XTC / Skylarking and English Settlement heavyweight 2LP deluxe vinyl packages


Andy Partridge is preparing deluxe double vinyl packages of two XTC albums: the corrected polarity edition of 1986’s Skylarking and English Settlement (1982)

Both albums are pressed on very heavyweight 200g vinyl with the Todd Rundgren produced Skylarking being presented as a 45RPM pressing and English Settlement 33RPM.

ES VINYL packshot

These sets looks sumptuous and include 16-page large format booklets with notes from band members, lyric sheets, and outer slipcases. Skylarking comes with both album sleeves – as released, and the original proposed design.

English Settlement is noted as being a “2016 cut from original half-inch master sources” (engineer John Dent has cut new lacquers for this heavyweight vinyl edition), while Skylarking is “cut from corrected polarity master”. Both packages also come with CDs mastered from the the same sources.

These are released on 15 July 2016, and are available initially from Burning Shed, which is the official store for APE, the label which Andy Partridge reissues his music.

Pre-order Skylarking and English Settlement 2LP vinyl sets here.


English Settlement 2LP vinyl

Side 1:

1. Runaways (4:34)
2. Ball and Chain (4:32)
3. Senses Working Overtime (4:50)
4. Jason and the Argonauts (6:07)

Side 2:

1. No Thugs in Our House (5:09)
2. Yacht Dance (3:56)
3. All of a Sudden (It’s Too Late) (5:21)

Side 3

1. Melt the Guns (6:34)
2. Leisure (5:02)
3. It’s Nearly Africa (3:55)
4. Knuckle Down (4:28)

Side 4:

1. Fly on the Wall (3:19)
2. Down in the Cockpit (5:27)
3. English Roundabout (3:59)
4. Snowman (5.03)

Skylarking 2LP vinyl

A1 Summer’s Cauldron
A2 Grass
A3 The Meeting Place
A4 That’s Really Super Supergirl

B1 Ballet For A Rainy Day
B2 1000 Umbrellas
B3 Season Cycle

C1 Earn Enough For Us
C2 Big Day
C3 Another Satellite
C4 Mermaid Smiled

D1 The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
D2 Dear God
D3 Dying
D4 Sacrificial Bonfire

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Tino Stabile

I have decided that it is time to discover a classic that has been under my radar but always loved.
I loved their singles like Making Plans for Nigel, Senses Working Overtime, Dear God, Mayor of Simpleton, the Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead but I know that this is not even scratching the surface. I happen to own the Apple Venus box set and whenever I put it on I enjoy it immensely.
After sifting through the incredible reviews on line of Skylarking… comparing it to Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers well it is high time I unpeel my ears and my wallet. I have decided to order the vinyl/Cd box set. Cannot wait. I took an aural peek on You tube and said.. O.K. I will wait until I hold the album in my lap and discover. This is what it is all about discovering music… and when reissues appear it is a way or reminding us of taking notice.

Thank you Paul and Super Deluxe Edition for your incredible work


Music aficionado and admirer of the physical media of classic rock box sets especially

Tino Stabile

Steve F

Both corrected-polarity Skylarking and 2016 remaster English Settlement CDs are on Burning Shed for only £7.50 each. No bonus vinyl included.

Paul Kent

For anyone interested, John Dent’s 2016 original master edition of English Settlement is getting a CD release on July 22nd.


@Paul Kent – Yes, very much so. Do you have any more info – is it the full deluxe treatment or just the standard album only?


Will these 2 releases be followed by the same for Oranges & Lemons and Nonsuch?


I was straight in for these even at 45 quids each. I went to the Ape site, all OK until I got to the checkout. 16 quids for shipping in the UK, sorry I`m all for buying direct from the artist but when another seller (Spin) is offering free shipping, it`s a no brainer. Sorry Andy but I have purchased lots direct from Ape.

Right to some positive stuff. Only 3 bands/artists get this old git excited over new/remastered/old stuff and they are in no particular order; XTC, Big Big Train & The Beatles. Andy I commend you along with Stephen Wilson, you truly care about your creations and how they are presented. These box sets may be expensive but the value for money of the CD/Bluray editions, not to mention, but I will, the quality of the content is to be commended.

Andy the altruism you show for your fans is also to be commended, thank you.


Spin are Cowboys, I was wrong, I have ordered from Ape.


Andy Partridge has confirmed 42 tracks for the forthcoming Skylarking Blu-Ray but no info yet on English Settlement


Unbelievable! Simply incredible! “English Settlement” will have a special treatment, life-size? And “Skylarking” too? Pinch me! I dream … WOW! I could not wait any longer. Who do I thank? Andy, Steven, or God?

Pat Neligan

Skylarking was released in this format several years ago – and sold out almost immediately. Although I have both of the original pressings of these albums plus the CDs (and will buy the blu-rays) – the polarity corrected version of Skylarking has been top of my wish list on Discogs for 5 years – not a single copy offered: eBay? Nada. Whomever purchased this record last time around has not been parting with it! So, is it worth €75 including packaging – I don’t know but I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw this post.
A fantastic album.


@Pat – as one of the purchasers of the polarity corrected version I have to say it is a lovely package. I can certainly understand why no-one is parting with it. Would love to know how many editions were made.
I still have my original copy but the newer version does sound better (I’ve played the two copies back to back on my turntable and there is a difference).
Had to buy the latest edition of Skylarking (and ES) as it looks like it will be even nicer packaging -wise.


I’ve been waiting for a deluxe and/or remastered CD of both these albums – is it confirmed they are going to be issued?


Bought the ES US single-LP; put on side 2 and heard gospel. Thought, Oh they’re doing a parody, but every song was gospel. A miss-pressing. Returned it and got the UK double, which I still have. Wish I’d kept the mistake, just for grins.
Like Trash’s idea. Where can one find the alternative versions he mentions?

Paul Kent

@Jon – the Langer/Winstanley versions can be found on the “Coat Of Many Cupboards” 4-CD box set, along with more exclusive unreleased tracks.


Mr Wilson has said on more than one occasion that upmix software is sometimes used to create faux surround mixes, so that’s perhaps what he will use on English Settlement when the time comes.

I should never have got rid of my 1981 vinyl copy of E.S. but I’m sure these new editions sound great but too dear for me (certainly as I’ve just bought the 2014 limited edition of Wendy Carlos’ ‘Tron’ on snazzy blue vinyl – only cost me £17, Andy Partridge take note )


Indeed, Steven Wilson has already created 5.1 upmixes for both Steve Hackett and TfF using such software (called Penteo, IIRC).

As for the cost of the vinyl sets, I assume they are priced according to the current going rate for typical deluxe boxed vinyl sets. In that light £45 per album doesn’t seem astronomical, although it would have been good to see some sort of discount applied if you were to buy both titles (as with the recent Peter Gabriel sets).

Would be good to know if these are exclusive to Burning Shed or if they will turn up on Amazon – if they do, that should save a few quid at least.

Hi-res dowlnoads would have been appreciated as well (although I can imagine they might have been concerned about such a move cannibalising the sales of any subsequent CD/Blu-ray package).

Alan Jones

XTC have provided me with much pleasure over the past 40 odd years. No hesitation in purchasing the second I saw AP’s tweet on Wednesday. Maybe a bit pricey but these days you can easily spend £45 on a night out with the lads. They remain one of Britain’s most underrated bands and in Partridge and Moulding a couple of the cleverest songsmiths around.

Donovan Whittemore

Beautiful news! I can hardly wait to get my hands on these, thank you Andy Partridge. What fun it will be if the whole catalog gets this exquisite treatment…

Mark Miller

From the Ape House website: “While looking for the (still ‘lost in the archives’) multi-track tapes to enable Steven Wilson to undertake new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes of the album, the original half-inch master tapes were discovered and used as source masters from which engineer John Dent cut new lacquers for this heavyweight vinyl edition. “


I thought that the English Settlement tapes were no longer in existence, does anyone know the source for the new English Settlement vinyl? Will there be a blu-ray of it?


I think it is the multitrack tapes which cannot be located. This means that there is no chance of a remix (e.g. 5.1 surround sound etc).
However, ES has been recut from the master tapes i.e. same as original mix but potentially better quality than some previous CDs/Vinyl. I will be interested to see how this reissue compares to my original pressing and to my Japanese mini-sleeve edition.

Potentially a (super) deluxe edition of ES could still be created featuring:
– remastered album
– b-sides
– alternative takes (I think Clive Langer/Alan Winstanley were originally going to produce the album but only got as far as a couple of songs before it was decided it wasn’t working – the alternative versions of ‘Ball and Chain’ and ‘Punch and Judy’ are real gems)
– demos
– Any video footage that exists

Admittedly the above items have all featured across various releases so far but it would be nice to have them all curated and remastered properly.

Incidentally, live material has not really been a feature of the XTC deluxers so far (which I think is a good thing).

martin farnworth

Lovely stuff. What i really want though is the Dukes Of Stratosphear box available again at a non inflated price!

Michael Grivich

Reversed polarity mixes…my ears must be bad. I have the reissues and still strain to hear a difference!


Crikey, Paul, have you no sympathy for my wallet?


Gary, you can very easily and cheaply buy the reversed polarity cd of skylarking on it’s own, check importcds for a good price. There are no bonus tracks, so this is really just for vinyl fans and not really an ill conceived combo package.

If I didn’t already have the reversed polarity vinyl issue from a few years ago I’d be all over this as the vinyl sounds amazing, much better than any cd. This packaging looks even better so I’m a bit jealous now!

For English Settlement, I’m still very happy with my original 1st press UK copy, not sure they’ll be able to better that anyway, but I must say the packaging has got me interested in buying another copy!


Another ill-conceived vinyl/CD combo with an inflated price tag.

If people like vinyl that’s fine and they must do judging by the ongoing avalanche of releases recently but why should that format and it’s inherent price tag be foisted upon those of us who prefer other formats and have the stuff imposed upon us when looking at certain new releases and box sets?

I am currently passing on many sets I would like which contain the formats I want because vinyl is currently included as the first consideration apparently and I refuse to pay for it.

Please keep the formats separate.


@Gary –
I don’t think the point of these is the CDs. They are just an included bonus.
These are specifically ‘Vinyl reissues’ (hence no bonus content – the CDs are the same as the vinyl).

I believe Andy does not have the rights to digital formats hence no download codes.

Paul Kent

@Gary – You’re preaching to the converted here, brother, but I don’t believe that applies here. The CD of “Skylarking” with the corrected polarity is already available separately. Furthermore, AP is in the midst of a peerless XTC reissue campaign, releasing what have described as virtual box sets, with a new CD master and accompanying blu ray stuffed to the gills with copious extras for each album, all under 15 quid! In fact. “Skylarking” is next in line for that deluxe treatment. As trash points out, CDs are probably included as the licensing agreement AP has with Virgin does not allow these recordings to be issued digitally. There are a host of vinyl/CD combos that fleece the punter, undoubtedly, but these ain’t them.


I love how the CDs have been presented here, integrated with some of the original artwork – as others have said, typical of Partridge’s care and attention to detail. If only others took such care over how their music is presented.


English Settlement is may favourite album of all time. A masterclass in songwriting, arranging and production, so how could I resist…

Partridge does take great care of packaging and design it must be said.

Paul, any chance of any interview with the man himself – it would be great to hear his thoughts on the albums and, in particular, these updated editions.

Ben in Colorado

Check that. It would actually be $152 with shipping for both to the US. Argh!

Paul Kent

Andy Partridge is continuing to show how reissues should be done, not only in regard to content but also in how they are presented. I’ll echo what others have said about these being stunningly beautiful. However, not being in Team Vinyl, I won’t be purchasing them. Partridge has a hand in the design of APE product and the care shown is obvious. His Fuzzy Warbles collection and the Dukes reissues from a few years back both look stunning. I also own his (very) limited “Powers” album which came in packaging designed to mimic the old Astounding Stories and pulp sci-fi paperbacks of the ’50s and ’60s. The man certainly has an eye for the finer details. Now I’ll just kick back and wait for the imminent “Skylarking” CD/blu ray :)

Ben in Colorado

XTC have been my guys since 1980, but at $65 each, and after having bought these in various releases over the years, I just can’t justify them. They are beautiful though!

Charles K.

Man, been waiting for these for s long time. That price is just too much though. All I want is the album on vinyl, everything else is nice but completely unnecessary.


Those look a lot like CDs on those pack shots. So it’s vinyl and CD?


Yes, it’s 2 x LP and a CD


I am not a fan of these 45RPM vinyls. At about 12 to 13 minutes per side here its not too short a play time to enjoy playback. The inclusion of the CD is really nice touch. Would have been great to include a 24bit 96kHz flac/wave lossless download, but that is a whole different product stream. Hey we all hope to have that icecream pooping unicorn.


The original UK pressing of Skylarking was a thing of beauty, with its embossed sleeve and spot varnish on the gold. I wonder if they’ll do the same for this reissue.

I still think the ‘original proposed design’ artwork is among the worst album art in history!


I have excess saliva exiting my mouth looking at these, a thing of beauty indeed

eric slangen

45 UK pounds each without shipping is a bit steep. I will wait.


This is the 2nd pressing of the polarity corrected Skylarking on 45 RPM 2LP. I have the first pressing which sounds magnificent.

Steven Wilson and Andy Partridge have both confirmed that a 5.1 Blu-ray will be out in the fall including some previously unheard material.


I would love these, but at over $100 each to get to Australia, and hope they’re in one piece?…. Sorry but no. Will wait for the ‘Skylarking’ Blu-ray.


These look things of beauty.