Wall [Immersion Edition]
EMI's Immersion Edition of The Wall offers a new remaster of the original album, a remaster of the previously released concert album Is There Anybody Out There: The Wall Live, a DVD containing a documentary among other visual highlights and, finally, two discs of demos from the band and the album's chief songwriter, Roger Waters. These demos are the true highlight of the box, and they've been arranged into seven separate programs, all arranged chronologically and tracing the development of the album from Waters' solo demos through relatively rough full-band run-throughs. The first Programme, running 22 tracks, is devoted to the original Waters solo demos and runs through the entire album in miniature, then the second Programme adds a few selections from the full band. These are quite subdued and slow, a clear outgrowth from the moody malevolence of Animals. "Another Brick in the Wall" has its melody but not its riff, a signal of how this earliest draft downplayed muscle and melodrama, elements that creep into the picture during Programme 3 with the addition of "In the Flesh?" and David Gilmour's pulsating eighth notes on "Another Brick in the Wall." All these elements begin to coalesce on Programme 1 on the second disc of demos, as the production gets further definition via spoken word, effects and fuller arrangements, along with the addition of "Comfortably Numb," here presented under its early version "The Doctor." Along the way, abandoned songs are aired and it's evident that their themes were folded into other songs -- "Teacher Teacher" went into "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2," "Sexual Revolution" covered the same ground as "Young Lust," "Backs to the Wall" went into "In the Flesh" -- and there are other slight differences to be heard, usually in the form of lyrics. Nothing here quite seems like a radical departure from the finished album -- nothing is embryonic; where only the barest outline can be detected, Waters had a sturdy structure for the songs at the very beginning, but hearing this evolution in microcosm is fascinating: few albums are ever as lavishly and carefully produced as The Wall and by going through this Work in Progress, it becomes clear just how much labor Floyd and producer Bob Ezrin exerted on the finished album.
In addition to these demos, the Immersion box contains a number of tchotchkes -- scarves and marbles, replicated memorabilia -- and books of photos and Gerald Scarfe sketches, all important elements for a project with such a heavy visual element as this.