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Steely Dan: Gaucho (DTS CD)

DTS // DTS
List Price: $23.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 1, 2001 | E-mail the Author
BR>The Music:


1. Babylon Sisters
2. Hey Nineteen
3. Glamour Profession
4. Gaucho
5. Time out of Mind
6. My Rival
7. Third World Man


The DVD

SOUND: Uh oh, Steely Dan. Those who have read many of my music reviews may recall my thoughts about their recent Grammy winning album "Two Against Nature", which I believed I called "elevator music". Thankfully, "Gaucho" (their 1980 album) provides a bit more musically diverse and interesting effort from the group. "Gaucho" is presented in 20-bit DTS audio, with the surround-sound remix coming from one of the more widely-known mixers in the business, Elliot Schiener(Sting, Toy Matinee). Scheiner really does like to bring out all of the possibilities in the format; all of the efforts that I've listened to that he's worked on have been some of the more agressive surround-sound music releases. Although he's been occasionally criticized for putting too much information in the rears, I've thought the albums that I've listened to haven't gone overboard in terms of surround use.

The surround-sound presentation generally stays similar from song-to-song, but I enjoyed the way that the instruments were set-up, with horns (such as on the title track), percussion and backing vocals (such as on "Babylon Sisters") in the rears while the mains provided vocals and main instruments. Envelopment of instruments around the listening position seemed appropriate and natural. There weren't any instances of audio trickery, as no instrument moved from speaker-to-speaker or anything like that; this mix simply settles into a groove and sticks with it. Some may be a little distracted by the occasional sudden background vocal, but I found the use of surrounds for the background vocals to be enjoyable and tasteful.

Fidelity is also excellent with a warm, rich and comfortable sound that was quite pleasant to listen to. There's even a solid amount of punchy, tight low bass that adds to the listening experience quite well. Clarity and detail are excellent and the mix presents a wide soundstage that envelops the listener in a satisfying and appropriate manner.

Extras: There are no extras on DTS CDs.

Final Thoughts: I don't think I'll ever become a hard-core Steely Dan fan, but I will admit that this album provided a more engaging and interesting listening experience than "Two Against Nature". The DTS CD certainly covers all of the bases in terms of surround-sound presentation and provides excellent sound quality that Dan fans will find enjoyable. Recommended for fans of the group only.
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