: Keyboards – Harmony Vocals (Track2).
Nick Mason: Drums.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Although the ideas are loosely based around Orwell’s Animal Farm the concept behind the bands 10th studio album Animals very much sat in with the times back here in England in the late seventies with the country going through a recession. The very fact that the country is going through one right now, you could say that it makes it the perfect time to put out this new remix of the album. Although the political side of things has never really changed which is why Waters has played many of these tracks live at his shows over the years.

The darker density and weight of the atmosphere are much heavier on this album than any other Floyd album also reflects upon the things that were going on at the time. It’s also most likely why Humphries’s original mix contained a murky muddiness to it and it does seem to fit in with those times.

The album was recorded at a time when Richard Wright was dealing with divorce proceedings and David Gilmore was having to deal with the birth of his first child which is most likely why most of the written material was left to Roger Waters. Although it was made at a time when Waters was more or less taking control of everything at this stage of the band’s career.

Ever since Waters left the band Animals is very much an album that Gilmour shunned away from and none of its material was ever played at post-Waters Pink Floyd concerts or his own solo concerts which is a real shame because it’s such a good album. However, if like myself you are still in both camps you are not really missing out. So let’s now delve into the album a bit deeper and for the purpose of this review, I shall also make comparisons between the original and new mixes of the album.

Track 1. Pigs On The Wing (Part One).

The album’s opening track is the first of two parts that work as bookends for the beginning and end of the album. Though it was never intended to be that way in the first place and it was originally recorded as one song and contained a lead solo played by David Gilmour sandwiched in between the two parts. However, Gilmour’s original solo got accidentally erased in the studio and in the end, Snowy White got to play the lead solo who had happened to turn up at the studio to discuss playing with the band on their live tour at the time.

The original version also got released but only on 8-Track Cartridge at the time (as seen below) White also got to play it at their live shows in the same year of its release. Pink Floyd has never released the song in any other format although White did include the full version on his 1995 Goldtop compilation album.

As you can see by the 8-Track Cartridge the original version of the album only intended to have 4 tracks. I guess it was down to Gilmour’s solo being erased that they only felt it right to leave it off the main release and make the song into two parts to work as bookends.  For the purpose of this review, I have included the original song.

The song is potentially a love song that he wrote for his wife although the words can also pertain to caring for one another and equality in the terms of political, social and economic values. The version that made the original album features solely Roger Waters on guitar and vocals and the only thing that has changed regarding the new mix is really the vocals.

All James Gutrhie has done here regarding the mix is remove the reverb from the vocals and by doing so it sounds more intimate as if Waters is in the room with you rather than in a studio singing the song through a microphone. In many ways, it sounds more flat or dull in comparison to the original mix and it takes a bit of getting used to.

Track 2. Dogs.

Weighing in at just over 17 minutes “Dogs” is my personal favourite track on the album though I will say out of the three major tracks on the album it is really hard to pick a real winner. The dogs in this case are high-powered businessmen and it’s the only track on the album that was co-written by Gilmour & Waters. Oddly enough it’s also the only track on the album that Waters plays bass on as Gilmour plays the bass on the other two main album tracks and perhaps even more surprising is that it’s the only song on the album where you get to hear Gilmour’s voice and even the vocal duties on this song are shared with Waters. It’s also the only song on the album where you will get to hear Richard Wright’s voice harmonising with Waters in places.

I must admit that the murkiness and muddiness that was in the original mix does sound like it was there for a reason and the fog-like density of it very much reflected the weight that was put on the shoulders of the businessman. However, this is far from lost in the new mix even though there is much more clarity in the mix the bass and the weight of the kick drum in particular in the middle come-down section still very much reflect the weight that was put on the businessman’s shoulders.

All the instrumentation is clearly much more defined in the surround mix and even the way they have placed the Rhodes in the rear channels really makes this instrument true to life which it was never on the original mix. But even more impressive is how they placed the kick drum in the rear in that middle come-down section and it literally pounds above your head and it just goes to show that one does not need Dolby Atmos to hear things above their head.

The one thing I am glad they never did on the new mix is to take away the reverb and echo that was applied to the vocals and there is much more detail to everything in this new mix. The sound of the dogs was fed through a vocoder and played like an instrument and the moaning dog that sounds like a wolf came from an earlier recording of the dog “Seamus” that was on the 1971 album Meddle.

Track 3. Pigs (Three Different Ones).

This is a song that could equally be my favourite track on the album along with “Dogs” the lyrical content also continues to pertain to the high-powered businessman and those who are at the top of the social ladder such as the ones with wealth and power. The other couple of different pigs Waters was referring to in the song at the time were Margaret Thatcher and the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse and with the surname of the latter of those two, it’s easy to see how it would fit in with the powermongers in America today.

With the new mix you can clearly hear the excellent work Gilmour did on the bass guitar in this song in which he used a fretless bass with a pick. He also makes use of the Heil talkbox on his guitar solo to mimic the sound of the pigs. The song was extended for the live tour and Gilmour got to play two guitar solos though he never used the talkbox and it was substituted with Wright’s Minimoog.

Bob Heil invented the first high-powered talkbox back in 1973 for Joe Walsh who put it to good use on his song “Rocky Mountain Way” in the same year. It is perhaps one of the finest examples along with “Show Me The Way” by Peter Frampton in 1976. Another fine example of it being put to good use is Dean Parks solo on “Haitian Divorce” by Steely Dan also in 1976. A year earlier in 1975, Davey Johnstone made excellent use of it on “Dan Dare (Pilot Of The Future)” which can be found on the Elton John album Rock of The Westies.

Although no singles were released from the album to promote it, an edited-down 4-minute version of the song was released in Brazil (as seen above). It was pressed onto 7″ vinyl running at a speed of 33 1/3 rpm the same song was pressed on both sides of the record. It was most likely a promotional single that was sent to radio stations to gain further airplay in the country.

Track 4. Sheep.

The sheep can be seen as the mindless herd that follows what they are being told and this is another really good song that starts off with some wonderful playing by Wright on the Fender Rhodes. When it comes down to the mixes I still prefer the original over the new stereo mix and my reasons for this are mainly to do with the Rhodes on the intro of the song. On the original stereo mix, the Rhodes presents itself to you like a surround mix in the way it reflects across the room from the front to the rear. I often wonder at times if my rear speakers are turned on. The new mix tries to do this and sort of gets there and drops out every now and then.

However, when it comes to the surround mix this is where the Rhodes really comes to life because it’s been placed in the rear speakers and it really brings out the full glory of this instrument. It’s perhaps one of Wright’s finest examples of playing the Rhodes and I’m surprised he never got a writing credit because there is no way I can see Waters playing this intro and I would suspect that it was Wright who composed the intro.

After the intro, the song really rocks itself out and like all major songs on the album, they have the tendency to come down in the middle. It’s also in this come-down section that you get brief glimpses of “One Of These Days” and the “Doctor Who Theme)” with the bassline and sound effects. Although the song is solely sung by Waters you will also get to hear Gilmour’s voice echoing the word “Stone” which is taken from “Dogs” and placed into the track most likely to work as a recurring theme as done with most concept albums. It does also work to good effect.

Track 5. Pigs On The Wing (Part Two).

The album ends off calmly as it opened up with the second part and bookend of “Pigs On The Wing” and the words Waters wrote for this part are there as a reminder that no matter what humans find ways to stick together amidst all the turmoil that gets thrown at us in this capitalist world. The difference with the new mix is the same as the first part where the reverb has been lifted from the vocals. It puts an end to what can only be described as another promising Pink Floyd album that is up there with the best of them.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my review of the new 2018 remix of Animals by Pink Floyd. I would say that what we have here is a new mix in every sense of the word with how the original album has been cleaned up and in many ways it makes this album sound new and more up-to-date, especially regarding how technology has moved on. In many respects listening to the new remix is literally like the album was made today and not all those years ago and in some aspects, it has sort of lost that magic feel of an album that came out of that golden decade of the 70’s which is where I mostly live regarding the music I listen to.

I think many who like myself who brought this album on its original release back in 1977 might very well prefer the original mix having been used to it for all these years. I am sort of in two camps here regarding the new mix of liking it and not liking it if that makes any sense. Personally, I would have prefered it if Steve Wilson had done the mix because he would not have deviated too far away from how the original album sounded and still brought everything out of the woodwork so to speak.

Though in all fairness I certainly cannot take anything away from James Guthrie’s remix of the album and no way could I give his remix anything less than top marks. Simply because he has done quite an outstanding job of cleaning up the album and bringing out things that could not only never be heard before but the detail of the instrumentation is more true to life.

This new mix is perhaps something you have to get accustomed to and the more times I played it the more I got to like it, there can be no doubt that some major improvements have been done here over Brian Humphries’s original mix. I also think the album sounds much better for the new mix and even though the surround mix is not what I would call an exciting one it is really good and should sit well with the biggest majority of surround FREAKS!

It would have been nice if the band had documented the album with some film footage when they made it or even made an up-to-date documentary with the surviving members of the band and included it. Oddly enough the band’s Youtube channel has been showing various clips of film footage (new and old) since its release. Though I certainly do not think they have enough of it for them to have made an Immersion Boxset out of the album. However, I am sure they could have squeezed this 11-minute bit of footage onto the blu ray.

No matter how you look and listen to Animals for me personally it’s always been one of the band’s better albums, not only is it a very strong body of work but the material holds up well even today regardless of what mix you are listening to. I would not say the new mix is a must for Floyd fans simply because there are those who will still prefer the original mix. However, what the blu ray gives you is the best of the old and new mixes which is why I would still highly recommend this package. Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong at its cheap price point and it really is a STEAL!

An Excellent Cleaning Up Job…

The Blu Ray Tracklisting is as follows:

1. Pigs on the Wing (Part One)
2. Dogs
3. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
4. Sheep
5. Pigs on the Wing (Part Two)

Blu-Ray Audio Mixes
2018 Remix – Stereo: 24-bit/192kHz Uncompressed LPCM + DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO.
2018 Remix – 5.1 Surround: 24-bit/96kHz Uncompressed LPCM + DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO.
1977 Original Stereo: 24-bit/192kHz Uncompressed LPCM + DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO.

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
The Original Stereo Mix Rating Score. 6/10.
The New Stereo Mix
Rating Score. 8/10.
The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.
Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.