Jesse Jarnow

“julia” & “tomorrow never knows” sped-up & slowed back down

“Julia” – The Beatles (sped up & slowed back down by Editor B) (download)
“Tomorrow Never Knows” – The Beatles (sped up & slowed back down by Lee R.) (download)

(files expire October 26th)

So, Steve McLaughlin compressed the entire Beatles’ catalogue into a single, one-hour mp3. Cute. But then some other dudes, Editor B and one “Lee R” (hmm), took out chunks and reconstituted them back to normal speed. The result is one of the most literally psychedelic remixes ever, a technological approximation of the tricks the acid-enhanced ear plays when listening to even the most familiar music. It’s gorgeous, like watching an image gradually decompose on a xerox machine. Or, more accurately, a xerox of a xerox of a xerox, or even the granular decay of Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting In A Room” or David Wilson’s “Stasis.” Thing is, though, while it’s a pretty academic experiment, there are Beatles melodies’ in the middle, rising out of the noise, already complete in most listeners’ minds.

The breaks in the middle of “Tomorrow Never Knows” are fantastic, the famous backwards guitar almost indistinguishable from John Lennon himself. On “Julia,” Lennon’s voice practically pixilates, but it is no less evocative of the subject’s seashell eyes and windy smile, though the beach might now be the silvery landscape glimpsed in William Gibson’s Neuromancer:

The city, if it was a city, was low and gray. At times it was obscured by banks of mist that came rolling in over the lapping surf. At one point he decided that it wasn’t a city at all, but some single building, perhaps a ruin; he had no way of judging its distance. The sand was the shade of tarnished silver that hadn’t gone entirely black. The beach was made of sand, the beach was very long, the sand was damp, the bottoms of his jeans were wet from the sand… He held himself and rocked, singing a song without words or tune.

(Thx, Boomy, for pointing out FMU’s post.)

2 Comments

  1. scott pgwp says: - reply

    You can listen to Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in a Room” over at ubu.com, by the way – along with a shit-ton of other wonderful works by a great many artists and sound artists.

  2. Michael Slaboch says: - reply

    We were diggin’ on this at work last week trying to think of other catalogs that would sound unique after hyper-compressing them???
    The fantastic aspect to my ears of compressing the Beatles catalog is the dynamic of their music pre and post “Revolver.”
    The compression really takes you into this dense vortex of sound and quickly showcases the myriad of genres they crossed during the last few albums they cut.
    Pretty sweet!