XTC / Black Sea CD+blu-ray reissue

XTC continue their bar-raising expanded reissues in November with a CD+Blu-ray edition of their 1980 album Black Sea.

The band’s fourth studio album is the fifth to receive this deluxe reissue treatment and as with previous sets it includes 5.1 surround sound mixes and new stereo mixes by Steven Wilson, along with a host of extra audio and visual material.

The CD features Wilson’s new 2017 stereo mix, while the blu-ray features the original stereo mix in hi-res with bonus tracks. Of course that’s just the start. The blu-ray also includes:

  • A 5.1 Surround mix in 24bit/96khz mixed from the original multi-track tapes available in LPCM and DTS HD MA.
  • Additional songs from the album sessions in stereo and 5.1 (several featuring 2017 Steven Wilson mixes)
  • Instrumental versions (mixed by Steven Wilson), and several bonus mixes in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio.
  • Many album tracks in demo form as recorded (mostly live) at Phonogram Studios prior to the main album sessions.
  • Three Andy Partridge demos from Phonogram studios.
  • Three Andy Partridge demos from Swindon Town Hall.
  • Promo films for Towers Of London, Generals & Majors & Respectable Street.

This edition comes with an expanded booklet and sleeve-notes by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Terry Chambers, Dave Gregory and Hugh Padgham. The Steven Wilson mixes are produced with the input of founder band member Andy Partridge and the full approval of the band.

The Black Sea CD+Blu-ray is released on 10 November 2017. Full details on the track listing when we get them.

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Black Sea - CD+Blu-ray deluxe edition


CD+Blu-ray content summary

• CD: Features a 2017 stereo album mix by Steven Wilson with bonus tracks (many featuring Steven Wilson mixes).

• Blu-Ray: a 5.1 Surround mix in 24bit/96khz mixed from the original multi-track tapes available in LPCM and DTS HD MA.

• Additional Blu-Ray features include:
– The 2017 stereo album mix in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio.
– Additional songs from the album sessions in stereo and 5.1 (several featuring 2017 Steven Wilson mixes)
– The original stereo album mix in hi-res stereo + bonus tracks.
– Instrumental versions (mixed by Steven Wilson), and several bonus mixes in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio.
– Many album tracks in demo form as recorded (mostly live) at Phonogram Studios prior to the main album sessions.
– Three Andy Partridge demos from Phonogram studios.
– Three Andy Partridge demos from Swindon Town Hall.
– Promo films for Towers Of London, Generals & Majors & Respectable Street.

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Just got this in, listening to the CD now. My “sound system” is just my computer, so no real comment on sound quality. This the first time I’ve gotten “Take This Town” on CD, so I’m happy there. No chance to enjoy the Blu-Ray for awhile (we’re moving house, everything’s a mess). Still, I’ll give this 9.99/10 love at first sight. Minus 0.01 because it didn’t arrive in a bright green paper bag ;) – or even a black plastic bag, as some Black Sea LPs did back in the day.


Another excellent more than value for money release, just look at the content per £ of the XTC releases, puts the cost of other new releases to shame. As a soon to be poor pensioner I’ve decided £80 to £100 is too much, (sorry Bowie, Eagles & Alan Parsons).

Paul, since I discovered your site it’s cost me £hundreds maybe £thousands and my wife is complaining where everything is going to go!

Ben in Colorado

Disc 1 track listing:
Respectable Street
Generals and Majors
Living Through Another Cuba
Love At First Sight
Rocket From a Bottle
No Language In Our Lungs
Towers Of London
Paper and Iron (Notes and Coins)
Burning With Optimism’s Flames
Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)
Travels In Nihilon
Respectable Street (Single Version)
Smokeless Zone
Don’t Lose Your Temper
Take This Town
Ban The Bomb
Towers of London (Early Version)
The Somnambulist
A History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Andy Partridge


Did Andy not mention something about a delay till next year, due to a berievment? On Twitter.


A delay of what ?


I swore I read a tweet about this album being delayed. False alarm I guess. Mummer next please!


Absolutely 100% yes.

DJ Salinger

Really looking forwards to hearing the Wilson mix of the band in full attack mode. ‘Travels In Nihilon’ is going to be immense.

The incredible thing is, after this album they got even better.


Once again, no vinyl. Thumbs down boys.

Paul Anthony

I don’t get this obsession with vinyl. My band get asked constantly, ‘Is your EP available on vinyl?’

‘No,’ we reply. ‘But if you want to experience it audibly as you would vinyl, just eat a bowl of Rice Krispies while you’re listening to this fantastic CD we spent ages recording, mixing and mastering in fantastic clarity, you f*cking hipster.’

Jeff Bertrand

Paul Anthony: Thank you! I don’t get the vinyl thing, either. And your retort is superb!

Hello Bongo

Michel – XTC have done several Vinyl reissues too – however this is one of a series of remasters and 5.1 digital issues with loads of bonus stuff at a very reasonable price – I like Vinyl too but I’m happy to have this on CD and it will sit nicely next to the previous (excellent) XTC deluxe CD editions.

There might be a vinyl reissue of the Steven Wilson mix some day, but for now – Black Sea isn’t hard to find on Vinyl and isn’t expensive – you can get an original copy in excellent condition for around a tenner if you shop around .


Many years ago I spent an evening in Rockfiled studios with John Leckie. He had the tapes for XTC’s Drums and Wires album and we had fun on the board with them. He was planning a dub version of the album a la Go +. I don’t know if he ever finished this but it would make a nice extra.


It was Take Away – The lure of salvage by the sounds of it


I would prefer the extra tracks and mixes to all be on CDs as I do not play Blu Rays just to listen to. I will stick to just the original releases as not interested in surround sound and such like.

Neil Wilkes

Francis, you don’t have to play the surround sytreams if you do not want to – the 2 playlists that have 5.1 content (which are the 2017 Mixes & 2017 Additional Mixes playlists) are both defaulted to stereo 24/96 on playback unless you switch the stream using either the sidebar navigational options or else the coloured buttons on the remote control which function as “Hot Keys” switching the audio on the fly – Yellow = PCM Stereo, Green = PCM Surround & Red = DTS-HD Master Audio surround. You will need the audio output down either HDMI Multichannel or Analogue Multichannel to get the surround streams in Lossless at 24/96 – and if you only have an optical or CoAxial audio connection then the DTS-HD will play in Core Audio mode.

Putting all this content on CD would also make the product much more expensive as it would take a good half a dozen CD – maybe more – to get this all included. Blu-ray players are cheap these days and with these XTC titles being designed for headless operation you really do not even need the TV on. Once disc is loaded, use the Hot Keys off the Main Menu:
Yellow – start 2017 Stereo
Red – Start 2017 DTS-HD MA
Green – Start 2017 PCM surround
Blue – Start Original Stereo
Once in the content, the Blue key will always take you to the next playlist in the disc and the numbered buttons work like CD does.

Hope this helps

Distant Son

Thanks from me to.


Also thanks for me for the info. I’ll give it a whirl. I have all these things (Blu-Ray, CD, SACD) plugged into my amp, but don’t use them enough. I ordered Black Sea from Burning Shed the other day when it occurred to me to look to see, thinking that one must be due. I wish it was English Settlement though.

Mark H

You can order online from Burning Shed & collect from their nearest store (if you’re lucky enough to live near one) to avoid the heavy postage costs


Great stuff, Dukes of Stratosphere next year I hope. I guess both the EP and the LP on one.


I’m trembling with excitement about what Steven has done with ‘Travels In Nihilon’


Yee- Haa ! That’s my middle aged collector’s reaction to this news – can’t wait. Wilson’s work on this series is terrific so you know he won’t screw it up. It’s just all good.
Generals And Majors was on the radio when I went to pick up my first turntable in 1980 (a second hand Dual for 20 quid ), and Paper And Iron was the first song I remember having to fight my way through to get to a level of enjoyment.
This album (plus bits of English Settlement) taught me how to listen. Wheel it on.

Ben in Colorado

@BDY, Love hearing about your listening experience.
I too have a similar story.
1980, 16 years old, laying in bed at midnight, listening to KBPI out of Denver, when they played Respectable Street.
I couldn’t fall asleep after that.
So different from Foreigner and REO and the other top hits of the day.
Changed the way I listened to music forever.
Next day I told friends about XTC, and that set us off on an all-consuming race to get as much of their music as we could. No small task living in a small town in Colorado.
Nothing since has made such a difference to me in terms of defining what good music is.


“Nothing since has made such a difference to me in terms of defining what good music is.”
…and for me how timelessly relevant Partridge’s lyrics remain.
(Must say I like a bit of REO too……:-)

Richard Higgins

It’s not Andy who has mislaid the master tapes, it’s Universal…hence the haphazard scattergun approach to the reissues…but fingers crossed for ‘English Settlement’, ‘Mummer’, ‘Big Express’ in due course…..


The thought of a Wilson treatment on Mummer and Big Express just put a smile on my face.


There is a recent single cd remaster of English Settlement, it’s an improvement (in my opinion) over previous versions.


Finally, one of my all-time favorites from XTC is being released with Steven Wilson 5.1 mix!! Love it, love it, love it. It would be very cool if the the CD/Blu-ray package is issued with a green paper outer sleeve like the original LP was, but I’m not going to quibble about that if it’s not. I’m hoping ‘English Settlement’ (if Andy Partridge has found the original tapes) will be the next such release in 5.1 surround sound. What happy news for XTC fans!


I was going to order this through Burning Shed and got to the checkout and noticed the cheapest postal option is £3.94 and that is without tracking. Honestly how can they seriously justify that ? I will get it from somewhere else who don’t rip people off with postage costs.


As a bloody colonial (Amurrican variety) I’ve also noticed Burning Shed doesn’t deduct VAT on overseas orders. So while I’m tempted to order this from them, it would cost me nearly $29 delivered!


Jon, they DO deduct VAT for shipments to the US. Try registering for an account first. I’ve saved tons on King Crimson’s box sets.

Ben in Colorado

It’s worth it to me to get the Terry Chambers signed card. It’ll complete my collection (Barry Andrews excluded).


Maybe he will be next, I’d love a Deluxe White Music or Go 2

Dave H

While you’re waiting for this release you can watch this documentary on the band.



Ummmm only if you have a Sky subscription.
I would love to see this but unfortunately it’s not available on Freeview or on the BBC iPlayer (or any Channels that I know of in France).

Nick Lees

It was a wonderful documentary. My favourite part was near the end when they showed a clip of Andy and Colin walking arm in arm down the road. Sigh. And yes Andy, you were the other band that did that.


@ade and klaus: SW is obviously that busy that he agreed only on one Marillion remix. Even if the XTC remixes are coming rather slow there is enough hope for more. XTC seams to be his his favorite project (next to Tull). For my part: now all the great XTC albums are remixed.

@Richard: Your player needs (and yours has not) a blue laser which only bluray- and multi-player include. CD players only have a red laser, CDs and blurays have different content layers. But in the end it’s a CD and bluray package you will miss of cause the surround mix. This alone is a god reason to buy a bluray player which in most cases will also play CDs because of both lasers are included.


I wish they would include a download code for the blu-ray content. Having to install an “illegal” blu-ray ripper, copying the disc image to my computer, converting it to an audio file and then cutting that file into individual MP3s which I then tag with the track information has been really time-consuming.

Yes, that’s something I actually do.


Ha – see my comment above :-)


Just get a cheap blu-ray player with an HDMI output and then buy an HDMI to analogue converter. You’ll come out well under £100, the quality is tickety-boo and it’ll save you hours of dicking around. Let’s face it, unless you go really high end, most converters are standard stock anyway and just chucked in a posh box. My system sounds lovely (though I don’t listen 5:1, just stereo).


Having re-read your comment, I think I misunderstood what you were trying to achieve.
However, for the purpose of making MP3 files have you considered one of the many portable MP3 recorders that are available from music instrument retailers ? I’ve got a Roland R-09 which I use for demos and it’s never let me down in 10 years.
You just connect analogue in and you can record MP3 or WAV format in the quality of your choice to SD cards. The device will open on a desktop as a hard disc from where you transport the individual MP3 files to wherever you want them.


@BDY – Which is kind of what I do (although my device records to WAV so I have an extra conversion step) but it is still a pain. Recording in real time takes me back to my cassette recording days…


You’re right of course, my method only avoids the conversion and splitting elements.
As for recording in real time ‘a la cassette’, I prefer it that way. The speed of access part is the joy of modern file based listening to me, not the recording bit. I just do my rips when I’m in the mood to listen at the same time.

Barrie Sillars

I wonder if it will come in a green bag!!

Nicholas Love

I don’t know if everyone saw the preorder but Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers have a new EP of original material coming out soon. First new Colin song since 2006, I for one cannot wait.


Yep saw it, ordered it, can’t wait.

It would be nice to know more – I don’t even know how many tracks are on the EP…


Stupid question time ! Can the blu ray thingy be played on my Marantz pm5004 cd player ?
Hope there will be a vinyl release too.
All technical help appreciated.




The PM5004 is an amplifier not a CD player, Richard! Even if it were a CD player you would not be able to play a Blu-ray disc on it. You need a standalone blu-ray player. These are pretty cheap these days.

Marshall Gooch

Nope, sorry. Gotta have a Bluray player for the BD disc. You can, of course, play the CD, which (if like all the other XTC SDEs) will have the new stereo mix of the album and some extras (B-sides, demos).


The CD5004 plays CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and discs containing MP3 and WMA files.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/marantz-cd5004-cd-player#Dy0R4Ch8deCQpTZu.99


I wish the Blu-ray could play on a CD player lol as that would save me having to rip all the bonus material from the Blu-ray disc. But seriously richard no a Blu-ray won’t play on a CD player.


Yes indeed that is the only downside for me. Having the extra audio only on Blu-ray means ripping (in real time) to a wav file which I then have to chop up into individual files and then convert to a format suitable for putting onto my iPod (my main listening platform since it is always with me).
A real shame that Andy could not get the rights to digital distribution…

Craig Hedges

Message for any artists who read this website. This is how you do a deluxe edition!
Really enjoyed the previous releases, this is my Christmas present this year.


I’m not particularly a fan but have to wonder why other artists don’t take such care when deluxifying their wares.


Some are probably not directly involved in deluxe editions and it’s left to suits at the labels to do the “deluxifying”.


Slight correction – Colin Moulding didn’t want to contribute to the sleeve notes this time according to Andy Partridge on Twitter


I too saw that post back in May. Perhaps Colin changed his mind in the mean time?


indeed. A real shame as Colin’s songs on they album are superb.

Also Andy hinted that the ‘XTC at the Manor’ film was being held back for something special. I am hoping that he is planning some kind of visual compilation but who knows…

Anyway – looking forward to the Black Sea release. As pointed out by others, these XTC deluxes have been consistently high quality (at a bargain price).

Wish the tapes for English Settlement hadn’t been lost!


I meant to type “Colin’s songs on this album are superb”

From the lack of any Colin demos I suspect that he has declined to be too involved in the release.
Having said that, apparently in general Colin isn’t keen on people hearing demos in general (too much like a peek behind the magician’s curtain… or something).

Ade Swatridge

The XTC reisssues have all been outstanding quality and packed full of extras so this is a must buy for me. I just wish they could track down the rest of the original tapes a bit quicker or I’m going to be an old man at this one a year rate!


Thinking what Steven Wilson also does i guess he can’t work on more than one XTC-album a year.

John M

Already ordered from Burning Shed. All the previous deluxe XTC sets have been magnificent!

adam shaw

At last , just a shame they couldnt get the BBC film of them at the manor recording some of this album onto the Bluray .


PRE ORDER FROM APE/BURNING SHED AND YOU GET A BLACK SEA POSTCARD SIGNED BY TERRY CHAMBERS. https://burningshed.com/store/ape/xtc_black-sea_cd-blu-ray


Cheaper from the official XTC store on Burning Shed @ £15.99 and preorders come with a free postcard signed by Terry Chambers :)

Postman Pat

I went to order `Black Sea` & the Terry Chambers EP from Burning Shed £6 shipping, sorry I believe in buying direct from the artists site but I ain`t being ripped off in the process. A jiffy bag and first class postage comes to less than £2.


How about paying the person that has to put it in the jiffy bag and take it to the Post Office and for the room that person is in while they do it?

Postman Pat

Well considering I was a Support Worker helping people with learning and physical issues (a job I loved) earning 7p above the minimum wage, yes seven pence, I hope that person putting the CDs in the jiffy bag and taking it to the Post Office is on more money than I was. However even if that person was on £20 an hour I expect he would have to pack more than 20 jiffy bags an hour, so that`s £1 at the most, on top of the £2 postage. Taking the CDs to the post office, say 15 minutes in the company van and I assume there would be much more than one jiffy bag, so shall we give that a very charitable 50p per order, that comes to £3.30p. Burning Shed are making more than £2.50, far more if we`re being realistic per order.
I have an account with Burning Shed and have ordered many items from them this year, the last Mogwaii`s S.E. Box Set which weighs a lot more than 2 CDs (don`t forget TC`s EP & 1 Bluray) and I paid less postage than £6.02p, checked my account it was £3.01p, another order Big Big Train`s last album & CD – postage £3.28.
Two orders that weigh much more than XTC & TC CDs, one at half the cost, another 66% the cost.
I am all for, as I have said, ordering from the artists site rather than the tax dodgers but I`m not bloody stupid.
How about that?

Postman Pat

I`ve contacted Burning Shed, so let`s see what they have to say. PP

Postman Pat

Postage problem solved, Burning Shed were charging for two separate delivery’s, so that would have been two jiffy bags Caroline (; )), told BS to send both items in one jiffy bag. So that`s one trip to the post office artists don`t have to pay the tax dodgers their cut.
Is everybody happy? You bet your life we are.


£6 is a small price to pay to receive such a superb Lp with so many extras just cough up and help Mr Partridges retirement fund you tight bastard !


I can only admire your dedication Postman Pat. Now get that cat of your off my lawn… :)

Postman Pat, AKA Distant Son

Looks like that elf at Burning Shed can get some overtime over at Parlophone putting those `Heroes` replacement discs in jiffy bags.

That cat`s a right bastard Caroline, shitting on SDE`ers lawn. I think I`ll put it in my l mail bag and throw it in the……only , it`s a cool cat really.


Great news. I had been wondering when the next XTC reissue was going to appear. A must-buy!


Hi Paul,
can you tell why Black sea isn’t available. It’s now november 23th en still not released here in Holland !