Steve Heronemus

ELP Brain Salad Surgery SACD

I’m going to ignore the actual meaning of the title and focus on just the brain salad part. My brain’s tossed. The SACD release (within a 3 disc collector’s set) of Brain Salad Surgery is one spectacular effort, elevating the already-legendary album to the top of my playlist.
From the iconic cover art from the late H.R. Geiger (designer of the Aliens’ xenomorphs) to the last notes of Karn Evil 9 this is a great disc to own.

Sue me for being a prog-rock enthusiast, but what would you expect from someone who loves classical, jazz and rock music? Besides, prog rock never went away, its torch being carried in this millennium by groups such as The Mars Volta, Dream Theater and Muse.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer was rock’s first supergroup, packing 200,000 spectators into stadiums in the 70s performing a mix of classical-inspired virtuoso instrumental epics, ballads, R+B and even Honky Tonk. Their remarkable musicianship, range and spectacular stage shows set them apart from other prog rock legends like The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and Yes. Keith Emerson is rock’s best keyboardist, Carl Palmer arguably rock’s best percussionist (bring it on, John Bohnam lemmings), and Greg Lake is, well, he plays guitars and sometimes sings.

This SACD is remastered into an incredibly clean 5.1 channel surround sound mix that effectively separates sonic embellishments from melody and harmony. This, along with the high resolution of SACD, leads to a spectacularly clear and involving experience. To those like me who bought earlier ELP titles in DVD-Audio and were disappointed with the apparent lack of effort in mastering, this is a totally different beast. I gave away the CD included in the set; I don’t ever want to hear it in low-rez format again.