STEVEN WILSON-Remixed Chicago II: The Way It Should’ve Sounded

Steven Wilson-remixed Chicago II

Chicago‘s 1970 record known as Chicago II has for a long time been a great record but with poor production. For a very long time I had an impression that this album was a bit rushed during the production process, resulting in an effort that could be described as half-assed. But putting all that aside, the original album did fairly well for the band – it debuted in the US Top 40 singles and Top 10 album charts.

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the record, and the album was recently reissued by Rhino Records. Steven Wilson, the usual go-to guy when it comes to remixing records from the 1970s, once again did a fantastic work. How much of a challenge was it to do a remix of an album that’s been in the “sound-mud” for almost 50 years, only Wilson knows, but a look at his CV will instantly make you shout that he is the right man for the job.

Wilson knows how to “open up” a record of a suspicious production; he managed to do that with Chicago II. All the details that should’ve been there in the first place are actually in the mix. But let’s talk about the original album itself.

After the release of the band’s debut album Chicago Transit Authority in 1969, the group expanded its stylistic palette of Jazz Rock and introduced a plenty of different elements in their music. The result was Chicago II. The record that showed such an enormous talent and perfect musicianship, as well as the execution, suffered in the production. With a big number of instruments and stylistically different elements, not everything in the mix was easily audible.

For the purpose of remixing the record, Steven Wilson worked with the original 16-track tapes and it enabled him to “rebuild the mix from the drums upwards.” With that approach, the record gained desired clarity. Certainly Wilson had to make compromises during the process, but the final result puts the record in the perfect possible balance.

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Back in 2002, Rhino Records released the first remixed reissue of the album. The team of producers with Paul Klingberg and John Kellogg did a fairly good job with the remix, but the full clarity has not been achieved. The 2017 version of Chicago II is a few steps closer to that direction

Chicago II, a unique mixture of Jazz Rock, Progressive Rock, Classic Rock and Pop, has become revitalised. Well done, Mr. Wilson.

Chicago - Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)

Steven Wilson photo by Camila Jurado

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