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8 April, 2005

Deadwing Special Edition

I don't plan to merely republish an announcement made at Porcupinetree.com, but to summarise, the special limited edition of the band's album 'Deadwing' (the stereo mix on CD and 5.1 mix on DVD*, in a 72-page hardback book), is now available for preorder, solely from the band's website.

It will not be available from any other retailer (presumably not even Burning Shed). Orders are being taken by a US company, so payment options are limited (i.e. I can't use my UK-based debit card). However, European orders will be despatched from the UK, to minimise shipping costs. [Update 21/5/05: This proved complicated. Burning Shed will have it shortly, and non-US purchasers are advised to wait for that.]

More information and secure ordering are via PorcupineTree.com.

Note that the special edition CD contains the European tracklisting of 'Deadwing' (i.e. the US bonus track, 'Shesmovedon' is not included) [Update 6/5/05: Wrong. The US tracklist, with 'Shesmovedon' has been used], and the DVD has the same tracklist . The bonus tracks previously announced as present on the DVD-A are exclusive to that edition, and are not on this one. To be absolutely clear: there is no additional music on the special edition, whatsoever.

This has attracted considerable criticism from those who rather wishfully expected the special edition to compile all bonus material from the various editions into one 'ultimate' 'Deadwing'. However, that's simply impossible, and accusations that the record company have released multiple versions merely to exploit the fans are unfair.

  • The record company, Lava, released one edition in the US, with a bonus track, and one in Europe, without.
    The bonus track is merely a re-recording of an existing song from 'Lightbulb Sun', included to advertise the forthcoming Lava reissues of '
    Stupid Dream'
    and 'Lightbulb Sun' and bearing no relevance to the 'Deadwing' material, so I'm rather glad it's not on the special edition. [Update 6/5/05: It is.] I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be on the standard US edition either, if it had been Steven Wilson's decision.
  • The DVD-A was produced by DTS, an entirely different company to Lava.
    Mixing and mastering the 5.1 surround sound version was very expensive, and DTS understandably want to maximise the chances of recouping their costs, so obtained an exclusive licence to certain bonus tracks; those tracks are simply unavailable to anyone else, even the band and Lava, for inclusion on any other release.
  • The special edition is being released independently by the band, not the record company, nor DTS.
    It's known that SW doesn't like bonus tracks to be tacked onto his albums – each is a complete composition, not just a bunch of songs. The European editions of 'In Absentia' and 'Blackfield' each included a second CD of bonus material for this reason, specifically separating the main albums from bonuses. That doesn't preclude doing the same thing for the special edition of 'Deadwing', but as I said, 'Shesmovedon' is irrelevant to 'Deadwing' and the DVD-A bonuses are exclusive to DTS, unavailable for inclusion in the band's own independent edition.

One thing critics haven't acknowledged is how astonishingly cheap (heh... I meant inexpensive, but some might use the other definition) the special edition is, especially by UK standards. The standard 'Deadwing' CD is £9.99 at Amazon.co.uk, which translates to $18.84 for the CD alone, in a jewel case with minimalist sleeve notes. For an extra £5.92 (rather less than the 'Lazarus' single), one can have full sleeve notes, with a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album thrown in, in superior packaging.

In very real terms, this is the standard CD with bonus material (a different format of the same tracks, not different tracks). It's cheaper than, say, the standard (jewel case) double-disc edition of Marillion's 'Marbles' and only about 60% of the price of the special edition hardback 'Marbles'.

So, it's not the ultimate 'all-in' edition fans dreamt of, but it's better value than the CD alone, which is enough for me. The only people who lose out are the "gottahaveitNOW" types who bought the standard CD edition. I'm happy to wait.

*: that's DVD-V. As stated above, the DVD-A edition announced earlier is an entirely different release, from DTS on 10 May.

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