The Disc Kiosk

Vangelis Collector

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Soil Festivities

A couple of months ago, as I was digging through ebay, I came across three listings that raised some questions for me.  So I decided, being the dedicated collector that I am, that I should do a little research and see if I was seeing something that was legitimate.

I was skeptical.  Here was this seller, called The Disc Kiosk, advertising on ebay that they were selling three Vangelis CDs that are no longer in print in the UK: Soil Festivities, Mask and Invisible Connections.  Not only that, but they claimed to be affiliated with Universal, the industry giant that currently holds the rights to Vangelis' Polydor output.  And to top it all off, they were promoting a new method of delivery of the CD: manufactured ON DEMAND from a high-quality CD burner for the CD via some unique "CD Server" software, and a high-quality printer for the artwork.

Bah, I said.  This sounds like another dealer who is not affiliated with anything legitimate, who is burning off Vangelis CDs from a home computer and selling them on ebay, like so much stuff I see on ebay (do people really think all of those Blade Runner CDs on ebay are legitimately released by a record company?).

Soil Festivities CD


So I got in touch with The Disc Kiosk.  And guess what? I was wrong! This is a very legitimate operation, working under the direction of Universal and the Universal Music Archive Collection.  Universal is very interested in using the latest digital manufacturing technology, as well as finding a simpler method of making its rich back-catalog available.  To go forward with this effort, a partnership was formed with The Disc Kiosk, who have the technology, the manufacturing capability and the desire to make available many titles that have been previously discontinued by Universal.  This is indeed no small operation.  Established in 1999, they now have over 1000 Universal titles in their catalog that can be printed upon demand.  The process is called CD On Demand.

They have approached sales a couple of ways.  In the UK, they have set up shop at two big retail sites, MVC and Woolworths, both in their physical locations and their on-line stores.  The Disc Kiosk has also set up a store on ebay, where people can buy from them directly.

An Overview of CD On Demand

CD On Demand (CDO) uses the very latest digital technology and software to manufacture CDs to order. This technology enables large and small record companies to re-release albums that have been deleted from their catalogues or to delete albums that are no longer commercially viable with slow yearly sales. As a result, albums once thought to be lost to the archives are available to be purchased again and albums once consigned to the deleted list are not. A CD On Demand album is an exact copies of the music from the original recordings and can have the same cover artwork, all produced to the highest standards available for On Demand CD production.

Features of CD On Demand

CD on Demand is an officially manufactured product; it has passed all the quality checks of the record companies for audio content and artwork reproduction. The music is digitised and manufactured to the CD without audio compression, i.e. "Red Book"; standard. The CD's physical specifications, tracks, and sampling are as per the original masters. This ensures the listener is hearing the music in its full recording quality.

The processes used for the manufacture of CD On Demand takes CDR technology to a new dimension. The CDs are an audio-optimised CDR media with a true silver coloured surface.

What about the Vangelis CDS???

Okay, so I have in possession the three CDs that interest Vangelis fans and collectors.  For comparison, I am using my West German CD pressings of each title.  So let's talk about the artwork first.

For each of the three titles, the front artwork is practically identical (Invisible Connections has the old catalog number removed, Mask has the Polydor logo and catalog number removed).  The artwork inside the booklets do not exist on these new UK editions (not that the old West German CD editions had much to begin with).  The back covers are completely different.  Above is the back cover of the Invisible Connections CD.  As with this new UK edition, the back covers for each of the three CDs has track listing details and descriptions of each album.  They have all been assigned new catalog numbers.  The CDs themselves are fully silver and certainly do not look like dodgy CDRs

As for the sound quality.  First, I want to indicate that there is no claim that these are remastered CDs.  Having said that, I did side-by-side comparisons of the three CDs with the old West German editions (all bought in the late 80s).  I have to suggest that the folks at The Disc Kiosk appear to have better-sounding masters to work from than the manufacturing plant that pressed the old Polydor CDs in Germany.  Now, I do not pretend to be a sound expert by any means.  These are just humble opinions from your basic music lover.  To me, these recordings sound crisper and more dynamic than the West German issues I have.

So I was ultimately impressed that these are legitimate, top-quality CDs!  I imagine that most people will be initially interested in Invisible Connections, which is difficult to find in ANY country throughout the world!  Here are some links for you if you are interested in ordering any of these titles.  I recommended these to collectors and music fans alike.

The Disc Kiosk: (search their CD Music Archive!) and their ebay store (just search for Vangelis there!)

(Many thanks to Philip Arrowsmith for his invaluable help!)

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