Devin Townsend has announced a comprehensive package built around the 2019 album ‘Empath’ will be released on 5th June, including a fascinating Surround Sound mix.
Titled ‘Empath – The Ultimate Edition’, the set includes two CDs containing the original album and bonus tracks, plus two Blu-Ray discs, all contained in an art book.
The first Blu-Ray disc contains the 5.1 Surround Sound mix by Devin, with visuals for the full record, plus a stereo visualiser.
The second blu-ray contains a raft of bonus material including ‘Acoustically Inclined – Live in Leeds’, a recording from his April 2019 acoustic tour where he performed tracks including ‘Love?’, ‘Deadhead’ and ‘Thing Beyond Things’.
Also included is a full Empath Documentary, a ‘Genesis 5.1 Mixing Lesson’ and a full album commentary.
As for the idea behind the 5.1 surround sound mix, Devin told MetalTalk: “On a technical level, I guess I have always been dissatisfied with the basic ‘stereo’ format in which the type of music I make gets presented in.
“Whether its headphones, computer speakers, stereos (or basically anything currently), I have had to figure out ways to get the work to function through TWO speakers. I hear things in a particularly orchestrated way, and with the amount of information that typically gets recorded per song, the result has been the dubious ‘wall of sound’ that I keep ending up with.
“But my intention has never been to make an oppressive experience, but rather something that is immersive and vast.
“Making it work in two speakers just simply doesn’t quite work for the vision. Although I’ve managed to get the point across, (to varying degrees), things always have to compromise to make it all fit. Making the drums speak at the same time as orchestra, cymbals, guitars, choirs, synths etc.…all with my voice on top, ends up with every conceivable frequency fighting for breathing space between those two speakers.
“Therefore, I asked the powers that be in my business world, to tolerate one more ‘kick at the can’ when it came to Empath. I wanted to attempt a surround mix and follow the original vision of it being an immersive, multimedia experience for people in the ways I could best achieve at this stage. And although it’s still pretty ‘dense’, with four more sources for the sound to come from, I feel its significantly closer to the original vision here.”