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The Hologram Freddie Mercury Performance

Freddie Mercury – like Tupac – will rise from the grave and make a technology-assisted appearance at a live concert. You heard that right; welcome the age of the virtual performer.


Mercury (far left) kicks it with his band, Queen. 

Queen guitarist Brian May told the BBC about the virtual Freddie Mercury, which will appear during a special tenth anniversary performance of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You,” in London’s West End. The performance will be similar to the hologram Tupac that rose from the stage at Coachella.

“[That technique] is something we’ve looked at ourselves but I think probably for a show that runs eight shows a week it’s not really quite practical,” May went on to say. “It’s a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac as we’ve been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while.” Supposedly Mercury – who died in 1991 – will appear as an “optical illusion,” not as a hologram.

The anniversary performance, which takes place Monday night (May 14th), is being staged at London’s Dominion Theatre and is being co-produced by actor Robert De Niro.

Rocking in The Free World
Performers like John Lennon and Elvis may be gone, but they’re not forgotten. If you think licensing the image of a celebrity for a T-shirt is big business, think about concerts that might feature a deceased entertainer like Frank Sinatra or Tupac – all brought back to life using technology.

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posted by DMA Phill in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

Greatest Music Videos of All Time

Using music and video together as a medium to tell a story can be a very powerful tool for communicating a message. Today filmmakers and musicians add Hollywood visual effects and other fancy tricks to make music videos have impact, but the pioneers of the format used their imaginations to push music videos to all new heights:

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song: “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965/1967)

Bob Dylan, the Voice of His Generation, trying not to look bored in the groundbreaking music video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” (The bearded guy to the left is poet Allen Ginsberg, author of the Beat classic “Howl.”)

How It Changed Music Videos: It was the first modern music video built around an artistic concept. The primitive black-and-white film was made to promote the song – the video was initially created for the 1967 D.A. Pennebaker documentary “Don’t Look Back,” which shadowed Dylan as he toured England during 1965.

It’s a pretty simple idea really, but one that has struck a chord with several generations of rock audiences. A guy stands in an alley holding a stack of cue cards. The audio from a rambunctious folk rock song starts to blast, each line of which is a non-stop barrage of hipster verbiage (example: “Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine/I’m on the pavement thinking about the government”).

As the video progresses, the guy in it, rock poet Bob Dylan, drops each cue card after its corresponding piece of lyric has been sung in the audio. Dylan does not sing or perform the song. In fact, he shows no particular emotion, except mild irritation and boredom. When he runs out of cue cards, he just walks out of the camera frame, leaving puzzled audiences to try and figure out what it all meant.

Artist: Michael Jackson
Song: “Thriller” (1984)

With Quincy Jones-produced rhythms and Michael Jackson as a zombie, “Thriller” proved to be a genuine media event.

How It Changed Music Videos: By 1984, MTV had taken over control of the music industry; at this point, a new album or single had to have a top-notch video. Michael Jackson took the challenge and ran with it, making this first single song video epic from what would become the decade’s biggest album.

Jackson brought on film director John Landis to oversee the project. Landis was already a Hollywood power-player, having directed “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Trading Places,” “The Blues Brothers,” and “An American Werewolf in London” before tackling “Thriller.” For the video he was given a half-million dollar budget.

Jackson made multiple music videos to promote several tracks, but the “Thriller” music video was more than just a regular video, adding eight minutes of additional narrative to the song’s six-minute length. Thematically, “Thriller” was a G-rated creep show with a disco beat and which featured a vocal cameo by Hollywood horror legend Vincent Price.

The video was so popular that MTV was eventually airing the 14-minute video twice per hour. Jackson was hailed as a creative genius for his own remarkable dancing, as well as arranging the zombie choreography.

The video helped propel sales of the “Thriller” album to 110 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling album of all time. Never again would either Jackson or the music video be so big.

Artist: Nirvana
Song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

Grunge started here…with deliberately low production standards.

How It Changed Music Videos: As the 80s progressed, video production techniques improved. Inspired by the massive success of “Thriller,” the trend toward lavishly produced videos continued. But not every musical act wanted to create an ultra-slick music video. Enter Seattle’s Nirvana in the early 90s, with a Punk-like desire to avoid seeming to be “corporate.”

So when the first Grunge band of note got ready to produce a music video for the breakout hit from its powerhouse album Nevermind, it had definite ideas about what it wanted. For its director, the band selected first-timer Samuel Bayer…specifically because he didn’t have much experience. Kurt Cobain (accurately) assumed Bayer would be technically inept and the resulting footage would have a raw, undisciplined quality.

The song became a major Alternative anthem and the music video a smashing success. Nirvana won numerous MTV Music Awards in 1992 and the Guinness Book of Records considers the video the most played music video on MTV Europe. In 2001, VH1 named it the fourth-greatest music video of all time.

Artist: Beastie Boys
Song: “Sabotage” (1994)

“Sabotage,” a loud and abrasive triumph of threat-screaming rage, was paired with the hilarious visual concept of the opening credits of a (fake) 70s police show.

How It Changed Music Videos: Part cop-show homage, part rock/rap blaster, the Beastie Boys’ greatest video was 100 percent pure fun.

The Beastie Boys were always highly creative when it came to making music videos. But the group’s signature music-video moment was directed by genius director Spike Jonze, who took a one-chord shouter from the “Ill Communication” album and turned it into music-video gold.

An instant classic upon release, the “Sabotage” music video was nominated in five different categories at the 1994 MTV Music Awards, yet took home no awards. However, fifteen years later, when the new category of “Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman)” was introduced, the very first recipient was “Sabotage.”

Artist: Johnny Cash
Song: “Hurt” (2003)

“Hurt” is a song about reaching conclusions and sifting through all of what has come before.

How It Changed Music Videos: Plenty of “serious” music videos have attempted to make a statement, but none more powerful than this stark goodbye from the Man in Black. Nobody expected the most powerful music video of its year to feature the great Johnny Cash, then working in his sixth decade as a recording artist. But then, nobody had expected Cash to make one of the biggest musical comebacks of all time during the 90s, suddenly becoming wildly popular with fans young enough to be his grandchildren.

For the music video, director Mark Romanek used extensive footage and photographs from throughout Cash’s life, which were contrasted with footage of the 71-year-old man. Cash was weak and facing a range of health problems at the time.

The combination of music and visual images made the “Hurt” video one of the most powerful music-video experiences ever. The video received the 2004 Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video and was listed as CMT’s top video for 2003 as well as the Number One greatest country music video for the following year.

In July 2011 New Music Express named it the best video of all time. Sadly, Cash himself didn’t get to see the video’s massive success; the Man in Black passed away seven months after the video was produced.

Make Your Own Landmark Videos
Music videos represent a perfect intersection between two wonderful art forms – but bringing the two together requires talent to create a quality video. It takes training, too, and learning how to make a music video is the perfect place to start. If you want to learn music & video production you need hands-on training in digital audio, music and beat production, and filmmaking skills, too. Once you have a good grasp of those things, you can take your idea and turn it into an award-winning and groundbreaking music video.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Music Production,Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

A Tribute: Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch Dies at 47

He was the most mature and coolest Beastie Boy. The Rap world lost a true auteur and pioneer in Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died on Friday, May 4, at age 47 from complications due to cancer. A Brooklyn native and practicing Buddhist, he lived in New York City with his wife and daughter.


Yauch became proficient on both the electric and acoustic bass, laying down the pulse on tracks like 1994′s “Sabotage.”

Only recently inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the Beastie Boys first burst onto the music scene with 1986′s “Licensed to Ill,” which sold more than 5 million albums, making it the biggest selling Rap album of the 1980s. The Beasties were rappers, but they were a lot more, and always had been.

Rhyming ‘n’ Stealing
They started out playing loud, abrasive Punk Rock and Thrash. Yauch first played bass with Michael Diamond on drums (“Mike D.”) and was later joined by Adam Horovitz on guitar (“King Ad-Rock”). Through a combination of New York street smarts, a remarkable sense of Rap and Hip-Hop, as well as extensive Rock ‘n’ Roll chops, the band was able to blaze through a succession of cutting-edge 90s albums that were rocking as well as rapping, funny as hell but also capable of keen human insight.

The Beasties will forever be known for albums such as “Check Your Head,” “Ill Communication,” “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two,” and “Paul’s Boutique,” the latter a genuine production masterpiece and an album that has been hailed as “the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ of Rap.


With total sales in excess of 40 million albums, the Beastie Boys became Rock ‘n’ Rap legends.

Beyond his musical accomplishments, Yauch was a genuine humanitarian and human rights activist. He organized concert benefits for the liberation of Tibet and personally worked alongside the Dalai Lama. He also had an offbeat and mischievous sense of humor, such as the time he heckled the lead singer of R.E.M. during an awards show (while wearing an Austrian goat herder’s outfit).

Paying Tribute to the Rap Genius
Yauch (who also used the stage name of Nathanial Hörnblowér) and his humor was on full display in such production masterpieces as the music video for “Sabotage,” which is now recognized as one of the landmark music videos of all time. There has been no statement on the future of the Beastie Boys, although it’s difficult at this moment to imagine the band continuing on as before. Yauch was that vital to the sound.


Don’t worry – he’ll be back. The Beastie Boys on “Futurama.”

We recently saluted the group and paid tribute to the top Beastie Boys tracks ever. Join us as we  journey through 25 years of unbridled artistic creativity. That a band this good has sold more than 40 million albums is a tribute to the collective genius of its members.

Rappers and Rock ‘n’ Rollers alike mourn the passing of this great artist and agent of cool, including Coldplay, which recently gave this touching tribute to Adam Yauch at the Hollywood Bowl on May 4th:

Thank you, MCA. You and your fellow bandmates taught us how to “Fight for Our Right to Party” and liberate our musical thinking. Adam Yauch…the mighty and majestic MCA…will be missed.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

Best Holiday Gift: Drum Machine T-Shirt

Are you looking for a unique holiday gift for the musician in your life? Well, we’ve found it. It’s a gift that blends technology with fashion, for the DJ or rising star on the go. But you won’t find this t-shirt on the rack at Target…


Make beats while on the go using your iPad – or this even cooler Drum Machine t-shirt.

The wearable and washable Drum Machine T-shirt thumps out the bass. It’s a real, working and functioning drum machine – that you can wear. We found the awesome t-shirt online at one of our favorite online shopping spots, ThinkGeek. The Drum Machine t-shirt features 9 different drum kits and allows the wearer to record beats,  loop those drum patterns and layer beats for virtually unlimited tracks.

Check out all these great features:

  • Real Working Wearable Drum Machine & Looper
  • 9 Different Drum Kits: Rock, Retro 808, Discotek, Techno Punk, Bass Invader, Chiptune, Zapf Dingbats & Scratchy
  • Create and record a beat loop (up to 3 minutes long)
  • Create a loop, then build and layer beats on top with unlimited tracks
  • 7-voices (you can play all 7 drum pads at once)
  • Mix and match sounds from the different built-in drum kits in one loop
  • Working mini amp clips on your belt and goes to 11
  • Built-in analog audio output jack
  • Exclusive product invented and designed by ThinkGeek (Patent Pending)
  • Fully washable, electronics and drum pads easily remove from shirt
  • Requires 4 x AA Batteries (not included)

Making Beats on the Go
How do guys like Jay-Z and Kayne West do it? Music and beat production done right is using state-of-the-art hardware and software like Apple’s Logic. Looking to learn how to make your own music? Why not attend a digital media academy, a music and beat production class could be just the thing to inspire the Elton John in you.

Just getting into making beats? Start your music adventure with a t-shirt! One more great thing about the Drum Machine T-shirt? It even comes with a small portable amp that clips to your belt. Check out the video below top see the shirt in action:

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posted by Vince Matthews in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

What the Copyright Laws Mean to Musicians

The music industry has been undergoing massive change: Consumers have practically forsaken retail and physical media in favor of digital downloads and music labels still can’t understand how to embrace digital music or how its shared.

And now the Recording Industry Association of America (these are the same people that issue gold records) must wrestle with a new copyright law that will decide if the record labels – or the artists – actually own the hits and for how long.


The RIAA gives sales certifications to recording artists. This one, presented to Epic Records, is for for Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Copyrights and Wrongs
The law was established in 1978 and will take effect in 2013. It’s a dense piece of legislation, but it comes down to a 1976 music copyright law and court ruling that says after a period of 35 years, artists could take legal action to get their master recordings back from the music labels that originally “published” them as singles or albums.

The reason, according to that ruling: Music companies are far more business-minded than artists, and have an automatic business advantage when dealing with artists. Therefore, after a set period of time, artists should get a second chance at negotiating a good deal for their creations.

As you might guess, the idea of artists regaining their original music isn’t too popular with music labels.

So what’s the big deal? After all, we’re talking about records that are 35 years old; today’s music is centered around Pop and Rap. However, that period of time produced an enormous wealth of very popular music (including Classic Rock, Punk, New Wave and Disco classics). Many of these songs are still popular today, and have seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to Rock Band, soda commercials, Glee and American Idol.


Recording artists like Bruce Springsteen may soon be able to take back ownership of their older master recordings from record labels.  

These songs become even more significant when you think that a record label may depend on them year after year for profits still generated by older albums sales, like The Eagles’ Hotel California. One label estimated that 90 percent of its current sales come from its back catalog. But many artists are ready to go after the labels very aggressively to regain the rights to their recordings.

Bruce Springsteen, spent nearly a year engaged in a similar court wrangle back in the mid-70s after he had signed away the rights to his songs to an early manager. (Springsteen’s early deal was so bad that if he had written an autobiography during the time, he wouldn’t have legally been allowed to quote lyrics from his own songs.) Springsteen was actually prevented from recording during his lengthy trial but eventually won his case. When he returned to the studio, he made one of his finest albums, Darkness on the Edge of Town. Ironically, that 1978 masterwork is one of the albums that could be affected by the new 35-year copyright rules.

The Download Dilemma
Consumers love the digital-download format. It’s incredibly accessible, and device friendly. For their part, music labels have been extremely hesitant to shift their business to the digital frontier. While it may make sense (digital songs take labels out of the costly business of manufacturing and shipping physical product), the RIAA feels digital downloads encourage file sharing or music piracy, plus they can’t directly control digital downloads like traditional retail.


The Recording Industry Association of America is leading the charge against music piracy.

Some artists are so fed up with the current state of the music biz they have taken a “vow of silence.” Pop/funk genius Prince (who’s been recording since the late 70s) recently stated he would refuse to release any new music until the industry could get a better handle on its business and how it’s fighting piracy. “The industry changed,” Prince said in an interview with The Guardian. “We [artists] made money before piracy…Nobody’s making money now except phone companies, Apple and Google.”

Sure, iTunes has revolutionized music distribution, but while the RIAA or musicians may find fault with Apple or Napster, the truth is that musicians and the industry must work together to adopt new technologies (like “the cloud”) and be at the forefront of these changes instead of being led by them. Musicians too are discovering ways to distribute their own music and get a larger slice of the pie. The RIAA also needs to understand its methods of fighting piracy are doing more to turn people off to new music than introduce them to it.


An open (and sarcastic) letter to the RIAA from Rolling Stone magazine. 

In the case of the 1978 copyright law, smart record labels will make an effort to reach out to the artists in question and cut a deal with them to continue to distribute their music. However, most industry analysts predict that each individual case will have to be determined by legal verdict, which could result in lengthy court battles between artists and music companies for years to come.

The Beat Goes On
Any time a new recording technology emerges, older technology is largely abandoned. This happened in the 80s when CDs first appeared and vinyl albums stopped being produced. This happened to the 70s relic, the 8-track tape. 8-tracks were replaced by cassette tapes, and cassettes ultimately were replaced by CDs. Some of these formats come back into fashion. For example, vinyl records have seen a comeback of sorts in recent years, but for the most part the old always gives way to the new.

Are you passionate about filling the world with the sound of music? America’s popular culture – and particularly its music – still sets the tone for the rest of the world, and that’s why the recording industry will always need creative and talented people to develop new music. Many of today’s great music producers are starting when they’re young; now there are many ways to learn music production and get into the music industry. It may remain to be determined how it’s getting on your music player, but music is here to stay.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

How The Beatles Changed Music

The Beatles were many things simultaneously: they were the most famous celebrities of their day…the best songwriters of their age…and, ultimately, the most beloved band of all time. And one more thing: The Beatles were also the most creative single force to ever hit popular music. The band influenced generations, and the group still continues to have a profound impact. The Beatles not only changed the way music was being made, they forever changed music.


The fifth Beatle: Producer George Martin (center) worked on all but one of The Beatles’ albums.

Through ceaseless inventiveness, The Beatles set musical trends that are still being followed. They never rested on their achievements, constantly stretching the boundaries of pop music. There is a chartable creative progression that begins with the first Beatle album and ends with the last. It should also be noted that The Beatles were assisted greatly by studio wizard George Martin, who produced every Beatle album (except Let it Be) and helped the band with their various sonic experiments.

Trying to list The Beatles’ various creative achievements would take forever, but we can zero in on five songs that demonstrate the band’s technical mastery.

I Feel Fine (Beatles ’65, 1964)
How It Changed Music:  The first intentional use of feedback in a pop music recording. 


Filming the video to accompany “I Feel Fine,” Ringo plays exercise bike. On the record, he employs a rhythm that can be traced to Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.”

In 1964, the idea of musicians actually trying to get their instruments to produce distortion was radically new. And although The Beatles certainly didn’t invent feedback and weren’t the first to incorporate it into their live act (The Who or The Kinks probably have that distinction), The Beatles were the first to release a single that featured feedback.

How It Happened: It was all due to a happy accident in the studio, when John propped his Gibson acoustic/electric against a switched-on amplifier. The guitar erupted with feedback, which stopped Lennon and McCartney in their tracks. The uniqueness of the sound impressed Lennon so much, he instantly asked producer George Martin if they could somehow use feedback in the recording. The producer suggested tacking it onto the front of the song and the rest is Rock ‘n’ Roll history. On the final master, John plucks the A string on his guitar. The note at first stings, then buzzes and finally dissolves into an ear-piercing wail. A million bands may have incorporated feedback into their sound, but The Beatles were the first to put it on record.

Eleanor Rigby (Revolver, 1966)
How It Changed Music:  Rock songs don’t always need to have happy endings – or traditional drums and guitars – to become hits. 
eleanor-rigby-england-45

Each song on the album Revolver has a unique, fully formed sound, but none more distinctive than Paul McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby.” A grim song about alienation (“Ah…look at all the lonely people!”), “Eleanor Rigby” tells the story of a lonely woman (who eventually dies) and a lonely minister (who presides over her burial). The song was a shock to Beatle fans that were used to upbeat love songs from the Fab Four. This was a song with no happy endings. Nonetheless, despite the somber subject matter, the song spent four weeks topping the British pop charts. More than 60 pop artists have covered the song since then.

Revolver marks the point when The Beatles stopped being a live performing act and became a full-time studio band. Aside from the general exhaustion of touring, The Beatles were becoming more ambitious about their music and had already mastered conventional multi-track recording techniques. Individual songs were being crafted with more time and creative techniques. In recording “Eleanor Rigby,” McCartney’s genius was to suggest the use of an eight-piece string section. In fact, none of The Beatles actually play instruments on the recording. Instead, the song is driven by its churning cello, mournful violas and stabbing violins.

How It Happened: There was a real Eleanor Rigby, who worked as a scullery maid in a Liverpool hospital and died in 1939. As teenagers, Lennon and McCartney hung around near a cemetery bearing her tombstone. It’s been suggested that McCartney absorbed the name subconsciously and used it years later when penning the song. By the way, “Father MacKenzie” started out as “Father McCartney,” until Paul feared that people would think he was describing his own father.

Tomorrow Never Knows (Revolver, 1966)
How It Changed Music:  Experimentation is good: Part One.


Backward beats: The Beatles usher in their psychedelic period with “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

The Beatles were still a unified force in 1966, but Revolver demonstrated the individual gifts of each Beatle. Paul scored high marks with “Eleanor Rigby,” while George Harrison contributed one of his best songs (“Taxman”) and drummer Ringo Starr sang lead on the innocent anthem, “Yellow Submarine.” As for John Lennon, he added the album’s closing track – a stunning piece of early psychedelic music called “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The lyrics, inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead, were strange enough (“Listen to the color of your dreams”) but the song itself sounded like virtually nothing the band had recorded up to that point.

How It Happened: To give Lennon’s chanting vocal the desired “sound of a guru on a mountaintop,” producer Martin ran the vocal track through a Lesley spinning speaker, a type of speaker that produced an odd, wobbly sound. John’s vocals were also doubled by using an Automatic Double Tracking (ADT) system. Meanwhile, Ringo used a unique drum pattern for his rhythm tracks and his drums and cymbals were recorded and played in reverse, as was Harrison’s sitar. The Beatles also gave the song an added layer of weirdness by adding 16 six-second-long tape loops of various sounds (most of which were played in reverse), which producer Martin interspersed through the song. The resulting final track was an amazing, riveting piece of music that predicted the band’s next stage: psychedelia.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
How It Changed Music:  Experimentation is good: Part Two.


John Lennon points to the poster that inspired “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”

Things were getting pretty crazy in groovy 1967, and that influence colors the album that many critics regard as not only The Beatles’ best album, but the best Rock album of all time. Sgt. Pepper is loaded throughout with one innovation after another, but “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” capably demonstrates the band’s daring musical experimentation. The song’s lyrics, which tell of an upcoming old-style circus event, were inspired by an antique music-hall poster that Lennon had acquired.


Lennon used direct quotes from this 124-year-old circus poster.

How It Happened: Much of Lennon’s lyric was taken word-for-word from the original handbill. For one musical passage within the song’s middle eight bars, a collection of different pieces of audio was gathered. Each tape contained a different type of carnival music. Producer George Martin, unhappy with their attempts to find one signature carnival sound, had all of the tapes cut into small pieces, which were then thrown into the air and onto the studio floor. The studio engineer then randomly picked up the pieces of tape, which were re-assembled in precisely that order to create a flowing montage of circus sounds.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Abbey Road, 1969)
How It Changed Music:  Simplicity can be a lot deeper than you think.


Even though the foursome would soon part company, The Beatles were still in-step when recording the band’s final masterpiece, Abbey Road.

After the dense, multi-layered psychedelic rumble that The Beatles pioneered during the Pepper era, most of Abbey Road (which was the last Beatle album recorded, although Let it Be would be released after it) was marked by a simpler sound that didn’t seem to rely quite so much on audio “tricks.” But even at their simplest, The Beatles’ music contains multiple levels. And that was certainly the case for “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which took a simple blues-type song and stretched it out to nearly eight minutes

How It Happened: Songwriter Lennon answered criticisms of the primitive lyric (“I want you…I want you so bad…I want you…I want you so bad it’s driving me mad”) by saying that it was an urgent love song that required a simple lyric. (Lennon used the example of a drowning man, who doesn’t scream, “Excuse me, but could you please possibly throw me that float and save me?” when “Help! I’m drowning!” is more to the point.) Then there are the song’s special effects, which were tacked onto the building instrumental that dominates the back half of the song. The bizarre sound of an increasing, howling wind (created by Lennon playing a Moog synthesizer) was grafted onto the song, with the white noise becoming louder as the song’s thundering chords repeat over and over.

The end of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is also technically interesting, because there really is no ending, per Lennon’s idea. The instruments keep hitting the main theme over and over (with the wind SFX now up to hurricane force) and then the song just unexpectedly goes silent. No final chord or drumbeat: just pure silence. An amazing and unexpected finish to a song that was more complex than originally judged…and one of the very last Beatle songs to be mixed by the group itself.


Even The Simpsons have paid tribute to The Beatles with this Abbey Road parody.

Creativity on Tap
The Beatles’ music still shines decades later, thanks to the careful craft that went into every Beatle recording. Each member of the band quickly became a master of the audio studio arts. Their early music shows The Beatles’ progression as audio producers who were bent and determined to give the world a new kind of sound.

The Beatles’ legacy lives on. The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus can help teach you how to become a music producer. And thanks in large part to The Beatles, audio production continues to attract creative and musical people of all ages.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

The Beatles and The Birth of The Music Video

Today’s instant pop phenomenon world makes it difficult to comprehend just how incredibly popular The Beatles really were.

But no musical act of any kind has ever been bigger, had such a lasting and far-reaching impact – and nobody has since generated the incredible excitement that The Beatles did during 1964, when they exploded onto the American scene. The group’s stranglehold on American musical tastes was powerful and immediate; at one point during 1964, the band charted four of the Top Ten singles being played on the radio. The Beatles were everywhere.


Innovative director Richard Lester brought “The Fab Four” to the big screen in 1964.

Music and Film
The Beatles were not only omnipresent in every form of media of the day, but they were also re-inventing every form of media – like no other artist before them. It was inevitable that The Beatles would star in a feature film. The band’s first movie, A Hard Day’s Night, was the group’s best. It was also a ground-breaking mixture of music and film and what many consider to be one of the inspirations for modern music videos. A Hard Day’s Night remains a cinematic treasure – not only because it was an inside look at early Beatlemania, but it brought music and pop star images together in an entirely unique way. This was all presented as a superb comedy loaded with fresh cinematic ideas all courtesy of director, Richard Lester.


The Beatles were huge celebrities when filming began. The crowd chasing The Beatles at the railway station at the beginning is made up of real fans actually chasing the Fab Four. The scene was recently recreated for the opening of The Beatles Rock Band videogame.


Paul McCartney greets a fan during the filming of Hard Day’s Night.

A Hard Day’s Night took the film world by surprise. No one had any idea it would be that good. Critics were stunned, and reviews almost completely positive. Critic Roger Ebert noted the film’s long-standing influence. “Today when we watch TV,” he wrote, “And see quick cutting, hand-held cameras, interviews conducted on the run with moving targets, quickly intercut snatches of dialogue, music under documentary action and all the other trademarks of the modern style, we are looking at the children of A Hard Day’s Night.” Suffice it to say that anyone interested in learning how to make music videos really must see this film.

Director Richard Lester is one “old school” director who would have probably felt right at home in today’s fast-paced cinema. His work on A Hard Day’s Night suggests he would have loved the flexibility and freedom that Final Cut Pro X offers. Many of today’s most respected filmmakers, such as the Coen brothers (True Grit) and Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather), have spent time learning how to use Final Cut Pro. Apple’s Final Cut software is both flexible and easy to use.

The Beatles have always been at the cutting edge of media, if they were still making films and videos today they’d be most likely making music videos and producing them using state-of the-art editing software like Final Cut.

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

Come Together: Music and Video Production

I just recently returned from a 2 1/2 week tour on board the Lennon Bus. The relationship with the Lennon Bus and Digital Media Academy is what gave birth to the idea of the Come Together: Music and Video Production Course. For a student coming into that summer course with no prior experience it can be intimidating thinking about having to write your own song and shoot a music video in just one week. But it should be anything but intimidating. Technology has made it so easy for us to have a quick turnaround with high production value. The Lennon Bus typically works on a project with students for just 8 hrs! At DMA Summer Camps you get a whole week! By the end of the week you are going to be so filled with ideas your head may just explode. Here are some projects I just worked on with students on the Lennon Bus in just an 8 hr work day. Check them out and I hope to see you in a Come Together class this summer!

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posted by Seamus Harte in Digital Music Production,Digital Video Production,News Blog and have Comments (2)