All the trimmings
Premium music box sets — with luxury packaging and prices to match — may be the real saviours of the record industry.
WHAT do Daft Punk, Bob Dylan, the Clash, Herbie Hancock and the Beach Boys have in common?
They are all contenders in the annual battle to see whose box set can outweigh the other.
As holiday shoppers increasingly focus on individual song downloads, and obituaries are written for the album and CD formats, these sets – with luxury packaging and prices to match – may be the real saviours of the record industry, as well as offering great gift ideas.
Some of these boxes need extra shelf support or careful budgeting. The good news is that the best aren’t always the most expensive, and they all still offer enough listening for well into the New Year. Because many of these sets are limited editions, prices are moving and it pays to shop around.
Sometime close to Christmas there will be vinyl box sets of the complete oeuvre for the German band Can and Scotland’s the Jesus and Mary Chain. There will be some rare tracks on both, though price tags, yet to be confirmed, may surpass US$500 (RM1,608).
The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records is a six-LP box set put together by musician Jack White. The collection covers the 1920s black-music label whose roster featured Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ma Rainey and Louis Armstrong.
The 800-track digital set was first issued through White’s Third Man Records at US$400 (RM1,286) – though prices are now soaring to US$480 (RM1,544) on other sites. That’s a lot, though the document often rises above the historical to be really entertaining. This music was feared lost. Now we are hearing it again after decades.
The New York Art Quartet was a free jazz group, endlessly praised though not much heard. It only released a couple of LPs. Now Call It Art 1964-65 radically expands the output over five discs in a handsome birchwood case with a clothbound book. This has a serious price, US$340 (RM1,093) or more, and best left for true avant- garde fans.
Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories set is US$275 (RM885). For this you get one of the best albums of 2013, otherwise available for about US$9 (RM30), in a beautifully presented box with a lot of hardly essential extras.
Perhaps the best item is a record presenting the highlights from a three-hour monologue by producer Giorgio Moroder, later spliced down to form the nine-minute Giorgio By Moroder. Apart from that, the souvenir has vinyl albums, a hardcover photo book, art prints, USB drives and 34 CDs spanning 1972-1988 and featuring a range of styles from Miles Davis jazz to funk and electronic disco. For about US$180 (RM579), there’s The Bob Dylan Complete Album Collection Vol. One. The 47-disc collection covers 41 official albums, including 14 newly remastered titles. Dylan is one of the greatest singersongwriters, so this is a fine set. Enthusiasts will buy it if only for a two-CD compilation of songs not included on the original albums and the first North American CD issue of the 1973 album Dylan.
The soul box set of the year, at about US$125 (RM402), is Cooler Than Ice: Arctic Records And The Rise Of Philly Soul. The 121 cuts include many not heard in decades, with material by Barbara Mason and Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes.
The Beach Boys’ six-CD set Made In California mixes greatest hits, often in unusual forms, with outtakes – much the same formula as on Good Vibrations from 1993.
See it as the band’s tithe on fans: pay about US$100 (RM321) and get a load more rarities that shed further light on the convoluted studio process that led to Surf’s Up and more. — Bloomberg
Sound season: The clash’s Sound System has exceptional packaging, looking like an old boombox.
The new bob dylan box set completealbum collection,Vol.1 is the ultimate comprehensive compendium of dylan’s studio albums. TheriseandFallOfParamountrecords collection covers
the 1920s black-music label whose roster featured Jelly roll morton, blind Lemon Jefferson and Louis armstrong.