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.

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