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Author Topic: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9  (Read 1026 times)

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Kangaroo Kev

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Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« on: July 27, 2014, 01:01:39 AM »

I chose this one because of me going to see the White Album Live concert the other week, I actually found what the band did very interesting, I wish it was available to hear again, it made me listen to this in a new light, and its more 'interesting' than I have always thought..

"Revolution 9" is a recorded composition that appeared on the Beatles' 1968 self-titled LP release.
The sound collage, credited to Lennon–McCartney, was created primarily by John Lennon with assistance from George Harrison and Yoko Ono. Lennon said he was trying to paint a picture of a revolution using sound. The composition was influenced by the avant-garde style of Ono as well as the musique concrète works of composers such as Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The recording began as an extended ending to the album version of "Revolution." Lennon then combined the unused coda with numerous overdubbed vocals, speech, sound effects, and short tape loops of speech and musical performances, some of which were reversed. These were further manipulated with echo, distortion, stereo panning, and fading.

Paul McCartney argued against including the track on The Beatles. At over eight minutes, it is the longest track that the Beatles officially released.

"Revolution 9" was not the first venture by the Beatles into experimental recordings. In January 1967, McCartney led the group in recording an unreleased piece called "Carnival of Light" during a session for "Penny Lane". McCartney said the work was inspired by composers Stockhausen and John Cage.
Stockhausen was also a favourite of Lennon, and was one of the people included on the Sgt. Pepper album cover. Music critic Ian McDonald wrote that "Revolution 9" may have been influenced by Stockhausen's Hymnen in particular.

Much of the track consists of tape loops that are faded in and out, several of which are sampled from performances of classical music. Works that have been specifically identified include the Vaughan Williams motet O Clap Your Hands, the final chord from Sibelius' Symphony No. 7, and the reversed finale of Schumann's Symphonic Studies.
Other loops include brief portions of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, "The Streets of Cairo", violins from "A Day in the Life", and George Martin saying "Geoff, put the red light on". Part of the Arabic song "Awwal Hamsa" by Farid Il-Atrash is included shortly after the 7-minute mark. There are also loops of unidentified operatic performances, backwards mellotron, violins and sound effects, an oboe/horn duet, a reversed electric guitar in the key of E major, and a reversed string quartet in the key of E-flat major.

The unusual nature of "Revolution 9" engendered a wide range of opinions. Mark Lewisohn summarised the public reaction upon its release: "... most listeners loathing it outright, the dedicated fans trying to understand it."
Music critics Robert Christgau and John Piccarella called it "an anti-masterpiece" and noted that, in effect, "for eight minutes of an album officially titled The Beatles, there were no Beatles."
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 01:40:04 AM »

Great track that Revolution 9...when played backward...


Revolution 9 Backmask (backwards) by The Beatles



Plenty of clues there!  This track on my LP is very worn from playing it at different speeds, forward and backward, when I was in college.    ;D 
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Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 04:07:37 AM »

I prefer it forwards

No 9  No 9  No 9...........

Revolution 9 from The Beatles
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Moogmodule

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 04:39:04 AM »

If this isn't the least popular Beatles track I don't know what would be. I guess it's fair enough that people wonder what on earth they were thinking. Given at the time people listening habit was to whack on a record this must have caused consternation and impatient track skipping at lots of parties and bbqs.

I suppose it's all a bit indulgent and taking the experimentation thing a bit too far. Certainly Paul seemed to think so and he was always going on about his experimental and avant garde interests. I think Paul always liked the idea of incorporating experimental ideas but not compromising the overall listenability  of the final product. It was meant to be seasoning rather than the protein.

But for what it is I think it's well done. It really has an eerie, creepy quality to it.  It's certainly beyond just random noise.   It hangs together as a mood piece.

Never listen to it though.










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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 07:46:50 AM »

Pure utter sh*t.

Moogmodule

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 08:54:43 AM »

Pure utter sh*t.

Harmonies are nice though
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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 09:01:41 AM »

'Revolution No. 9' almost defines what the 60s were all about, and it seems incredible, especially from this distance, that the biggest group of the era (and every other era.....by miles) could put out such a track on one of their mainstream records, one that was No. 1 for two months, and not as an off-shoot project.

That, categorically, could not be done today, or indeed in any era since the 60s. 

The merging of such madness and pop music is what compels me to virtually reside entirely in the 50s and 60s and disregard the eras afterwards as lesser in terms of experimentation, importance and, let's not forget, fun.

'Revolution No. 9' would not get in my Beatles Top 100, but without it the group and the 60s itself would be just like the decades that followed it, i.e. forgettable/not all that.
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ibanez_ax

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 12:47:21 PM »

I have no use for it and haven't since 1968.  Fans of Stockhausen seem to like it.  I hit skip when playing the White Album on CD or on my PC, but not on vinyl (but sometimes I hit the mute button).

To each their own.  There was a thread about it over at the Hoffman forums several months ago that got deleted because it got pretty nasty.  Some posters said some elitist nonsense about if you don't like Number 9, then the rest of your record collection must suck.  Then it just got worse so the mods deleted it.
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Klang

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 12:47:47 PM »

I accepted it upon its release and regarded it as fairly well done sonic expressionism. Or something. Anyway, I could never say I hated it.

In fact, I felt it was pretty cool to go so outside the box, so to speak. That, certainly, could only have been done on a double album.

I think I mention this before somewhere on the boards, but I have a John Cage recording that really reminds me of '9'. Startlingly so.

 :)
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blmeanie

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 12:55:52 PM »

Pure utter sh*t.

Agree but we all know their sh*t doesn't smell.

I went through a period with friends long time ago that it was listened to at the end of an evenings worth of partying.  I don't think I've listened to it in 25 years.
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Normandie

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 06:50:47 PM »

Mark Lewisohn summarised the public reaction upon its release: "... most listeners loathing it outright, the dedicated fans trying to understand it."

That pretty much sums up my own reaction. I hated it the first time I heard it, tried to understand it because it was a Beatles track, failed to understand it, and now pretty much always skip it.
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Dcazz

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 10:25:11 PM »

That pretty much sums up my own reaction. I hated it the first time I heard it, tried to understand it because it was a Beatles track, failed to understand it, and now pretty much always skip it.
I'm with you! Once you realize you can't figure it out, you tend to skip it!
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Kangaroo Kev

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 11:11:59 PM »

I accepted it upon its release and regarded it as fairly well done sonic expressionism. Or something. Anyway, I could never say I hated it.

In fact, I felt it was pretty cool to go so outside the box, so to speak. That, certainly, could only have been done on a double album.

I think I mention this before somewhere on the boards, but I have a John Cage recording that really reminds me of '9'. Startlingly so.

 :)

I feel a bit the same as you Klang

Its not a song, so you cant play it while your driving or doing the ironing  ha2ha

BUT I find that when Im in the mood I can listen to it on headphones (way better on headphones) and sort of transcend into it (like I do with prog rock) I mean compared to tracks by the band Yes its short at 8 minutes, Close To The Edge is 22 minutes long and so are many Yes tracks

I like the way it builds in intensity and becomes hostile and threatening, one of the most beautiful things for me is the angry chants which eventually morph into the tender side of humanity with the opening achingly sweet (and sugary) melody of John's 'Goodnight' I absolutely love that.

I disagree and agree here with oldbrownshoe, it does show what was possible in the 60's and the 'way out' experimentation of the period but if you explore symphonic rock in the 70's there were many many just as daring things done, and done in a marvellous way by bands like PFM, King Crimson, Yes and early Genesis. I mean Yes practically put the bible to music on Tales From Topographic Oceans........ ha2ha

Its obviously not for everybody, you dont really have to understand it (like a surreal painting) it is what it evokes in your own head.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 11:13:54 PM by nimrod »
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In My Life

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2014, 02:27:43 AM »

As I've said before I've tried to like this but there's just something about Yoko saying "If you become naked" several times that puts the brakes on it. LOL The few times I've listened to it all the way through I wound up feeling rather anxious.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 05:26:38 AM by In My Life »
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Kelley

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Moogmodule

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2014, 04:26:06 AM »

As I've said before I've tried to like this but there's just something about Yoko saying "If you become naked" several times that puts the brakes on it. LOL The few times I've listened to it all the way through I wind up feeling rather anxious.

I definitely feel anxious when Yoko says that  ;)

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In My Life

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2014, 05:25:42 AM »

^^^

 ha2ha
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Kelley

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Moogmodule

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2014, 05:44:36 AM »



I like the way it builds in intensity and becomes hostile and threatening, one of the most beautiful things for me is the angry chants which eventually morph into the tender side of humanity with the opening achingly sweet (and sugary) melody of John's 'Goodnight' I absolutely love that.



I can't recall but I don't think I ever heard No 9 before the whole Paul is Dead thing was around. As one of the clues is that some of the sounds depict Paul's fatal crash it's hard to ever listen to it without that disturbing imagery in my head.  That's probably influenced my perception of it all this time.

The mellotron flutes always give a funereal ambience to me as well.

So Goodnight is a blessed relief when it finally turns up. 

I must try listening to it late at night after a few red wines. With the lights off.
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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2014, 05:50:14 PM »

I must stress that I'm not that taken by 'Revolution No. 9', it's just that if you have a group (and an era) that attempts something like 'Revolution No. 9' you get.....'Tomorrow Never Knows', 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'Long Long Long' and 'Revolution'.
 
And while a Top 40 pop group's doing this, other things are happening, like man is landing on the moon!

If you are in an era that doesn't attempt something like 'Revolution No. 9' you get Oasis, and no one is landing on the moon.
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In My Life

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2014, 11:47:38 PM »

I must try listening to it late at night after a few red wines. With the lights off.

You're a brave man, Moog!
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Kelley

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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Revolution 9
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2014, 01:07:05 AM »

I'm going to have to say it and this is without reading the comments, but if anybody finds any enjoyment of any kind in that mess of gibberish bullsh*t, they are being Beatle homers and nothing more.
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