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4 June, 2008

Not all alright

Grudgingly, I quite like 'deluxe' editions of CDs: additional tracks accompanying an album (preferably on a separate CD, enhanced CD or DVD in order to keep the 'core' album distinct), presented in oversized or novel packaging with additional artwork.

Given the choice between that and a retail edition in a standard jewel case, I'll happily pay an additional couple of pounds. In a few exceptional cases, I've paid almost half as much again as for basic editions. However, the material product isn't important to me – it's the music that matters – and I have no interest in the petty exclusivity of limited editions.

Unfortunately, recent trends seem to stress those elements, seemingly (to the cynical me) in order to justify startling prices – not 120-150% of the basic price, but 500% or more. The items do become mere 'items', conveying little more than the alleged prestige of ownership. Does anyone really need an album provided on CD and vinyl and DVD in a box which is, beneath all the sumptuous details, still just a box, and with the exact same tracks provided as high-res .mp3 downloads?

Preorders of Sigur Rós latest album 'Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust' have opened at sigurros.com (as opposed to their main and emphatically-hyphenated website, sigur-ros.co.uk). The standard CD edition will be despatched on or around 23 June, and costs £12. Other options, for £8 and £14, are available, but there's also a deluxe edition:

This exquisitely presented deluxe edition is a unique document of the creation of Sigur Rós' fifth album in film, photography and music. Given unprecedented access to the final stages of the making and release of the group's new album, photographer Eva Vermandel and film-maker Nicholas Abrahams create an intimate and revealing portrait of the Icelandic quartet at work on their most immediate record to date.

Housed in a large-format, fine weave cloth-bound hardback book, the deluxe edition comprises nearly 200 pages of fine art photographic images, as well as an impressionistic film portrait of Sigur Rós, as they record, mix and master 'Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust'. Locations include New York, London, Mexico, Reykjavík and beyond, and take in the filming of the 'Gobbledigook' video, tour rehearsals, the early shows on the tour, as well as exclusive band interviews relating to the record.

Each edition is individually numbered and includes a unique strip of 16mm film taken from the video 'Gobbledigook' as well as the DVD and album.

Yours for £60. Sixty pounds. Sixty pounds.

Perhaps not.

I usually prefer to buy albums direct from band websites, ensuring the retailer's cut of the selling price goes to the artists. However, attempts to milk fans via overpriced special editions rather alienate me, and now I'm far more inclined to obtain 'Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust' from Amazon.

If I like it at all, of course – I'll need to hear a few online samples before deciding whether to buy. I've heard 'Gobbledigook' (as can anyone willing to provide an e-mail address* before downloading), and wasn't, well, overwhelmed.

*: An e-mail address, but not necessarily a real one. Guerillamail is your friend.

Comments

I do agree with you to certain point. I mean we are talking about Sigur Ros here they don't portrait themselves to be the type of band to milk their fans of hard earned dollars. Secondly, these guys are true artists and the artwork was conceived around the concept of the album and its by Jonsi the lead singer. It's not some shite drawn by some punter in an office in the SW corner of the world who is getting paid to do it it's from the heart. Besides, if you don't want to pay it don't. But don't be a poof and complain about it.

Posted by Robert at June 5, 2008 11:30 PM

Of course I don't have to buy the 'special' edition, but don't you think a 60 'special' edition is worthy of comment? Should we be uncritically grateful for whatever a band (or, more to the point, a record corporation) deigns to release, without even questioning whether it's self-serving commercialism?

Conform & consume, sheep.

And if you think casual xeno- & homophobia is remotely acceptable here, you have the wrong site.
You do know Jónsi is gay, right?

Posted by NRT at June 6, 2008 08:39 AM
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