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July 3, 2013 10:28 AM   Subscribe

A visualization of the four final "master" tracks - Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper (SLYT) (via OpenCulture.com (so not really single link anymore, is it?))
posted by DigDoug (30 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would like to have the first track, with just the basic rhythm guitars, bass and drums. it sounds complete by itself, but so different from the final version (I also liked the stripped-down version of "I am the Walrus" from Anthology for the same reason).
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:44 AM on July 3, 2013


That was cool. I wonder why the "B-i-l-l-y S-h-e-a-r-s" bit at the end of the song isn't on the vocal track.
posted by yoink at 11:09 AM on July 3, 2013


I wonder why the "B-i-l-l-y S-h-e-a-r-s" bit at the end of the song isn't on the vocal track.

On those limited-track setups, they'd have to conserve the resource and pop certain elements into the quiet gaps on other tracks. If you ever get a chance to see/hear the "master tracks" of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", you find there are only a handful of the 24 tracks that are *exclusively* one instrument/vocal.
posted by grubi at 11:14 AM on July 3, 2013


I wonder why the "B-i-l-l-y S-h-e-a-r-s" bit at the end of the song isn't on the vocal track.

Because it was recorded as part of "With A Little Help From My Friends", and crossfaded over the end of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" during the final mix to master -- along with the marching drum snare that accompanies it. That's also why you don't hear the various noodling at the end of the cut in the record, it has been faded out by the time you get that far into the track.
posted by eriko at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because it was recorded as part of "With A Little Help From My Friends", and crossfaded over the end of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" during the final mix to master

Yeah, I thought that might be it. Interesting. Presumably there's an element of arbitrariness in deciding where we count one song as "ending" and one as "beginning" in that situation, no?
posted by yoink at 11:25 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love stuff like this.

I hear that on certain sites of ill-repute you can download stems of various classic albums. Man, that'd be great to have.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:39 AM on July 3, 2013


Does anyone know why when listing to just the vocal track (the yellow) you can hear what sounds like the whole instrumental track at a much lower volume?

Is it done on purpose when they mix it or is bleeding through when they record the vocals?
posted by VTX at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bleeding through.
posted by grubi at 11:47 AM on July 3, 2013


My favorite thing about listening to this is the number of imperfections, especially the fret noise on the lead guitar.
posted by davejay at 11:48 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe these tracks were taken from the MOGG (multi-track) sound files that came with Rock Band. Some people of ill-repute have extracted these MOGG files Rock Band and circulated them without license. This is the first I've seen of them being put to interesting use. I wonder if the Beatles management will ask YouTube to take it down.
posted by alms at 11:49 AM on July 3, 2013


Also, Paul McCartney sounds a lot like Lemmy on this during his second vocal solo.
posted by davejay at 11:50 AM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know why when listing to just the vocal track (the yellow) you can hear what sounds like the whole instrumental track at a much lower volume?

I have had the same question about other MOGG tracks from Rock Band. I don't know whether its an artifact of the original studio tracks, or whether something to do with what Rock Band received or produced.
posted by alms at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2013


Part of it is because the singer in the vocal booth has headphones on so he can hear the rest of the tracks to sing along. You're hearing the sound that the mic picks up when it's leaking out of the headphones.
posted by bink at 12:04 PM on July 3, 2013


alms: I thought that too, but it's kind of an old video (September 2009), and surely the fingerprinting tech youtube's running would recognize the song as a whole at the end.
posted by DigDoug at 12:08 PM on July 3, 2013


Is it just me or is the lead guitar tuned down a whole step? At around 2:32, he (I think it's Paul) hits a D chord that's lower than any D that occurs on the guitar in standard tuning. I didn't know that he did that on this tune. Strange, 'cuz everything else on that part is fairly high. (He probably is too ;-) ).

I also dig the scream of delight at around :46 seconds. The Beatles, having fun.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:12 PM on July 3, 2013


Important to remember that we're not actually hearing four separate tracks--young engineer Ken Townsend devised artificial double tracking during the recording of Revolver the previous summer, and the band was using it extensively by Pepper. Lots of ADT in those "single" tracks.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:40 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


To say nothing of the massively layered vocals, or the heavily compressed drum sounds, LooseFilter. Still cool to hear things in isolation, though.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:30 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


they had two 4 tracks and they did a LOT of bouncing

also, there's a lot of things that would never be allowed in today's recordings - drop outs, sloppy edits, out of tune vocals, timing problems - yet, you put it all together and it sounds great

which is more than i can say for a lot of today's perfectly recorded music
posted by pyramid termite at 1:38 PM on July 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


When the boys kick in the harmonies at 5:31, I get goosebumps. Every. Single. Time.

Brilliant doesn't even begin to describe this.
posted by zooropa at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


alms: I thought that too, but it's kind of an old video (September 2009), and surely the fingerprinting tech youtube's running would recognize the song as a whole at the end.

The mix of the tracks at the end isn't the released mix; it's just the tracks running at fixed levels (so the lead guitar etc track is noticeably louder in this mix.) If you played that end part side-by-side with the released version, you'd hear the difference clearly...and since the difference is in the mix (rather than the same mix made louder or softer overall), the fingerprinting tech considers them different. Because they are.
posted by davejay at 3:03 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


also, there's a lot of things that would never be allowed in today's recordings - drop outs, sloppy edits, out of tune vocals, timing problems - yet, you put it all together and it sounds great

Yeah, that's what I love the most about it, totally.
posted by davejay at 3:04 PM on July 3, 2013


Normally, you hear people say that Helter Skelter is the most "metal" of all Beatles songs (I've even seen in it in polls of the best heavy metal songs of all time), but the guitar on Track Two is surprisingly hard rockin' by 1967 standards. Even Jimi Hendrix thought so.
posted by jonp72 at 3:21 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Truly an example of how constraints leads to creativity. You can give an artist an unlimited amount of materials and resources, and they won't ever make something as amazing as when all they have are a basic set of crayolas and some construction paper and are setting out to move art history in new direction.
posted by hippybear at 3:38 PM on July 3, 2013




WONDERFUL. Thank you.
posted by droplet at 7:48 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


hippybear, the Beatles at that point in their history had astounding resources—compared to other bands—at their disposal, and are not really a good illustration of that point.
posted by kenko at 9:20 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Beatles at that point in their history had astounding resources—compared to other bands

compared to some bands, they did - but both atlantic records and columbia had studios with 8 track recording capacity at that time -brian wilson and several other l a musicians had access to 8 track - and even though many other american studios lacked those machines, they had superior equipment to abbey road when it came to mikes, preamps, boards, compressors, etc etc - not to mention better mastering facilities

in 1968, some american bands were recording on 16 tracks - the beatles didn't get to do that until abbey road

truth is, the beatles were pretty far behind the state of the art in 1967 when they recorded sgt pepper - but they and their engineering team really knew what they were doing with what they had
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 AM on July 4, 2013


They had astounding resources compared to other bands, but NO band had the kind of resources available to them today. And listen to what they accomplished! They had to work within the limitations of what was available to them, and what they created was astounding, and stands up even now, 45+ years later.

Who is doing anything in the studio these days which people are going to be looking back on 40 years later and saying "wow, this was really put together well"?
posted by hippybear at 6:40 AM on July 4, 2013


i should add that when it comes to recording a sound through a microphone, putting it through a preamp and a board, we really haven't advanced since the '50s - how we're able to track that signal and process it has advanced tremendously, but in the basic art of getting the signal to the recorder, not that much

unfortunately, today's equipment allows bands to fudge over that basic art, not to mention edit things to death for a "perfect" performance - which is why a lot of today's music doesn't work that well

the beatles had good resources, but recording engineers in new york or l a wouldn't have traded what they had for them
posted by pyramid termite at 7:02 AM on July 4, 2013


pyramid termite: they had two 4 tracks and they did a LOT of bouncing

also, there's a lot of things that would never be allowed in today's recordings - drop outs, sloppy edits, out of tune vocals, timing problems - yet, you put it all together and it sounds great

which is more than i can say for a lot of today's perfectly recorded music
Could it be that... artistic quality is not defined by adherence to rules?
posted by IAmBroom at 2:45 PM on July 7, 2013


kenko: hippybear, the Beatles at that point in their history had astounding resources—compared to other bands—at their disposal, and are not really a good illustration of that point.
Agreed - the band that first put on a pop album backwards cymbals crashes, forward&backward organ and calliope sounds, crowd noises, orchestral movements, non-Western instruments, and spent a whopping 5 months recording a single album (which the papers were deriding them for; apparently this was proof they would never deliver!)... is not exactly a prime example of "limited resources".
posted by IAmBroom at 4:01 PM on July 7, 2013


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