NEXT!!! Tomorrow Never Knows!

3/1/09

Well, i’m over it…so let’s move on…here is an sneak peek into my next project…i’m not at liberty to tell you what it will be but would love some feedback on this passage…most importantly…can it be understood by everyone…musicians or not?

The recording of the Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows (Mark 1 was it’s working title), beginning April 6th and 7th 1966, would move the Beatles (and all of music’s) recording process a few levels ahead. Two new techniques would be employed (it gets a little technical here but I’ll do my best to keep it understandable by all). The first was called ADT or Automatic Double Tracking. Up until this point all double tracking required the singer to sing the song or passage a second time, on top of the first. Now with a new machine invented by EMI engineer Ken Towsend, this process could mechanized saving time and aggravation. According to Ken “The Beatles often liked to double-track their vocals but it’s quite a laborious process and they soon got fed up with it. So I came up with the idea for doing it automatically.” ADT is a process where a recording signal is taken from the playback head of the tape machine, is recorded onto a separate machine which has a variable oscillator (enabling the speed to be altered) and then fed back into the first machine to be combined with the original signal. In photography the placement of a negative directly over another does not alter the image. But move one slightly and the image widens. ADT does this with tape.

The other groundbreaking invention to come out of the Tomorrow Never Knows sessions was the sound of John’s voice. Prompted by John telling George Martin “I want my voice to sound like I’m the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountain top. And yet I still want to hear the words that I am singing”….

This was created by feeding John’s voice through a revolving Leslie speaker inside a Hammond organ…I know…What the heck is that…right? I said the same thing when I first heard it but here is somewhat simplified explanation. Organ notes played through the Leslie speaker (a large wooden box that contained an amp and two sets of revolving speakers, one that carried low bass frequencies and the other that carried high treble frequencies; it was the effect of those spinning speakers that was responsible for the Hammond Organ’s sound) are given the Hammond swirling effect; voices put through it emerge in much the same way. “It meant actually breaking into the circuitry.” Said Geoff Emerick “I remember the surprise on our faces when the voice came out of the speaker. It was one of sheer amazement.” When Paul heard it he said “It’s the Dalai Lennon.” After that they wanted everything shoved through the Leslie: pianos, guitars, drums, vocals, you name it” ….

NOTE: the Leslie’d Lennon vocal on Tomorrow Never Knows begins 87 seconds into the song. Prior to that it was just treated with ADT….

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