Rabbits Full of Magic

22 January 2011

 

The Beatles Covers


Wild Honey Pie (2010)
Piggies (2010)
I'm So Tired (2007/2010)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2006/2010)

One of my dreams is to record a one-man (or perhaps just DIY, just no guests as of yet) version of The Beatles "White Album", which is unquestionably my favorite album of all time and has been ever since I was an emotionally unstable, constantly medicated pariah of a teenage weirdo. At the rate I'm going, when I'm in 64 I'll finally have it all done, and it'll be a recording spanning multiple decades of my life. I honestly feel like if that was my only legacy to the world it would make me perfectly happy.

Above you can download most of the songs I've finished, particularly the first 2 which are the newest and I'm most into right now. When I listen back to "Wild Honey Pie" (featuring the Omnichord, an instrument I always think "I should use this more often" every time I use it!) it sounds like some weird Marc Bolan outtake produced by Brian Eno in 1974. "Piggies", I'm just a tad unhappy with the vocals, but on the other hand I really like the energy I've put into them. "I'm So Tired" was recorded in the basement of the Swiss House, where I lived with Bradley from Omelet and Platonic Sex (two bands i was in at the time). I really like the overdriven sound on this take. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was started at the second Kiwis house. I also did a version of "A Day in the Life" that was inspired by Deerhunter's cover that was made back in '04 or '05 or sometime back in the distant past...

When i first got into The Beatles when I was 14 or so, I bought a new album every week, and this is one of the later ones I picked up. It helps that it is the band at both their tremendously spooky and syrupy highs. Forget about the easy to pin down stuff like "Revolution 9" with its "Can you take me back where I came from?" droney ghost folk intro. Supernatural spookiness is everywhere on this record. The first time I ever heard "Back in the USSR" at the very end where the plane sound fades into "Dear Prudence" I hear a spectral yelp call my name in the distance and it scared me witless because I was home alone at night listening on real loud headphones. I put them down and looked down the hall, then around the corners, absolutely paranoid that some specter was calling to me from nearby. Only after putting the song on again and hearing the same sound did I realize that, no, it's not a ghost, it's just this scary f***ing record. There's something equally demented about the end of "Glass Onion", where the Beatles the rock band suddenly stop dead in their tracks as a string quartet melts onto a chopped & screwed blues lick like some kind of zombie chamber orchestra, mindlessly yet colorfully droning up and down. It makes me think of this reoccurring dream I had as a little kid, where there was this giant clock or mechanical device that was coldly, mercilessly destroying the world with every turn of the gears.

Perhaps the most mysterious part of "The White Album" is the conclusion of "Long Long Long". George's songs are always the dark horse deep cuts where the band locks together in some kind of transcendent mystical space of ego-death, Harrison observing it all from beyond the grave even while in his 20s (also see "Blue Jay Way" -- f***ing killer track!!!). "Long Long Long" has a chord structure and melody and most importantly gracefully arranged ensemble performance (requiring 67 takes to get this perfect one!) and practically breaks your heart while simultaneously delivering the full grace of God in its ultimate sonic expression. But the ending -- with that insanely enigmatic keyboard drone, George wailing like a spirit, Ringo imitating a rainstorm, and electric guitar scratching away the last remains of the mortal coil -- is without a doubt the most transcendent piece of music created in the 20th century. That they created something so unearthly without using echo or backwards loops or any studio trickery other than well-placed U-47s is a testament to just how Godlike this band was.

If you've never given that track much thought (which is easy to do given its awkward sequencing position), wait until it is just before dawn, right before the sky is about to turn from black to dark blue, load it up, and crank the headphones, and get ready for the most spiritual pop music ever made.

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