Thank god for the Internet. Not only did I find out from surfing the WWW that Japanese synthesist Tomita has released The Planets 2003, a new recording on DVD-A, but I was also able to order a copy of it from Japan thanks to amazon.co.jp! Even better: it arrived at my home on the U.S. West Coast in only three days! Is this a modern world, or what? This has got to be one of my biggest "guilty pleasures." It's schlocky in the extreme (on a scale of 1 to 10 for schlockiness, I'd give this a 20). In fact, I know some folks whose ears would gush blood if they were to listen to this (not simply ooze, but gush!). Tomita's interpretation of Holst's classical pieces is pretty far removed from the originals, and he's thrown in so many bells and whistles (and boings and chirps and what have you) that it's sometimes hard to remember what you're listening to. Still, I love it. This new DVD-A features a surround sound mix that's about as aggressive as you're ever going to hear. If you hate sound constantly whizzing around the four main speakers, stay away from this. I actually think there's room for mixes like this, however, especially since this new mix appears to be designed for multi-channel. This is a 96/24 4.1 mix with no center channel feed; a Dolby Digital 4.1 mix is also offered on Group 2. The clarity on the disc is amazing, but also a little disturbing. You really can hear everything, which can be distracting. There's also some shrillness to Tomita's synthesizers when playing in the upper register. It's also interesting to notice the differences between this new recording and the 1976 release. Tomita has remained very faithful to his original recording, but made some changes here and there (using a human voice for a melody line in "Venus," for instance). I grew up loving synthesizers and jumped at the chance to get this. I wasn't disappointed, though I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. I would have preferred to have Tomita's Snowflakes Are Dancing (his synthesized interpretation of Debussy works) on DVD-A, but maybe that's coming. And yeah, I spent too much on this but I think I saw somewhere that the distributing company doesn't do business outside of Japan, making the prospects of picking the disc up here unlikely.