Fables Of The Remastering

I wrote about the “Deluxe” edition of R.E.M.’s Murmur a couple years ago. The 25th Anniversary “Deluxe” edition of Fables Of The Reconstruction is out this week.

It’s remastered the same way as Murmur was. Maybe a bit worse. The RMS levels are all between -10 and -12 dB.

The bonus disc is very interesting – the “Athens Demos” of the songs on the album. I’ve not heard these demos before, despite my collection of REM bootlegs. They’re a fascinating glimpse into the band’s process, as the songs on “Chronic Town”, “Murmur”, and “Reckoning” were culled from the band’s years touring before they were signed. This material was honed, and the albums are polished perfection as a result. When it came time to start on the next record, they had to write new material. “The cupboard was bare,” as Peter Buck writes in the liner notes. The demos are the earliest recordings of R.E.M. songs that exist.

Unfortunately, the dynamic range compression is as bad on the demos as the album. In fact, looking at Driver 8, it appears an attempt was made to make the sound match between the versions, which isn’t really the point, in my opinion. But at least the material is available.

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