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Author Topic: The Stephen Desper Thread  (Read 476294 times)
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« Reply #50 on: January 01, 2006, 08:11:59 AM »

As well it should.  You ever spill some on the hood of the car?  HIGHLY corrosive!
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« Reply #51 on: January 01, 2006, 08:53:15 AM »

Mr Desper,

I asked this question on a different thread (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php?topic=164.0) regarding the use of Brian's solo Surf's Up performance as heard on the Good Vibrations Box Set in the released version of the song. Could you shed any light on this for us?

Actually, something does occur to me Andrew: Given that the Surf's Up on the album of the same name was 'vocally enhanced' by Carl in Brian's section due, we're told, to damage done to the original tapes, what are the chances of this GV version being all Brian or mostly Brian with a bit of Carl? And if all Brian, why did Carl consider it not good enough to use as it was, as it sounds pretty good to me?

Its on record that Carl 'thickened' bits of Brian's demo in the second movement (SWD's Recording the BBs, p44), so I'm wondering where this corruption is on the GV box of Brian's solo Surf's Up, which sounds pretty good to my ears. Maybe SWD himself can answer the question if he pops by...



Many thanks...
« Last Edit: January 01, 2006, 03:57:35 PM by brother john » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: January 01, 2006, 12:12:20 PM »

As well it should.  You ever spill some on the hood of the car?  HIGHLY corrosive!

Comment to Susan --

The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.

Great at removing road film from your windshild or cleaning chrome bumpers.
~swd
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #53 on: January 01, 2006, 12:45:01 PM »

Mr Desper,

I asked this question on a different thread (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php?topic=164.0) regarding the use of Brian's solo Surf's Up performance as heard on the Good Vibrations Box Set in the released version of the song. Could you shed any light on this for us?

Actually, something does occur to me Andrew: Given that the Surf's Up on the album of the same name was 'vocally enhanced' by Carl in Brian's section due, we're told, to damage done to the original tapes, what are the chances of this GV version being all Brian or mostly Brian with a bit of Carl? And if all Brian, why did Carl consider it not good enough to use as it was, as it sounds pretty good to me?
 

Its on record that Carl 'thickened' bits of Brian's demo in the second movement , so I'm wondering where this corruption is on the GV box of Brian's solo Surf's Up, which sounds pretty good to my ears. Maybe SWD himself can answer the question if he pops by...

#1)  Don't confuse the sound track of the show with the sound track of the rehearsal of the show.

#2)  I don't believe you are hearing the double tracks where most of the damage was.

#3)  If you want me to continue posting on this board, please honor the copyright notice on the top of the page of my book which says: "Use is forbidden without written authorization. Receipt of this manuscript does not constitute permission granted for use, quotation or paraphrasing,"  and go back to your original plus your subsequent posts and delete the quotation from my book in your posts .  Thank you.   
~swd
« Last Edit: January 01, 2006, 12:54:21 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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« Reply #54 on: January 01, 2006, 04:18:51 PM »

Mr Desper,

I asked this question on a different thread (http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php?topic=164.0) regarding the use of Brian's solo Surf's Up performance as heard on the Good Vibrations Box Set in the released version of the song. Could you shed any light on this for us?

Actually, something does occur to me Andrew: Given that the Surf's Up on the album of the same name was 'vocally enhanced' by Carl in Brian's section due, we're told, to damage done to the original tapes, what are the chances of this GV version being all Brian or mostly Brian with a bit of Carl? And if all Brian, why did Carl consider it not good enough to use as it was, as it sounds pretty good to me?
 



Its on record that Carl 'thickened' bits of Brian's demo in the second movement , so I'm wondering where this corruption is on the GV box of Brian's solo Surf's Up, which sounds pretty good to my ears. Maybe SWD himself can answer the question if he pops by...

#1)  Don't confuse the sound track of the show with the sound track of the rehearsal of the show.

#2)  I don't believe you are hearing the double tracks where most of the damage was.

#3)  If you want me to continue posting on this board, please honor the copyright notice on the top of the page of my book which says: "Use is forbidden without written authorization. Receipt of this manuscript does not constitute permission granted for use, quotation or paraphrasing,"  and go back to your original plus your subsequent posts and delete the quotation from my book in your posts .  Thank you.   
~swd



Mr Desper,

My apologies. How careless and silly of me. I can only conclude that the content of your main text distracted me from the serious business of (c) etc. outlined in your headers. Rest assured that all quotations have been removed from both this and the other thread, and that no further quotations will appear in here in the future.

I'd hate to think that my foolishness would spoil the enjoyment of your posts for other board members, and hope that you'll continue to share your knowledge and views with the SmileySmile community in the future.

A contrite and apologetic

brother john


P.S. So, you think that some of the GV track in question is single track only, in parts? I shall have to do some more listening, I think...
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #55 on: January 01, 2006, 06:35:11 PM »

Quote
Mr Desper,
My apologies.
brother john

P.S. So, you think that some of the GV track in question is single track only, in parts? I shall have to do some more listening, I think...
 

Comment to Brother John --

Thank you for your cooperation.  Sorry to come down so strong, but first it's one sentence and before you know it half the book is on the Interntet. 

Whatever tape Carl bought to the studio for use in finishing Surf's Up for the album, listening under the microscope of a studio monitor found the tracks to be inconsistent in level and full of dropouts. Some parts of the tape had folds or creases along the vertical causing tracking problems. Further, excessing compression of the dynamics for use in broadcasting caused the room background noise to modulate.  Carl could not talk Brian into just resinging his part, so had to go with what he had on hand. I think Brian thought in the back of his mind that if he did not sing, Carl would drop the whole idea of reconstituting the Surf's Up project, but Carl was determined to get this song to the public -- even over Brian's sleeping body.

Can you be certain that what you hear on the GV box set issue is what Carl heard.  There are many years -- even a few decades between the time Carl brought the tape to me and the time of the box set issue.  Lots of things could have been fixed in digial magic land before the issue of the box set.  And, Carl's standards of production are, I'm sure, somewhat more refined than yours at this time.  What sonic and performance issues he had with the tracks are probably things you have yet to discover. If you had known Carl back then, you would not be questioning his motives now. 
~swd
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« Reply #56 on: January 02, 2006, 03:17:34 AM »

Stephen,

Monterey was in June 1967 but Mike and the other Boys didn't meet the Maharishi until December 1967 I believe; how long before meeting the Maharishi had Mike been so into TM ?

Have you considered writing a tome for posterity on just your experiences at that Monterey festival?

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« Reply #57 on: January 02, 2006, 05:09:21 AM »

Mr Desper,

I've listened again to the two versions of Surf's Up, and absorbed your comments, and in a compare and contrast kind of way have found a few intriguing things:

I quite accept your comments that the digital magic of subsequent years has played a part in knocking off the rough edges of Brian's solo performace/recording of the song, and that what we hear on the GV box was not what Carl heard in the studio. I believe I may be able to detect bits of Carl's performance on the completed version of the song, though may just be kidding myself...

What I notice is that on the solo performance the two vocal tracks seem to be dead centre of the stereo field, whereas on the released Surf's Up they are panned a little to the left and right, with a more consistent (or slightly louder track) to the right. Is Carl left and Brian right, or bits of both? Or is it not as simplistic as that? I think I also can hear extra reverb added to the left vocal at around 3:02 ( 'a children's song') for, I presume, emotional impact.

But also, I was amazed to hear, from around 2:36, (Surf's Up, mmmm, mmmm...), a sound that is not, I think, the beautifully fat Moog bass added by Carl, but what sounds a bit like a reverb tail, played back in reverse, of the lower keys of a piano, building to something of a crescendo, and then some low, fuzzy sounds like muted speach that appear at around 3:02. What am I hearing here?

And one final question: Is the piano in Brian's section the same as that heard on the box set? The sound is a little different, but the playing seems to be the same.

Many thanks for your time and wisdom,

John (brother)
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2006, 06:10:13 AM »

Comment to Brother John --

I quite accept your comments that the digital magic of subsequent years has played a part in knocking off the rough edges of Brian's solo performace/recording of the song, and that what we hear on the GV box was not what Carl heard in the studio. I believe I may be able to detect bits of Carl's performance on the completed version of the song, though may just be kidding myself...  Well, at least you are open minded to the tricks one's own mind can play upon itself.

What I notice is that on the solo performance the two vocal tracks seem to be dead centre of the stereo field, whereas on the released Surf's Up they are panned a little to the left and right, with a more consistent (or slightly louder track) to the right. Is Carl left and Brian right, or bits of both? Or is it not as simplistic as that? It's more complicated that that.  The dual mono tracks were pulled apart using studio tricks while at the same time some parts were replaced (words or phrases) or augmented. So it's Brian most of the time, but Carl jumping over or replacing his voice for emphasis or correction. The lateral dimension is the result of comb filtering and temporall displacement mixed in with plain 'ol ampliftude panning.   I think I also can hear extra reverb added to the left vocal at around 3:02 ( 'a children's song') for, I presume, emotional impact. A Children's Song is an added track. Extra reverb added to tie into the next segment and to cover the sudden change in sound character and background noise levels at the splice.   [/b]

But also, I was amazed to hear, from around 2:36, (Surf's Up, mmmm, mmmm...), a sound that is not, I think, the beautifully fat Moog bass added by Carl, (actually added by me) but what sounds a bit like a reverb tail, played back in reverse, of the lower keys of a piano, building to something of a crescendo, and then some low, fuzzy sounds like muted speach that appear at around 3:02. What am I hearing here? Below noise level adjacent track leakage from unused tracks.

And one final question: Is the piano in Brian's section the same as that heard on the box set? The sound is a little different, but the playing seems to be the same. Same piano recording but on Surf's Up release, it also went through modifications.

~swd
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« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2006, 07:13:50 AM »

Mr Desper, thank you so much for your comments to Brother John's posts. Your first-hand insight is very much appreciated by all of us.

Best wishes,
Ken.
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« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2006, 07:16:21 AM »

Mr Desper,

I've listened again to the two versions of Surf's Up, and absorbed your comments, and in a compare and contrast kind of way have found a few intriguing thing.....


You could always collapse the 2 tracks (Box-Set and Surf's Up album versions) to mono, synch them up and invert one. It may reveal the differences between the 2.
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« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2006, 07:54:56 AM »

Thankyou Stephen, very much...

OK, I have just one more comment/question on this...

The swelling noise I mentioned and which you described as 'below noise level adjacent track leakage from unused tracks' (but from an unused track...? I don't know enough to understand this I don't think) is very apparent on the box set version of Surf's Up (track) but all but absent from the twofer with Sunflower (2000, 24-bit remaster). Can you explain this? I guess the only way to hear it the way it should be is to listen to the original 12" LP version, though in the UK these tend to be scarce and pricey.

Thanks again for your time and wisdom,

B.J.
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« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2006, 08:23:49 AM »

I'm not Stephen, but I know the noise you're talking about.


I always assumed it was a slow swell from a crash cymbal emulating a tidal wave. Do you remember that happening by chance, Stephen?
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« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2006, 09:22:53 AM »

Mr Desper,

I've listened again to the two versions of Surf's Up, and absorbed your comments, and in a compare and contrast kind of way have found a few intriguing thing.....


You could always collapse the 2 tracks (Box-Set and Surf's Up album versions) to mono, synch them up and invert one. It may reveal the differences between the 2.

It will only result in amplitude differences, not temporal differences. ~swd
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« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2006, 09:31:43 AM »

Thankyou Stephen, very much...

OK, I have just one more comment/question on this...

The swelling noise I mentioned and which you described as 'below noise level adjacent track leakage from unused tracks' (but from an unused track...? I don't know enough to understand this I don't think) is very apparent on the box set version of Surf's Up (track) but all but absent from the twofer with Sunflower (2000, 24-bit remaster). Can you explain this? I guess the only way to hear it the way it should be is to listen to the original 12" LP version, though in the UK these tend to be scarce and pricey.

I hope I understand what you are talking about.

The leakage is on the multitrack.  It's below noise, so when the twofer was made they used one of the digital noise cancellation algorythms (NONOISE) to remove some analog hiss, and along with that took out the leakage with the noise along with analog beauty.

The UK LP is one generation removed from its USA counterpart.  The most pure form is an early issue USA LP. The only release approved by Carl and myself.
~swd

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« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2006, 09:39:02 AM »

I'm not Stephen, but I know the noise you're talking about.


I always assumed it was a slow swell from a crash cymbal emulating a tidal wave. Do you remember that happening by chance, Stephen?

What cymbal crash?  The tidal wave was generated via Moog.  It's filtered and shaped broadband noise injected into a moving DC controled notch filter the output being splite into two continuously variable delay filters each folded back on itself in the opposite channel. ~swd
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« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2006, 09:47:25 AM »

Wow. Well, that's pretty awesome! And it's what I get for assuming. It gives me chills every time I listen to it.


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« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2006, 10:07:57 AM »

Thankyou Stephen, very much...

OK, I have just one more comment/question on this...

The swelling noise I mentioned and which you described as 'below noise level adjacent track leakage from unused tracks' (but from an unused track...? I don't know enough to understand this I don't think) is very apparent on the box set version of Surf's Up (track) but all but absent from the twofer with Sunflower (2000, 24-bit remaster). Can you explain this? I guess the only way to hear it the way it should be is to listen to the original 12" LP version, though in the UK these tend to be scarce and pricey.

I hope I understand what you are talking about.



The leakage is on the multitrack.  It's below noise, so when the twofer was made they used one of the digital noise cancellation algorythms (NONOISE) to remove some analog hiss, and along with that took out the leakage with the noise along with analog beauty.

The UK LP is one generation removed from its USA counterpart.  The most pure form is an early issue USA LP. The only release approved by Carl and myself.
~swd



To be accurate, No-noise was not used on the twofer release of Surfs Up released around 2000. The only release to use No-noise was the one done in the early 90's which was supervised by Steve. I don't recall hearing any problems with Brian's vocal or double on either the original 3 track of the song or on the 16 track xfr that was made for the finished version in 1971. The version on the GV box is mixed directly from the original 3 track tape. This tape was copied to 16 track by the beach Boys around 1971 to create the 2nd half of the song as released on the album.


Mark Linett
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« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2006, 10:48:30 AM »

WOW! Everyone's here today. What next, the big guy himself?

You'd think that the sophistication of today's equipment would be able to produce a successful copy of an original recording. Its a shame that human intervention (in terms of noise-reduction etc.) has a tendency to spoil it for those that really care about the recordings.

So, it seems that the released Surf's Up on the box set (the completed track, not the demo) is a more authentic version than the one on 2000's twofer?

Thanks Stephen for pointing out that the UK version is a generation away from the original. Why? I suppose sending master tapes across the Atlantic without a bodyguard is just too risky. Ho hum.

brother john


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« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2006, 11:58:42 AM »

Quote
via Mark Linett:  To be accurate, No-noise was not used on the twofer release of Surfs Up released around 2000. The only release to use No-noise was the one done in the early 90's which was supervised by Steve. I don't recall hearing any problems with Brian's vocal or double on either the original 3 track of the song or on the 16 track xfr that was made for the finished version in 1971. The version on the GV box is mixed directly from the original 3 track tape. This tape was copied to 16 track by the beach Boys around 1971 to create the 2nd half of the song as released on the album.


Mark Linett

Comment to Mark Linett --

Thanks Mark for clearing that up for me as well as others here. You've been with those masters more recently than myself. I get confused with all these versions and re-issues.  It's the first transfer that had all the problems, that is, the first third part of the song.  The last third part was OK as you said.  Brother John wondered about the mono mix on the GV box.  If he's talking about the first part, as I recall (help me out here) it was mono or double-tracked to mono, and if I remember the piano was with the vocal. We synthesized it to stereo. Then on the last part -- if that's what he's talking about -- the three-track with vocals was seperated and just dubbed over.

I do hear and have always heard the noises and voices he's noted.  I believe they are either adjuscent track leakage or remains of something on that particular reel of tape used for Surf's Up.  One thing I didn't like about the 3M machines was that they could not remove everything from a well-modulated tape.  Most always I'd bulk erase 16-tracks and 2-tracks before use.  Surf's Up slipped by or was not properly done and there were areas of remnet sound.  It's very low and well under the noise.  Mostly you hear it over headphones.
  ~swd
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« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2006, 12:25:31 PM »

Comment to Brother John --

You'd think that the sophistication of today's equipment would be able to produce a successful copy of an original recording. Only if the original is digital. If analog tape, the best method is the reverse copy. Its a shame that human intervention (in terms of noise-reduction etc.) has a tendency to spoil it for those that really care about the recordings.  That is why it was not used in the 2000 release. Better to hear the analog with all the hiss then to try to remove the hiss and along with it some of the beauty.  I like the sound of the Andrew Sandoval and Dan Hersch 2000 release best -- over and above the first one I sat in on.   

So, it seems that the released Surf's Up on the box set (the completed track, not the demo) is a more authentic version than the one on 2000's twofer?  I'd say the authentic version is on Reprise Records LP # RS 6453 and if you can find a matrix number 31237 it will be one of the Artisan originals.  (The matrix number is hand written on the land between the leadout groove.)

Thanks Stephen for pointing out that the UK version is a generation away from the original. Why? I suppose sending master tapes across the Atlantic without a bodyguard is just too risky. Ho hum.  It's not a matter of security, it's a matter of time.  The LP matrix is cut in soft acetate. The shape of the groove will be good for about twenty-four hours, but after that the acetate tends to drift back to its original shape loosing details in the sound. The pressing stampers must be plated from the original matrix within a day of it being cut. During the LP age, or even today, you could not get the matrix from the Hollywood cutting lathes to London's pressing plants that fast, so a tape copy was made for foreign releases.   ~swd
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« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2006, 12:39:01 PM »

Mark, if you're still reading in, I have a question about the 3-track of Surf's Up.

Was the basic tracking session tracked in mono to one track, then overdubbed later with the horn section on another track and then an additional piano on the third track?

I have a compulsion to know exactly what the contents of every discrete track a Beach Boys ever recorded...
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« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2006, 06:20:50 PM »

Comment to Brother John --

You'd think that the sophistication of today's equipment would be able to produce a successful copy of an original recording. Only if the original is digital. If analog tape, the best method is the reverse copy. Its a shame that human intervention (in terms of noise-reduction etc.) has a tendency to spoil it for those that really care about the recordings.  That is why it was not used in the 2000 release. Better to hear the analog with all the hiss then to try to remove the hiss and along with it some of the beauty.  I like the sound of the Andrew Sandoval and Dan Hersch 2000 release best -- over and above the first one I sat in on.   

So, it seems that the released Surf's Up on the box set (the completed track, not the demo) is a more authentic version than the one on 2000's twofer?  I'd say the authentic version is on Reprise Records LP # RS 6453 and if you can find a matrix number 31237 it will be one of the Artisan originals.  (The matrix number is hand written on the land between the leadout groove.)

Thanks Stephen for pointing out that the UK version is a generation away from the original. Why? I suppose sending master tapes across the Atlantic without a bodyguard is just too risky. Ho hum.  It's not a matter of security, it's a matter of time.  The LP matrix is cut in soft acetate. The shape of the groove will be good for about twenty-four hours, but after that the acetate tends to drift back to its original shape loosing details in the sound. The pressing stampers must be plated from the original matrix within a day of it being cut. During the LP age, or even today, you could not get the matrix from the Hollywood cutting lathes to London's pressing plants that fast, so a tape copy was made for foreign releases.   ~swd

If memory serves the 3 track demo is a track of piano and then two seperate tracks of overdubbed lead vocals by Brian. I believe we mixed that tape in mono on the GV box.
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« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2006, 06:23:04 PM »

Mark, if you're still reading in, I have a question about the 3-track of Surf's Up.

Was the basic tracking session tracked in mono to one track, then overdubbed later with the horn section on another track and then an additional piano on the third track?

I have a compulsion to know exactly what the contents of every discrete track a Beach Boys ever recorded...

I would have to check the tape to be certain, but the track was most certainly cut to two or three tracks live and the horns may have been an overdub. If I get out the safety to check if Carl sang any lead on pt two I will take a look at the horns as well.... Mark
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« Reply #74 on: January 03, 2006, 12:43:34 AM »

If, and as with anything to do with Smile reportage from the 60s, that's a big 'if', Jules Siegal's description of the session is accurate, Brian tracked the piano first, added a vocal, then doubled it. The session was initially intended for group vocals for "Wonderful" & "Cabin Essence", so unlikely that horns would have been present. David Oppenheim filmed the session - that's one set of reels I'd gladly sit through.
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