How Does Your Garden Grow? 5.1 Surround Sound Mix
By Better THan Ezra
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The experience is hard to explain. You hear more of the original recording, but it doesn't sound too busy or overdone, just fuller and more dimensional. All of my favorite string swells, electronic blips and percussion fills are there, but they feel more present throughout, rather than just making an appearance. I actually didn't have a full 5.1 system, and had to do some buying and borrowing to get everything set for listening night, but it did not disappoint. Really an amazing experience.
Suffice to say, if Music Valet can handle an album this complex and rich, and keep an Ezralite happy, they're worth keeping in the loop for future releases. I kind of hope it's an album that I already love, but at the same time, I can see how it'd be fun to hear something brand new in this format as well. Either way, keep 'em coming.
The best part is the disc itself! The 5.1 mix on this disc is discrete and imeersive. And truly brings a somewhat cramped sounding stereo mix to life. I can hear the care that was taken to expand the tracks and completely surround me with sound. This disc really shines in my Acura RDX ELS sound system.
I can't wait for future releases from Richard and Music Valet!! Thanks for keeping the surround alive.
Very discrete & fun mix. Songwriting and musicianship are also excellent. Great title to kick off Music Valet's new service.
Up until now the 5.1 mix of Seal's 1994 self-titled album was my benchmark, against which all other surround albums were judged, but this mix of How Does Your Garden Grow? sets the bar at a new level as far as I'm concerned. Without ever feeling gimmicky, this mix really lets the surround format shine. It truly feels as if you're sitting in a room with the band playing around you.
In other notable 5.1 albums, there is a subtle transition into the surround world, but on many levels it still feels like a stereo recording, just with added depth. HDYGG, on the other hand, feels like it was recorded for this format.
Knowing this album as well as I do, I can attest to the fact that the stereo versions feel like they were fighting to cram everything in... But now every single instrument and voice has its own space, not to mention the fact that you can finally hear all the wonderful bleeps, clicks and other nuances these guys put into making this record back in '97.
The love and care obviously put into this new mix makes me excited to hear what's next from Music Valet!
Note: This is not a CD. This is a DVD that will play both in cars and DVD players globally (no region code) that recognize the following formats. Also note, 2014 Acura MDX and RLX vehicles have the ELS Studio audio system, that no longer features 5.1 Surround Capabilities. Please refer to your car's owners manual or look for one or both of the logos below to make sure you have 5.1 Surround Sound Capabilities in your car.
About the remix:
The 5.1 surround sound remix idea started very innocently in a backstage meeting at the end of 2011. I threw out the idea and the band obliged. Flash forward to the fall of 2012, where I hosted the band to a marathon 16 hour mixing session where months of work culminated into the final tweaks to the 5.1 surround remix. I witnessed first hand the passion Ezra has for their music and the love they have for this record. It was a labor of love for me to bring this great record to Ezra fans old and new in the way I as a fan envisioned hearing it...in full surround. Assembling an amazing team of mixing and mastering engineers to take on this task let me take the job of curator of a true work of art...and for that I’m privileged.
The best way to describe the experience I felt after we finalized the mix is this visual. When I listen, I feel like I’m sitting in the middle of the band’s New Orleans studio while they’re playing these songs live. It’s a very personal way to hear the record. What you’ll hear is the live band performances, the string sections, Kevin’s passionate vocal performances, the noise boxes, synths, etc…they’re all here. This version will take those who know and love this record to another place and they’ll hear things like they never heard before. For those that are hearing these songs for the first time, I welcome you to the family.
Watch the documentary video about the making of the surround sound remix.
Richard LaBonté, Music Valet