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Author Topic: TSS - All things Surf's Up  (Read 61139 times)
Ram4
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« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2011, 11:23:26 AM »

I was listening to the vinyl at a friends house on a very good system and I have to agree with those who prefer the stereo stuff.  Surf's Up in particular was GORGEOUS in stereo.  I was a little off put by a few things in the new version (lot of echo, Carl suddenly appearing, harmonies on "are you sleeping," the end...).  But now I really love the new version.  Especially the stereo mix. 

As much as I wanted to embrace the mono, just like most of the Beach Boys stuff that finally gets a stereo mix, it just gets better in stereo (with some exceptions of course).  Brian's use of so many instruments get lost in a mono mix and the stereo mixes allow so many things to be heard better.  Sometimes I miss the punch of mono on a stereo mix and I normally don't like when you have too many things on one side or another, but that is not usually the case with the BB.

But thanks to technology, what we have, and what some other people have - we can still enjoy stereo versions of almost everything on SMiLE and that's the best part.  We have both. Cheesy

Surf's Up 1967 is incredible.  It's very emotional to listen to, knowing what state he must have been in at the time.  Not only was the entire album scapped, his world starting to unravel, his band's popularity falling at an alarming rate, but he still had a song like this... perhaps the best he has ever written and he can't/won't release it.  In his mind at the time, he might be thinking that no one would EVER hear it (aside from the CBS broadcast) again.  Very sad and beautiful.  The end of an era. Cry
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The Demon
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« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2011, 03:39:19 PM »

Laughing horns...possible idea for overdub around the "Laughs come hard..." line?
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Micha
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« Reply #52 on: November 10, 2011, 01:35:06 AM »

I'm happy they kept the 1971 "Bygone, bygone" and the fade but left that organ from the mix. That 1971 organ always annoyed me. Man, they were the frigging Beach Boys, why didn't they just sing that part like they do on H&V? That would have been great!
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runnersdialzero
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« Reply #53 on: November 10, 2011, 02:31:25 AM »

I kinda wished the organ had it's own track, I've wondered what Brian's vocal with the organ would've sounded like for ages.
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« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2011, 10:15:01 PM »

I'm happy they kept the 1971 "Bygone, bygone" and the fade but left that organ from the mix. That 1971 organ always annoyed me. Man, they were the frigging Beach Boys, why didn't they just sing that part like they do on H&V? That would have been great!

+1
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The Radiant Radish
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« Reply #55 on: November 12, 2011, 04:29:08 PM »

I kinda wished the organ had it's own track, I've wondered what Brian's vocal with the organ would've sounded like for ages.

You can get an isolated Brian vocal for the middle section - that is separate from his piano track from the demo version - with the organ on another track by extracting the 5.1 mix from the Endless Harmony dvd into each individual channel of the mix.

There is also a clean 'dry' Carl vocal to be had which I mixed into a more subdued less spatial mix removing Al's "a children's song" bit and thus emphasizing the lower register vocals in the coda for a more fitting (in my opinion), less bells and whistles version.
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harrisonjon
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« Reply #56 on: November 14, 2011, 05:14:34 AM »

I still find the transition to the 'dovenested towers" section too abrupt but I'm not sure that problem can be overcome.
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Reverend Rock
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« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2011, 07:11:39 PM »

I still find the transition to the 'dovenested towers" section too abrupt but I'm not sure that problem can be overcome.

I've always figured that was Brian's design.  And the more I listen to this new version, the more I think it is the new "definitive".  At first, I was put off by the fly-ins (other than the coda from '71, which is the only way of doing it that ever sounds right to me), but on repeated listenings, they feel more and more natural, and more and more like an appropriate way of paying tribute to Carl.

And I have to agree with the emerging consensus on what an awe-inspiring revelation "Surf's Up 1967" is.  Wow, what a mind-blower.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 07:15:29 PM by Reverend Rock » Logged
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« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2011, 07:24:07 PM »

If it were released officially in 1967, we wouldn't have a 19 song album. As much as I love mono, I really think that the 2cd version at least shold have been as much stereo as possible. The stereo mixes on side 4 literally blew my mind. Mono can do justice to a beautiful production work (I'm thinking about Spector's River Deep, Montain High), but I don't really think it's the case here.

Doesn't matter. Was never going to happen.

And for 1967, it wouldn't have been 19 tracks, but I can bet you the lot that it would have been 19 tracks before it was true stereo.

That's one of many reasons that I end up being rather grateful it wasn't finished until 2004.  There was too much great material for a single LP, not quite enough for a double, and anyway, Capitol would have never swung for a double before the White Album.  I always felt that BWPS was the "just right" solution to the SMiLE puzzle, and to see the sessions released according to that as a template is just perfect.
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Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2011, 07:47:07 PM »


I've always figured that was Brian's design.  

You don't mean that it was Brian's design to cut to a demo of himself, do you?
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Reverend Rock
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« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2011, 08:41:14 PM »


I've always figured that was Brian's design.  

You don't mean that it was Brian's design to cut to a demo of himself, do you?

No, I mean that the abrupt shift to "Dove nested towers..." was always his intent.  It's done that way on absolutely every version of Surf's Up that we've ever heard.  There's no reason to think he didn't intend it to be abrupt.  Even on BWPS it's done that way.  And he had his chance to "correct" it there. I guess we could say that by adding strings, he did correct the "demo" bit, but I've always liked the piano-and-vocal approach so much that it actually took me a while to get used to the strings on BWPS' "Surf's Up", and I'm not sure they sound right to me even today, though I've become more accustomed to them.  I love what happens in the second section on the '71 version and all the SMiLE era recordings.  It jars me in a good way.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 08:44:43 PM by Reverend Rock » Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #61 on: November 15, 2011, 08:41:32 AM »


I've always figured that was Brian's design.  

You don't mean that it was Brian's design to cut to a demo of himself, do you?

No, I mean that the abrupt shift to "Dove nested towers..." was always his intent.  It's done that way on absolutely every version of Surf's Up that we've ever heard.  There's no reason to think he didn't intend it to be abrupt.  Even on BWPS it's done that way.  And he had his chance to "correct" it there. I guess we could say that by adding strings, he did correct the "demo" bit, but I've always liked the piano-and-vocal approach so much that it actually took me a while to get used to the strings on BWPS' "Surf's Up", and I'm not sure they sound right to me even today, though I've become more accustomed to them.  I love what happens in the second section on the '71 version and all the SMiLE era recordings.  It jars me in a good way.

I agree with you that it probably would have been fairly jarring but I think the second section to Surf's Up would have sounded entirely different from any of the versions we have now. The Smile aesthetic was, for the most part, crazy, over-the-top arrangements. Even Wonderful, which is simple, has a lot going on, when you put together both the instruments and the vocals. And when you consider that Surf's Up was kind of the epic of the album, the second half was really primed for some kind of magnificent treatment. Of course, I love the demo and I do enjoy the versions we have but there is also something very sad about the song that we have because it most likely would have been something wholly different.
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The Demon
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« Reply #62 on: November 15, 2011, 12:55:35 PM »

I wouldn't doubt Brian had something else in mind for part two, at least at some point, but I find the combo of his backing track and solo version to work very well.  The song is about society breaking down, so the song slipping from complexity to simplicity makes total sense.
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Reverend Rock
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« Reply #63 on: November 15, 2011, 06:39:25 PM »

The song is about society breaking down, so the song slipping from complexity to simplicity makes total sense.

Wow.  That's a really great point.  And it makes me think, this song is SO relevant.
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TerryWogan
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« Reply #64 on: November 17, 2011, 11:47:23 AM »

Right, I'm working on my personal 'definitive' mix of Surf's Up (which happens to be my favourite song of all time), using the backing track and demo from TSS and the coda from the stereo vinyl version. I've tried to give the TSS CD1 mix  the benefit of the doubt, but my ears are telling me the vocals are just laggy rather than intentionally syncopated, and my own work-in-progress attempt at matching the two tracks confirms this.

It's actually pretty amazing how close in tempo the demo is to the backing track. The method I'm using is to split the demo each bar, and match the first beat of the demo piano in each bar to the first beat of the backing track. Some sections also need to be divided further where the tempo of the demo changes within a bar.

Firstly I'd like your suggestions and requests for this mix, but also I'd like to know if anyone has a vocals-only version of the demo (or as near as dammit), or if you can suggest how to produce one? Since the backing track/demo are matched as close as I can get, the synch sounds fine with the demo piano included, but removing it would be the icing on the cake.

EDIT: Just tried 'canvas the town' from Surf's Up '67 to fill the gap in the '66 piano demo and it actually fits quite nicely with some slicing and dicing. However, the Wild Honey-era piano stands out a bit. Are any technical experts able to isolate the vocals for this section?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 12:10:43 PM by TerryWogan » Logged
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« Reply #65 on: November 17, 2011, 06:15:10 PM »

Incidentally, have they autotuned the second 'columnated ruins domino' on the TSS piano demo? It sounds more in tune with the backing track than the Anne Wallace mix.
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runnersdialzero
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« Reply #66 on: November 17, 2011, 11:28:01 PM »

EDIT: NEVARMIND
« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 04:22:54 AM by runnersdialzero » Logged

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adam78
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« Reply #67 on: November 18, 2011, 06:27:02 AM »


I agree with you that it probably would have been fairly jarring but I think the second section to Surf's Up would have sounded entirely different from any of the versions we have now. The Smile aesthetic was, for the most part, crazy, over-the-top arrangements. Even Wonderful, which is simple, has a lot going on, when you put together both the instruments and the vocals. And when you consider that Surf's Up was kind of the epic of the album, the second half was really primed for some kind of magnificent treatment. Of course, I love the demo and I do enjoy the versions we have but there is also something very sad about the song that we have because it most likely would have been something wholly different.

This is exactly how I feel about this song summed up perfectly. I could cry that he never finished certain things in particular. This probably being front of the queue. In my mind, I don't doubt for a second it would have elevated an already incredible song. Imagine hearing God Only Knows on piano only for years and then suddenly hearing the finished product. I doubt the effect would have been too far for surfs up.
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adam78
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« Reply #68 on: November 18, 2011, 06:30:37 AM »

Incidentally, have they autotuned the second 'columnated ruins domino' on the TSS piano demo? It sounds more in tune with the backing track than the Anne Wallace mix.

I think the masses of reverb they add to anytime brian sings falsetto on this set maybe what's masking it. Therefore it sounds smoother and more in tune. Unless they autotuned it of course....
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CarlTheVoice
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« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2011, 05:59:25 AM »

I like the Smile versions of Surf's Up. However, I have to admit that I think the SU album version is better. Did Carl produce that one, am I right in thinking that? It just seems to flow more and in my opinion Carl's voice was better for the start of the song. I can feel the emotion in the 67 version but it just doesn't do anything for me.
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« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2011, 09:49:42 AM »

Here is my question for the scholars (Andrew, Craig, Peter, etc.):

The session logs descrbe a "string sweetening" session for part 2 of Surf's Up, a tape that was either lost or wiped.*  For BWPS, Brian asked Paul Mertens to add a string section for part 2.  My question: is that string arrangement something Brian remembered from 1967 and told Paul how it should go?  Or was that one of the 2003 improvements and "new things" added to BWPS?

*Correction: I see in the "What's Missing" thread Andrew says nothing was recorded string-wise for part 2.  OK.  My question still stands.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 07:55:01 PM by Dr. Tim » Logged

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runnersdialzero
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« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2011, 01:48:50 PM »

I like the Smile versions of Surf's Up. However, I have to admit that I think the SU album version is better. Did Carl produce that one, am I right in thinking that? It just seems to flow more and in my opinion Carl's voice was better for the start of the song. I can feel the emotion in the 67 version but it just doesn't do anything for me.

Listening to a decent edit may remedy the "flowing" problem you talk about.
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« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2011, 03:21:08 PM »


I agree with you that it probably would have been fairly jarring but I think the second section to Surf's Up would have sounded entirely different from any of the versions we have now. The Smile aesthetic was, for the most part, crazy, over-the-top arrangements. Even Wonderful, which is simple, has a lot going on, when you put together both the instruments and the vocals. And when you consider that Surf's Up was kind of the epic of the album, the second half was really primed for some kind of magnificent treatment. Of course, I love the demo and I do enjoy the versions we have but there is also something very sad about the song that we have because it most likely would have been something wholly different.

This is exactly how I feel about this song summed up perfectly. I could cry that he never finished certain things in particular. This probably being front of the queue. In my mind, I don't doubt for a second it would have elevated an already incredible song. Imagine hearing God Only Knows on piano only for years and then suddenly hearing the finished product. I doubt the effect would have been too far for surfs up.

It is interesting to imagine, based on the instrumentalists on the sheet for the mythical "part 2?" session, what it would have sounded like, if, of course, that's actually what was being recorded.  It's pretty light, 4 horns and a small rhythm section.  I have thought of scoring something based on the instrumentation and overlaying it.  Hmm, new project, I guess.
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gxios
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« Reply #73 on: November 24, 2011, 06:05:08 AM »

Someone played me a session tape of Surf's Up where Brian is trying to establish a rhythm up in the booth and starts singing the verse briefly. What "collection" is that from?
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« Reply #74 on: November 24, 2011, 07:47:22 AM »

I have no complaints about the full 5 CD / vinyl box set.  It is a magnificent product, well worth the $150 I paid.  On this set, they did everything right - the hard core fans like us want to hear the mono on vinyl. It's a wonderful bonus to hear the stereo mixes on side 4 of the vinyl, but it's poor marketing to put the stereo mixes on the $150 set rather than the main 2-CD release.  I guess SMiLE will be forever relegated as a niche product with a cult following, rather than the magnificent work of art that rivals Beethoven's 9th Symphony in beauty and grandeur.

I've just spent an hour trying to get my hifi to talk to my computer so I can record the side four of the vinyl as I don't want to wear the vinyl out.

That's my gripe, I'd really like a digital copy of those stereo mixes for posterity and cannot locate them (and am having difficulty doing a home made job). The stereo 'Wind Chimes' and 'Surf's Up' sounded magnificent on my friend's excellent system a few nights ago. 
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