Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds
May 15, 2005 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds: A group of internet-based electronic musicians are celebrating the anniversary of the release of the classic Beach Boys album ‘Pet Sounds’ by remixing it for the 21st Century. The album, titled ‘Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds’, comes from contributors to acclaimed net label Hippocamp.net. Each track from the original album has been reconstructed by a different artist, creating an album as diverse and inventive as the original. (Torrent Here) I've been listening to this all morning. It's fantastic. Get it while you can?
posted by cathodeheart (36 comments total)
kthx will seed

These are the true musicans, even though they are using other's material, they're doing it for the spirit of the music - the notoriety is extra. Danger Mouse, of Grey Album fame, recently won a Rave Award for his work and landed a job working on the Gorillaz next album.
posted by johnjreiser at 6:23 PM on May 15, 2005

I'm liking it so far.
posted by fungible at 6:24 PM on May 15, 2005

Pet sounds? I liked "Smart girls" better.
posted by docgonzo at 6:40 PM on May 15, 2005

I have yet to hear a "remix" that manages to be even half as good as the original.

Congratulations to these people, they managed to keep that streak alive.

At least they were honest in naming the project. They certainly did ruin it.
posted by inthe80s at 6:54 PM on May 15, 2005

If this inspires some people to go listen to Pet Sounds then it's worthwhile. But I can't see why it would.

On the 3 tracks I've listened to, there doesn't seem to be any appreciation for the harmonies or production-- it's all just treated as melodies to screw around with.

This project doesn't seem to show any understanding of why people listen to Pet Sounds. Mike Love's lead vocal is not the reason that people still listen to "That's Not Me".

Or maybe I'm just not showing any understanding of the pursuits of internet-based electronic musicians.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:30 PM on May 15, 2005

It's definitely not my cup of tea, but I can see why some people would like this. The original is still far far better.
posted by ashbury at 8:37 PM on May 15, 2005

I'm stunned that anyone is attempting to compare the albums. WTF? I can understand people not liking it but comparing it to the original is pretty ridiculous. (Do you honestly think they were attempting to best one of the greatest pop albums of all time? And do you people have the same thing for breakfast every morning?)

Thanks for the link, cathodeheart!
posted by dobbs at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2005

yes dobbs thank you. It's more of a tribute and also done for hippocamps fifth anniversary of realsing "experimental, mainly electronic music since 2000".

I toast hc for a job well done, yet again.
posted by freudianslipper at 9:15 PM on May 15, 2005

This sort of title should be used more often. How about Linkin Park Ruins Jay-Z, that would have been a great album title.
posted by bobo123 at 9:24 PM on May 15, 2005

Holy shit that was fun! I say nay to all you naysayers and your constant saying of "nay." Lighten up.
posted by sourwookie at 9:24 PM on May 15, 2005

FWIW, the substitute chord changes used on "Sloop John B" are quite sophisticated and impressive.
posted by sourwookie at 9:29 PM on May 15, 2005

I don't know if people understand the implications of the idea that any thing that can be digitized can be twisted into a new artistic statement. I was talking to my wife today about using "found" video footage to create an original artistic statement (I.E. a recycled movie). Perhaps in the future the subtext of a work will be partially derived from the context that the original material came from.

I love the original Pet Sounds (I just saw Brian Wilson at the New Orleans Jazz Fest - he was totally bonkers but suprisingly good), and I don't care so much for electronica. However, the implications of what these guys are doing are, for me, staggering.
posted by tcobretti at 10:25 PM on May 15, 2005

Yes the implications are staggering. BUT...style (the ability to synthesize) will always trump technique (anyone can twist digital media).
posted by foot at 10:34 PM on May 15, 2005

The thing to keep in mind is the old cliche about inspiration being closely related to a good memory. Very, very little is created that is totally new (I can't think of any music I've ever heard that doesn't have clear connections to some other music that predates it). Everything is derived from something else; art evolves, it isn't spontaneously generated.

Style is just the name for the choices we make when we manipulate our artistic medium. I agree that being able to synthesize is key to artistic "creation," but remember that Brian Wilson played a piano when he created, while these guys are playing their computers. It's just a different kind of instrument.
posted by tcobretti at 10:46 PM on May 15, 2005

I was just thinking that the Beach Boys are a classic example of a band combining obvious influences to create something interesting. Take equal parts four freshmen, phil spector, and chuck berry, mix in some hot rods and surf boards (and maybe some mind altering drugs), bake at 350 til golden brown.
posted by tcobretti at 10:53 PM on May 15, 2005

Recipe for Artistic Acclaim in the Digital Age

1. Take a print of the Mona Lisa and fold it length and breadthwise three times each way
2. Take a pair of scissors and cut bits off randomly until its all cut up
3. Unfold the remaining pieces and put them all in a bag
4. Apply a hairdryer to the bag's contents for 5 minutes until they are suitably mixed around
5. Pull a random piece out and glue to a blank canvass
6. Repeat the procedure until all pieces are glued on to the canvass
7. Call the work "Cut, Blown and Stuck On Mona"
8. Release an image of the finished work on the internet
9. At least 20% of the viewing audience will pronounce you a new misunderstood creative genius
posted by DirtyCreature at 11:28 PM on May 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Idiots also laughed at cubism, DC. If you have no appreciation for sampling, I suggest a class on modernism. The ideas are nearly a century old now, but they keep getting more interesting (see post-modernism). If you want to derail this thread into an indictment of remixing/sampling, then you should bring better evidence than that hackneyed shinola.
posted by squirrel at 1:42 AM on May 16, 2005

intothe80s - ' I have yet to hear a "remix" that manages to be even half as good as the original.'

I suggest you have, but you may not have known it. There are many songs which have been remixed from their original compositions for release as singles or album tracks.
For example 'Space Oddity' by Bowie; the original has some fairly weak elements courtesy of Rick Wakeman on the keyboards, whereas the single release which was mixed by Tony Visconti was the polished product that got Bowie his first US chart success.
posted by asok at 2:14 AM on May 16, 2005

I was hoping that it would be better than "London Booted." That shit sucked HARD!

I just listened to the first track, and I don't like it very much. But I don't have much affection for the original and I don't think I like this kind of digital manipulation. So now it occurs to me that there's no good reason for me to be commenting at all. Except that I already typed all this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:51 AM on May 16, 2005

If you want to understand the potential and future of sampling, you'll need to pick up Prefuse 73's One Word Extinguisher and Extinguished: Outtakes. Just look at the cover of Extinguished: Outtakes; sampling is a trademark of the information age.

9. At least 20% of the viewing audience will pronounce you a new misunderstood creative genius

Of course! But people fall for noise all the time.
posted by foot at 5:40 AM on May 16, 2005

intothe80s - ' I have yet to hear a "remix" that manages to be even half as good as the original.'

With a username like that, I'm really not surprised.
posted by Hubajube at 5:55 AM on May 16, 2005

Jeez, it's almost like all someone would have to do is paint a soup can or sign a urinal.

What is the world coming to?
posted by 31d1 at 6:03 AM on May 16, 2005

...sampling is a trademark of the information age.

I respectfully disagree. True the information age has enabled tremendous expansion of sampling exploration, and western culture has become drenched in it. (That intothe80s fool probably doesn't recognize how many disperate cultural elements are fused into everything he sees, reads, hears and eats. Sampling as we think of it now has been around since at least the 1950s, when the early beats were cutting up and rearranging texts, (e.g. Burroughs). With my limited knowledge of music, I can trace audio sampling experimentation back to the 1960s. "Revolution Number 9" from the white album comes to mind, but I figure that by the time sampling made its way to pop rock, it must have been in the art set for ten years or more.

Sampling is so integral to our sense of reality in the 21st century that I can say with utter certainty that all this oogity-boogidy behavior on behalf of the RIAA and MPAA is going to ultimately be for naught. You just can't stop culture by licensing it. It reminds me of the old joke about how to get rid of fleas: start charging them rent, and when they don't pay, give them an eviction notice.

I think that future historians with mark the centralized, huge-profits-for-a-few model of music and film as a 100-year blip in artifact creation. I raise my glass to the end of the blip.
posted by squirrel at 7:12 AM on May 16, 2005

I'm all for sampling and remixing and I'm fully aware that it's one of the more important aspects currently going in the music business. I simply didn't like this ruination. But I would imagine that it's hard to make something as distinctive as the beach boys into something equally distinctive AND as good as the original (but different, I know I know).
posted by ashbury at 7:19 AM on May 16, 2005

I'm not expecting anything as creative or memorable as the original, but c'mon, guys. Most of these remix tracks have no reason to exist.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:52 AM on May 16, 2005

ashbury, I know what you're talking about. I just heard someone slam remix per se and I had to say something. This mix has it's moments, and that's it. You made pains to distinuish the example from the larger form, which is a mark of strong thinkin'.
posted by squirrel at 8:24 AM on May 16, 2005

I think I should clarify my bit about 'sampling as a trademark of the information age'. I've always thought of Burroughs as being a classic information age artist. Cutting up and rearranging text is no different than sampling and rearranging sound (well it is different, but...). I think both techniques aim for the same desired effect, and in my mind I see those approaches as distinctive features of the information age, which extends back as far as the late 1800s. Phew.
posted by foot at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2005

Idiots also laughed at cubism, DC.

Just because idiots laugh at something doesn't mean it's good.
posted by argybarg at 8:50 AM on May 16, 2005

Oh come on... this is nowhere near as good as the original. I mean, where's the crystal clear phrasing? What the hell happened to the chord progressions? Why would you do that to a perfectly good song? Who the hell is this John Coltrane character, and what's he done with that beautiful song?!?

Wait, Beach Boys?

What were we talking about?
posted by Coda at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2005

I think the remix sounds pretty much like what Brian Wilson was really aiming for.

And thanks for the link. I was just thinking I'd like to have Pet Sounds on my iPod.

So many naysayers! Does this mean remixes are over?
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:51 PM on May 16, 2005

I raise my glass to the end of the blip.


I'm not expecting anything as creative or memorable as the original

I wasn't either, but I like this. Pretty good. I don't like much of this kinda stuff.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:55 PM on May 16, 2005

Upon reflection, I came to the same conclusion, foot. I didn't follow-up because I've already posted to this thread too much. FWIW, at this point, it's just a few hardcores and nuts left in here anyway.

Idiots also laughed at cubism, DC.

Just because idiots laugh at something doesn't mean it's good.

We agree on this, argybarg, but my (transparent) point was that DC dislikes remix per se because he doesn't understand it. I think you know that, and are being deliberately obtuse. The reason why is unclear.
posted by squirrel at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2005

I got sidetracked by the discussion about sampling and remix to such a degree that I neglected to explain the reason I enjoy this particular remix album. Brian Wilson has suffered from morbidly acute depression for most of his life; after the death of this brother Dennis, Brian spent over a decade in the virtual custody of a psychiatrist who, legal proceedings brought about by Brian's family revealed, was keeping Brian a chemical and psychological prisoner while he bilked the Wilson estate. The doctor kept Brian so pumped with psychedelics and tranquilizers that he really didn't know much about reality for over ten years. This is the story as I understand it. Listening to this mix gives me the sensation of being inside Brian Wilson's head during this period. I have a lot of sympathy for what the man has gone through, but I'm still intrigued by and curious about the quality of the experience he had.
posted by squirrel at 6:08 PM on May 16, 2005

Thanks for posting this. It's definitely worth a listen.
posted by apple scruff at 1:24 AM on May 17, 2005

Just a note on a comment above...Visconti did produce most of the associated album (released under various titles), but actually Ken Scott produced the "Space Oddity" single for Bowie. And yes, one only has to hear the various out-of-print Rykodiscs of Bowie albums to experience the often wretched early incarnations of some great tunes. Though I'm not sure I'd call later drafts of one's own tune "remixes" in the sense we're discussing here.

Pet Sounds Ruined is a nice remix set. A chunk of it strikes me as just silly ornamentation, but other pieces really took over and redirected the original tunes. Interesting, interesting. Strange clash of old and new techniques....
posted by Empty Planet at 6:52 AM on May 17, 2005

"I have yet to hear a "remix" that manages to be even half as good as the original."

hmm, interesting, for me it's the opposite. I can't think of many songs that have been "targeted" that I know of that don't have at least one remix or mashup that I like better than the original. Of course, I'm lukewarm about most mainstream pop anyway, regardless which decade it's from. But even with bands that I'm a fan of...Queen for example. The fatboy slim "we will rock you" is great.

I'd say the ratio of remixes/mashups to originals in my music library is about 50-50. I think. I have lots of songs that I have no idea whether they are originals or remixes, since I don't own a tv, don't listen to the radio, haven't been clubbing for several years and find all my music from recommendations and by exploring p2p.

what I like about remixes is that they tend to be filled with the musical equivalent of puns, and little jokes. Like the ending of the don't talk track. ha.

also, remixers almost always add syncopation. I'm a big fan of syncopation.
posted by lastobelus at 6:52 PM on May 20, 2005

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