XTC / Skylarking 30th anniversary definitive CD+blu-ray edition


It’s been a busy few years for XTC‘s 1986 album Skylarking wth the vinyl reissue back in 2010, the ‘corrected polarity’ CD of 2014, this year’s boxed deluxe vinyl version and now – thanks to the discovery of the multi-tracks – a double-disc 30th anniversary definitive edition which delivers a Steven Wilson 5.1 surround mix on blu-ray audio, along with a wealth of other bonus material.

This new edition eschews the pubes (not a phrase I’ll write too often) and restores the original sleeve (“it was agreed that more people recognised this as the sleeve now” Andy Partridge replied on twitter, when quizzed about it) and offers a new stereo mix of the album on CD

If you’ve bought any of the previous XTC CD+blu-ray reissues, you’ll know how good they are and what to expect… The blu-ray here offers the 5.1 mix, the new stereo mix in 24bit/96kHz, four additional songs from the album sessions in stereo and 5.1, the very original (uncorrected polarity) album mix in hi-res stereo, along with the same for the corrected polarity version, instrumental mixes, a complete alternate album in demo form (following producer Todd Rundgren’s original suggested running order), numerous demo and work tape sessions showing the evolution of the album and the promo films for Dear God and Grass! All that for less than £20 – amazing, as usual.

This definitive edition (for once the title lives up to the content) comes with an expanded booklet featuring sleeve-notes by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding & Dave Gregory and will be released on 14 October 2016.


Skylarking 30th Anniversary Definitive Edition


1. Summer’s Cauldron
2. Grass
3. The Meeting Place
4. That’s Really Super, Supergirl
5. Ballet for a Rainy Day
6. 1000 Umbrellas
7. Season Cycle
8. Earn Enough for Us
9. Big Day
10. Another Satellite
11. Mermaid Smiled
12. The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
13. Dear God
14. Dying
15. Sacrificial Bonfire

Bonus Tracks:

16. Extrovert
17. Let’s Make a Den
18. The Troubles
19. Little Lighthouse

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

•  The new stereo album mix in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio.

• Four additional songs from the album sessions in stereo and 5.1 mixed by Steven Wilson.

• The original (uncorrected polarity) stereo album mix in hi-res stereo, plus 1 non-album track.

• The original (corrected polarity) stereo album mix in hi-res stereo.

•  Instrumental versions (mixed by Steven Wilson) of all new mixes in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio.

• A complete alternate album in demo form (as per Todd Rundgren’s original suggested running order).

• Numerous additional demo and work tape sessions showing the evolution of the album and associated recordings.

• Promo films for Dear God and Grass.

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Is the blu-ray region free? Will it play on North American blu-ray machines? Thanks.

John S Dornan

Yes. Region free


Thank you, John!


As Paul so delightfully put it the “eschewed pubes” have not been banished but are hidden on the inside of the slipcase. Looks like Andy Partridge found a way to include them !

Julian H

I already expected something like that.


Can anyone who’s received this already list the Rundgren proposed track order?

Hugh Johns

The “album in demo form” is the same listing as above.

The “original mix” ends with Dying/Sacrificial Bonfire/Dear God, plus Extrovert (non album track)

I’m not sure whether it’s just because I’m listening through my TV to the 5.1 mix but the vocals are extremely prominent

Tony Gubba

For anyone who has enjoyed Andy’s wonderful Fuzzy Warbles, may I highly recommend The Cleaners From Venus. If you have not heard of them, there are three volumes which collect all of the key albums together along with rarities.

Tony Gubba

Thanks Paul and others. Still struggling on how to ‘unpack’ the CD extras. Keen to hear the demos and alternative versions. Like others I have a bluray hooked up to the television but no sound system (or time these days with kids to sit at home and properly listen in the comfort of the sofa. So it’s an hour on the commute with headphones and wav files for special albums or 320 mp3 for others. Helpful souls so far have indicated a bluray hooked up to the pc, software but….the risk of some anti-pirate gateway stopping the unpacking / ripping. Still stumped why a download code for purchasers of the hard copy is not included (this is surely different contractually to purchased downloads on the open market). Please can someone help as I want to support Ape and really do lover this band. Ta

Hugh Johns

Thanks for your response, Paul.

I’ve bought the package irrespective of the 5.1 so concur it’s worth it for the other stuff. Almost as embarrassing as my audio ignorance is that despite being a big XTC fan, this album passed me by in 1986 and I’ve only just recently rediscovered it on Spotify so, unlike others, this will be my first copy :)

Hugh Johns

Apologies for my utter ignorance too but like a couple of previous posters, I don’t have a 5.1. surround system (is that where you have lots of speakers around the room?) hooked up to a blu-ray and primarily listen to my music through my Mac, iOS device, or B&W wireless speakers connected to the those devices. I do have a blu-ray but it’s just hooked up to my TV.

Therefore am I right to conclude I won’t actually benefit from any better quality recordings, other than the new stereo mix on the CD?


Burning Shed just emailed, mine has been dispatched, it should arrive Friday. I`ve reserved Saturday for listening to both CD & Bluray, Friday is reserved for the Moulettes who I`m going to see in England`s Black-Pudding capitol, Bury that night. If only it was XTC, oh well Moulettes are a great band. Not heard of them? Try their albums, if you love XTC you`ll love Moulettes.

Sam Missimer

These have been simply magical re-imaginings of this catalogue. Can’t say enough about how this has enhanced my enjoyment of an already favorite band.

DJ Salinger

So let’s see… this’ll be the sixth time I’ve bought this album since 1986, including the 2014 ‘we reversed the polarity of the neutron flow’ Pertwee Edition.

It really is an illness, isn’t it?

But no justification’s needed this time, given the genuine revelation the other Wilson XTC remasters have been so far. How does he do it? Witchcraft, probably.

The ‘Nonesuch’ and ‘O&L’ editions in particular sound truly fantastic through headphones: details I never knew were there, and a soundstage that makes these layered, complex classics somehow sound like they’re still made by musicians playing in the same room. I always though the original production on ‘Nonesuch’ was a bit airless, but somehow the new mix liberates the songs. (And gets rid of that bloody cross-fade at the end of ‘The Disappointed’. Sometimes it really is the small things in life…)

So, ‘Skylarking’ should be no exception. Though I bet there’s still not a love letter from Toddzilla Rundgren in the sleevenotes. Andy’s description of him as ”one Brian Clough stood on the shoulders of another, with a wig” still makes me chuckle.


I have some questions to ask out of extreme ignorance.

I’ve never bought a 5.1 mix release. I presume these are worthless unless you have a home theater system, right?

Also, what is the 24/96 mix good for, other than ripping to FLAC and playing those or something like that? I’ve never seen a “24/96 CD player” and I presume that regular CD players can’t do anything with them.

Do I have this stuff right? Sorry I’m so behind the times.


Oops, 24/96 *version*, not mix. Obviously it’s not just a mix.

Violet Creme

Well, you get a new stereo mix on the CD, which is based on a “folded down” version of the new 5.1 mix, but in standard CD resolution, which is 44.1/16 bit. So that’ll work everywhere. But it doesn’t contain any supplementary material – just the new stereo mix, no demos etc.

The 24/96 stereo mixes are on the Blu Ray. You will be able to play the new stereo mix, the old stereo mix, and the corrected-polarity version of the old stereo mix in high resolution from the BR. Assuming you’ve got your BR player hooked up to your sound system (and not out of the telly) you’ll feel the benefit. If it’s only coming out of the telly you might be better sticking with the old EMI CD!

Violet Creme

Oh, that’s interesting – I didn’t know that was how he worked. I always assumed that all 5.1 mixers worked from surround back to stereo, rather than the other way around.

Anyway, Steven’s work is amazing and I can’t wait to hear this one. I just don’t know how he ever gets any sleep between making records, touring, collaborating and remixing the world’s back catalogue…


Tony, I think it’s because of blu-ray it’s possible to be so generous and also still keep the price so reasonable. To release all of the music on CDs would be more costly (out of my price range, probably), plus not all of it would be possible to release on CD, e.g. the newly released high rez and 5.1.

Tony Gubba

Hello. I don’t listen to music on bluray. Love this album but will not buy if I can’t mp3 to listen on my headphones on the move. Is there a simple way of picking up the tracks in wav or mp3? The previous didn’t come with a download. Would have loved a cd edition of all the unrealised tracks. Can anybody help as Andy P qas quite rude when I asked him about this previously. Thank you in advance

Violet Creme

The agreement between APE and whoever owns the EMI catalogue now is for physical releases only; they can’t include download codes for this reason, but they can do Blu Ray, CD and vinyl.

Andy P is a fantastic musician, one of the greats, but he seems like the grumpiest man in England. I had to stop following him recently on Twitter after a Partridge-esque rant about a boot company that almost ended in the words “needless to say I had the last laugh”. Best to enjoy his art and keep your distance from the artist.


Funnily enough I just caught up with his latest Twitter updates and read the stuff about the boot company.
I did kind of feel he cut off his nose to spite his face on that one.
Genuinely witty and talented guy but he does come across as somewhat grumpy at times – but I think it might be an age thing (I say that as a man of a certain age myself who is often accused, by my girlfriend amongst others, of being grumpy :-)

Tony Gubba

Thanks for the explanation. May be there is an easy casinos converting the files


Only way to get them is to rip the audio from the Blu-ray.


@Neil – any recommended way of doing this (on a Mac).
A quick Google threw up many different methods that all seem incredibly complex :-(


I bought a cheap external Blu-ray player and used DVD Audio Extractor to rip the audio and i found a program to take the copy protection from the disc but after a while it stopped working. I have tried for ages to get something else that will do this but to no avail.

Ade Swatridge

If you only want to listen at 128kbps horribly compressed on mp3 I would stick to your original album. You won’t hear the benefit. Listen on blu ray and it’s a whole new world.


The price at Amazon.com (USA) is not $20.51, but $26.99 and will (hopefully) be released on October 21, 2016.

John S Dornan

I preordered from Amazon and mine just arrived today, Delivered by USPS on Sunday. Listening right now!

Ken Cheshire

I got my confirmation email this morning that it’s on the way. I can’t hardly wait.

Question: is the CD the original stereo mix, or the new stereo mix?


It has been said many time but I will say it again. This is the gold standard for a super deluxe edition. All meat and potatoes with the highest sound quality. No vinyl, no marbles, and no ridiculous price. Almost every SDE (and artist for that matter) is shamed by Andy’s devotion to his fans.

[…] XTC / Skylarking 30th anniversary definitive CD+blu-ray edition […]

Eoghan Dalton

These must be among the best reissues ever. I wonder if they’ll continue right the way back in the catalogue? English settlement, surely its in the works. I’m looking forward to Mummer/Big Express just as much.

Not Available

The Big Express is a horribly neglected, wonderful album.

John S Dornan

I agree wholeheartedly! ‘Cause Train’s Running Low On Soul Coal!!

Andy J

It’s also for sale for £15.99 (with an exclusive not-signed-by-Dave-Gregory [they’re all gone] postcard) direct from Burning Shed / ApeHouse – (£18.49 inc postage).

Julian H

“This new edition eschews the pubes (not a phrase I’ll write too often)”



Hope the blu ray works on this edition which it did not for me and others on oranges and lemons. Despite being told to upgrade firmware still have a blu ray that does not play and am told it’s not a disk fault so no refund it’s and Manufacturing issue which would be fixed. Which as far as I know never has. I don’t think my case was a one off using Sony equipment. Other xtc blu ray play fine just not this one. Anyway let’s see.


This is what the “Ape Store”-site says about your issue with the “Oranges And Lemons” blu-ray:

Unfortunately the Sony engineers have been unable to resolve the firmware issue with this particular bluray disc. Only PS3 and one or two other players from the same generation are affected. PS4 is not affected and plays the disc perfectly.


I hope against hope that English Settlement is next. One of the greatest albums ever.


Agree wholeheartedly (but I think the multitrack tapes for ES are still missing unfortunately).


Does anyone know the tracklisting for this?

The complete alternate album in demo form (as per Todd Rundgren’s original suggested running order).


Who`s responsible for the pricing at Amazon Germany, £127 for a CD/Bluray? It seems they have been, er, told off by their bosses after cocking up with the Graham Parker*** box set pricing.

***I had Amazon Germany phone me and complained about the cancelling of my order. The nice lady to whom I spoke knocked a substantial amount off the box set and reordered it for me.


XTC/Andy Partridge dosen` let us down, do/does they/he?

The series of XTC CD/Bluray reissues has been outstanding, probably the `flagship of reissues`.
I won`t know which version of `Skylarking` to play, the original, `corrected polarity`, the superb vinyl box set or this CD/Bluray.

Very soon I will have to cut back drastically on my music purchasing but XTC along with The Beatles and Dylan will be the artist(s) I will make an effort to buy any reissues they may put out.

Phil G.

Been looking forward to this one – next Friday can’t arrive quick enough…!

Has there been any word as to what the next definitive XTC release might be?

Paul Kent

Steven Wilson says on his Remixes FB page that multi-tracks for the next album have already been found but doesn’t go as far as telling us which album it is (tease!).