David Bowie Box-set

Brilliant Adventures, the forthcoming David Bowie ‘era’ box set which covers most of the 1990s, is scheduled to be released November 26th, and will be an 11CD box set and a whopping 18LP vinyl set!

The boxes will include newly remastered versions of Black Tie White Noise (1993), The Buddha of Suburbia (1993), Outside (1995), Earthling (1997) and Hours (1999). It will also include David Bowie’s unreleased album Toy (which is also gets a stand alone release separately as a three-CD or vinyl box in January of 2022).

You will be forgiven if you are unaware of Toy.  It was recorded in 2000 following David’s Glastonbury 2000 performance. Bowie entered the studio with his band (at the time Mark Plati, Sterling Campbell, Gail Ann Dorsey, Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Holly Palmer and Emm Gryner) to record new interpretations of songs he’d first recorded from 1964-1971. For reasons unknown, it was never released.

True to form with previous Bowie 'era' box sets, Brilliant Adventure includes the exclusive Re:Call 5 – 39 tracks of non-album / alternative version / b-sides and soundtrack songs – and the complete BBC Radio Theatre show from 27 June 2000. An edited version of the latter was previously a bonus CD with the Bowie at the Beeb release of September 2000 (the new one has five more tracks) but it has never been issued on vinyl. Toy isn’t actually exclusive, because of the separate box set (keep reading for more on this).

For the vinyl box set of Brilliant Adventure, all the studio albums are 2LP sets, except Hours which is a single vinyl record. Earthling only has music pressed on three sides, however and likewise Toy is also a 3-sided 2LP set. Both have an etched side four. The BBC Radio Theatre show requires three vinyl records and Re:Call 5 goes one further and is a 4LP set. Hence the vinyl box is a massive 18LPs.

The CD contains a 124-page book and the vinyl set an 84-page book featuring “rarely seen and previously unpublished photos” by photographers including Frank W. Ockenfels 3, Nick Knight, John Scarisbrick and Nina Schultz Terner, as well as memorabilia, technical notes about the albums from producers/engineers Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati. Perhaps surprisingly, given his interview with SDE, there’s also a new interview with Buddha of Suburbia collaborator Erdal Kizilcay.

In Toy:Box, as it’s called, (very cute, no?) are three CDs. The first is the album as featured in Brilliant Adventure and the second CD is a bonus disc of alternative mixes, including proposed B-Sides (versions of David’s debut single ‘Liza Jane’ and 1967’s ‘In The Heat Of The Morning’), later mixes by Tony Visconti and the ‘Tibet Version’ of ‘Silly Boy Blue’ (recorded at The Looking Glass Studio time at the of the 2001 Tibet House show in New York featuring Philip Glass on piano and Moby on guitar).

The third CD features ‘Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric’ versions of all 13 Toy tracks. Mark Plati and Earl Slick had apparently messed around a bit at the original sessions and overdubbed acoustic guitar to some of the tracks. Bowie heard this and quite liked the idea of doing stripped down, acoustic versions. Given that that album proper wasn’t even released, it probably comes as no surprise to find that this idea wasn’t realized either but Plati has seen this through and finished this process for the Toy:Box.  A 6 x 10-inch single vinyl box set vinyl edition is to be made available, too.

Brilliant Adventures [1992-2001] is currently scheduled for November 26, 2021 (both vinyl and CD boxes). Toy:Box is scheduled for january 7th, 2022.