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XTC — Nonsuch (1992, Steven Wilson stereo remix 2013)

 XTC — Nonsuch (1992, Steven Wilson stereo remix 2013)

XTC — Nonsuch (1992, Steven Wilson stereo remix 2013)
♠  One of the smartest and most original pop bands of their era, whether in their nervy new wave incarnation or trading in lush pop during the '80s.
Formed: 1976 in Wiltshire, England
Also known as: The Dukes of Stratosphear, Terry and the Lovemen, The Three Wise Men
Location: Swindon, England
Release date: March 30, 1992
Recording date: July, 1991 — October, 1991 at Chipping Norton Recording Studios, Oxfordshire, England
Album release: 2013
Record Label: Virgin Records/Ape House APEBD110
Duration:     64:47
Tracks:
01. The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead      5:04
02. My Bird Performs      3:57
03. Dear Madam Barnum      2:54
04. Humble Daisy      3:41
05. The Smartest Monkeys      4:25
06. The Disappointed      3:37
07. Holly Up On Poppy      3:08
08. Crocodile      3:59
09. Rook      3:48
10. Omnibus      3:29
11. That Wave      3:46
12. Then She Appeared      4:03
13. War Dance      3:24
14. Wrapped in Grey      3:47
15. Ugly Underneath      3:55
16. Bungalow      2:52
17. Books Are Burning      4:52
Bonus Track:
18. Didn’t Hurt a Bit       3:27
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6 — 12, 14, 15 & 17 written by Andy Partridge
Tracks 2, 5, 13 & 16 written by Colin Moulding
Album Moods: Quirky Whimsical Acerbic Cerebral Cynical/Sarcastic Ironic Precious Springlike Trippy Witty Wry Atmospheric Autumnal Bitter Bittersweet Bright Circular Complex Earnest Eccentric Light Nocturnal Reflective Relaxed Romantic Searching Sentimental Slick Snide Sophisticated Sparkling Summery Sweet Wintry Wistful
Themes: Spring
CREDITS:
Guy Barker  Flugelhorn, Trumpet
Ian Cooper  Digital Remastering
Nick Davis  Mixing
David Dragon  Sleeve Art
Gus Dudgeon  Arranger, End Chorus, Percussion, Producer, Talking, Tambourine, Trumpet, Unknown Contributor Role, Vocals (Background), Voices
Stuart Gordon  Violin
David Gregory  Band, Bells, Brass Arrangement, Guitar, Guitar (12 String), Guitar (12 String Electric), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Keyboards, Organ (Hammond), Percussion, Piano, String Arrangements, Synthesizer, Vocals (Background), Voices
Gina Griffin  Violin
Barry Hammond  Engineer
Rose Hull  Cello
Florence Lovegrove  Viola
Bob Ludwig  Mastering
Dave Mattacks  Drums, Drum Samples, Percussion, Sampling, Shaker, Sitar, Talking, Tambourine
Colin Moulding  Bass, Brass Arrangement, Composer, Guitar (Bass), Guitar (Electric), String Arrangements, Unknown Contributor Role, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Andy Partridge  Band, Bells, Bell Tree, Brass Arrangement, Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Harmonica, Keyboard Programming, Keyboards, Percussion, Shaker, String Arrangements, Synthesizer, Talking, Tambourine, Vocals, Vocals (Background), Voices
Kevin Westenberg  Photography
Ξ   Nonsuch, the twelfth album by XTC, is getting reissued this year with a new surround mix by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree.
Ξ  Featuring production by early Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon and some of the best pastoral power-pop songwriting by band brain trust Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, including the U.S. Modern Rock chart-topper “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” “The Disappointed,” “Wrapped in Grey” and many more, Nonsuch remains something of a bittersweet note for fans of the quirky trio. Fed up with what they felt was U.K. label Virgin’s shoddy promotion of the record, XTC went on strike for seven years, returning in 1999 with Apple Venus Volume 1. (Dave Gregory, third member of the band since 1984's The Big Express, quit during the recording sessions; Partridge and Moulding released Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) the following year.)
Ξ  Partridge provided input into the new mixes, and, with Moulding and Gregory, fully approved them, also contributing new liner notes. But the excitement doesn’t end there.
Ξ  While Partridge and Moulding seemed to have put XTC to bed by the middle of the decade, this new package will feature new standard stereo and 5.1 surround mixes by Wilson — whose Emerson, Lake & Palmer remixes were lauded by many (including our own Joe Marchese - and Wilson’s got plenty more where that came from in the coming months). Partridge provided input into the new mixes, and, with Moulding and Gregory, fully approved them, also contributing new liner notes.
Ξ  But the excitement doesn’t end there. Nonsuch will be presented as a CD/DVD-A with the new mixes as well as a CD/Blu-ray set featuring more extra material. (On all versions, the CD is expanded by one track: a demo, “Didn’t Hurt a Bit,” previously heard on a 2000 CD single.) Extras for the CD/Blu-ray (which, like the CD/DVD-A, is region free!) are:
Ξ  Instrumental mixes of the album in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz)
Ξ  Demos and worktapes from Partridge and Moulding, featuring songs used for and written contemporaneously to the album
Ξ  Rare footage from the Nonsuch sessions at Chipping Norton Studios
Ξ  Promo videos for “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” and “The Disappointed”
Ξ  Both versions are on track for an October 7 release and can be pre-ordered from Partridge’s APE House label here (CD/DVD-A) and here (CD/Blu-ray). Ξ  (http://theseconddisc.com/)
REVIEW
MICHAEL AZERRAD; Posted: May 28, 1992;  Score: ****
Ξ  A charter member of England's class of '77, XTC is one of the few bands from that era to remain virtually intact. Through fifteen years and ten albums, XTC has become something of a pop hothouse flower, having nurtured an utterly idiosyncratic sound from some very familiar roots. Nonsuch finds XTC, whose members are pushing forty, gliding well past the musical and emotional predilections of the band's predominantly college-age audience. Emphasizing wonder and wit in opposition to the rage of most college rock, XTC makes alternative music for people who don't like "alternative music."
Ξ  With former Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon enveloping the band's sophisticated melodies in jazzy, baroque arrangements, Nonsuch rounds off XTC's sharper angles, smooths out the rough edges and makes the band's noise beautiful. The instrumentation includes strings, piano and horns, harking back to the Beach Boys' psychedelic period and the sublime chamber pop of the Beatles.
Ξ  XTC's perfectionism can sometimes seem cold and insular, but it's hard to miss the love in main songwriter Andy Partridge's tunes about the joys of watching his daughter play (the exquisite "Holly Up on Poppy") or the thrill of finding a lover ("Then She Appeared"). "Rook" is an elusive but affecting rumination on mortality, and the majestic "Books Are Burning," featuring a guitar duel between Partridge and lead guitarist Dave Gregory, closes the album on a note of sad indignation.
Ξ  Nonsuch is what happens when three men who grew up on Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds stay true. Too lovely for college radio, too challenging for legions of baby boomers unwilling to progress, XTC has built itself a very gorgeous golden cage. (RS 631) (http://web.archive.org/)
Review by Stephen Thomas ErlewineScore: ****½
Ξ  Since Skylarking, each XTC album was carefully composed and crafted, and Nonsuch is no different. Working with producer Gus Dudgeon (Elton John), XTC crafted their most immaculate album to date with Nonsuch. A measured and reflective record, recalling the Beach Boys more than the Beatles, the album retains some of their late-'80s psychedelic flourishes, but those have been integrated into an elaborate, lush pop setting that falls somewhere between Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons. While it lacks the thematic unity of Skylarking, as well as the grandstanding eclecticism of Oranges & Lemons, Nonsuch is in many ways more musically consistent, presenting a set of 17 wonderfully detailed and immediately catchy pop songs, ranging from the relatively rocking "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" to the sweet "Holly Up on Poppy." Ξ  Occasionally, the album dips slightly lyrically — Colin Moulding's "The Smartest Monkeys" and "War Dance" are a little too preachy — but never musically, making Nonsuch a modest, minor masterpiece.
Website: http://www.ape.uk.net/
Robert Christgau: http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=xtc
Also:
Ξ  https://www.burningshed.com/store/ape/product/351/4999/
By David Quantick;  Score: ****
Ξ  http://chalkhills.org/articles/qTheMusic.html#q9702
Discography:
Ξ  White Music (1978)
Ξ  Go 2 (1978)
Ξ  Drums and Wires (1979)
Ξ  Black Sea (1980)
Ξ  English Settlement (1982)
Ξ  Mummer (1983)
Ξ  The Big Express (1984)
Ξ  25 O'Clock (1985, as the Dukes of Stratosphear)
Ξ  Skylarking (1986)
Ξ  Psonic Psunspot (1987, as the Dukes of Stratosphear)
Ξ  Oranges & Lemons (1989)
Ξ  Nonsuch (1992)
Ξ  Apple Venus Volume 1 (1999)
Ξ  Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) (2000)
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XTC — Nonsuch (1992, Steven Wilson stereo remix 2013)

 

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