This 36-track edition of The Raven was initially released as a limited-edition CD, with a condensed 21-track version being the common issue. However, as with all things Reed, it's best doing things in excess. Reed has a natural affinity toward Edgar Allan Poe’s dark and forbidden world, and it makes an odd sense that his own dark-horse tunes—"The Bed," "Perfect Day"— would slot so easily alongside these timeless Poe writings. Avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson commissioned Reed to assemble this project for a production called POE-Try. Dramatic readings by Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Amanda Plummer, and Elizabeth Ashley accentuate the high weirdness, while producer Hal Willner provides a great amount of room for the sounds to coalesce. The music’s an eclectic mix of acoustic and electric arrangements, with the advantage of having Laurie Anderson, Antony Hegarty, David Bowie, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Ornette Coleman add their finishing touches. Jane Scarpantoni's cello is a major player, and her string arrangements give Reed further depth.