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YES Update - 'Close to the Edge' Bluray Surround Remix (2013) Review  

The "Close to the Edge" album released in 1972 remains a magnificent masterpiece but now in late 2013 comes the release of the surround sound remix by Steven Wilson in both DVD and Bluray formats. This comprehensive new release also contains various other mixes of the album including a 2013 stereo remix on the accompanying CD.

Not all editions of "Close to the Edge" released over the years have been created equal and the sound equipment they're played on can make a large difference together with the personal perception of the listener. My original 1972 vinyl copy (UK import, made in USA) has always sounded superbly well balanced with clarity and depth. Yet I've heard other vinyl versions from elsewhere that were significantly less vibrant. Some early CD releases of the album were horridly muddy while the HDCD release from Japan circa 2001 was a considerable improvement.

Steven Wilson has worked from the original master tapes and his 2013 bluray surround sound remix is commendably clean in the top end and mid-range. He hasn't overdone the surround effects while achieving a nicely enveloping sound. However I found the overall balance to be less satisfying than the classic original stereo mix and the bottom end seems too light with the tone controls set at neutral. I then tried a sizeable nudge upwards with the bass control and an increase in volume to yield a very substantial improvement in depth and clarity that did much greater justice to the music. With those provisos, this surround sound remix in the lossless bluray format then starts to approach the point of being as good as we're ever likely to hear the original studio recording of "Close to the Edge".

For those seeking other Yes music in surround sound, I'd highly recommend the now rare DVD Audio edition of 'Magnification' released in 2002. The surround sound mix by Tim Weidner is outstanding and it astonishingly brings the album to life with a huge dynamic sound stage.