Genesis – Abacab (1981) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Abacab (1981) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 47:07 minutes | Scans included | 2,95 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 0,97 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

Duke showcased a new Genesis – a sleek, hard, stylish trio that truly sounded like a different band from its first incarnation – but Abacab was where this new incarnation of the band came into its own. Working once again with producer Hugh Padgham, the group escalated the innovations of Duke, increasing the pop hooks, working them seamlessly into the artiest rock here. And even if the brash, glorious pop of “No Reply at All” – powered by the percolating horns of Earth, Wind & Fire, yet polished into a precise piece of nearly new wave pop by Padgham – suggests otherwise, this is still art rock at its core, or at least album-oriented rock, as the band works serious syncopations and instrumental forays into a sound that’s as bright, bold, and jagged as the modernist artwork on the cover. They dabble in other genres, lacing “Me and Sarah Jane” with a reggae beat, for instance, which often adds dimension to their sound, as when “Dodo” rides a hard funk beat and greasy organ synths yet doesn’t become obvious; it turns inward, requiring active listening. Truly, only “No Reply at All,” the rampaging title track (possibly their hardest-rocking song to date), and the sleek and spooky “Man on the Corner” (which hides a real melancholy heart underneath its glistening surface) are immediate and accessible – although the Mockney jokes of “Who Dunnit?” could count, it’s too much of a geeky novelty to be pop. The rest of Abacab is truly modern art rock, their last album that could bear that tag comfortably.

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Genesis – And Then There Were Three (1978) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – And Then There Were Three (1978) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 53:37 minutes | Scans included | 3,43 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,10 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

And Then There Were Three, more than either of its immediate predecessors, feels like the beginning of the second phase of Genesis – in large part because the lineup had indeed dwindled down to Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins, a situation alluded to in the title. But it wasn’t just a whittling of the lineup; the group’s aesthetic was also shifting, moving away from the fantastical, literary landscapes that marked both the early Genesis LPs and the two transitional post-Gabriel outings, as the bandmembers turned their lyrical references to contemporary concerns and slowly worked pop into the mix, as heard on the closing “Follow You Follow Me,” the band’s first genuine pop hit. Its calm, insistent melody, layered with harmonies, is a perfect soft rock hook, although there’s a glassy, almost eerie quality to the production that is also heard throughout the rest of the record. These chilly surfaces are an indication that Genesis don’t quite want to abandon prog at this point, but the increasing emphasis on melody and tight song structures points the way toward the group’s ’80s work.

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Genesis – Calling All Stations (1997) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Calling All Stations (1997) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 67:59 minutes | Scans included | 4,35 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,41 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

Phil Collins left Genesis following the We Can’t Dance tour and many observers expected Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford to finally call it a day. They decided to persevere instead, hiring former Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson to replace Collins. Given that Stiltskin was a European neo-prog band, it isn’t a total surprise that Genesis returned to their art rock roots on Calling All Stations, their first album with Wilson. The music on Calling All Stations is long, dense, and lugubrious, but it’s given the same immaculate, pristine production that was the hallmark of their adult contemporary work with Collins. It wants to be an art rock album, but not at the expense of losing the pop audience – which makes it all the stranger that the group doesn’t really write pop songs on Calling All Stations. That may be because Wilson’s voice isn’t suited for pop, but works well with languid, synthesized prog settings. But even ponderous prog rock has to have musical themes worth exploring, and on that level, Genesis come up dry on Calling All Stations.

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Genesis – Duke (1980) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Duke (1980) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 55:05 minutes | Scans included | 3,49 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,14 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

If And Then There Were Three suggested that Genesis were moving toward pop, Duke is where they leaped into the fray. Not that it was exactly a head-first leap: the band may have peppered the album with pop songs, but there was still a heavy dose of prog, as the concluding “Duke” suite made clear. This is modernist art rock, quite dissimilar to the fragile, delicate Selling England by the Pound, and sometimes the precision of the attack can be a little bombastic. Nevertheless, this is a major leap forward in distinguishing the sound of Genesis, the band, and along with a new signature sound come pop songs, particularly in the guise of “Misunderstanding” and “Turn It on Again.” The first is a light, nearly soulful, heartache song, the latter is a thunderous arena rocker, and both showcase the new version of Genesis at its absolute best. The rest of the record comes close to matching them.

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Genesis – Extras Tracks 1976-1982 (2007) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Extras Tracks 1976-1982 (2007) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 59:03 minutes | Scans included | 3,75 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,29 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

If the grouping of albums on this 2007 box set initially seems a little odd — it is neither a collection of the band’s early work, nor all of their albums after Peter Gabriel’s departure, nor is it their most popular work — it soon becomes apparent why these five albums are grouped together and reissued as remastered double-disc sets, with one disc containing a CD of the album, the other a DVD with a 5.1 mix and extra video material (in the U.K., the first disc contains hybrid SACDs of the albums, raising this question why they aren’t in this format in the U.S., especially since the bonus disc in this box is a hybrid SACD in all territories). These are the key art rock albums from the Phil Collins-fronted lineup of Genesis, the ones that the fans value, certainly more so than the pop-oriented Genesis and Invisible Touch. Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford reunited in 2007 for a tour, so it made sense to box up their key texts as a deluxe reissue, because this is indeed the music that the fans will want to hear on the tour. If the remastered sound wasn’t enough of an incentive for hardcore fans (although it often is), the set also includes plenty of supplemental material, highlighted by a bonus disc containing 13 rarities and B-sides, including the single “Paperlate.” That’s not the end of the bonus material, though: there’s also a 48-page book, and each DVD is packed with extra material, including promotional videos, TV appearances, replications of tour programs, and new interviews with the band about the making of the albums. The only drawback to the set is that it’s not available as hybrid SACDs in all territories, but really, that’s a minor complaint because this set is executed with love and care, living up to the high expectations of Genesis’ dedicated fans.

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Genesis – Extras Tracks 1970-1975 (2007) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Extras Tracks 1970-1975 (2007) [2.0 & 5.1]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:42 minutes | Scans included | 2,86 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 997 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

This supplemental disc has the exceptional B-side “Twilight Alehouse,” the single-only “Happy the Man,” the demo of the terrific “Going Out to Get You,” and the BBC session that produced “Shepherd,” “Pacidy,” and “Let Us Now Make Love” — all tracks that showed up on the 1998 box set Genesis Archives, Vol. 1: 1967-1975, but the real treat is the first official release of the four songs that comprise Genesis Plays Jackson, the band’s soundtrack to a show by artist Michael Jackson. Add to this the video material — limited to interviews on Trespass and Nursery Cryme, but containing full performances on Foxtrot and Selling England, plus the original slide shows used for the stage show of Lamb — and this box turns into something extraordinary: a nearly complete portrait of a restlessly creative band at their peak, whose output only sounds more distinctive with each passing year.

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Genesis – Foxtrot (1972) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Foxtrot (1972) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:17 minutes | Scans included | 3,12 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,02 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

Foxtrot is where Genesis began to pull all of its varied inspirations into a cohesive sound — which doesn’t necessarily mean that the album is streamlined, for this is a group that always was grandiose even when they were cohesive, or even when they rocked, which they truly do for the first time here. Indeed, the startling thing about the opening “Watcher of the Skies” is that it’s the first time that Genesis attacked like a rock band, playing with a visceral power. There’s might and majesty here, and it, along with “Get ‘Em Out by Friday,” is the truest sign that Genesis has grown muscle without abandoning the whimsy. Certainly, they’ve rarely sounded as fantastical or odd as they do on the epic 22-minute closer “Supper’s Ready,” a nearly side-long suite that remains one of the group’s signature moments. It ebbs, flows, teases, and taunts, see-sawing between coiled instrumental attacks and delicate pastoral fairy tales. If Peter Gabriel remained a rather inscrutable lyricist, his gift for imagery is abundant, as there are passages throughout the album that are hauntingly evocative in their precious prose. But what impresses most about Foxtrot is how that precociousness is delivered with pure musical force. This is the rare art-rock album that excels at both the art and the rock, and it’s a pinnacle of the genre (and decade) because of it.

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Genesis – Genesis (1983) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Genesis (1983) [Remastered Reissue 2007]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:19 minutes | Scans included | 2.92 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 46:19 mins | Scans included | 982 MB
Genre: Rock

Moments of Genesis are as spooky and arty as those on Abacab — in particular, there’s the tortured howl of “Mama,” uncannily reminiscent of Phil Collins’ Face Value, and the two-part “Second Home by the Sea” — but this eponymous 1983 album is indeed a rebirth, as so many self-titled albums delivered in the thick of a band’s career often are. Here the art rock functions as coloring to the pop songs, unlike on Abacab and Duke, where the reverse is true. Some of this may be covering their bets — to ensure that the longtime fans didn’t jump ship, they gave them a bit of art — some of it may be that the band just couldn’t leave prog behind, but the end result is the same: as of this record, Genesis was now primarily a pop band. Anybody who paid attention to “Misunderstanding” and “No Reply at All” could tell that this was a good pop band, primarily thanks to the rapidly escalating confidence of Phil Collins, but Genesis illustrates just how good they could be, by balancing such sleek, pulsating pop tunes as “That’s All” with a newfound touch for aching ballads, as on “Taking It All Too Hard.” They still rocked — “Just a Job to Do” has an almost nasty edge to its propulsion — and they could still get too silly as on “Illegal Alien,” where Phil’s Speedy Gonzalez accident is an outright embarrassment (although in some ways it’s not all that far removed from his Artful Dodger accent on the previous album’s “Who Dunnit?”), and that’s why the album doesn’t quite gel. It has a little bit too much of everything — too much pop, too much art, too much silliness — so it doesn’t pull together, but if taken individually, most of these moments are very strong, testaments to the increasing confidence and pop power of the trio, even if it’s not quite what longtime fans might care to hear.

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Genesis – Invisible Touch (1986) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Genesis – Invisible Touch (1986) [Remastered Reissue 2007] {2.0 & 5.1}
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:15 minutes | Scans included | 2.93 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 963 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Genre: Rock

Delivered in the wake of Phil Collins’ massive success as a solo star, Invisible Touch was seen at the time as a bit of a Phil Collins solo album disguised as a Genesis album, and it’s not hard to see why. Invisible Touch is, without a doubt, Genesis’ poppiest album, a sleek, streamlined affair built on electronic percussion and dressed in synths that somehow seem to be programmed, not played by Tony Banks. In that sense, it does seem a bit like No Jacket Required, and the heavy emphasis on pop tunes does serve the singer, not the band, but it’s not quite fair to call this a Collins album, and not just because there are two arty tunes that could have fit on its predecessor, Genesis. There is a difference between Collins and Genesis — on his own, Phil was lighter, and Genesis was often a bit chillier. Of course, the title track is the frothiest thing the band ever did, while “In Too Deep” and “Throwing It All Away” are power ballads that could be seen as Phil projects, but “Land of Confusion” was a protest tune and “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” was a stark, scary tale of scoring dope (which made its inclusion in a Michelob campaign in the ’80s almost as odd as recovering alcoholic Eric Clapton shilling for the brewery). But those songs had big hooks that excused their coldness, and the arty moments sank to the bottom, obscured by the big, bold pop hooks here — pop that was the sound of the mainstream in the late ’80s, pop that still effortlessly evokes its time.

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