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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
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Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).

viernes, 11 de marzo de 2016

George Martin - In My Life (1998)

Un conjunto de artistas de los más diversos orígenes, reunidos para realizar la producción que marcó el retiro del "quinto Beatle", el gran productor George Martin, con música de The Beatles.

Artista: George Martin
Álbum: In My Life
Año: 1998
Género: Pop / Fusión
Duración: 47:10
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas e intérpretes:
1. Come Together / Robin Williams & Bobby Mc Ferrin
2. A Hard Day's Night / Goldie Hawn

3. A Day in the Life / Jeff Beck
4. Here, There & Everywhere / Céline Dion
5. Because / Vanessa-Mae
6. I Am the Walrus / Jim Carrey
7. Here Comes the Sun / John Williams
8. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite / Billy Connolly
9. The Pepperland Suite (Pepperland - March of the Meanies - Sea of Monsters - Pepperland reprise) / George Martin
10. Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End / Phil Collins
11. Friends and Lovers / George Martin
12. In My Life / Sean Connery

Alineación:
Los anteriores apoyados por más de 25 músicos y The Chamber Orchestra of London

Ayer que escribía la reseña de Blow by Blow de Jeff Beck y me encontraba con la sorpresa de que había sido producido por George Martin (así es cabezones, no lo sabía), pensé que sería interesante compartir el disco con el que el máximo productor se retiró de la chamba. Que sirva como homenaje a todo lo que nos dejó, a tres días de haber fallecido.



Nada mejor que el comentario del autor para describir este disco:

He perdido la cuenta del número de discos que he producido en mi vida, pero cualquiera que sea la cantidad, tiene que haber inveitablemente uno que sea el último. Siendo así, ¿por qué dejarlo a la suerte? ¿Por qué no tomo yo mismo la decisión de cuál debería ser? Que sea uno que pueda recordar con cariño, uno que se pueda disfrutar hacerlo tanto como escucharlo.

Tuve una idea. Le pediría a algunos de mis amigos y héroes, gente querida y admirada que se reunieran conmigo alrededor de música que ha sido una gran parte de mi vida. Sería un homenaje a ellos también. The Beatles, por supuesto, son mis amigos y mis héroes, pero sería muy difícil que fueran parte de esto, por lo que en su lugar podría elegir sus canciones y arreglarlas para voces muy diferentes.

Ha sido maravilloso para mí haber trabajado con tantos grandes artistas en mi vida; son demasiados para nombrarlos y esta es mi manera de darles las gracias.

Recordé el disco que hice con Peter Sellers representando "A Hard Day's Night", cuando lo convencí de usar su voz de Lawrence Olivier en un gran escenario a la Ricardo III. Pensando así, hay mucha gente genial que siempre he querido capturar en disco y definitivamente este era el momento. Ha sido una tarea feliz y todos nos hemos divertido en grande. Una pena no haber podido alcanzar a Django, Miles y Hendrix o a Cary Grant o Rita Hayworth.
Así que ahí está, el último disco que produjo George Martin antes de retirarse, con diez temas de The Beatles y dos suyos ("The Pepperland Suite" y "Friends and Lovers", interpretados por un staff alucinante de músicos del mundo del rock (Jeff Beck, Phil Collins), del jazz (Bobby McFerrin), de la música clásica (Vanessa-Mae, John Williams), del pop (Céline Dion), y del cine y el teatro (Robin Williams, Goldie Hawn, Jim Carrey, Billy Connolly, Sean Connery). La variedad de intérpretes se aumenta con la variedad de formas orquestales y arreglos del genio Martin, dando por resultado un disco muy variado, divertido, interesante, sensible, en resumen, casi podría decir adorable (aunque aquí se mezcla mi propia historia con este disco, que me regaló en algún cumpleaños mi amigo el Fede, así que gracias también a él por ponerme en la pista de esta grabación).

Para aumentar la información sobre esta producción, en el cuadernillo encontrarán un comentario de Martin para cada tema seleccionado y también contando sobre los artistas invitados a interpretarlo. Destacados de la placa son los cortes de "Come Together" con el genio vocal Bobby McFerrin y el histrionismo del gran Robin Williams. En este sentido también resalta la interpretación de "I Am the Walrus" por un estupendo comediante que hace el papel como nadie: Jim Carrey. La versión de "A Hard Day's Night" está arreglada como una especie de baladita de la época swing que Goldie Hawn interpreta en un estilo casi cabaret, ¿quién hubiera dicho que esta chica cantaba con tanta picardía? La instrumental "A Day in a Life" en la guitarra de Jeff Beck es uno de los mejores temas del disco, y el final de Abbey Road a cargo de Phil Collins también está muy bueno. Así que aquí va este interesante producto para rendirle homenaje en el blog cabezón a uno de los más grandes productores (ese papel tan importante y, a veces, tan olvidado en la música) de la historia de la música en la segunda mitad del siglo XX.




Como verán en las siguientes reseñas, el disco no ha sido muy bien recibido por la crítica (esa señora que odia la música). Y es cierto que musicalmente no representa un hito de vanguardia ni nada parecido, pero si lo escuchan como lo que es: la reunión de despedida del "quinto Beatle", estoy seguro de que les va a gustar:

Andrew Rilstone

So, Mr Sir George Martin had the bright idea of bowing out of record producing with an anthology of big name stars mangling Beatles songs. If someone is going to mangle Beatles songs, Mr Sir George has more right than most. He was, as we all know, the Fifth Beatle. Admittedly, by the time you've included Pete Best, Stu Sutcliff, Neil Aspinall, the guy who played the drums when Ringo was sick and, er, Yoko Ono you've got more fifth Beatles than actual Beatles. I digress.
Some of the recordings are quite good, and some of them are dire, but the whole project seems to me to be conceptually flawed. Many of the middle-late Beatles songs are the result of studio improvisation and ad hoc collaboration. Somewhere in the middle of "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a beautiful John Lennon melody, almost a ballad. Having recorded that melody, the Beatles proceeded to add sounds to it and process it in various ways, until they had something they liked the sound of. That is the record which was released. George Martin compares the process to Picasso, endlessly paining and repainting the same canvass, until he felt that the work was "complete". How many masterpieces were obliterated during the process? The relatively unadulterated "Strawberry Fields" on Beatles Anthology 2 has advantages over the released version; in particular, the fact that you can hear the words. So if someone decides to produce a "cover" of "Strawberry Fields", where is the text? What script are you following? Are you obliged to chant "Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Sauce" at the end? Are the organ notes at the beginning part of the True and Platonic Form of John's Sacred Text, given that they didn't form part of the Anthology version and were arguably written by Paul McCartney? I guess that a real "cover version" of a Beatles song would require some other artist to take the bare bones of the melody and improvise around them until they had produced a completely new and maybe unrecognisable record; in which case, all the Beatles fans including myself would yell "heresy" and not buy the record.
No one I think on In My Life attempts to cover "Strawberry Fields", but we do get someone called Jeff Beck who I am evidently supposed to have heard of doing an instrumental version of "Day in the Life" on an electric guitar. And as long as he is doing the lilting nasal tuny bit, it works nicely. It had never occurred to me before how much a guitar sounds like John Lennon's voice, or vice versa. But either Beck or Martin himself takes the view that the record is the text, and thus feels obligated to include either a synthesiser or an actual orchestra doing a version of the orchestral crescendo from the middle of the song, not to mention the piano chord at the end. It doesn't work; it sounds stupid; like one of those Butlins Gaiety Theatre bands playing last years hits on trumpet and electric organ. Would it have been better to just take the "i-read-the-news-today-oboy" melody and leave the rest of the song un-covered? Or would that have been sound-byte recording, like ripping a few lines of Ode to Joy out of the ninth and using it to deter passing tigers?
Mr Phil Collins, who I had heard of, does a version of the tail end of Abbey Road (the most poignant piece of music in the world, for my money). It is so close, musically, to the original as to be completely redundant. But, interestingly enough, material from the beginning of the medley migrates into this version even though, if Abbey Road were an inviolable text in the way that Sgt Pepper apparently is, it does not belong here. Perhaps the reasoning is that each component of the medley is a song in its own right; and their arrangement on side two of the album, however brilliant, is contingent.
Songs which are primarily known for their tunes-and-words rather than their production are naturally more amenable to re-interpretation. The world and his mother-in-law has sung "Yesterday". I don't think very many of them have felt obliged to use a string quartet. Here, we have someone called Celine Dion (who I had not heard of) singing "Here There and Everywhere" arguably rather better than Paul McCartney. I think this is probably the only piece on the CD which stands up as a song on its own rather than a tribute to, comment on or parody of a Beatles record. John Williams (who I have heard of) pretends that "Here Comes the Sun" is a classical guitar piece, and this works nicely, provided you ignore the futile orchestral introduction and don't balk at the fact that George Harrison's name isn't mentioned on the sleeve, not once. Mr Martin's little musical joke of arranging "Because" as a quote mini-concerto unquote produces something which is surprisingly listenable to.
It's the more heavily produced songs which falter. Getting Jim Carey to do "I am the Walrus" must have seemed like a staggeringly good idea at the time, but it doesn't work. The point of the song, in so far as it has one, is the way in which it detaches words from meaning; it's gibberish which appears not to be; Lennon's quasi-Zen obsession with the dissolution of language. There is really no point in getting in a professional lunatic to sing the thing as if it meant something. "Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower" chants Ace Ventura, before ad libbing "come down from there!" in his trademark silly voice. This imposes too much logic on Lennon's word salad: by the time you have got to the tower, you should have forgotten the pilchard. The original record winds up with some random lines from Shakespeare which happened to be on the radio at the time. This one ends up with Carey maniacally improvising lines from Shakespeare. Why, lord, why?
Far and away the worst thing on the CD is Billy Connolly reciting, no, really, the lyrics of "Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite" with random vocal bits doing part of the tune in the background. The point of "Mr Kite", if it has one, was the eccentricity of finding an old circus poster lying around and turning it verbatim into a song. Is there a point to simply reading it out, albeit in a silly Scottish accent? Once again, a lot of the dotty studio experiments which ended up on the original record are lovingly reproduced here. What exactly is going on when the main tune can be left out, but the sound of Henry the Horse Dancing the Waltz is left in?
The two joke pieces on the album work rather well. Goldie Horn purrs "A Hard Days Night" in the style of a night-club temptress, which is certainly worth hearing, although only once. The record finishes with a clever spoof on Lennon's "In My Life" from which the album takes its title--a song which has always seemed to me to be one of the Master's weaker outings. George Martin himself plays the tune at half speed, while someone doing a passable impersonation of Sean Connery recites the words as if they were lines from Keats, rather than below-par Lennon. As a post-modern homage to Peter Sellers famous Shakespearean "Hard Days Night" it is positively inspired.
The critic Harold Bloom, or possibly someone else, talks about the anxiety of influence: writers simultaneously try to imitate great writers of the past, and try to be original. Every song on this album is trying desperately hard not to be the original Beatles recording, to think of ways of being different. Yet, at the same time, the sheer bigness of the Beatles reputation prevents anyone from doing anything really interesting. I couldn't listen to the record without mentally translating it back to the Original. I can't help thinking that that's what the singers were doing, too.
Not without merit, in an exasperating kind of a way.
Cub Koda en Allmusic
Beatles producer George Martin was hanging up his earphones after several decades of making legendary recordings, and decided to make one more where he called all the shots. Settling on a selection of Beatles tunes he had originally produced, he set about pairing up unlikely accomplices with specific tunes and arrangements in mind. The results are in the true George Martin orchestrated tradition, with several interesting twists and turns along the way. Kicking off with a surreal duet between Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin on "Come Together," other highlights include Goldie Hawn's giggly nightclub chanteuse reading of "A Hard Day's Night," Jeff Beck's majestic playing on "A Day in the Life," Jim Carrey's energetic take on "I Am the Walrus," and Sean Connery's reflective album closer, "In My Life." Tracks from Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Billy Connolly, Vanessa-Mae, and John Williams (and Martin himself conducting) complete this well-done "tribute within a tribute" swan song.
Sarah Zupko en Popmatters
As a long-time Beatlemanic, I had high hopes for this one. In My Life is famed Beatles producer George Martin’s last musical work and he has chosen to go out with a whimper instead of a bang I’m afraid. The idea of the record was to pair Beatles songs with some of the performers most admired by Martin. Sounds good so far right? Yeah, until you discover the “performers” are, by and large, not musicians but actors. I don’t really have to tell you that Goldie Hawn impersonating a chanteuse on “A Hard Day’s Night” or Sean Connery literally reading “In My Life” is an embarrassing display, do I?
Some of the folks on this record fare better—Robin Williams is a hoot leering his way through “Come Together,” but Jim Carrey shouting “I Am The Walrus” is pretty close to a musical travesty. Like me, hard-core Beatles fans will want to hear Martin’s last musical statement. All I can say is, “please, Mr. Martin, try this again with real musicians.” There’s certainly no shortage of Beatles admirers among pop’s current elite.  


Un documental de la BBC sobre el disco:



El divertido corte de Jim Carrey como la morsa








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