You are here

Log in or register to post comments
trevort
trevort's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 21 2007 - 8:05am
White Album Flashback

Apropos of nothing, I am prompted to share my pleasant experience listening to White Album last night, which I have not attended in its entirety for many years. It came about because one of the guys in my musical clutch ("group" is too strong a word), had a hankering to play Happiness is a Warm gun, which we've been having a blast with. Lots of interesting quirks that I hadn't fully grasped as a listener. It is such a different experience being on the other side of the stage!

Anyways, enough time has passed since last listen that I was blown away. Now, even the songs I didn't much like feel like they have purpose, the most easily accessible still have plenty of charm, and the highlights are no less astonishing in their brilliance. Such an audacious combination of bold vision, matchless song writing, and stylistic breadth presented with such beautifully crafted sound. When are we going to get a remaster? That's something I'd happily pay for.

Also heard some new sounds, being my system is much improved since my last listen. For example, the recorder in Glass Onion continues faintly through the strings piling over it, and there's an interesting droop as it ends its phrase.

Considering the place of the White Album in the band's opus, it reminds me of certain albums in other bands' careers: Radiohead's Kid A; Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom; Talking Heads' Remain in Light. Is there an archetype here, of brilliant achievement just before decay, not necessarily their "best" work, but their most audacious, as if the artists achieve maturity with an Icarus-like stretch from which they can only retreat?

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 days ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: White Album Flashback


Quote:
Apropos of nothing, I am prompted to share my pleasant experience listening to White Album last night, which I have not attended in its entirety for many years. It came about because one of the guys in my musical clutch ("group" is too strong a word), had a hankering to play Happiness is a Warm gun, which we've been having a blast with. Lots of interesting quirks that I hadn't fully grasped as a listener. It is such a different experience being on the other side of the stage!

Anyways, enough time has passed since last listen that I was blown away. Now, even the songs I didn't much like feel like they have purpose, the most easily accessible still have plenty of charm, and the highlights are no less astonishing in their brilliance. Such an audacious combination of bold vision, matchless song writing, and stylistic breadth presented with such beautifully crafted sound. When are we going to get a remaster? That's something I'd happily pay for.

Also heard some new sounds, being my system is much improved since my last listen. For example, the recorder in Glass Onion continues faintly through the strings piling over it, and there's an interesting droop as it ends its phrase.

Considering the place of the White Album in the band's opus, it reminds me of certain albums in other bands' careers: Radiohead's Kid A; Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom; Talking Heads' Remain In Light. Is there an archetype here, of brilliant achievement just before decay, not necessarily their "best" work, but their most audacious, as if the artists achieve maturity with an Icarus-like stretch from which they can only retreat?

Triple Threat, What a great post and subject. For me the peak was Armed Forces for EC and Speaking In Tongues for TH, but I still love the whole catalog. Besides recognizing the artist at their prime, there is also that emotional connection that we make when we remember those watershed moments and times in our lives and how those albums were an indelible influence in assuring the hope and optimism we felt about our present and future. Bob Marley's Natty Dread gave me a booster shot in the dark aftermath of Vietnam and Nixon. Seeing him at the Roxy (very small club in Hollywood) in '75 and sharing this music messiah with friends was a defining time in my life.

Apropos of EVERYTHING. Thank you!

p.s. Other than the remastered "Love" is there any Beatle material that sounds decent? "Anthology" is somewhat of an improvement, but I would love to see the originals in hi-rez someday.

mrlowry
mrlowry's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: May 30 2006 - 1:37pm
Re: White Album Flashback

The new version of "Let it Be" called "Let it Be . . .Naked", which strips away Phil Spector's treatment of the album (the strings and choirs) Sounds good, not great but good. I can't wait until they remaster their catalog. It is obvious from the "Anthology" albums that there is good sound on those session tapes, why haven't they given it to their fans? Of course as dynamically compressed as Paul McCartney's latest album "Memory almost Full" is I'm beginning to question his ability to make judgments with respect to sound quality.

trevort
trevort's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 21 2007 - 8:05am
Re: White Album Flashback


Quote:
For me the peak was Armed Forces for EC and Speaking In Tongues for TH

Very interesting. In some cases, its easy to identify a band at their peak -- consider the one hit wonder -- in other cases, its debatable.

EC's Armed Forces holds up for me as his greatest work, although I have come to like This Year's Model more and more. I'm a sucker for the whole experience: Steve Nieve really settles in place, and EC's writing is arguably more sophisticated. Therefore, although with Armed Forces, some of the raw passion is smoothed out compared to This Year's Model, I prefer the later album.

However, there is such a sense of exploration in Imperial Bedroom that I (spur of the moment) aligned it with the White Album. Now I suppose I should have a listen, see if I still think it has that sense of stretching I remember.

As for Talking Heads, Remain in Light is more exploratory than Speaking in Tongues, but for me it is also their finest album. I really enjoy the feel of Speaking in Tongues, and there are some great songs, but its the sheer audacity of RiL -- relatively long pieces, often with no chord changes, world music influence -- plus the huge step up in virtuosity from adding the guest players, that establishes this album for me. Actually, I first thought of "My life in Bush..." as exemplifying their ultimate stretch, but that's cheating as its not really a TH album.

Perhaps a mark of these Icarus albums -- not necessarily their best albums -- is how they infuence the direction of their genre. Actually, I've been attracted to More Songs about Buildings and Food recently. That album has aged really well. Stay Hungry is a standout, but its one of those albums that I just want to listen to all the way through: it has a fine arc.

dcstep
dcstep's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2007 - 4:59pm
Re: White Album Flashback

Who's got my "White Album"???

Darn, but thanks for the thought.

Dave

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: White Album Flashback

Someone once told me that the British White Vinyl White Album from the late 70's was actually a remaster. May not be true, just passing along a rumor.

I'll go look...

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: White Album Flashback

Here we go:

Two re-issues in 1978 (one by Capitol Records, the other by Parlophone) saw the album pressed on white vinyl, completing the look of the "white" album. In 1985, EMI Electrola released a DMM (direct metal mastered) white vinyl pressing of the album in Germany, which was imported to the United States in large numbers. Another popular white vinyl pressing was manufactured in France. The 1978 Parlophone white vinyl export pressing and the German DMM pressing are widely considered the best-sounding versions of the album. This is due to the use of the famed Neumann lathe on the 1978 export pressing and the use of the DMM process on the 1985 pressing.

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 days ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: White Album Flashback


Quote:

Perhaps a mark of these Icarus albums -- not necessarily their best albums -- is how they infuence the direction of their genre. Actually, I've been attracted to More Songs about Buildings and Food recently. That album has aged really well. Stay Hungry is a standout, but its one of those albums that I just want to listen to all the way through: it has a fine arc.

I think you right about Remain In Light. Born Under punches, The Great Curve and Crosseyed And Painless are master strokes. It was kind of the culmination of their work from rock urban guerilla revolutionaries to Don Juan/Yaqui Warrior mystics. I think of Fear Of Music, Buildings And Food and Remain In Light as a very powerful trilogy of sorts. What grabs ne about Speaking In Tongues is the playfulness and the fat, funky bottom Tina puts down- like they got booglarized by Parliament/Funkadelic. You could dance to it! That was weird for "art rock," a term that is woefully lacking in this context.

The Talking Heads brick is a great remaster of their catalog, and the DVD-Audio mastering is special. And it is white!

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 days ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: White Album Flashback

Thanks for the reply, Buddha. Now I'll go on eBay and try to buy it for a few hundred $$ in "MINTY!!!" condition, which translates: scratched to shit with a ripped cover.

trevort
trevort's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 21 2007 - 8:05am
Re: White Album Flashback

Speaking in tongues is a great dance record! Maybe their time with the extended band in RiL served as a kind of masterclass for them, so when they retrenched to to SiT with just the original quartet, their mojo was all limbered up.

.. and the humour: "handful of bones in his pocket", etc.

sigh, kids today.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading