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ZTT admits Frankie “Sexmix” error

Frankie Goes To Hollywood / Sexmix compilationA few days ago ZTT records posted this note on their website about the forthcoming Frankie Goes To Hollywood Sexmix compilation:

“Please note that due to, as they say in the trade, a ‘technical f*** up’, mono masters were sent to press for CD1 tracks 01-05. One channel is mirrored on both sides.”

We hope this will not spoil your enjoyment of the All In The Body, All In The Mind singlette, presented on CD for the first time and, for the first time ever, with Welcome To The Pleasuredome (How To Remake The World) in its original, full length 11:40 incarnation.

If and when a suitable stereo master becomes available, we will offer this as a free, lossless download…”

To translate, the previously unreleased-on-CD cassette single EP version of Welcome To The Pleasuredome, which takes up the first five tracks of the new Sexmix compilation, is not only in mono rather than stereo, but one of the stereo channels appears to be missing entirely.

We have yet to hear the Sexmix release, and cannot comment on how the tracks affected actually sound, but the error has sparked a furious reaction from some hardcore Frankie fans on the ZTT Facebook page, who were looking forward to finally getting a CD release of the tracks from their old cassettes.

The diehards are not only unhappy that the error has occurred, but also with the proposed fix. “If and when a stereo master becomes available” a free lossless download will be offered. That is not really the same as having the tracks properly mastered onto CD as ZTT/Salvo will be well aware.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood / Welcome To The Pleasuredome Cassette Single
The original "All In The Mind, All In The Body" Pleasuredome cassette (CTIS 107)

More worrying is the suggestion that a stereo master may never be found. The ZTT archive is notoriously dense and with so many remixes and variations of tracks issued (and unissued) back in the day, getting everything properly in order seems to be something of a work in progress. It will be interesting to understand how a ‘mono master’ featuring ‘one channel mirrored on both sides’ even came to exist in the first place. It is hard to think of any reason why that would have been created and surprising that it ended up being mistaken it for a proper stereo master tape.

The error was first spotted and commented at the FGTH fan forum at fgthq.de – some members there seem to have acquired early physical copies of Sexmix. The ‘mono’ revelation appears to have come to the attention of ZTT and the announcement was made on their site on Monday. There is nothing to suggest that ZTT knew of the mistake beforehand and were keeping quiet.

Assuming a stereo master CAN be found, the record label will be under some pressure to issue replacement discs. Another suggestion put forward, would be for them to repress only the tracks affected and create a special Welcome To The Pleasuredome ‘CD single’ which could be offered as a limited edition bonus disc with volume two of Sexmix (it has been strongly hinted that a volume two will happen).

Sexmix, like previous releases, is being issued under license by Union Square Music/Salvo. With the margins wafer thin on physical product – especially with Sexmix retailing on Amazon at only £7 – the label are in a tricky situation. Understandably, they will not want to lose money on the release, but they will also be wary of alienating fans and eroding the core audience for this and future releases.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood / Welcome To The Pleasuredome Cassette Single
The original track listing on the cassette is indexed as follows on the Sexmix CD: Happy Hi! (All in the Body), The Soundtrack from Bernard Rose’s Video of the Welcome to the Pleasuredome single, Get It On, Welcome to the Pleasure Dome (How to Remake the World), Happy Hi! (All in the Mind). Click to enlarge picture.

It is not the first time problems have surfaced on the eve of a Frankie Goes To Hollywood reissue. In February 2011 the deluxe re-release of the Liverpool album was pulled at the very last minute, apparently due to the inclusion of tracks that the band were not happy with, although that was never officially confirmed by Salvo or ZTT. Whatever the problem, it was subsequently issued later that year with three tracks removed.

ZTT are in the process of establishing whether a correct stereo master for the ‘singlette’ version of Welcome To The Pleasuredome actually exists and we hope to be able to report back with news on this soon, as well as to update you on whether the label plan to go beyond a simple lossless download when it comes to delivering the correct digital version of All In The Mind, All In The Body: Frankie Goes To Hollywood In The Pleasuredome to purchasers of Sexmix.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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Gary

So, now that two years have passed, has the “stereo” mix ever been located and corrected?

Eric

We have two Pauls and now two Erics….I got confused there for a moment, as I had no recollection of asking any questions, then realised the other Eric is in black, whereas I am blue :) Even more blue since finding out this set is (currently) not planned to be fixed, or whatever they would do with whatever the problem is with whatever masters they seem to have found. Ahem…!

Eric

Paul & Paul – Thank you for the responses!

Paul Kent

Seems like the “official channels” are the ones that are missing at the moment… did you see what I did there? Just my little joke. Hmmmm….

Anyway, I hope they do resolve this soon. It’s a shame as, by and large, the ZTT reissues have been generally very good, despite what some people have been spouting online. I’m disappointed and, personally, won’t buy it unless a new CD is pressed but I can’t get too negative as I feel this may influence the decision of whether to release further volumes. I hope that this situation, and the feedback thereafter, doesn’t prevent that from happening.

Paul Kent

Eric – from Paul’s article above: “To translate, the previously unreleased-on-CD cassette single EP version of Welcome To The Pleasuredome, which takes up the first five tracks of the new Sexmix compilation, is not only in mono rather than stereo, but one of the stereo channels appears to be missing entirely.” So, yes, one intended side of the mix is completely gone.

Eric

Has someone determined whether the erroneous tracks are a true workable mono”mix (i.e. all parts are there but just mixed in mono), or is one intended side of the mix completely gone? The former doesn’t bother me as much as the latter.

Jesper Hall

Paul – you asked about the longer mix of WTTP (How to Remake The World). I was one of the people who managed to buy “Sex Mix”, and here is my take on the mix.

The original cassette version of WTTP was based on the 9:40 (Real Altered) 12” with a few new bits and edits. Most obviously an extended edit near the end (that edit is still here on this version at 10:05)

This new version is indeed longer at 11:40. And what a shame it isn’t in stereo as it does have some new unique bits. On the Frankie forum Deadmuso pointed the changes out:

At 2m08s onwards a 9 second edit from Real Altered (on which this mix is based) has been added back in, and at around 3m32s onwards there is 1m53s of what sounds like previously unheard material added in, but it’s nothing exceptional.

Most obvious change in these new bits are a new unique drum fill/edit at 3:43.

Eric

Aha, so now it makes sense…Paul Sinclair is in fact merely a dastardly psuedonym of a secret ZTT employee, using the Paul from Paul Morley and the Sinclair from Jill Sinclair.

I await the appearance of Trevor Lipson…. ;)

Nick

Your “gut feeling” ? your comment on the facebook page indicates it’s more than just that, what exactly do you know, who have you been talking to, and why keep the rest of is in the dark? you do talk to peel, that much is clear from other posts here, are you tittering together over all the fan outrage?

Nick

we need a real apology from peel, and a promise that they will move heaven and earth to put this right.

secondly, superdeluxe edition, what do you know that you are not telling the rest of us? you’ve implied several times that ztt are trying to deal with the situation, now how on earth would you, a mere website owner, know that? you been talking to someone, and keeping it to yourself? naughty boy.

baward

A technical cock up apparently didn’t stop Howard Jones from destroying the existing CDs and re-pressing. Can’t see why it should be any different for ZTT: http://www.superdeluxeedition.com/news/howard-jones-box-set-delayed/

Surely, it can’t be that ZTT didn’t even notice that the CD was wrong in the first place (ahem), and it took a fan to notice the problem…

Ron

I’d say that the stereo versions are available, but something bad happened during a process (mastering or whatever).

“One channel is mirrored on both sides.”
That is just modern mono if I am not mistaken. I think that ie the Beatles mono cd’s also have two identical tracks VS one track.

Richard Hare

The work involved in cataloguing and preparing a release such as this should not be underestimated.

The focus of a record company with a hit act is the next product. The plethora of remixes were a marketing tool to prolong the life of the single in order to promote the album. Once the single dropped from the chart, the remix had done its job.

The idea record companies were creating ordered archives for exploitation 20 or 30 years hence is a fallacy based on looking back from the present.

lemer

When the Beatles record label messed up the mono mix versions of Rubber Soul and Help on the Capitol Albums they offered free replacements of the CD. One would think that ZTT records would do the same. One channel is only 1/2 the signal. It’s not like it was a fold down mix of both stereo channels into mono. Then again, I am not sure just how “STEREO” the original mix was. A replacement FLAC is not the same as proper stamped replacement CD. YES, this qualifies as a defective CD.

Steve Marine

This is all very unfortunate. I have been very impressed with ZTT’s remastered re-releases up until now. I still want “Sex Mix,” but I can’t say I’m not super disappointed. :(

Eric

This is such a shame. I’m just glad I found out before I parted with my money and had the crushing diappointment of a crap-sounding CD arrive through my letterbox! Sound quality is so important to me, that I couldn’t stand listening to anything like this particular fault.

I suppose the best thing to do is just wait and see what happens. If ZTT manage to sort out a fix, and even press up replacements, then that’s better than nothing. But I see no point in paying for a compromised product in the meantime.

Nick

The key questions are
1 How did the mono “error” happen?
2 where did the mono master come from?
3 Where is the quality control?
4 where are the public faces of ztt now the crap has hit the fan? because the “apology” is anything but, it’s statement about what has happened that happens to have a tone that mocks the situation and the fans
5 what are they going to do about it?
6 if fans hadn’t contacted retailers to let them know, would ztt have?
7 If the cds are releases as they are, will they be labelled to let potential buyers know of the mono error?

Nick

What has happened to the master that they had before the “mistake” happened?

Did they ever have a master of acceptable quality?

And speaking of quality, have those involved never heard of quality control?

After all the bad feeling from fans after the joke of an “apology”, where are those responsible? why no feedback from them? it’s like they are burying their heads in the sand.

So what happens now? The major retailers now know of the technical issue, as they should do with any item that consumers may return, so are ztt going to officially come clean, with some kind of warning sticker on the packaging?

will they delay the release, cancel it?

Nick

If they can’t guarantee a master even exists what were they working from before the cock up ? they must have had something.

regards burying their heads in the sand, I think that’s exactly what is happening, Ian peel and co are behind the facebook page and clearly must have seen the outraged responses from people who were eagerly looking forward to the release, and yet they say nothing, even the “apology” is anything but, it makes a mockery of both the fans and the situation.

What’s going on is extremely bad P.R. for all involved and the sooner something is done to rectify the situation, before it gets worse (and it will once the reviews start on amazon etc), the better for all concerned.

R2-D2

It’s bad. Really bad. MONO sounds absolutely terrible for such wonderful productions as these. Remember listening to Frankie on your Sony Walkman? Remember the richness of the sound? Right, so fast forward almost 30 years and now we get to listen to it in the audio equivalent of tunnel vision, with everything squashed into the middle of your head (or slightly to one side actually). And we get to pay ZTT to do this to us. Ain’t technology (and the total lack of Quality Assurance) great?

Daniel

I think that ZTT makes some mistakes in the last years – or should I say
some tricks…. ? If you want to have ALL FGTH mixes you must purchase
also the “Art of The 12” compilations…. that is not fair. I will not have
boring stuff around 4 or 5 highlights of FGTH and Propaganda.
Where is the problems with a “The Casseted” double CD # 1 and
double CD # 2 ? I don’t see a problem.
I hope that inside the “SEX” release I will finally have the fantastic
short track “My Uncle Is A Monster” is CD quality – it’s not listed
but it was on the original cassette of “Power Of Love”.
PS: the re-release of “Wishful Thinking” ( Propaganda )
makes me really disappointed – where is the 2nd CD ?
Oh I forgot: ZTT will bring ( maybe ) 1 or 2 unreleased tracks / mixes from the vaults on a ( probably ) third chapter of “The Art Of The 12″……

Luke

The major retailers of CDs in several countries have been alerted to the problem, including amazon, and links to the facebook page were sent as evidence.

Besides, not labelling the CD set as having a fault may be a major breach of consumer rights. Most people who buy in the shops will not know there is a problem until they get the CD home.

To knowingly issue a faulty product must breach some laws.

Neil

I bought this from amazon.de and i have to admit i never even noticed that it was mastered in mono until someone mention it in the forum. What i did notice was that it’s a different version of How to Remake the World that’s on sexmix and not what was on the original cassingle. I paid £20 for this just to get it early and apart from that cock up the rest of it sounds great. What is worrying though is all these people saying they are going to boycott this release which could very well lead to ZTT not reissuing anything else .

Paul Kent

Shocking! How could something like this slip through unnoticed? I’ve not pre-ordered Sexmix yet, and I won’t now until ZTT confirm that replacement CDs will be offered. Damn! I was looking forward to this release so much, Thanks for the heads up, Paul

lee

just to clarify, and i am not one of the lucky owners, but members of the Frankie forum got early editions of this Sex Mix set very early by what seems to be legal means – someone was offering copies for sale on the german Amazon marketplace, 7 or 8 i believe at 20 Euros a shot. all factory sealed, so they must have come from the label.

go on then, a pedantic point – 3 tracks were removed from Liverpool – Drum Loop, **** Off and Pocket Vibrator, although apparently the first two were the only ones “requested” to be removed.

Jeremy Orbell

This is a very poor state of affairs and a look back at history does make you wonder if that particular Frankie single was cursed in some way.

First of all it was their first release to not to make number 1 (despite flyers already promoting it as having done so). Even the original singlette for Welcome to the Pleasuredome was not quite as it seemed because it was already being treated as a ‘hand-me-down’.

Note the black label on the cassette? That has been pasted on to presumably unsold copies of the Power of Love singlette so sound quality had probably already suffered.

I have to have a wry smile at such things – this is Zang we’re talking about and nothing ever really made any sense to anyone other than Paul Morley…which just about says it all really…