Esoteric Records has reissued an expanded 3 CD + 1 Blu-ray boxed set edition of Barclay James Harvest's classic album “Once Again.” This edition features a new remaster of the original stereo mix, as well as all new 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes by Stephen W. Tayler. The box set also includes a rare BBC John Peel concert appearance from 1971, out-takes, and the 1972 SQ Quadrophonic mix. Plus, collectors can dive into a lavishly illustrated booklet with an essay by Keith and Monika Domone that adds to the overall experience.
Originally released in February 1971, this album has been widely regarded as one of the band's early masterpieces, featuring the Barclay James Harvest symphony orchestra and the album went on to attain Gold disc status. Note that this is the second time that the album has been issued on a digital format with immersive audio, and this edition contains all new surround mixes that are part of the 44 tracks in total. As is common with the label, the Blu-ray is a region-free disc accompanied by the 3 CDs with plenty of bonuses, making it a must-have for fans and collectors alike.
The Blu-ray contains 96kHz / 24-bit LPCM & DTS 5.1 surround mixes, plus 96kHz / 24-bit LPCM stereo mixes, while the three CD’s duplicate much of the following content, the original mix, the new mix, and a full disc of bonus material. The packaging is exquisite and may be the best design I have received from Esoteric Recordings. It is not a clam shell design, as many of the other packages from the label have been, rather it is a sturdy outer box that contains a pull out cady that houses the various discs housed in individual mini-LP cardboard covers, along with the booklet and poster.
Jonathan Cornell has taken a deep dive with his review of this release which is published on the Immersive Audio Album site. Have a read over there, or just get your copy if you are a fan of the band and a collector of surround sound mixes. As always, views are partially subjective, thus ones listening experience will vary based on their setup. in short, overall, I am pleased with the sound quality and mix of this release.
Released February 17, 2023.
3CD + 1 Blu-ray box set with 5.1 DTS and LPCM 96kHz /. 24-bit surround and 2.0 stereo 96kHz / 24-bit LPCM mixes. Also available on vinyl and via popular streaming sites.