XTC / “Nonsuch” reissue with hi-res 5.1 mix and demos on CD+Blu-ray


XTC‘s 1992 album Nonsuch is being reissued as a deluxe edition that will include a 5.1 Surround mix, a new stereo mix and hi-res versions of both.

Steven Wilson has produced the new mixes from the original tapes, with the input of founder band member Andy Partridge and the full approval of the band.

The reissues will take the form of double digi-packs with slipcases; you get to choose between a CD+DVD-A version or a CD+Blu-ray edition.

However, the Blu-ray edition contains some exclusive content NOT available on the DVD-A, including hi-res stereo instrumental mixes of the songs on the album, Andy Partridge home demos, and the promo films for the singles. Perhaps not too much of a ‘choice’ after all?

The CD has the new stereo mix, and the DVD-A or Blu-ray discs include new and original stereo mixes in hi-res (as well as the 5.1 of course). Both sets offer outstanding value being priced at less than £16.

Blu-ray features the following (disc is region free, NTSC):

  • • A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround (24bit/96khz) mixed from the original multi-track tapes.
  • • The new stereo album mix in DTS-HD Master Audio (24bit/96khz).
  • Exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).
  • Exclusive Andy Partridge home demos and Colin Moulding work tapes for songs written for the album and contemporaneously.
  • • Filmed footage of the band working on the album in Chipping Norton Studios.
  • • Promo films for The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead and The Disappointed

DVD-A features the following (Region 0, NTSC):

  • • A 5.1 DTS Mix of the album.
  • • Original and new album mixes by Steven Wilson in High Resolution stereo
  • • DVD-A players & some Blu-Ray players can, additionally, access a 5.1 Advanced Resolution (24bit/96khz Lossless audio) mix.

CD track listing

  • 1. The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
  • 2. My Bird Performs
  • 3. Dear Madam Barnum
  • 4. Humble Daisy
  • 5. The Smartest Monkeys
  • 6. The Disappointed
  • 7. Holly Up On Poppy
  • 8. Crocodile
  • 9. Rook
  • 10. Omnibus
  • 11. That Wave
  • 12. Then She Appeared
  • 13. War Dance
  • 14. Wrapped In Grey
  • 15. The Ugly Underneath
  • 16. Bungalow
  • 17. Books Are Burning

Bonus Track:

  • 18. Didn’t Hurt a Bit

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You are right, Mani – it was Channel Four’s Play at Home.

XTC at the Manor was a BBC programme showing XTC recording Towers of London (it was actually a reconstruction for television, as the song has already been recorded by the time the programme was made).

I disagree with you about the new XTC releases being pointless, though. The Nonsuch Blu ray has instrumental versions of each track, for example, which is new and exactly the kind of thing I love to pick apart.

XTC Play at Home wasn’t dull either, lol! For any XTC follower, it is essential viewing (it’s on YouTube, if anyone’s curious). Shows a side to the lads not often seen, and for XTC fans there has never been anything like it before or since.


Sorry JO, I was wrong, I thought it was Play At Home. Or maybe it was?

Warren B

Big Express and Black Sea both were both “hard” in your face productions but one is warm and the other is cold. Not sure how you can warm up TBE but one lives in hope.
I would love them to include the acoustic version of Train Running Low which they played on a documetary around that time just Andy and Dave on 12 string, made me thing what the album could have sounded like.


@Warren B – yes indeed that was a great version (and indeed a great documentary – I think it was “XTC plays the Manor” recorded at Richard Branson’s home/Virgin’s recording studio ‘The Manor’).
Would love to see that again (it also shows Dave recording one of his own self-penned tracks which I seem to recall was pretty excellent).


The documentary was called XTC Play At Home, on Channel 4, from Autumn 1984. Part of a series including New Order and The Bunnymen. I think they’re on YouTube. They were all quite dull.

BTW, I bought all the XTC back catalogue on Japanese editions in 2001 ( I think) and here we go again having to spend yet more. Totally agree with previous post that all this Blue Ray and DVDA stuff is a waste. Just give us the music on CD. I listen to music on a nice stereo from the comfort of my settee, as I’m sure most of us do thanks.


English Settlement is the one for me (although I am pretty sure I read somewhere that the mastertapes have been lost…).

I do like TBE but bad use of digital recording (everything sounds too brittle) and overuse of Drum machines (much as I like them in general e.g. TFF) does tend to overpower what would be a great collection of songs.

I’m hoping that the extras on the Blu-Ray will be sold via a download (on the APE site or on iTunes). Fingers crossed…

[…] the XTC Nonsuch reissue the extra capacity enjoyed by the blu-ray format allows for some amazing exclusives for that […]

Paul Kent

That’s why I’m looking forward to TBE, Justin. The songs are brilliant but the production is far too busy. If SW can tone down the clatter, a 5.1 mix would sound immense.


Tim and Paul, I hope SW can take just a little bit of that 80s sheen off both ‘TBE’ and ‘Oranges and Lemons’. They’re both very fussy production wise, and I think spreading them out in 5.1 with a more naturalistic sound will help them immensely with new depth.

Paul Kent

Tim – ha ha!!! Yeah, I know what you mean about The Big Express. It sounds like a bag o’spanners but I love it! I think Wilson would kick it into shape, though (…and as I type this, “Travels In Nihilon” shuffles up on the iPod. Spooky!)

Tim Larkham

Well, I for one shall be buying this although something tells me the reissue programme will take years to complete (see also Paul McCartney!). I see I’m not alone in wanting the “fixed version” of Skylarking but The Big Express..? The songs are great but the production makes it a difficult listen. That bloody Linn drum! Anyhow, great to know that there are others out there clamouring for top draw XTC remasters and not just me.

Dr Volume

As for the whereabouts of the tapes, they could be anywhere, or nowhere. Joy Division and New Order master tapes are currently being sold via Facebook by Julia Nagle (ex Fall member and former assistant to Martin Hannett) who apparently has them on a bookshelf slowly rotting away (along with tapes of John Cooper Clarke, Durutti Column and more besides). She apparently rescued the tapes from a dustbin.

Paul Kent

With you on Skylarking. After that I’m giddy about Black Sea and, believe it or not, The Big Express – I just think there’s so much going on on that album that it can’t fail but lend itself to 5.1… that, and Oranges & Lemons. And, yes, ‘River Of Orchids’ will sound phenomenal… and ‘Easter Theatre’. Oh, the anticipation… :D


Certainly have mate. Just sweating on the tapes surviving. Big 3 for me… English Settlement, Skylarking and Apple Venus. There’s so many potential 5.1 highlights there it’s ridiculous. ‘River of Orchids’ should be worth the price of admission alone.

Paul Kent

Thanks Justin. Pity Andy’s having to put the graft in to get some decent versions out there (with SW, of course!), but Virgin still get a hefty wedge! But if as much care goes into them as other Ape releases I’ll be very happy. Even more so if the expanded Rag & Bone Buffet gets released, too. We’ve got a lot to look forward to, eh?


Also this quote more an answer to your question ;
“@xtcfans: No,VIRGIN/EMI/SONY still own them,but let me put them out.They take a big over ride”


Hi Paul, this quite from the Partridge Twitter feed…@xtcfans “Whole catalogue will be released as 5.1 and vinyl”.
Apparently they’re doing them as the tapes are found by EMI in their deep dark dank storage facilities.

Paul Kent

Justin – I’d read previously that Virgin had only agreed to Andy having certain titles for reissue (Drums and Wires, as you say, being one of them). Have they reached a new agreement, then? I hope so…


These releases are essential. Andy tweeted that ‘Drums and Wires’ will be next in about 6 months, and the rest of the catalogue will follow…if Virgin can find the tapes. Unbelievable. That sort of neglect is why record companies are reviled and despised.
As both a huge XTC and SW fan, these can’t come quick enough. ‘Omnibus’ (for a start) should be incredible in 5.1. Andy also tweeted that vinyl would be happening as well. Fingers crossed.


Have to agree this is great news – I love XTC with a passion!

I am very disappointed that there is a difference between content on the two formats. I don’t have a blu-ray player which means I wont be able to get the instrumental versions :-(
As a side note – XTC’s music tends to work very well as instrumentals c.f. the Instruvenus/Wasptramental collections they released a while back.

Neil Wilkes

I could only get so much content on the DVD-A/V version – the limitation there was space, and it is over 8Gb as it stands.
Something had to go…….

Paul Kent

Excellent news! Been waiting for this. Pity Virgin won’t hand the whole catalogue back to Partridge as the reissues for Skylarking and the Dukes albums from Ape have been superb.