Anyway... as referenced the other day, a whole stonking pile of Murmur session mixes, outtakes and the like from Reflection Studios, late 1982/early 1983 recently came to Dime. OK you say, so what.
1) We got the Stephen Hague "Catapult", for starters.
2) There are different mixing/recording sessions for the Murmur tracks here
3) Some of the vocals appear to be different Stipe takes, sometimes with more legibility
4) The mixes are (for the most part) much more experimental than the final album would portend
|Don Dixon (L) and Mitch Easter (R), Reflection Studios, early 1983|
OK that made these seem terrible. They're not. They're certainly different, but Murmur mixed like this would be a different record. Some would like it more than the actual LP, some wouldn't.
These are taken from the recent Dime seed and were used to test some new restoration techniques I've been working on, but not used "in production" until now. I think anyone who's pulled the Dime seed, and then this, could vouch for how much better this sounds in comparison, in virtually all areas.
Murmur/Reflection Studios sessions/outtakes/mix candidates
(how's that for an album title?)
Fall-Winter 1982 / Winter-Spring 1983
01 Catapult (Stephen Hague demo)
02 Pilgrimage (Mitch Easter / Don Dixon demo, mix 1)
Feb. 16, 1983 mixing session with Mitch Easter
05 Perfect Circle
07 West Of The Fields
Mid-session live to two track
08 studio chatter
09 That Beat
10 All The Right Friends
11 There She Goes Again
In-session basic and rough mixes (probably very early monitor/guide mixes)
12 Talk About The Passion
13 West Of The Fields
14 Moral Kiosk
15 Sitting Still
16 Ages Of You
17 Perfect Circle
18 We Walk
20 Shaking Through
22 Laughing (cuts at end)
Some observations (even though I said I wouldn't...):
Track 2 is, I believe, the exact version submitted by Easter/Dixon as their demo to produce the LP (and that it was batched with the Hague demo supports this). According to most sources, the actual demo was liked so much by all parties it was issued unchanged on the LP. That said, there are minor differences between Track 2 and Track 3 here, but nothing to get excited about.
The 2/16/83 mixing session (tracks 3-7) appear to be near-final mixes. I say this because for the most part the tracks are basically what we get on Murmur. There *are* differences, to be sure (for example: click-ins over the bassline intro to "9-9"), but if you're looking for something truly unique, it's not in this part.
Tracks 8-11 (missing "Moon River" / "Pretty Persuasion" / "Tighten Up" due to official release policy on Dime) were recorded after a few beers live to two-track, and the Dime seeder missed that track 11 is actually the same as the B-side track (on Dead Letter Office), with the re-done ending (preserved here) punched in by Dixon/Easter. The band flubbed the ending, and Dixon had them re-do the final da-da-da-da-da, da da-da-da, da da daaaaa outro, and the entire "do it again" bit is preserved. We get to be flies on the wall... "All The Right Friends" from this set was also officially released on the European I.R.S. Years Dead Letter Office CD in the early 1990s.
Tracks 12-21 are where the fun lies. These are, for the most part, markedly different from the final versions. The true gems here are "Sitting Still" with some very prominent, GORGEOUS harmonies that are buried (or nonexistent) in the LP version and what appears to be a guide Stipe vocal, and "9-9" which features some truly aggressive guitar/mix "wiggles" (for lack of a better term) which really gives it more bite than the final LP version. "Shaking Through" also is a different Stipe vocal and truly shines. "Ages of You" was remixed for B-side release in '84, but the Dead Letter Office version roots from this. "Romance" never has been released from here; I have no idea if it ever was bootlegged in the past. If it has, I don't have it to hand and it's not on my various sets of "IRS demos" / "Chronic Town demos" / etc that all collect various Easter session tracks.
The Dime seed also was quite off-pitch, some tracks more than others; that has been corrected here.
Lastly, the Stephen Hague "Catapult" recording is much, MUCH improved from the last version I posted, which was a "bang it up and blog it STAT!" effort just to get it out there. You need this version though, it's better in all worlds, inclusive.
Grab yer FLACs here, and put that put that put that on your wall...
here's hoping for more stuff to come out of the woodwork! Elliott Mazer Reckoning demos from the master, anyone?