It's worth remembering that the much-mentioned claim that Sgt Pepper was recorded on four-track isn't entirely true. As I mentioned before, all but one of the songs used reduction mixes, meaning that dozens of layers of sound were used on some of the songs. Strawberry Fields Forever, too, wouldn't have been possible without freeing up many extra tracks and adding new instruments.
Also, by the end of recording A Day In The Life there were two four-track machines running simltaneously – one with The Beatles' music, the other with the orchestra, recorded four times on each of the available tracks. Although the Abbey Road staff had trouble syncing the two machines, essentially they were working with eight tracks.
When The Beatles tried to 'get back' to their roots in 1969, it was really a continuation of a process begun with Lady Madonna and Hey Bulldog in early 1968, and continued on the White Album, where they rejected fancy trickery and went for fairly straightforward recording. There are exceptions such as Revolution 9, but essentially they continued working in this way right up until Abbey Road (which was more complex but nowhere near as much as Pepper or Magical Mystery Tour). It's almost as if they burnt themselves out creating very ornate and intricate recordings in 1967, and couldn't face doing it all over again.
6 December 2009
But as innovators, we can forgive them their excess. They used a limited format (By todays standards) and experimented with it, so as to see what was possible. There are many songs from various groups during that period (Psychadelia) which I like. Love's 'Forever Changes,' being a particular favorite. However, all things considered, it was The Beatles who created this particular blue print before they threw it to the four winds.
In 1999, revelation. Yellow Submarine was released, and the sound quality was dripping with citric fruitfullness. 'Hey Bulldog' for example, just danced its way around the room rearranging the ornaments. so far, I have bought Please Please Me, With The Beatles and A Hard Days Night. I wanted to only buy each album one at a time, so as to spend some quality time with each one. Today I plan to get Beatles For Sale. So far, I am quite happy with the quality of each album. But, I still plan to buy the mono box set also. I just want to hear these tracks like they used to sound. Technology hasn't always been a good thing!
Yeah, I wish every album got the re-mix treatment that the Yellow Submarine Songtrack received instead of just being remastered. The remixed version of Eleanor Rigby, for instance, is far superior to the original remastered version on Revolver.
I understand some people are purists and prefer the original mixes. I, however, am not. Just because the music was recorded in the sixties doesn't mean we have to be slaves to the limitations of sixties technology…
14 October 2009
5 February 2010
I first listened to the stereo remasters in early November, and I was just blown away. I think I listened to probably 85% of the catalog in one sitting. The thing that sticks out the most for me is the sheer number of times I exclaimed "I'd never heard that before!", referring to a piano line, or a drum hit, or a particular guitar chord, etc.
Some examples that have stuck with me:
* The unexpected change in the drum pattern on "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" during the line "I still love her"; there's a heavy bass drum riff going on there, and I'd never heard it prior to the remasters
* George's low-register guitar line in "Please Please Me" that parallels John's raspy vocal, "Come on … come on" – had no idea that was there
* The bass-y piano chords in "No Reply" on the lines "I saw the light" and "I nearly died", as well as the staccato piano chords that punctuate the bridge ("If I were you, I'd realize …") – this was actually the first time I realized that there was a piano even in this song
Other things were more general. George's guitar solo on "Nowhere Man" was so incredibly crisp, I could practically hear his pick clipping against the nickel-plated strings. During "I'm Looking Through You" I could actually hear the acoustic guitar (in voicings I hadn't heard before) running throughout the song. The background vocals sounded so much fuller and rich, finally sounding like a part of the songs and not just a distant echo (this was especially the case for "Nowhere Man").
13 November 2009
I bought a stereo version of the White Album and now I'm doomed. I need to buy them all.
Quick question: was there always a crackling noise in Revolution 9? Or are my headphones unable to handle the awesome? I'm not talking about the fire sounds around 5:45(ish), but earlier. It doesn't happen throughout the song, so I think that's the way it's supposed to be.
13 November 2009
13 June 2010
4 April 2010
I bought the Stereo Box Set when it came out. First, and sadly, last one in line. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the most changed out of all of them.
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