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Marvin Gaye - Forever Yours Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 November 1997
Forever Yours (5.1)
DTS Entertainment, 1998

Image‘Forever Yours’ is one of the first 5.1 20-bit audio CDs released by DTS Entertainment to highlight the musical possibilities in 5.1. The project posed unique challenges because, for the first time since quadraphonic sound was introduced in the 1970s, music producers and engineers had the tools to be able to mix sound in the rear channels. With DTS 5.1 music, the mix was designed for six digitally discrete channels (left, right, center, two rears and subwoofer). On top of that, the fact that the CD outputs 20-bit resolution, which is digitally far closer to the original master tapes, gives you a very exciting new take on some old favorites.

The music on ‘Forever Yours’ is pure Motown platinum. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 55 - you’ve heard these tunes over and over. What’s new is the arrangement of these legendary songs on ‘Forever Yours.’ With full 360-degree surround sound, Producer Bob Margouleff (Stevie Wonder, Oingo Boingo, Devo) and mixing engineer Brant S. Biles have been given the freedom and responsibility to spread the sound out to create an all-encompassing musical event without making these well-known tunes sound gimmicky. A good example is "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," with the bongos and strings mixed into the rear speakers. The backup vocals are mixed to the rear but don’t always stay there. In the first chorus, many of the backup singers move to being layered in the front three channels.

In discussions of DTS 5.1 CDs, 20- or now in some cases 24-bit resolution is often downplayed. On the first track on ‘Forever Yours,’ "What’s Going On," you’ll hear new space and depth to a very familiar tune. Part of the effect is being able to spread the original two-channel mix out over five speakers. The other element is increased resolution and decreased compression. The first few times I heard the track, I couldn’t put my finger on the nature of the changes I was hearing, but upon many listens, I realized that the increased openness of this version of "What’s Going On" is what lured me in and got me hooked.

The highlight of the record and the absolute best song to play for a date who doesn’t understand why you have "all of these speakers" in your living room is "Let’s Get It On." Be sure to dim the lights, crank the volume and let it fly. You’ll hear this tune come to life with smooth vocal harmonies spread far wider than I remember hearing on the oldies station on the radio. You can hear vibes on the track I never could on the two-channel 16-bit CD. This is likely the result of the clean mix and high bit resolution on ‘Forever Yours.’ If all goes well, you may not be paying that much attention to the rest of the record.

If you do stay tuned for the rest of ‘Forever Yours,’ you are in for more solid gold hits. "It Takes Two," "Ain’t That Peculiar," "Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing." "Mercy Mercy Me (the ecology)" and "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" sound refreshed and are packed with new sonic goodies.

For traditionalists, ‘Forever Yours’ may challenge the way you remember these historic songs. I won’t tell you that you are wrong, either. ‘Forever Yours’ takes beloved art and tries to improve on it with modern technology. For me, the results are well worth the risk – ‘Forever Yours’ is a reference disc for anyone with a 5.1 playback system.

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