Reference Page:

Atlantic Records Independent Blog Entry:

Podcast on Norman Whitfield References:

Auto-Tune Innovation References:

Kraftwerk References:

  • Ankeny, J. (n.d.). Kraftwerk – Music Biography, Credits and Discography : AllMusic. AllMusic : Music Search, Recommendations, Videos and Reviews. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from http://www.allmusic.com/artist/kraftwerk-mn0000104714
  • Unknown, U. (Director). (2008). Kraftwerk and the electronic revolution[Documentary]. Germany: Sexy Intellectual.

Brian Eno Prezi:

Marvin Gaye Whats Really Going On:

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Brian Eno Prezi

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The Beatles: Revolver

Some would say Revolver was the second volume of Rubber Soul. (Newman, Ray, 2008) But I think they had a lot of differences. Apart from the usual fun, grooving songs that were similar to a lot of The Beatles older work like “Taxman”, Revolver  also had a raw, darker side as well. “Eleanor Rigby” has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs, but it was only recently I realized the start contrast this love song had compared to Beatles records before. It seemed much darker, much lonelier, and much deeper. It wasnt an innocent, young and naïve take on love, but a realization of what its like to live with deeper feelings for someone, and what happens wen things aren’t always blue skies.

Before Revolver I think The Beatles were genuinely a lot younger and naïve. Like The Beach Boys before Pet Sounds, they were still growing up, and enjoying their new found popularity and easy life that success had been giving them. Before Sgt. Hearts and Revolver I found The Beatles to sound somewhat cheesy. A lot of their music reminded me of Scooby Doo and the music played while ‘the gang’ ran through hallways being chased by fake ghosts and ghouls. Revolver turned a page. Some of those songs just grip you when you hear them, and still retain melodies and hooks that never stop repeating themselves in your brain.

Although they had begun experimenting with LSD before 1966, I think its presence in the music was limited, or played down. In Revolver, I don’t think they held back in expressing its effects, or alterations to their own realities.

Using tape loops that Lennon and Mcartney prepared themselves to add effects and substance is one of the albums major innovations of the time. My favorite is John Lennons voice being sent through a Leslie speaker and recorded. His influences from Indian music are very evident throughout this album. The sitar instrumentation was back again, and added a presence that no other band in that era had. The strings on “Eleanor Rigby” were dry and raw; creating a perfect theme to the cold war era the world was just coming out of.  “Tomorrow Never Knows” featured many new techniques never before heard. Reversed guitars and looped tape effects gave the song and whining, drone type feel. Another one of the great innovations featured on this album was automatic double tracked vocals. This later became standard practice on pretty much all pop albums as we know now.

Revolver is another one of the greatest albums of all time. Whereas The Beach Boys had fun upbeat fantasies about love, The Beatles shared some dark emotion and feelings that really stood out to me.  Songs like “Yellow Submarine” created a great image of what an LSD trip must have been. It was experimental, innovative, raw, and immaculately produced and engineered. Revolver changed the world I think, and brought millions of people together.

 

  • Newman, R. (2008). Abracadabra: the making of The Beatles’ Revolver album. London: Friday.
  • Revolver, The Beatles | OMM | The Observer. (n.d.). Observer | From the Observer | The Guardian . Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,,1240036,00.html

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The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds

Before the release of Pet Sounds in 1966 The Beach Boys were basically a surf-rock boy band still growing up. Although they had many hits in the 5 odd years before Pet Sounds, that album ushered in a complex new sound for them, and inspired even the greatest rock band of all time; The Beatles.

They were simple, and catchy as The Beach Boys first started. You could hear the good times, and laughter in their music. But I think it seemed to lack depth in the early years. With the exception of Brian Wilson, I think they only wanted to have fun, and enjoy being young. Brian had ambition, and had a great producer and engineer he admired to no end. That engineer of course was Phil Spector and his Wall of Sound technique. He admired The Beatles album Rubber Soul and wouldn’t stop until he had made an album that wasn’t only at the same level, but exceeded it.

Pet Sounds ushered in a new era of using the recording studio itself as an instrument. This was one of the albums major characteristics. Altering tape machines to speed up tracks to make them sound “sweeter” or flanging them to create a new effect. The Beatles said themselves Sgt. Peppers was inspired by Brian’s work. Another characteristic that seems to stand out more and more as I listen is the amazing variety of instruments used on this album. Bicycle horns and tambourines combined with cello’s and grooving bass lines; I cant even imagine what it must have been like to hear this back in 1966.

Apart from setting new precedents in recording techniques and instrument arrangements, they also had other firsts. God Only Knows was the first major single to say ‘God’ in a song. They were nervous to no end wondering if it would even get air play, and it turned out to be a great success.

I personally love this album. It has so much depth, but is still such a fun album to listen too. That is such a hard combination to fully realize. Some albums are overbearing and even saddening to listen too. But in Pet Sounds you can day dream about better days, and summer loves. I also love the wide use of instruments. Its refreshing compared to todays pop music which usually features synthesized versions of everything and squashed mastering over the top. This album has so many dynamic qualities and arrangements that keep you entertained and engaged.

My final thoughts; I’m building a time machine so I can hear this album fresh off the press in 1966.

References:

  • Wilson, B. (Director). (2003). Brian Wilson presents Pet sounds live in London[Documentary]. United States: Sanctuary Visual Entertainment.
  • happy, S. &., & Kemp, M. (n.d.). The Beach Boys | Bio, Pictures, Videos | Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone | Music News, Politics, Reviews, Photos, Videos, Interviews and More. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/the-beach-boys/biographyImage
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Welcome to Shelby Lesters blog page for Music History II

Let me start by giving you a little background on myself; I have been an avid musician since elementary school. I began by playing saxophone, and kept playing throughout high school. Before graduating I also started playing guitar and became a member of a few local bands from my home town. This gave a great knowledge of working with musicians, playing live gigs and the glue that makes it all work. After graduating I found myself becoming interested in the “technical” side of making music. Thats how I found myself at Full Sail University. I now largely enjoy producing, mixing and mastering all forms of music. I still play guitar here and there, and still write often, but my home has become made behind a console. I hope you like the page! Image

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