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Quote of the day: (E)XPERIMENTATION

May 28, 2010

(E)XPERIMENTATION

GEORGE MARTIN: “Tomorrow Never Knows” was a great innovation. John wanted a very spooky kind of track, a very ethereal sound. When we constructed the original version of the tape, we started off with just the tamboura drone and Ringo’s very characteristic drumming.

Paul at that time was probably more avant-garde than the other boys. We always think of John as being the avant-garde one, with Yoko and so on, but at that time Paul was heavily into Stockhausen and John Cage and all the avant-garde artists.

It was Paul, actually, who experimented with his tape machine at home, taking the erase-head off and putting on loops, saturating the tape with weird sounds. He explained to the other boys how he had done this, and Ringo and George would do the same and bring me different loops of sounds, and I would listen to them at various speeds, backwards and forwards, and select some.

That was a weird track, because once we’d made it we could never reproduce it. All over the EMI studios were tape machines with loops on them, and people holding the loops at the right distance with a bit of pencil. The machines were going all the time, the loops being fed to different faders on our control panel, on which we could bring up the sound at any time, as on an organ. So the mix we did then was a random thing that could never be done again. Nobody else was doing records like that at that time – not as far as I know.

RINGO: As George says, we were “drinking a lot of tea” in those days, and on all my tapes you can hear, “Oh, I hope I’ve switched it on.” I’d get so deranged from strong tea. I’d sit there for hours making those noises.

The Beatles Anthology

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