OK, so I've hinted that this is my preferred version of 'Planet'. It was released as a 7" single only 6 months after 'Anywhere' and 6 months before 'Warp' appeared. Hence I've always viewed it as a transitional track, certainly the melodic infection and lushness which characterised 'Anywhere' can be found on this version of 'Planet' far more than the version which appeared on the album. To me it sounds more balanced and simply a more enjoyable experience than the more stripped down mix employed on the album, those delicious synth pads which permeate the track really do keep the mix flowing.
When I finally got my CD copy of 'Warp' this was one of the first tracks I played, and boy was I disappointed! Yes, it was the mix I expected, but what I didn't expect was the awful sound quality. I suspect this is a digital copy of the vinyl, and they've put it through so many de-clicking filters that they've strangled the life out of it. The "top end" is almost completely absent. You get the merest glimpse of its full glory in the final seconds of the fade out as, for some reason, the top-end suddenly appears.
I can perhaps understand why people prefer the album mix if this is the only version of the 7" mix they'd heard. It's almost a different track to what appeared on vinyl, and it sounds far punchier in album CD guise.
Various vinyl rips, some with much improved de-clicking, do exist and are far superior to what found its way onto the CD. But non are a substitute for what should have appeared - the version taken from the original master tape.
I can only assume it could not be found, or was damaged in some way. Perhaps it is the master tape, but was so noisy that an over-zealous engineer felt obliged to clean it up? Strangely, the track which appeared on the B side of the 7" fairs much better, which makes me think the original tape was found but was unusable for some reason. Perhaps that's why they had to re-do the mix for the album?
Whatever the story behind this mystery, it's a crying shame, because this is the boys on top form.
After the recent review comments regarding this track I have since compared the two versions, which is something I'd never thought to do before despite owning the vinyl 7" way back, and also having the two versions on the CD.
Unfortunately, the recording quality on the Warp CD is very poor - I would say it wasn't adequate for inclusion on a CD. It's almost painful to listen through headphones, sounding like it was copied from a well worn disc.
I can see this version was obviously intended to be more radio/club friendly, differing in a number of ways which become apparent the more you listen. The lovely intro of the album version is inevitably much abridged at just eight seconds. The sound is that bit more rhythmic and danceable - it 'flows' better - and there's a conventional fade out ending. But there are other subtle differences such as the echo effects on the vocals, and the percussion also gains a 'ticking' effect. Maybe overall the sound is that little bit 'warmer'...
But as to being better or worse, I can't decide, due in large part to the duff audio.