This month I finally swallowed the lure, and added Led Zeppelin's ZOSO to my amazon cart. The packaging is indeed a faithful miniaturization of the original half-acre of cardboard released in '71 (curious how shrinking it down to a scant few inches also reduces the vague sense of menace that attended the once-notorious album).
|"The power of the commodity fetish," indeed.|
As for the sound-files, here are the visuals of “Rock And Roll” as it exists in three different releases.
This is from the original boxed set, released in 1990. The remastering for this release was, ostensibly, a painstaking labour of love that Jimmy Page spent years fussing over (click for close-up):
This next is from 2007's Mothership. It is huge, and heavily compressed. The lows and highs are brought forward, while the mid-range sits somewhat to the rear — essentially, the sound that people have come to expect from their earbuds (Page, predictably enough, is rather reticent about the quality):
And this last is from a Japanese import, released in 2008:
How does it sound? I have to admit it is the best of them all. When he tweaked the knobs for the original CD release, Page embraced the newly-discovered high end a bit too readily — which the Japanese remastering corrects, without swinging to the other (American?) extreme of super-boosting the lows.
Is it worth the money? It depends. In this case, the item was only $20 (it seems to have climbed in price since then), an amount I have no qualms paying. $108 for Billion Dollar Babies, on the other hand, would be more difficult to justify — even if the sound quality of the American CD is so astonishingly shoddy it makes its $5 price-tag look like highway robbery.