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Muse release ‘Origin of Symmetry: XX Anniversary RemiXX’

At the dawn of the new century, Muse shared their second studio album with the world. Its experimental nature and far reaching themes earned Origin of Symmetry a chorus of critical acclaim. A spot at Number 3 in the UK album charts followed, with the album going on to be certified platinum. Fast forward to the present day, the cosmic trio have released a remix in celebration of the record’s 20th anniversary. Artist Sujin Kim gives new life to the album’s artwork, reimagining it to look like a Martian landscape.

Musically, the remastered edition of Origin of Symmetry contains no new recordings. Instead, it brings forward elements that were muted in the original mix. Muse stated that they wanted to go for a more open, dynamic and less crushed sound, and worked with longtime producer Rick Costey to realise their vision. Many of the changes on the remix are very subtle, just enough to allow the listener to experience the album through a new aural lens. A wise decision, given the album was pretty flawless to begin with.

If the first minute of New Born is glass, it's shattered into a million fragments with the entrance of the guitar, which is rather jarring compared to the original mix. Bliss is reworked to make the intro sound more ethereal. Space Dementia is improved, with Matt Bellamy’s piano becoming more prominent, complemented with strings that come to light in the second chorus. The scathing Hyper Music displays a guitar that seems considerably louder, but no change to Plug in Baby is warranted. Citizen Erased’s guitar melody is a lot more pronounced towards the end, with less sporadic left to right audio panning which makes for easier listening, despite the track’s melancholy. Again, strings are uncovered which were originally recorded at London’s Abbey Road studios.

Micro Cuts sees the addition of a harpsichord, which eerily merges with Matt’s falsetto. This is one of the tracks where Muse felt they were able to make a massive breakthrough in terms of improving the track from the original version. Screenager remains unchanged, as does Darkshines. Feeling Good, however, is stripped of its distortion and has additional reverb and strings, tying everything together. Cited as a precursor to Absolution’s Hysteria, Futurism takes its rightful place as an album track, after it was originally condemned as a B-side. Where most tracks are mixed to have more vocal clarity, this one is cloaked in more effects. Megalomania sounds like the soundtrack to a movie, where Matt, adopting a more sinister vocal style, plays the antagonist. The audio effects are more subtle, bringing the strings to the forefront of the mix.

Origin of Symmetry showcases the band at their most experimental. Muse have achieved their objective of more clarity, creating a higher fidelity, vibrant and symphonic soundscape to an album which already has no lack of drama.


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