The remikeification of Genesis shall commence…

Well, I’ve plowed my way through all of those 2007 remixed Genesis albums I talked about a while ago.  If you don’t know what I mean when I talk about Mikeification, read that post.  It’s audio editing.  Do I sense?  Not mind.

Now that I’ve actually listened to all those albums in their remixed form, HOLY ITCHING FUCK did they botch that badly.  What a hack job.  I’ll never listen to those again, and many of those albums are among my all-time favourites in their original form.

What I really don’t get is that these remixes were done by a professional producer/engineer (Nick Davis) and all the band members past and present were presumably happy about the way everything turned out.  Tony Banks was present to hear the results of every single song too.

All the audio was fucked up and botched in the same ways:

  1. All of the lead vocals are way too loud
  2. There are re-recorded vocals on almost every single album and it’s fucking obvious
  3. The sound is highly compressed and the dynamics are garbage

There are other minor nitpicks I could make here and there, but these are the three that kill it for me.  I’ll go into a little detail about these now.

Point number one seems like a stylistic choice.  This is how you make pop songs.  The vocals are singalong melodies that you want the consumer listener to get stuck in their head so they buy more soda pop or insurance or whatever it is your selling.  This ain’t progressive rock.  It wasn’t even the way Genesis sounded at the height of their pop superstardom.  Their weakest and poppiest album “Miserable “Invisible Touch” sounds fucking awful with the vocals drowning out the rest of the mix – even when the original vocal performances are left intact… which leads me to…

Point number two – the re-recorded vocals.  Why do bands do this?  From Dave Mustaine to Ozzy Osbourne, it makes you look ridiculous when you monkey with old recordings and replace very well-known sounds with modern recreations.  Unless you’re doing what Def Leppard had to do because that’s fucking hilarious.  But Seriously (pun intended), Phil Collins re-recorded damn near every note he sang on every album all the way up to the “Genesis” album of 1983.  And then he re-did at least a song or at least part of a song on the remaining three.  But he can still kick ass as a singer, so I’ll give him that.

Peter Gabriel sounds exactly like a sixty-year-old man when he cuts into the vocal parts he re-did.  It sounds jarring when his husky, matured voice comes in.

For some reason, they didn’t get Ray Wilson to re-record any vocals.

Point number 3.  The fucked-up dynamic range.  The whole point of this remix was to get the sound in 5.1 surround sound.  And since I don’t have a surround sound setup, I listened to the stereo mixdown versions of these albums.  I don’t know if the 5.1 versions have the “flat” and dull sound that these albums have, but the stereo versions sure do.  Good god, they sound lifeless and terrible.  All that sonic clarity was supposed to give the recordings a brilliance and a vibrancy that had never been heard before.  Well I sure ain’t hearing it now.

They really messed up the compression when they folded down the five channels to two.  I mean REALLY fucked up.  There are constant “volume” issues throughout every single album.  Loud sounds will cause other sounds around them to temporarily quieten… that’s the best way I can describe it.  It sounds like a digital artifact left behind by improperly applied compression, though that is just a guess.  Whatever the cause, that effect alone ruins these albums for me.

Hell, any of these alone ruin the album for me.  I’ll go through album-by album now and see if I can recall some of the more egregious fuckery that I heard.  I’ll also remember some positives.


Guitar way too quiet.  Vocal harmonies ruined because one melody was chosen to be dominant and the harmony was buried in the mix.  This happens with damn near every vocal harmony on damn near every song on damn near every album.  It was really nice however to hear the drums clearly.  Turns out there is some nice drumming on this album after all.  Who knew!

Nursery Cryme

See above.  Nick Davis really cant stand the sound of the guitar, apparently.


Album sounds tinny and muddy except for Supper’s Ready.  Also, see above.  They damn near tried to mix Steve Hackett out of the album it seems.  Even his solo guitar piece “Horizons” has been replaced by a short interview with Tony Banks about his keyboard technique!  (I’m kidding about that.)

Selling England by the Pound

Same complaints as above and the re-recorded vocals are getting REALLY obvious.  Though it’s nice to be able to understand every lyric in “The Battle of Epping Forest”, the new vocals kind of kill the mood.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Well, this is new.  And so is this.  I don’t remember this being here either.  You know what guys, why not just reform like everyone’s urging and tour the fucking thing finally?

A Trick of the Tail

I thought this band had a guitarist?  Also, here we start the fun game called “Let’s find the original vocals!”

Wind & Wuthering

What the everloving fuck?  This album sounds like 100 pounds of shit being stuffed into a meat grinder!  Did anyone listen to this before the discs were pressed?  It’s about 200% louder than every other album around it and there is distortion and clipping everywhere!  What a fucking mess!

…And Then There Were Three

Just how loud can the lead vocals be on an album?  Let’s find out.


Alright, the re-recorded vocals on this one really bug me.  Phil re-did the whole album, and this is the one where his vocals really came into their own.  It’s also when they started to really abandon making great music, so there you go.


Most songs have re-recorded vocals, and it’s not all because I don’t think Phil could ape his performance exactly in songs like “Who Dunnit” again.  Also, way too loud.


I was hoping I would actually prefer the albums from here on out.  Nope.  See points 1 and 3 above.

Invisible Touch

See above

We Can’t Dance

This was actually the one that turned out best – that is to say, it came out the least problematic of them all.  I think there were only one or two re-recorded vocals on the whole album, and I might be wrong.  I’m not too familiar with it, as this isn’t exactly my favourite Genesis album.  The only reason I won’t listen to this version again is because of points number 1 and 3 like I mentioned earlier.

Calling All Stations

No re-recorded vocals, guaranteed!  But the original vocals are too loud in the mix and yeah, that compression/dynamic range problem ruins this album.  And half an album’s worth of bad songs kind of ruin it too.

So there you have my judgment.  F-.  0.  Fail.  Robbery, Assault and Battery.

I’m so very glad I have all of these albums on CD in their original versions.   I shall now go through them and remikeify them.  I mentioned before that I had done that long ago, but I know so much more about audio now, and I can get such better sound now.  So that I will do.

I didn’t talk about the 2009 remixes of the Genesis live albums.  I’ve listened to those too actually, and I must say I think they did a great job on them.  None of the problems I talked about that are present on the studio album remixes are present on the live album remixes.  Maybe they listened and learned.  Well that says maybe… I don’t know.

The only one out of those that I won’t keep as my finished version is the Rainbow Theater performance.  That’s the only one that has rerecorded vocals.  I’ll see if I can find a good bootleg of that and I’ll clean it up.  The rest have been untouched, and they sound damn good.  I can make them sound better, so that’s what I will do.

Before this little… uh… experiment began, I hadn’t really listened to Genesis for a few years.  It was nice to listen and pay attention to their music again, even in such a badly flawed and undesirable form as the 2007 remixes.  The essence was still there under all the new recordings and under all the bad mixing and under all the dynamic range muck.  I’ll enjoy it even more the second time around.