From: Ofir Zwebner
Moonmadness CD Comparison
Comparing London 810 879-2 (original edition) vs. Deram 8829312 (remastered edition)
The original London sleeve is a miserable effort, with only the front half of the cover printed, badly framed, in distorted colors that lean toward magenta. The original inner sleeve lacks any liner notes. I'm curious if there was ever a Deram CD release of this album, perhaps including some notes by John Tracy.
The remastered CD sleeve is printed in the correct colors and can be opened to reveal the gatefold artwork. Too bad, though, that the colors are a little faded when compared to the vinyl print (mine is by Passport Record, Canada)
The inner sleeve is a complete mess of pictures, technical details, liner notes (by Mark Powell, which are fine on their own) and some interesting memorabilia snapshots of Camel's tour programs and advertisements. Too bad there is no proper image of the American CD sleeve which the liner notes eagerly care to put down. The American sleeve proved its worth by becoming a popular Logo for the band.
The original London CD is louder (and probably more compressed) than the new remastered CD, and this is evident in all the songs. A loud CD could cause a distortion on some (unprofessional?) systems, so I prefer the approach taken in the somewhat quieter remastered CD.
Aristillus - basically the same sound, the lower frequencies are slightly enhanced, giving a little "fatter" bass sound on the remastered CD.
Song within a Song - Flute and vocals stands out, and the general sound is warmer.
Chord Change sounds completely the same to me.
The original CD's Spirit of the Water is actually warmer and better balanced than the remastered.
Another Night sound very similar, with a slightly warmer sound on the remastered. The original has more hiss in the quieter parts.
I assume some noise reduction was used to remove the hiss at the start of Air Born. This resulted in lack of some high frequencies and it seriously muffled the flute, vocals, mellotron choral and some of the synth space effects. The original version also has further emphasis on the bass range, resulting in warmer and richer sound altogether.
I found both versions of Lunar Sea identical. I was hoping that a tape drop at 3:12 minutes into the song would be fixed digitally, but this was left unattended either by negligence or with intention to keep the original recording as is.
The 3:22 minute single version of Another Night features clearer vocals and alternative keyboard and guitar solos, which make it a nice alternative cut to the album version. This version has obviously been speeded up.
The Demo of Spirit of the Water is in a solo recording of Peter Bardens on piano, presenting the piece as originally composed.
The live editions of Song Within a Song, Lunar Sea and Preparation/Dunkirk are ok, though they have little new to offer:
The recording of "Song within a Song" is far from perfect; the drums sound flat and lack stereophonic spread. The band itself is a little sleepy until it finally kicks off in the second half of the song (within a song). Andrew plays his flute riff on the guitar; other than that I find all the many other live renditions of this song better by far.
The live "Lunar Sea" features a thin guitar and synth sound, which seriously take away the power of the piece. This recording has been previously released as a promotional B side of the Another Night single. In the original single, the end of "Lunar Sea" is segued into the Preparation guitar riff while the audience are applauding, but this is faded out. The segueing of both songs is probably the only reason why Preparation/Dunkirk is on this CD. This extract from The Snow Goose is the best live bonus track to be found here, although it is otherwise completely irrelevant to the rest of this CD. Alternative live versions of Lunar Sea, Preparation and Dunkirk are available in many other Camel live albums.
The restored artwork and some of the bonus tracks make the remastered edition a worthwhile alternative to the original London release. As for the album's original songs I would go for the mastering of the original London CD, but some listeners may suffer distorted sound and should consider the remastered edition as a good solution.
Disclaimer: The above comparison was performed using simple home equipment by an amateur musician who is equipped with fish gills (muffled with sea weed) for ears. I would appreciate (and cherish) anyone who can perform a more educated comparison!