DVD-A, SACD Releases

There are probably only a handful of recorded works which could successfully survive the transition from the original two-channel release to a 5.1 surround remix. Queen's 1975 release A Night At The Opera is certainly one of them, and, in fact, the recording was originally scheduled to hit the streets last November as a 5.1 DVD-Audio disc from DTS Entertainment.

A Night At The Opera missed its 2001 DVD-A release date, but it has been rescheduled to appear later this month with revised 5.1 remixes created by Elliot Scheiner, along with Queen's original producer, Roy Thomas Baker, and guitarist/co-writer Brian May (the band's appointed representative.)

DTS says that the new 5.1 remixes of Queen's legendary epic will be released in a DVD-Audio version that offers 96/24 Advanced Resolution MLP 5.1 tracks for all DVD-Audio players, and DTS-encoded 96/24 tracks for all DTS-capable 5.1 playback systems. Producer Roy Thomas Baker says, "When we were recording A Night At The Opera, we had surround sound in mind, so it's great to get to do it now in 5.1. Quite a lot of this mix is how we imagined it in our heads when we were recording it 27 years ago."

Graham Nash's new recording, Songs For Survivors will be arriving in stores on April 30. The DTS release marks the first time a major artist has chosen to release a 5.1 DVD-Audio version of new material prior to its stereo CD release. Nash explains, "I wanted to place you right in the middle, just like when we cut the record, as if you had the greatest seat that you ever had in your life. A lot of people who listen to music would never have such an experience, unless they were part of the band or management. I've always wanted to share this kind of listening experience. And the great thing about 5.1 is how it feels to me—how it places you in that environment."

On the SACD front, Columbia Records has revealed that original Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen has been working with an impressive cast of musicians to create his latest disc, Blue Country Heart, due in stores June 11. Colombia describes the collection as rural blues songs from the 1920s and 1930s, including tunes by Jimmie Rodgers, the Delmore Brothers, Larry Hensley, Washington Phillips, Cliff Carlisle, and Jimmie "The Singing Governor" Davis.

The sessions were captured in Direct Stream Digital for their subsequent release on SACD by producer Roger Moutenot at Masterlink studio. "We did 16 songs in four days," says Kaukonen. "The studio has one of those Nashville histories. They had fabulous equipment, the room is real beautiful sounding, and everything we did was completely acoustic. I used my 1936 Advanced Jumbo Gibson and Sam Bush had some mandolin from the '20s. Lord knows what Jerry Douglas had, there was a huge battery of vintage dobros on hand for the sessions. Byron House was playing a standup bass that was over 100 years old and Bela Fleck came in with a banjo from the late '30s. So we had a bunch of vintage acoustic instruments and we just went in and set up, got comfortable in the room, and played. And I never wore headphones once during the session. It was just like sitting and playing at home."

Sony Music's Leslie C. Cohen adds that the disc is one of only a handful of recordings currently on the market originally recorded with DSD technology. "The beauty of DSD is that it enables you to hear the totality of the performance captured during the recording process—the impact is visceral—it brings the listener that much closer to the intent of the artist while rekindling that sense of excitement and wonder you felt hearing your first live performance."