Saturday, September 12th, 2009 Horrorthon Posts

I’m on an insane deadline and under tremendous stress, so I’ll make this quick (I only allowed myself fifteen seconds to provide a picture, which is why the above is so crude). But I had to mention 1) that (through various Jack Sparrow-type channels) I’ve acquired both the Stereo Box and the Mono Box in their entirety (as lossless .FLAC files that I converted to variable-bitrate .mp3s) and 2) that it’s an explosive, astonishing, incredible experience to listen to all of it. My cat seems to be giving me a look that says, “Enough with the damn Beatles!” after two solid days of nothing but.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the whole thing is superb beyond words; that the mono mixes (which I’d, mostly, never heard before, and which are considered the “true” mixes, since the Beatles and George Martin were directly involved in a way that wasn’t true for the subsequent stereo versions) sound absolutely incredible, and that everyone who can afford it (including myself, later) should go buy this stuff. John Lennon said that you “haven’t really heard the ‘White Album’ until you’ve heard it in mono,” and, after having my socks blown off by “Helter Skelter” (which lacks the “blisters on my fingers” coda in its original mono rendition) I’d be inclined to agree. At the other end of the scale, the first-ever stereo discs of the first four albums (Please Please Me, With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale, A Hard Day’s Night) are, well, I’m running out of superlatives, but those 1987 versions were such muddy, thin fare by comparison to what they’ve done here.

What’s particularly amazing is this: when you talk about mono vinyl to cassettes to old 1980s CDs to modern digital remasters, it’s like talking about VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray—it’s a similar progression—except that, with movies, we all remember going to the theater and seeing the stuff “for real.” With recorded music, there’s no equivalent, unless you were one of the lucky dozen or so people who were actually in the room at Abbey Road studios when these tracks were first recorded. My point is, nobody has ever heard this before. It simply wasn’t physically possible. The entire Beatles legacy is based on vinyl recordings that are totally inferior to the 1987 CDs, which are equally inferior to these remasters. I don’t even know how to think about that. Anyway, it’s amazing what’s been given to us by those four; a gift, as we know, equal to the love they took. Yeah, yeah, yeah!