Donald Fagen:
Nightfly Trilogy

The box

This is just a quick page on Donald Fagen's Nightfly Trilogy box set for those interested in seeing what it looks like.
When i ordered my copy early 2007 I was really eager to get more info on what these "MVI discs" contained and what the whole box set looked like. I had to wait until late november when my copy arrived. That's just a couple of days ago.
(These pics where taken using my phone, but I think they're good enough to give you a general feel of the box set.)

The smudged autograph
The smudged autograph...

Sticking to a sticker
And here's where it rubbed off: The sticker on the other slipcase!

I was lucky enough to be one of the fans who managed to order one of the 100 signed copies that was sold through the store at donaldfagen.com. So the box contained the box set plus a spare signed slipcase. Just as others have reported the autograph is slightly smudged. The ink has rubbed off on the sticker.

The MVI discs are in reality just DVD:s with sound, pics, text and video. They won't play in a regular CD player, so that's why they added the albums and extra tracks as separate CD:s as well. All in all it's three MVI:s and four CD:s in the box.

4 + 3 equals a box set

The MVI and CD versions of The Nightfly, Kamakiriad and Morph The Cat share a standard plastic case each, while the extras CD gets a case all to itself.

Seven discs in four cases

The Nightfly has a blue colour scheme, Kamakiriad a red and Morph The Cat a green one.

Nighfly MVI
No booklet. Just a sinlge sheet of paper stating what you need to play the MVI.

Nightfly blue and blank insert
Flip the record over and you see that the inserts are ... "basic" ;-)

Kamakiriad goes red

Green Morph

And here's a better view of the two-pack with the MVI on one side and the CD on the other:

One MVI and one CD share a case.

The back covers look like the originals with the bonus info added:

Kamakiriad back cover

The back of the cat.

So the bonus stuff (audio, video, pics and text) is added to each of the MVI:s, but in addidtion the 10 bonus audio tracks have been collected on a fourth CD. And here's what it looks like:

Extras front

Extras inside

Extras back

So that's it. All the liner notes and commentary is viewable only by loading one of the MVI:s. And if you register the discs you can get online updates.
Updates? Yes. On the official MVI homepage the FAQ states

At least three "connected events" will be made available at minimum to registered owners of an MVI release. These events will include the ability to download bonus songs or video and may also include access to album updates, artist posting and special offers. Some artists may offer more than three connected events if they choose.

It will be interesting to see what these "connected events" will be. I registered and the ringtone application was activated. Not that I intend to use it. It has a couple of drawbacks:

a - There's just one pre-picked track per album you can crate you ringtone from.
b - You have to pay for the finished ringtone.
c - It will only work in the USA.

I'm not sure if the ringtone applicaton is counted as one of these "connected events". We'll see.
One bonus video that was mentioned in the early stages of the box set was the Making of Kamakiriad video. It isn't on the box set, so maybe that will be another donload bonus down the line?

OK. That's what it looks like, but how does it sound?

My answer is that it sounds fine. I don't have a 5.1 setup, so I can't comment on the MVI:s, but the new CD versions sound great. I had a West German pressing of Kamakiriad from when the album was originally released, and was especially interested in what had happened to it on this box set.

In an article Donald was quoted that one reason to do a box set was to get a chance to remix Kamakiriad. Well, nowhere on box set have I found the word remixed, but from the first bars of the opening track it sounds warmer. Trans-Island Skyway grooves!

The Nightfly? Same thing. I had a copy of an original European pressing and this box set version sounds better in my ears. Opened up an crisp.

I haven't listened to Morph The Cat yet, but as the original album is just a couple of years old I expect the difference between the original pressing and this box set version to be minimal.

And while I already have all the extra tracks on the extras CD with the exception of Rhymes, Hank's Pad and Viva Viva Rock N Roll, those collected b-sides from CD-singles and whatever sound better here.

For the audiophiles reading I'll throw in what's written on the slipcase:
Albums in Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 Surround Sound - The Nightfly album & bonus material in Advanced Resolution PCM stereo (48kHz/24-bit); Kamakiriad and Morph The Cat albums & bonus materials in Advanced Resolution PCM Stereo (96kHz/24-bit).

Finally: If you like me have bought the box set; what do you think of it? Comments welcome to radiodupreeATyahooDOTse.

- N.S., December 2007 -

Links:

Donald Fagen's official homepage: donaldfagen.com
Short Reuter interview: Just a minute with Donald Fagen
Warner Brothers Donald Fagen MVI page: http://www.mvimusic.com/donaldfagen/

Radio Dupree blog
Radio Dupree homepage
Radio Dupree radio on live365.com