“A Curious Re-issue” - The remastered editions of Tony Banks’ A Curious Feeling album reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

I have no hesitation in admitting that when I heard that this album was finally being remastered to the same standard as the Genesis catalogue, I cheered my head off! Which is making it difficult to write this as I try to pick it up again! It is strange to think that between 1979 and 1980 Tony, Mike and Steve manage to create the “Holy Triumvirate” that is A Curious Feeling, Smallcreep’s Day and Spectral Mornings. A Curious Feeling like those other two, holds a place of special affection for me and it has been a regular visitor to my turntable and latterly to my CD player ever since I bought my copy of the album on its day of release back in 1979. And now here we are some thirty years later with the album being re-issued again as a 5.1 remaster. What, if anything, does the remastering process bring to the album? Well, we shall see….

Right from the opening chords of From The Undertow, we are obviously in the presence of greatness. The clarity of the production here is simply astonishing and as was the case for the Genesis studio remasters, the amount of extra detail which can be heard beggars belief. It really is a genuinely new listening experience as previously unsuspected details are brought lovingly to light.

Even on the songs, the sharpness and unusually for a digital recording; warmth of the vocal performances is a delight to hear. Tony chose well in Kim Beacon and his vocal delivery is even more eminently suited to the music on this remastered edition than it had been on the original. It is amazing the extra amount of detail you can also hear of Chester’s drumming, little things like cymbals and other paradiddles which were obscured on the original album, all make you prick up your ears and pay attention to something unsuspected.

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There is so much additional material in evidence on each and every track that it is very difficult to select an individual stand-out track; they all glisten like freshly polished diamonds. However, allow me to be churlish and pick out a couple of personal favourites to illustrate the point. A Curious Feeling itself, always a favourite, full of angst and drama is even more dramatic here. Kim’s anguished vocal cry is overlaid by Tony’s keyboards which soar like a soul freed from torment while Chester’s tasteful percussion underlays everything with a solid foundation.

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Forever Morning too, always a monument to Tony’s superlative keyboard skills, gains added momentum with this new mix. Each and every note is sharp, clear and above all, magnified, making a masterpiece even more vibrant than it already was! Once again, Nick Davis has done a marvellous job here. His sympathetic treatment of the music has allowed its true magnificence to shine through and this album is a bona fide gem which Tony’s fans will cherish and, if there’s any justice, fans of great music will embrace too - marvellous stuff!

The special edition, expensive though it is (£24.99) is nicely packaged in a hard card book-type sleeve and the DVD disc not only contains the 5.1 mixof the album but the added bonus of the promotional videos for both For A While and The Waters Of Lethe, neither of which were believed to exist - in fact, back in 1994 when we first talked to Tony for TWR, he denied that any promos for this album had been made! Never mind, here they are now and they will be essential for Banks completists.

Tony Banks: A Curious Feeling Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22160

Tony Banks: A Curious Feeling Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22161 (Special Edition)

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