It’s been more than four decades since Peter Schilling landed a #1 hit on the German charts with "Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst)" - the song remained on top of the charts for eight weeks. 

The single, together with his debut album Error In The System (1982), marked the beginning of an unprecedented musical career for the artist originating from Stuttgart, Germany - a global success story spanning from Europe to the US, where his English version of "Major Tom (Coming Home)" reached #14 on the billboard charts. The album and single also reached #1 on the Canadian charts and were certified with several awards.

In the ensuing years, Schilling has remained active as a composer, lyricist, performer, arranger and producer.  He still very much has his finger on the pulse of the times, as this collection’s new songs impressively prove. 

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of his breakthrough release, Schilling and Warner Music issued a new extended and remastered greatest hits collection spanning four decades of Peter Schilling.  Now, the celebration continues with an immersive release featuring nine tracks personally selected by Schilling himself. The Dolby Atmos versions were produced by Peter Schilling, mixed by Tom Ammermann and mastered by Michael Romanowski.

Immersive music fans may be already familiar with Romanowski, given his work on a number of recent Dolby Atmos titles including Alicia Keys' Alicia (2020), Mr. Big's Lean Into It (1991), and Lyle Lovett's 12th Of June (2021).

"It was a revelation for me as a creative, to suddenly have my music opened up like this. In stereo productions, you have a limited surface to work with, so to speak. In an immersive production, every instrument and every musical layer can be spread out as you wish. This way, you’re able to give each song a much more intense dramaturgy as each instrument has its own space to unfold”

“Additionally, this listening experience fortunately no longer requires having to install a large system in your living room. You can get this immersive experience anywhere with the help of headphones. I, for one, am completely enamored with this new way of producing.”

Peter Schilling, 2023

I’m glad to report that these Dolby Atmos mixes make full use of the 7.1.4 medium, with distinct instrumentation appearing beside, behind, and above the listener’s head.

“Major Tom” kicks off with dancing all around the listening space while drums & bass take up residence across the front three speakers. Schilling’s whispered backing vocals appear largely from the front height speakers, with harmonies popping up from behind. Lead vocals interestingly appear largely from the top speakers during the chorus.

Percussion pops up in the heights for the intro to “Starting With Myself,” along with harmony vocals and ‘you-are-there’ ambience. Lead vocals are largely confined to the center speaker this time around, with the rhythm section again thundering in from upfront.

Synthesizers alternate between the rears & rear heights throughout “Into Your DNA,” while backing vocals again soar from above. “Terra Titanic” is definitely a highlight of the immersive presentation, with the wave-like synths swirling all around and metallic percussion banging in the front height speakers.

“World Hold On” is another highlight, again moving the keyboards all around the listening space and spreading the layered vocals up into the top speakers. During the chorus, a sequencer rapidly swirls around the heights to great effect.

Immersive streaming is certainly a great way to audition the Atmos mix prior to purchase, but the Dolby TrueHD/Atmos MKV files from IAA’s shop provide an infinitely more rewarding experience for audiophiles. With lossless Dolby TrueHD, the detail and clarity heard in the studio is much better preserved. Overall, fans of new wave music and immersive audio won’t want to miss this release!

Purchase 40 Years Of Major Tom - New Adventures in the IAA Shop!

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About the Author
Jonathan is an audio engineering enthusiast from New York with a passion for immersive audio, having amassed a formidable collection of multichannel optical discs and quadraphonic vinyl. He earned his undergraduate degree in Television-Radio from Ithaca College and is currently enrolled in a Master’s Program in Audio Technology.