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The Beatles' Kaleidoscopic Masterpiece

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Postby tactful » August 13th, 2011, 7:24 am

For a band where all 4 members played their last collective note decades ago, the Beatles' "Love" is a pure masterpiece. It belongs right up there with Sgt. Pepper as a work of exploratory genius. While no track is held as sacred in the mix, every note is a diamond. Love is a beautiful hallucination that you will remember and cherish.

The Beatles were known for experimenting with sound. Some of the modern day effects processors such as the "flanger" used today were invented specifically for a Beatles record. Whether it was a string section or a sitar player flown in from halfway around the world, the Beatles had every thing they asked for to make great music. It was George Martin who brought it all together and made it work.

Years after their break up, their recorded work began to be weighed down with nostalgia, marketers stripping their legacy for spare parts, gutting their vital work for greatest hits CD's and sneaker commercials.

George Martin was reduced to spend his remaining years rehashing the same stories over and over for countless books and dvds like a forgotten museum curator or a bored librarian.

Love changes all of that.

George and Giles Martin break into the Beatles museum, perform a musical séance and resurrect a rock band to change the music world one last time. They open the cage doors wide and let the songs run wild, thawing every note that's been frozen in our minds. The Martins turn our old Beatles upside down and set them (and us) free in the process.

Nothing is where it "should" be; shooting us through the rabbit hole before we have a chance to change our minds.

Welcome to the Beatles' Fun House.

Just when there's a lull, mischievous Beatles leap from behind corners to scream "Help". Relax too much, and John Lennon jumps out screaming to start Revolution. Unpredictable, reckless, dangerous- how's that for a Beatles record?

Martin keeps you off balance the way a great record should. You're not falling asleep to this record. One minute later, the floor will drop. There's no sentimental fluff here.

Don't skip tracks. Listen to it in one setting. Don't bother previewing snippets. It's a waste of time. Telling you what happens in all 26 songs is like spoiling the cliffhanger of a movie. Every song has a purpose to the CD. There is perfect pacing.

Have you heard rare Beatles tracks before? Memorized all the Mark Lewisohn studio diaries that tracked every recording they made? Then little new material will surprise you. But you will hear the Beatles in a way you never have.

To call it a "mash up" is to cheapen it. Mash ups usually include more than one band and from different genres.

It's not a remix. It's a reconstruction from the person who helped build it in the first place.

The sound quality is ridiculously good. Every note sounds new. This is a living and breathing CD. It's not a greatest hits; but you will be sorry when it's over.

We are meeting the Beatles in a new way. George Harrison sounds beautiful in a way I might not have known. John Lennon's voice is a revelation. Paul McCartney's bass is perfect. Ringo Starr's drums sound incredible.

Every sound you hear is a high point flashing by in seconds.

Some highlights:

John Lennon shares parts of Tomorrow Never Knows with George Harrison's Within You Without You.

The Martins mix the hard edge of I Want You with Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite.

George Martin may have lost some of his hearing but that didn't stop him from writing a nice string section for George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Gnik Nus (sun king played backward) is a gorgeous acapella vocal that segues perfectly into Something. You can play the Beatles backward, forward or all at once and it will still be beautiful.

Stare at your watch and you'll miss it. In fact, you'll want to listen to it many times to capture all the treasures on this CD.

Some of the best parts of the CD are the drop dead gorgeous intros. But you have to hear the ending of the previous song to appreciate it. So if you skip tracks you'll never hear them. Hidden in the ending of Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows, the intro to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is slowed down to a dramatic ambient crawl, the kick drum echoes like a heartbeat before the song is sped up to normal like a music box and the Beatles come to life again.

Here Comes the Sun is rethought to begin with vocal harmonies at the beginning over a raga beat, and as the guitar begins playing the melody we remember, a sitar plays on the right channel to heartbreakingly beautiful effect.

When you hear the drums stop in the middle of Hey Jude and just hear their voices, you will be blown away. As Hey Jude fades, the horns keep playing. It is right at home as Sgt. Pepper reprise begins. You have 2 endings at the same time. One for an incredible song (Hey Jude) and one for a landmark album (Sgt Pepper).

The album ends with John and the Beatles in a playful mood, saying good night.

This isn't some producer who the Beatles never met hacking away at their legacy. George Martin looked John Lennon in the eye when he recorded almost every song as a Beatle. He wrote the string arrangement for Paul McCartney's Eleanor Rigby. Without George Martin, Sgt Pepper's orchestral arrangements might just be a wish. He is considered the "fifth Beatle" for a reason. This wasn't made in some back room against the wishes of the Beatles.

George Harrison had become good friends with Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and wanted this project to happen. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and George Harrison's wife Olivia all heard mixes and gave feedback, suggestions and encouragement.

To be fair, without C D S(show), this CD would not have happened. The good news is it is great on its own merit. You don't need the show to appreciate it.

Credit should also be given to Giles Martin, who obviously helped the project a great deal. He was also trained by the one person who the Beatles trusted with their music: his father.

This may be the last Beatles project George Martin works on.

As the master tapes are put back in their boxes and the vault door closes, George Martin can rest knowing he made something very special with "Love", if only for one last time. Thank you, George Martin.

Highly Recommended.


this is my take on it entirely
from a musicians standpoint.

Mark
Heroes Don't wear capes.They wear Dog tags
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tactful
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