Monday, November 20, 2006

In House #1749: The Beatles' Love; New Forro In the Dark

It's difficult not to be automatically wary whenever one hears of "reworkings" or "alternate mixes" of classic recordings-- The Beatles perhaps topping the list of acts that have been packaged and repackaged in various guises with generally cheap and gimmicky results over the years. Let It Be...Naked, the 2003 Phil Spector-less release of the band's classic swansong, comes quickly to mind as a repackaging/remixing that was met with widespread criticism, particularly from diehards who consider such meddling akin to sacrilege. Love, the latest re-realization of the Fab Four, may present a challenge to the staunchest of purists as it sports production duties by the likes of the Beatles producer, Sir George Martin, and his son Giles. Moreover, the project had the full support of the remaining Beatles trust, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono.

In a sense, the music on Love is actually a soundtrack, the musical backbone behind the Cirque du Soleil's production of the same name currently running in Las Vegas. The Martins were given access to EMI's vast vaults of Beatles material, including outtakes, sound pieces, demos and such, and were asked to create something entirely new for the production. The results are brand new, but the ingredients come directly from recordings made by the band, many of which are heard here for the first time. In many cases, the creations result in what might almost be referred to as Beatles mash-ups: "Strawberry Fields Forever," for example, actually begins with Lennon's demo version before launching into a later take along with pieces from "In My Life," and "Piggies," among others. "Blackbird," meanwhile, begins with its familiar guitar melody before transforming into "Yesterday." Still others, like "Because," and "Something," undergo more subtle changes, many of which are hard to catch unless being listened to alongside the originals. No doubt the reaction will be to treat this as a money-grab, and even the best case scenario still recommends the original recordings-- but for what it is there's more than a little here to Love. Consider the source.

In House #1749.
Airdate: 11/20/06
Focus: New Beatles release, Love, plus new music from Forro In the Dark joined by David Byrne, Jarvis, Nellie McKay, The Walkmen, and more.

Forro In the Dark featuring David Byrne, from Bonfires of Sao Jao:
"I Wish (Bundle of Contradictions)" (MP3)

The Beatles, from Love:
"Lady Madonna (Love version)" (MP3)



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