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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Love IS Real.

A very depressing day, weather-wise. And there are other reasons to feel a little down: family illness, wedding-planning stresses, and mean-spirited motherfuckers tryin' to bust on me an' mine.

But wait — what's this? Another batch of Beatles songs re-packaged for the holidays?  The cynic in me wants to scream, "Enough!"

Somehow this release is different. You've likely already heard about Cirque Soleil's Beatles-themed Vegas show. Well, Love is the soundtrack to that. Flying Frenchfolk aside, what's really interesting is the music. The venerable George Martin — whose production genius helped introduce collage and musique concreté to the pop word — has created a mash-up record using Beatles recordings as the source material. Working alongside his engineer son Giles, they set about creating what will likely be the last original document to bear the Beatles imprint.

Love could've easily been a disaster, but it's not. Purists might have a problem with the idea of screwing with history, but let's face it — the Beatles practically invented mash-ups anyway.

It's all put together with the kind of grace and subtlety one would expect from the man who had to translate John Lennon's acid-scrambled requests into some kind of sonic conformity.

I expected an over-the-top mélange of modern production gimmicks and simplistic through lines. My assumptions were, thankfully, incorrect. Many of the songs are left more or less intact, with accents and punctuations borrowed from other compositions. In some cases, Martin used sections of music not featured on any album — demo recordings, outtakes etc. So it sounds pretty new, either way.

Modular arrangement is definitely a lot easier these days. Back in the '60s, Martin had to speed up tape cycles to match pitch, and used a razor to make edits. Now its done in near-real time with software plug-ins.

Example: The end of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" suddenly descends into the closing riff of "I Want You (She's so Heavy)." Every so often, slivers of "Helter Skelter" drift into the mix. It's truly spooky.

Hear for yourself, but please don't turn those mean Beatles lawyers on me!

"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"


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I wholeheartedly concur with Dr. Rea's assessment and would like to add the following 2 cents:

1. The new mixes and arrangements really highlight George and Ringo....drum sounds especially are killer

2. Beatles in 5.1 Surround equals swirling psychedelic goodness


I've been curious about this album since hearing about it a couple of months ago. Was this album authorized/supervised/worked on by either of the remaining band members or was this a "Martin & Son" only production?

The whole concept of "the mashup" (though certainly nothing entirely new) intrigues me; it's about as post-modern as music can get. We're pretty much living in a world where so much sonic information has been recorded over the centuries that it's really unnecessary to make an original sound to make original music. It's a strange, scary idea.


Actually, the idea started with George Harrison and the founder of Cirque. They'd become pals due to a shared love of motor sports. That led to discussions about using re-contextualized Beatles tunes in Cirque performances. Martin was tapped for the project, and he brought in his son to help.

Along the way, they gave Ringo and Paul opportunities to hear what they were doing and make suggestions. Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono likewise had input.

Word on the street (maybe Abbey Road?) is that they're all delighted with the results.


Good to know; thanks Casey!


hey where is the rest of the avey tare interview???


I'm prepping it to post this very moment!


I heard the Love cd this weekend. It was posted on Google Video oddy enough as a featured video, just music. It sucked. Give me the originals anytime, or at least give me Radiodread does Abbey Road, ,but this was repackaged drivel that sucked all relevance out of the music.


You're mean, Mr. Mustard!


I gave it another listen, just to be fair. Hooked on classics comes to mind. I'm not a beatles purist, though obviously the Beatles music is great and important. This cd is just silly, though, and mastubatory. I have nothing against masturbation, but this is all gimmick for $. Danger Mouse's effort was briliant. The original recordings are brilliant. This LOVE cd is trivial and I don't think it's worthy of respect. Aiight?


I hear ya, and I'm sure you're not alone in your assessment.

Forget the "mash-up" angle for a second, though. I like this record because the mix highlights aspects of the music that sometimes get overlooked.

Most music listeners are beyond familiar with the Beatles. Hearing their songs is kind of like looking at a painting by the Old Masters: we feel as though we know every last brushstroke. While Love will never replace the original works of art, it's value is in calling attention to the components that made the songs work so well in the first place. I love hearing the harpsichord solo from "In My Life" in a different context; it only makes me appreciate what a fine instrumental break it truly is.

Other tunes are left pretty much intact, but with sligtly different mixes. I hear the basslines in a whole new light, for example. I'm once again bowled over by how broadly musical each member of the band was. Maybe it's the studio geek in me. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's it.

I can completely understand why you might feel it's unnecessary. But I like it!


Very fair points, Casey. Touche!


Yeah – we're "fair & balanced," just like Fox News!

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