Crowded House reissue producer talks to SDE about the new 2CD sets

Kiwi studio engineer and friend of Crowded House, Jeremy Ansell, has been researching and cataloguing the band’s archive for over 10 years. With the new deluxe reissues finally imminent, Jeremy spoke to SDE’s Paul Sinclair last month about the process of putting these new sets together and the patience and pragmatism required to deliver the finished products…

SuperDeluxeEdition: Jeremy, could just maybe tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got involved in this Crowded House reissue project?

Jeremy Ansell: Sure. Well, I’m a studio engineer at Radio New Zealand, and in the late ‘90s, we started putting together a feature about Split Enz, and I met Neil in about 1999, when I went to his house to collect some cassettes, some of his demos and things, from the Split Enz era. I transferred those to digital and gave them back in a whole pile of CDs, and he liked what I did and said, “Look, some day it’d be great if you could go through my Crowded House stuff as well”. Years later, I got a call from Neil saying, ‘Capitol Records is putting together a box set, so let’s do this”. So, I arranged to take two weeks off, and started going through a pile of his cassettes and eight-track, quarter-inch tapes, and so on, and started adding to this selection that Capital Records had started. This was in early 2006. There’s just so much good stuff there that we got rid of most of what Capitol Records had put aside, and replaced it with just some real treasure that Neil had.

This was going to be for the 20th anniversary in 2006, but then Parlophone in the UK put together the Farewell To The World CD and DVD; Crowded House got back together; the original producer who started this whole box set thing left Capitol; EMI started falling apart; Neil and Nick tended not to return my emails when I was asking about certain tracks, and the box set just got put aside, and I kept pushing for it over the years, and then finally, last year the management thought, okay, well, let’s try and get these things out, and it turned into deluxe editions. It was going to be with a record label in the States, but then Universal decided they were interested, and now it’s a Universal thing, although that has complications of its own in the States, where there are different record labels involved, but there’s a very long answer to your question.

SDE: So, going back to 2006, then, what’s your memory of what Capitol’s ideas were around how the reissue campaign should look?

JA: Yes, well, the box set, which was going to be called Private Universe – there you are, giving away the title – was initially going to be two CDs of demos and studio outtakes and three CDs of live material.

SDE: That’s interesting. So, Capitol weren’t necessarily going to release the albums as such, they were just going to release a box set of rarities and live material.

JA: Yes, and it was one guy, Kevin Flaherty, who was putting this together with my help in New Zealand, but he wasn’t really getting the backing from Capitol, and then he left to go elsewhere before much else could be done. But yes, right up until 2007, that was always going to be released.

SDE: I get the feeling from what you were saying, that it wasn’t necessarily the case that Neil was desperate to put out some kind of archival Crowded House thing, even though he knew he had some nice demo material kicking around. He had to be, maybe, cajoled a little bit into doing it?

JA: I’m not sure when it was first proposed. I know Kevin had started thinking about it almost as soon as Afterglow came out in 1999, 2000, and I think it was really only pushed in 2005, shortly after Paul Hester had died. Yes, then it suddenly tied in with the 20th anniversary in 2006. It seemed like the right time to do it, but it wasn’t something that Neil wanted to put a lot of his own time into because he was recording what was at the time going to be a solo album but later turned into Crowded House’s Time on Earth. But, Nick was spending time in New Zealand playing bass on that, so we were able to get some of his input into the live tracks.

So, yes, it seemed like the right time to do it, but it wasn’t a priority of theirs. It was one of those things that Neil always said, “We want to do it well; it will come out when we’re all ready”. But, it also had to line up with a record company being in the right frame of mind, financially and organisationally, but it was something that was there – Neil was keen on it but didn’t have a lot of time for it, and he always likened it to Neil Young’s archives, which at the time hadn’t come out yet.

SDE: I get the feeling, lots of artists don’t necessarily like to look back, do they? They like to look forward, however much revered their past work might be. Is Neil that kind of a person, do you think?

JA: Yes, he is. I mean, he’d much rather concentrate on what he’s doing now, and is about to do. He’s got a number of projects on the boil at the moment, and Nick Seymour is the same. I remember him saying, when we were working on the original version of this, ten years ago, that he really didn’t like looking back. I think he might’ve warmed up to that idea since then, but yes, I always felt a bit awkward going through the tracks with them, and trying not to sound too enthusiastic, lest I annoy them [laughs]. But, yes, it was always difficult getting feedback from Nick, as he went off back home to Ireland. He’d been given the task of approving live tracks, and sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for years.

SDE: So, what was your job? Was it to whittle down some kind of a shortlist, and present it to them?

JA: Yes. When I first started doing it, I was listening to the cassettes and the tapes, and making copies of the things that I thought were worthwhile, and putting those onto a CDR for Neil, and he’d listen to them in his car, and then come back to me with notes saying yes, or no, or maybe. With the live tracks – most of which had been picked by Capitol – we sent those off to Nick, and he’d do the same. On a couple of occasions, we sat around Neil’s kitchen table at home – this is Neil, Nick and I, and we went through them all, and again, to give them a tick, yes or no. It’s interesting – some of those tracks, ten years later, ones that Neil had definitely said, “Oh, yeah, that’s good – I like that”, I got a definite no on, a few months ago – “Oh, I don’t see why we would have that; that’s terrible” [laughs]. So there are many things I would’ve liked to have put on there, but they didn’t get the nod this time round.

SDE: You talk about live tracks, but there aren’t that many live tracks on these new sets – the bonus material for the new two CD reissues are dominated by demos, aren’t they?

JA:  Yes, yes.

SDE: Were you given any ‘rules’ along the lines of “don’t even bother going to alternate versions of studio album tracks”, or “don’t bother doing this, that or the other”?

JA:  I wasn’t given fast rules, but I came to realise over time that, well, my preference and Neil’s preference, all along, right from day one, was really for the demo … not for the live stuff, because there’s been so many fan club issues of live concerts, which were fantastic, but there were a lot of them, and since the band reformed, practically every one of their US concerts was made available on CD and MP3 download. Plus, you’ve got YouTube; there’s a lot of concert footage on there, so we thought, for these reissues, there’s so much live material already – let’s concentrate on the stuff that people haven’t heard, that isn’t available elsewhere, the demos and good alternative studio tracks.

But, as far as the studio stuff goes, I had a tough job convincing Neil that alternative versions of tracks were worthwhile and interesting. He’s very fond of the home demos – as am I – but that’s what he wanted to concentrate on, the very early versions of songs that he would lovingly craft at home on a four-track or an eight-track; the times when he’d be really excited about the song, and they’d form into shape, and in cases like Don’t Dream It’s Over, it’s so similar to the final version, you can tell that he really had it nailed from day one. Those are the things that are really interesting. I mean, on a lot of other reissues, you might find alternative versions and things, and they’re interesting to a degree, but it’s not what Neil was keen on presenting this time round.

This 12-inch mix of Don’t Dream It’s Over hasn’t been included as part of the reissues

SDE: Let’s talk about the 12-inch mixes, because there’s only a handful – there’s only two or three – I mean, isn’t it a bit churlish not to have bunged them on the second disc of Afterglow or something like that, and just tagged them on the end, just for the fans?

JA: Well, yes, my intention was to have the Don’t Dream It’s Over and World Where You Live 12-inch remixes on the end of the first bonus disc, the Crowded House debut album, and I think the record company was keen on that as well, but Neil, back in 2006, he said he didn’t want them, so we took them off. We tried to put them back on for the deluxe edition, but he again said, “No, I really don’t like them. I don’t want them on”.

SDE: What’s his objection? I mean, they’re not that different. They’re just little extended bits at the beginning and at the end – it’s not like it’s a radical remix, or anything.

JA: Well, as far as 12-inch mixes go, they’re not. I mean, most ‘80s 12-inch remixes are pretty horrible, in my opinion, but these, they weren’t too bad. He just didn’t like them, pure and simple, didn’t like them, didn’t want them, and there’s only so far you can argue. I mean, I knew there’d be a lot of complaints on SuperDeluxeEdition, and on other forums, but it’s the artist – you give what the artist wants. We tried to make a really good package for fans – I can see that there’re a lot of complaints about not enough live tracks as well, but as I said, I’ve been closely watching the frenzforum.com – which is the fan club online forum – over the years, I’ve kept a very close eye on that, and most people, when they were talking about a possible box set, and so on, they wanted demos and outtakes, rather than the live tracks, so when people say, ‘I’m not going to buy this – it’s got no live tracks! What a rip off!’ well, you know, you can’t please everybody. Some people say you can, but unless you can have a box set, a five disc box set with each album, you can’t do it.

SDE: Here’s another question – it’s quite interesting that you’ve done all the albums at the same time; it’s not that common – labels tend to put out maybe two or three, or they’ll do one album as a slightly bigger box set, and then wait a year or two and do the next one. What was the thinking behind putting everything out at the same time, and also, restricting it to two disc sets? Arguably, with Woodface, you could’ve had a book and expanded it to two or three discs, and done something slightly bigger in scale.

JA: Yes… That’s a record company question, and I didn’t argue with it when they said they were going to bring out all the albums at the same time. I guess it’s just such a big anniversary, 30 years since the first album, 20 years since the Farewell To The World concert at Sydney Opera House, and it tied in with 30 years of the Australian Recording Industry Association awards, and Crowded House are being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame this year, so I think they just wanted to do it big. As for the only one bonus disc for each album, yes, I’d hoped to do a two bonus disc version of Woodface – there was certainly enough material, but Neil wanted to keep it down to one disc per album, and yes, it’s kind of easier for the record company as well, if it’s uniform.

SDE: Was there ever any discussion about putting a DVD on there with TV appearances, promo videos, other bits and bobs?

JA: Yes, I tried to push for that, but every record company that was involved with this at some point said no. DVDs are just too hard to sell, and too expensive. I think there would’ve been some interesting material for each album, and I made lists of potential candidates, but licensing is expensive, manufacturing is expensive – it makes the retail value of the package more expensive, and then you’ve got other issues, like video formats. It’s an Australian-led campaign, and if you have a PAL DVD, you’re going to have to do an NTSC one for the States and Canada and Japan – it brings up a whole lot more problems, so yes, it would’ve been nice, but that’s not happening.

SDE: It’s probably going to be the same answer to this question, but was the idea of doing a 5.1 mix of, in particular, Together Alone, or any of the other albums ever discussed?

JA: Oh, I brought it up at every opportunity. I would love a 5.1 mix of Together Alone. Woodface would’ve been fantastic, too, but no – I couldn’t get any interest from anybody [laughs]. I think those of us who love 5.1 mixes would like every album in the world to be mixed that way, but those who aren’t interested just aren’t. I’m amazed that XTC, Andy Partridge, has managed to get so many of his albums done like that. I’m not sure how. He must’ve been able to afford it, but good on him.

SDE: With 5.1, the problem sometimes is that there’s no availability of the original multi-track tapes, but I’m assuming that probably wasn’t the case here?

JA: Yes, yes. There’re bits and pieces, but I think they’re all accessible. I mean, they certainly managed to do the first album back in 2002, I think it was… Capitol Records put up the DVD-A, but yes, I’m still hopeful that Together Alone, at least, might get a 5.1 mix one day. It certainly deserves it, in my opinion.

SDE: Indeed. The production on that record is quite special, isn’t it, and it would lend itself to that?

JA: Ah, it’s such an atmospheric album, one of my all-time favourite albums by anybody, and to be immersed in that would just be heaven.

SDE: Yes, I totally agree. What are the demos like, then? I noted some interesting things just looking at the track listings – I was very interested that Whispers and Moans goes back to the Temple of Low Men era, and Walking on the Spot goes back even earlier.

JA: Yes, well, they’re just similar in title only. Whispers and Moans is a completely different song, but with the same title.

SDE: I see. So it’s an unreleased song from that era?

JA: Yes, it’s just, it’s a writing demo that just Neil, in front of a set recorder … and yes, it’s quite a nice tune.

SDE: What about Walking on the Spot? Is that the same song as the Together Alone version?

JA: It’s the same song, but a completely different feel. It’s up-tempo; it’s a studio recorded song, but the audio quality isn’t great. We couldn’t find the master tape for that, and Hole in the River. Actually, the Hole in the River demo is an interesting one – that’s pretty much a Split Enz recording demo, with Nigel Griggs on bass, done around the same time as the See Ya ‘Round sessions, but it’s fairly distorted and I wasn’t going to put it on because of the audio quality, and because we couldn’t find the master. But Neil really liked it, so it’s on there, and it features a rap from Paul, which he ended up doing occasionally in the live shows. So similar, but different, from the final version.

SDE: What was one of your favourite things that you came across, out of all this archive material? What things put the biggest smile on your face?

JA: Ah, I love Anthem, which was from the 1995 York Street Studio sessions in Auckland, which actually came out last year as the B-side of the Help Is Coming seven inch single. That’s a lovely song, and it nearly made it to Afterglow. I think Paul was going to overdub the drums, I read somewhere, but that didn’t happen and it came out with the drums that Peter Jones recorded. So, yes, that’s a lovely song. Blue Smoke, which is on the Together Alone bonus disc – that’s a home demo of Neil’s, which is lovely. He was listening to it recently and was surprised how soulful it sounded. That’s not the same song as the one that came out earlier this year, that Neil did for Anzac Day. That [new version] was a World War Two song…

SDE: So, does that mean that Blue Smoke, was basically an outtake from the Together Alone sessions?

JA: Well, what we featured is a home demo, done before the Together Alone sessions; Crowded House did quite a nice demo of it as well, just on eight-track, but I don’t believe they ever recorded it at the sessions. There aren’t that many unreleased songs from the studio sessions if anybody’s looking for them – they don’t exist, and I did go through many of the Together Alone session tapes, looking for alternative versions, but really, they weren’t that different, and they weren’t nearly as good as the final versions. It might’ve been nice to have included something with slightly different lyrics, but Neil didn’t want them there, and I suppose they would’ve been put on just for the sake of them being there. So, what we’ve tried to do is make a really enjoyable listening experience for each album.

SDE: But, hasn’t Neil put out some of those tracks on his website over the years, like various ‘Zen’ mixes of things, and so on?

JA: Yes, yes, well, I look after the content for Neil’s website, so there’s things I’ve said to Neil, ‘Look, this is really interesting’, particularly a lot of those tracks that weren’t going to be on the original box set, so we thought, well, we’ll make them available, put them on the website, but then they’ve been really popular, so we’ve put them on the deluxe editions. Yes, so some of them have been heard before, but not very many.

SDE: Tell me about the artwork. They’re much bigger than a CD, and it looks like a lot of care and attention has gone into those. Presumably Nick’s been quite involved in that aspect of it?

JA: I think so. I haven’t seen the physical product – I’ve only seen PDFs, but there’s a lot of care that’s been put into them. A number of us went through the text with a fine-tooth comb, but there’re a few images that haven’t been seen before; there’s reproductions of some of the seven inch singles, and some of Nick’s original sketches. I like that on the cover of the Crowded House debut album, there’s more of the image than was on the original album. The packages themselves are very good. They’re about the same size as the Wilco box set that came out a few years ago, so DVD dimensions. I think you get good value for your money, though people would debate that, I suppose, as always.

SDE: Let’s talk about the re-mastering/non-re-mastering of these reissues. Now Universal’s take on this was basically that they haven’t been ‘re-mastered’ because Neil didn’t think they needed to be re-mastered, but you have gone back to the tapes and retransferred everything, and taking advantage, probably, of better analogue-to-digital converters and the like.. Is that correct?

JA: Look, I wasn’t involved with it, and I’m not sure of what’s actually happened there, so it’s probably best that I don’t comment on that. I’ve been told a couple of different things over time, so I’m not sure what has eventually happened, or what the levels are like, and it leads to such heated discussion online that [I’m going to] stay out of it, if that’s all right.

SDE: What about the stuff you were involved in, then? So, with all the bonus material, was it your job to master that?

JA: Well, I did most of the transfers – well, I did the transfers of the cassette material myself, from analogue to the digital – that’s the two and four track stuff, and we did the eight and 24 track stuff at Roundhead [Studios in Auckland], most of it. So, I was involved with the original transfers, so that we could mix things and edit. Those two-track masters I sent to Don Bartley in Australia, with instructions. How closely he’s followed those instructions, I don’t know because I haven’t heard the masters. But, I mean, I’m very fond of dynamics – I don’t like things being too squashed. It’s possible they will have been. That’s out of my hands – I’ve done what I can there, but we’ll see what we end up with.

It would’ve been a difficult job to master them because the sound quality varies so much between tracks – I mean, some of the sources weren’t great, and some were very good. So, you want to make a cohesive sounding album, but how he’s done that, I’m not sure.

SDE: How much bonus material came from old cassette tapes, then? What percentage are we talking about?

JA: Ooh, I’d have to look through the track lists…

SDE:  I mean, were these literally cassette-tapes-in-a-shoebox-under-Neil’s-bed type of thing?

JA: Yes. Very roughly, 50/50 – I couldn’t give you a precise figure… But, yes, a lot of things come from cassette, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they sound bad. I mean, you can get very good sound quality from cassettes if they’re recorded and played back well. But, there are a few things that I tried hard to find master tapes for – last year, we did manage to find some of the early Mullanes demos in a studio in Australia, which I was thrilled about; some others that really, I’d hoped to find, we just couldn’t locate, so they come from cassette. But, all sorts of sources. In fact, I listed, on each album, I listed the types of sources that things came from, and it’s a wide variety of things, from two-track cassette down to 8-track Hi-8 digital. It’s an interesting process. All along, it’s just been a dream project for me as a sound engineer, and as a fan of Neil’s stuff, right from Split Enz onwards.

SDE: You mentioned with Blue Smoke having the choice between a home demo and a band demo. Were you faced with those kind of choices very often, where you had a couple of versions of something and you had to scratch your head over which should go on it?

JA: Yes. I mean, I didn’t want too much repetition – at one point, I thought of doing an edit between the two versions of Blue Smoke, particularly when, at first, I could only find 30 seconds of the home demo – I thought, well, then I could add on more of the band demo. But, in comparison, in my opinion, the band demo wasn’t nearly as good as the home demo, so it didn’t seem worthy of inclusion. Then I managed to find the whole of the home demo, anyway. But, yes, it was up to me, and to Neil, if I was unsure, as to which versions I’d put on, and I’ve had so many years to think about it since day one, that occasionally, I’ll go back and re-listen to something – I’d see it in a list and think, that sounds interesting, surely it must be good and then listen to it and realise, no, I was right the first time.

Crowded House perform Fingers of Love at the Sydney Opera House in 1996

SDE: I notice you’ve got two versions of Fingers of Love next to each other on the Together Alone bonus disc, which is kind of unusual. Why have you done that?

JA: Fingers of Love is a different case. We’ve got the writing demo – that’s Neil in Jamaica looking at the rays of the sun as the sun sets and it filters through the clouds, and he’s writing that song there and then. Then there’s a band demo, just done on eight-track, which has such a summery, light feel to it, I had to include it. That’s followed by an early studio take done at Karekare, which is fascinating as well. It includes talkback from Youth, the producer, to the band, and a completely different feel on the drums. All of those are highlights for me, and they were so different from each other I thought, well, let’s have them all, please.

SDE: Neil obviously liked that as well, because as you were saying earlier, there’s not too many alternative studio tracks.

JA: Yes, he was happy with that one, and it’s one of those rare cases where there was studio chit-chat included in the tapes, and it gives a fascinating insight into the recording of that album, and the way that Youth would produce the band, in an ethereal way… if that makes sense.

SDE: Yes, totally. Just going back to the 5.1 thing, you’d imagine someone like Youth would be well up for going back and doing that job himself.

JA: Yes. He probably wasn’t approached. Maybe one day he will be. If I can, I will continue to try and encourage that to happen. The whole 5.1 DVD-As and SACDs, and now Blu-rays, it’s something I got very excited about when they first started coming out, and a bit dismayed that it hasn’t really taken off, especially with relatively cheap surround systems being available in the shops these days, for people’s home theatre set-ups. But, it hasn’t really taken the market by storm like I thought it would, therefore record companies aren’t so interested.

SDE: As far as this whole project goes, is this the start of something, or is this the beginning and end – the closing of the book? Do you think there’s future Crowded House projects in the pipeline that will follow on the back of this?

JA: Nothing’s been mentioned. I don’t think it’s the end. I mean, there’s certainly more stuff that could be done, and certain things that’ve been talked about in the past that nearly happened, but didn’t for various reasons. I think there’s a good case for having a really good box set of live material. Having said that, there’s been so much stuff in the past, but I think we could present it in a good way. Things like the Town and Country Club promo CD. There has been talk of releasing that in the past. It hasn’t happened, for whatever reason, but that should come out some day, I hope. Yes, all sorts of things that could be done – it’s a matter of the stars aligning, and if these deluxe editions sell well, then there’s a good chance of more stuff coming out. It’s not up to me, but my fingers are crossed.

SDE: Yes, same here. I’m really, really excited about these. I can’t wait to hear all the audio. It’s going to take a long time to get through all those discs, I guess.

JA: Yes, there’s a lot of stuff there for people to wade through, and I hope that fans don’t get too stuck on what’s not there, and enjoy what is there. It’s been a labour of love for me, and Neil’s proud of them, and I think they’re all really good. I enjoy listening to them still, all these years later.

SDE: Have you got any idea whether Neil’s going to do any kind of promotion to push these sets?

JA: He told me a few months ago that he wasn’t going to do any promotion. He’s very busy at the moment recording two albums, one with [his son] Liam, and a solo album. We’ve got these shows coming up at the Sydney Opera House forecourt, as the 20th anniversary of the Farewell to the World shows, and four of those concerts now have sold out. That’s as far as it goes, I think, for Neil’s promotion. He’s not concentrating on Crowded House at the moment, but as he likes to put it in his interviews, it’s parked in the garage up on blocks, and when the time feels right, they’ll bring it out.

Thanks to Jeremy Ansell who was talking to Paul Sinclair for SDE.

The Crowded House two-CD reissues are released on Friday 4 November 2016. You can read more about them here.

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wayne klein

For the record, the mastering sucks.

[…] Incredibly, it took a little bit of urging to get these particular collections of bonus tracks together. “As far as the studio stuff goes, I had a tough job convincing Neil that alternative versions of tracks were worthwhile and interesting,” studio engineer Jeremy Ansell, who helped the band compile the bonus material, said in an interview with the site Super Deluxe Edition. […]

[…] Incredibly, it took a little bit of urging to get these particular collections of bonus tracks together. “As far as the studio stuff goes, I had a tough job convincing Neil that alternative versions of tracks were worthwhile and interesting,” studio engineer Jeremy Ansell, who helped the band compile the bonus material, said in an interview with the site Super Deluxe Edition. […]


Unfortunately these are in no way “more dynamic” as reported in the comments. While it’s not as bad as it could have been, they have undoubtedly been subjected to more compression than the originals.

Don’t Dream It’s Over, for example, had a DR (dynamic range) rating of 13 on the original CD – on the new CD it’s 7.

[…] Incredibly, it took a little bit of urging to get these particular collections of bonus tracks together. “As far as the studio stuff goes, I had a tough job convincing Neil that alternative versions of tracks were worthwhile and interesting,” studio engineer Jeremy Ansell, who helped the band compile the bonus material, said in an interview with the site Super Deluxe Edition. […]

Anthony James

“Where Finn really found himself engaged was the first-time remastering of the original albums and their resurrection on CD and, for the first time in years (for the first time ever, in the case of 2000’s rarities collection Afterglow) on vinyl.

“They hopefully are better–at least no worse than the originals,” Finn said of the new masters. ”

That’s from The Second Disc – so have they been remastered or is this all semantics about remastering?


I think it’s a case of re-mastering, rather than remastering.

Clear as mud…

Jon C

For fans who might have access to Amazon Music, they’re available for streaming if you want to give them a listen before making a purchase decision. :)


Not on Amazon Music in the UK as far as I can see? Unless you meant Apple Music?


Yes, the deluxe editions are on Spotify. Good stuff.


The deluxe editions are available for streaming on Tidal as of today. Haven’t checked Spotify yet.


Came home from work today and my set was waiting for me.
The packages are really nice, weighty & solid DVD size heavy card slip case holding a double digipack and great booklet. The production values of the packaging is right up there with the best. The graphics and photography are beautifully rendered, I would say a touch too colour saturated for my liking.
More importantly, the sound of the original albums is superb. They may not have been remastered, but there is a significant improvement over the original CD releases. So far, I have only listened to the first CH release. It is louder for sure, but the dynamics are much better, deep bass and more vibrant treble. The songs seem to have more life and energy.
I’m going to have a great weekend!


Thanks for the review of the first CH album. I’ve been holding back on buying any reissues until I know for sure that the studio cd’s sound better than the originals. I look forward to hearing what you think of the other albums, if it’s favourable I’ll put my order in ( bit of a cheek I know, sorry!)
Thanks again.


Hi Trevor, I have now listened to all 7 albums end to end, and they all sound amazing. I can say that everyone should do this before they die, a wonderful musical journey. All albums up to, and including Time On Earth are an improvement over the original CD releases. Mostly, the first 2 albums display the most improvement. In particular TOLM. I always thought that album sounded tight & too trebbly. It now sounds more open and majestic, I played it twice. Woodface and Together Alone always sounded good, and still do, just a bit louder and slightly improved breadth, they sound even more immersive than the originals.
Overall, there is a consistency of musical presentation across all 7 albums that creates an incredible seamless experience listening to them end to end.
Do not hesitate buying these packages.


Thanks a million, Garry! On the basis of your review of all the CH cd reissues I’ve placed my order. I can’t wait, although I’ll have to….they’re not released here in the UK until Nov 11th.

[…] Superdeluxeedition.com‘s Paul Sinclair recently spoke to Jeremy Ansell, co-producer of the Crowded House Deluxe Edition bonus tracks, about the reissue project. Read the interview here. […]


I don’t get the argument regarding 5.1 mixes being too expensive to do. When you see some of the niche titles (jazz, classical etc) that are/were released in 5.1 on various Hi-res formats, you would think that these albums would be guaranteed enough sales to justify the cost.

I don’t know what the figures are regarding the XTC remixes, with return on investment. They deserve to be stellar. Apart from the cost of SW remixing, XTC also has the added cost of searching for the multitracks all over the place. I’m so glad that it’s apparently worth pursuing.


Thanks, Paul, for putting in the effort to snag these interesting interviews and then transcribing/posting for our benefit. Great insights.

Regarding 12-inches, it is understandable that many artists hold them in some disdain particularly if the artist was not directly involved in the making. When an artist finishes recording a song, they often feel it is “done” by blood, sweat, & tears as best as they possibly could. So when someone else comes along and takes it and snips it and changes it around and so on, the artist is going to feel a level of separation and they’re not going to be too fond, or at least they are not going to feel any real emotional attachment which approaches that which exists to the original song they created. Although some artists have certainly proved to be more open-minded about it than others as time as moved on. Also, the fact that labels used to literally financially disregard the artist in the production & sales of 12-inch versions (as Pete Burns touched upon in your recent post) probably didn’t have a chance of sitting well with most artists of that era even after fair compensation (or not) came into being.


I don’t know…the interview with The Second Disc implies that they have been remastered:

“They hopefully are better–at least no worse than the originals,” Finn said of the new masters.


Not remastered!!! I can’t believe it. I’m gutted. It’s the reason why I pre-ordered them. Why not just put the demo’s, etc., on what was going to be the Private Universe release. What a rip. I’m now so disappointed.


Yes, but a re-transfer may be all we really need to have improved sound that is still quality. It doesn’t sound like they are just porting over the exact some recordings we’ve had all along. If they have improved the transfer technology, then we should be getting better, clearer sound from it. Plus a TON of bonus material. (Don’t waste the energy on being disappointed until you’ve heard it and know for certain there is actually something to be disappointed about.)


Great interview Paul, would also love 5.1 mixes of the albums.
email from Universal Australia advised that my set were shipped on the 2nd November, should have them arriving in my hands during the morning of the 4th, can’t wait.

Paul English

I am sure that somebody will input the dynamic range details into the database shortly. Here is the existing entry for Crowded House albums.



Thanks for the interview, plenty of fascinating stuff. My concern is the “new master/no new master?” situation. Is there any chance that you will be doing a review of the discs to answer once and for all if the studio cd’s have an improved sound compared to the ones the majority of us already own? I realise you are probably getting fed up hearing some of us moan about this topic but short of buying them and potentially being disappointed and out of pocket, could you please help?

Phil Wilson

Do we know when these are coming out, definitively? The official store changed my order to 11th November, but Amazon UK are listing all but Time on Earth as due out on 4th November. Time on Earth they say will be released on 18th November. Where does the truth lie?


Great interview Paul. Pity it was no comment on the album master ting/un-mastering, anyhow I`ll be able to comment in the next couple of days because the LPs have been shipped. Great!


Unusual that the CDs (and tote bags apparently!) are delayed but not the LPs, which are still on track for tomorrow.


While hoping for the best, I do find the answer on the mastering between fascinating and scary :

is it common to have a reissue producer, having worked about 10 years on the project, not only “not involved with it”, and “told a couple of different things over time”, but also in the end “not sure of what’s actually happened there”?


Now I’m even more excited for these releases. Thanks Paul for posting such a great interview. It’s interesting to hear the artist involvement in what they want and don’t want released during this process. I’m sure that the artist hear things differently then the fans and have memories tied to the choices either positive or negative that come into play when making their decisions.
We’re going to have 7 new discs of crowded house music and some great new packaging that I’m sure will offer lots of details on their albums. I have no complaints especially at the affordable pricing these are going for.

Robert Hollowood

I agree with the choice to go light on the live stuff. As someone who collected all the UK singles from the US, bought all the club live releases, got a hold of the Town and Country disc by some miracle when it was current I’d say that a rehash of the live material wasn’t what I was after. These discs make perfect sense to me. Some, but not a ton, of unreleased songs. Demos. A few alternative versions. All adding up to what I think makes a more interesting experience than the way they went on to play the songs night after night for years at a time. As much as I believe that any live show has it’s unique and interesting characteristics….and this band can be quite inspired…I think live recordings blend together when there are so many already available.


I am familiar with only a few of their songs and not their albums as a whole. Can I get a few opinions on which one to buy if I was only able to afford one right now?


Together alone, followed closely by Woodface.


together alone, hands down… a real gem

Robert T.

I heard the albums received new transfers, taking advantage of today’s better analog-to-digital conversion, but retained the same mastering settings as before. So maybe it’s technically not a full remastering, but they should sound a bit better, with more clarity and detail from better AD conversion.

[…] Superdeluxeedition.com‘s Paul Sinclair recently spoke to Jeremy Ansell, co-producer of the Crowded House Deluxe Edition bonus tracks, about the reissue project. Read the interview here. […]


I’m excited for the incredible amount of previously unheard material. I’m not going to quibble about what I’m not getting when I can be happy with the incredible amount of what is coming our way. This really does sound like the kind of project where the bonus material is going to be something much more than just a curiosity. it will be something that you find yourself revisiting again and again.

I don’t mind the “kitchen sink” releases either, but when I have a disk with ten consecutive mixes of the same song, I don’t find myself throwing that on as a casual listen more than once. I bought the Donna Summer Crayons reissue just a couple weeks ago so that I would have the complete set of remasters, but I don’t see myself diving into the bonus disks as readily as I have with some of her other issues, wheer there was more variety to the tracks on the extra disks.


Inquiring again about US availability. There is some reference to it in the interview, but I’m only seeing these offered as imports in the States. Will there be a US release?


The mention within in the interview of there being “complications in the states” because of multiple labels being involved leads me to believe that we’re not going to be getting domestic releases for these anytime soon. If we ever do get them domestically, it’s more likely to be within a year or two, after the rights issues have all been cleared. And even then, we may never see a US domestic release on them. Pet Shop Boys had a similar issue during the original Further Listening campaign, because Bilingual was issued by Sire in the US, so the reissue of it was delayed by several months here. PopArt was delayed over a year until they could get the rights issues straightened out.

I’m just going to order the imports rather than take the risk that we never get a US release and the stock sells out overseas. I don’t know how limited these releases are going to be.


You didn’t ask why their house was so crowded. I’m genuinely curious.


Sometimes the interviews about things/people you’re not really interested in are the most insightful. Apart from seeing Split Enz with pointy hats (if I recall) sometime in the mid 70s, I couldn’t say I’ve ever consciously listened to a Crowded House record. But to “listen in” to two people clearly committed to their work, as it were, was fascinating.
Now if you could manage a similar with whoever’s sorting out the latest Mr Costello reissues (surely due soon, must be a few years since the last lot!) I’d be doubly happy!


Marvellous interview. Thanks very much

Rune T

What an excellent and interesting interview! It is great to gain some insight when it comes to everything that happens ‘behind the scenes’ when it comes to reissues like these.

The massive amount of work (and ‘politics’ – be it from the artist or label) that might be a part of the whole process is often overlooked by the most hardcore fans who would just like to have everything but the kitchen sink released.

For better or worse, a strong curation probably makes the end results better than just piling on stuff like there is no tomorrow. While there is a case for box sets including ’10 versions of the same song’ (where only 2 are really different, the other 8 being 99% similar except for running time…) there is something to be said about box sets that you can actually listen to as an album.

Phil Wilson

Just had an email from the online store, these have all been put back one week to 11th November. Gutted I can’t go out sporting my new CH tote bag until then!

Chris Squires

It is interesting to see that there is always a disquiet when an artist or label “curates” a release. They rarely seem to get what fans / potential customers want. I don’t know CH well enough (other than Woodface which lived with me for a year back in the day) to say whether these are worth it but it does seem that artists are the worst at the job….


Thanks for your very interesting interviews.


My 2 cents:
Omission of 12″s is my exact reason for losing interest in this reissue, sorry Neil, no sale…
picked up the 12/80’s Chilled instead

Charles K

If the albums aren’t remastered then I don’t see the point in shelling out the dough for these. I buy CD still because of the superior sound over digital and the packaging but the sound being the more important of the two. I would truly only want these if at their root they contained sonically improved versions of the album themselves. The bonus content is great but not great enough to spend $20.00 a piece for them surrounded in a pretty box., especially since they will all probably end up on streaming services like the Simple Minds box sets did. This is the first I’ve heard of them not being remastered.

Great interview though, he seems like the only person that truly had a passion for doing them to be quite honest. It feels like everyone else felt like it was a necessary process needed to get some type of product out to take advantage of a milestone.

Iain Kay

I’m inclined to agree. CH are my favourite band but I struggle to justify rebuying albums to get hold of a bunch of curiosities – many of which are already available via singles, websites, youtube etc. These things are only of interest to the fans, so why re-release material that they will doubtless already have, and not take the effort to fix the horrendous brick wall mastering on the last 2 releases?

Iain Kay

Because I’m not made of money? There is a limit to how much I’m willing to spend on albums I already have (twice, in some cases) to get access to bonus tracks – many of which I already have on b-sides, recurring dream, previous deluxe editions and via the internet etc etc. As it is I’ve ordered some of the albums on vinyl – a few of which are destined to be gifts – and will pick up the bonus tracks I’m interested that I don’t get as downloads individually. If the bonus tracks had not been part of the deal with the vinyl I probably wouldn’t have bothered at all.

I appreciate that a lot of effort has gone into the production of the bonus disks but the days when I’m willing to throw money at anything are long gone.


Interview here Paul with Mr. Neil Finn, talk on his legacy and the reissues. Click below;



That’s a great interview, Paul. I’ve been lucky enough to hear the sets already and they are great. I can understand that some people want a 17-disc Dead Or Alive-style box, but these Crowded House sets are definitely “curated” and I think it’s the appropriate artistic decision. The bonus discs reflect where Neil and the band were at at each album and the work that went into them, while remaining very listenable in their own right.


Great interview Paul! Very insightful.

Although I’m disappointed that many of the 12 inch versions of some tracks didn’t makes the cut, I completely respect Neil Finn’s decision. He’s an artist first and foremost and these releases represent what he believes are the essence of Crowded House.

I really hope that Together Alone gets the 5.1 treatment, but in the meantime I’m going to grab the vinyl.


Would have preferred if they had stuck to the original ‘Private Universe’ box set idea.