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663638 Posts in 26587 Topics by 3815 Members - Latest Member: ILikeTheBeachBoys October 31, 2020, 12:06:38 AM
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Author Topic: Sail Plane Song (2012 version) appreciation thread  (Read 1045 times)
CenturyDeprived
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« on: September 24, 2020, 08:05:15 PM »

As frustrated as f*ck as most fans are about the apparent state of the Feel Flows box, and the great work of guys like Alan and Mark going underappreciated in a big way, I figured it would be cool to talk about something that I feel was a really underrated experiment that they did back in 2012.

I guess the 2012 version was controversial to some fans (I didn't go research old threads, just going on memory), due to some creative liberties having been taken, but I have to say that I think the "remixed" version totally works for me, and is very, very cool to my ears.

Normally, I have little energy, headspace, or interest in the idea of somebody from the outside coming in and drawing on top of the Mona Lisa, so to speak. The band covered that territory with the 2018 Philharmonic CD, which was very much an unnecessary item, yet I suppose is ok just as a curiosity. But those were *finished* songs that were iconic, and really those recordings needed nothing. That really felt like the Star Wars level tinkering that is just pointless.

But the difference with Sail Plane Song is that it involved tweaking a clearly unfinished BW demo, and I have a hunch that prior to creating it, it was discussed with Brian that perhaps Mark and Alan would take a few creative liberties to try to approximate the more fleshed-out sound that Brian might have been going for at the time, had he had the ambition to finish the demo. I can't think of any other good reason to do that type of mix, and I just love the results. The good thing is that the original version is still here in case anyone doesn't like the 2012 version. Not as much of a fan of the 2018 version, which maybe was done to dial back some of the trippiness, perhaps in response to some loudly complaining fans is my guess.

In any case, the compilers of these great sets and great new mixes deserve so much respect. What must it be like to have worked SO hard on a project like FF and then have it blocked? Probably a bit like Brian felt in 1967 when he had to deal with the emotional blockades, shortsighted simpleton level mentality, and record labels.  

Let's not stop keeping the Feel Flows box set in the discussion. It would be tragic for all of the great work they've done to not come out.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 08:27:08 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
rab2591
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2020, 02:45:42 AM »

Definitely one of my favorite inclusions to the MiC boxset. I do remember some hating the echo/reverb but I think it’s perfect - makes it sound like a completely finished song (and I play it often, as opposed to the original we got (I forget what release that was from).

And I totally agree: I wouldn’t want it to happen with every song in the catalogue, but Sail Plane Song was a perfect candidate for the experiment. It’s not a song anyone was overly attached to and it wasn’t complete enough that most would think it’s sacrilege to alter (although the opinions about it were rather harsh at times). I wonder what other songs would be good candidates for this kind of treatment.

Funny you mention the Philharmonic. I think most people here disliked that release, and I did too with two exceptions: Sloop John B and Disney Girls. The rest of the album sounded completely uninspired and off (to my ears). But I honestly think that the Philharmonic versions of Sloop and Disney Girls are better than the originals. And to say that about Sloop is utterly crazy (because how could the original be worse than some modern day overdubbing?). Well they extended the song flawlessly to include the “oooh yeah yeah”s and the orchestra doesn’t take too many liberties with the material, they just made the track more powerful. Just my opinion. But anyways, I always have to plug those two songs because I think they are two completely stunning gems that are hidden inside that rather dull and tedious album.
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2020, 02:56:25 AM »

It could've been cool on some kind of alt experimental mixes comp, but I'm not really a fan on the basis that it could never and would never have sounded like that in 1968. The original has that gentle, creepy 'psychedelicate' thing about it and to me the remix tries too hard to turn it into something it isn't. Better than the 2018 one though.

I don't think it'd be accurate to call Sail Plane Song a demo. It's a master probably a few overdubs away from the finish line, consistent scale-wise with Brian's other work in mid-'68.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 02:58:03 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
marcella27
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 02:03:36 PM »

I absolutely love he 2012 version of Sail Plane Song, and it's one of the tracks I play most off MIC.  I am also not a fan of drawing on the Mona Lisa, but I think what we ended up with with Sail Plane Song was arguably better than the demo/original version.  Love it.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 03:49:35 PM »

It could've been cool on some kind of alt experimental mixes comp, but I'm not really a fan on the basis that it could never and would never have sounded like that in 1968. The original has that gentle, creepy 'psychedelicate' thing about it and to me the remix tries too hard to turn it into something it isn't. Better than the 2018 one though.

I don't think it'd be accurate to call Sail Plane Song a demo. It's a master probably a few overdubs away from the finish line, consistent scale-wise with Brian's other work in mid-'68.

I'm not sure that the final result is all that drastically different from what Brian might have done if he had more gumption to finish songs at that time. Admittedly, some of that specific type of reverb does have a bit of a modern vibe to it, but to my ears not overly so.

I think if we looked hard enough, we could find other artists in 1968 who were doing very psychedelic mixes that had quite a bit in common with the 2012 version of SPS, and that might have been what they were aiming for.  Certainly there's an element of fanfiction to it, but it's a pretty interesting experiment that in my view is an underrated and underappreciated success.

It's hard to say whether or not the original SPS is a "demo" or not. Only Brian really knows the answer to that question. In my view, it was certainly unfinished because that's most likely why the song idea was revisited as Loop De Loop a short time afterwards (I'm not a huge fan of that song personally. I'd much rather listen to the 2012 SPS over that, any day of the week).

As far as the song belonging or not belonging on MIC, I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder. Since that set seemingly was attempting to be some sort of career retrospective, which would attempt to show all the different widely varying sounds that the band was capable of over the decades, I think it's kind of cool to be there, because it planted the idea in my mind that Brian might have gone with a sound somewhat like that at the time in '68, had he been in a better mental place to do so. For all we know, Brian might have had an entire album of music like that in him which just never came to fruition.

Not saying that I don't understand the other side of the argument also.

It would certainly be interesting to know how this 2012 mix came about in the first place. Was it just some thing that Mark and Alan were doing for fun independently on their own, and later discovered that Brian liked the results? If so, I suppose it would fall into the category of the Desper Til I Die mix.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 03:58:06 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
Ruby Go Home
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2020, 05:54:14 PM »

Hey all, first post here. I'm also a big fan of the 2012 mix of SPS and I'm glad to find there are others. I thought I was the only one. It was the first version of the song I heard and I fell in love with it since I generally love trippy music.

I don't have too much to add beyond what's been said. I also feel like the 2018 mix is a watered-down version of the 2012, maybe made partly in response to the criticisms some had. I'd also be curious to hear Alan & Mark talk about the 2012 mix since it's an unusual mix for them.

Here's an interesting quote from I Am Brian Wilson:

Quote
Today or tomorrow or the next day I’ll have some breakfast and take a walk and watch Wheel of Fortune and then check in on the score of the Yankees game. The season is just starting. I might go to my son Dylan’s basketball game. I’ll work on songs. There’s one, “Loop de Loop (Flip Flop Flyin’ in an Aeroplane),” that’s about an airplane. I cut a demo for it back in the late ’60s but I haven’t finished it the way I want.

He seems to imply he's worked on the song in recent years. I wonder what he means by "the way I want."
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2020, 08:21:01 PM »

Hey all, first post here. I'm also a big fan of the 2012 mix of SPS and I'm glad to find there are others. I thought I was the only one. It was the first version of the song I heard and I fell in love with it since I generally love trippy music.

I don't have too much to add beyond what's been said. I also feel like the 2018 mix is a watered-down version of the 2012, maybe made partly in response to the criticisms some had. I'd also be curious to hear Alan & Mark talk about the 2012 mix since it's an unusual mix for them.

Here's an interesting quote from I Am Brian Wilson:

Quote
Today or tomorrow or the next day I’ll have some breakfast and take a walk and watch Wheel of Fortune and then check in on the score of the Yankees game. The season is just starting. I might go to my son Dylan’s basketball game. I’ll work on songs. There’s one, “Loop de Loop (Flip Flop Flyin’ in an Aeroplane),” that’s about an airplane. I cut a demo for it back in the late ’60s but I haven’t finished it the way I want.

He seems to imply he's worked on the song in recent years. I wonder what he means by "the way I want."

Thanks for sharing that! I've read the book but I had totally forgotten that line.

I guess that directly disproves the theory that it wasn't a demo. It clearly was, and it must've been somewhat of a pet project for him to finish it. I would like to think that Brian more or less was happy with the 2012 result. Granted there was a very slightly facelifted  version that was released again six years later, but Brian would surely not have greenlit both of them if the general idea of Alan and Mark's mix wasn't to Brian's liking.

Good for them for their hard work. Highly underrated those guys are. They deserve far better than what a certain someone is doing by shitting on their current FF work.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 08:38:24 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2020, 12:32:38 AM »

A ghostwritten autobiography referring to Loop de Loop as Brian's song is a good source? Hmm.

If you call Sail Plane Song a demo, you'd have to call We're Together Again, I Went to Sleep, the original All I Wanna Do, Ol' Man River and Walkin' demos too. All of his other May-June 1968 productions sound like that. It's unfinished - I think 'demo' is a word gets thrown around a little too much. Generally if an arrangement gets workshopped and then overdubbed it's beyond that. But unfinished, sure.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 01:06:23 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2020, 01:40:20 AM »

A ghostwritten autobiography referring to Loop de Loop as Brian's song is a good source? Hmm.

If you call Sail Plane Song a demo, you'd have to call We're Together Again, I Went to Sleep, the original All I Wanna Do, Ol' Man River and Walkin' demos too. All of his other May-June 1968 productions sound like that. It's unfinished - I think 'demo' is a word gets thrown around a little too much. Generally if an arrangement gets workshopped and then overdubbed it's beyond that. But unfinished, sure.

I guess it just depends on how you define the term "demo". But to Brian, yes it was clearly an unfinished song. To some people, it's only a "demo" if it's Brian sitting at a piano playing the whole song through without a single overdub. How do you define demo? I don't know if there's really any strict protocol on how that term would be used. In the 1980s, if Brian is playing along to a drum machine while singing a scratchy vocal, we'd probably call it a demo. And is the song "heavenly bodies" a demo? Or just an unfinished recording with an OK vocal that most likely would have been improved upon? I guess all of that is subject to interpretation. SPS definitely seems less "produced" and worked on than that song.

What we don't really know is if Brian might have kept working on building up the identical SPS backing track and identical vocal track that was on that version, or whether it would have been completely re-recorded as something else. I mean, in a sense the Loop De Loop song was a re-recording of that same song idea. Yet it became a completely different thing as well. When one looks at all the different versions of "cool, cool water", many of which seem to be the same original instrumentation with additional things added to it, I'm not sure I have an answer for which version would constitute being a "demo" and which one wouldn't.

He wouldn't have mentioned SPS as a demo within that book if it wasn't something that had been on his mind. Ghostwritten or not, I'm sure they must have discussed that song and it came up in some sort of conversation, it's too random for a writer to just make up and pull out of the air. I understand that the whole thing with ghostwriting can be somewhat of a game of Telephone, where an idea gets re-interpreted through the voice of somebody else, but ultimately we literally have that book to go on as evidence that according to the words of Brian, or as approved by Brian, that he called the song a "demo" and so I don't think there's much arguing that that's what it in fact is. Your mileage may vary but that's my thoughts on it.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 01:43:25 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
positivemusic
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2020, 06:00:23 AM »

I'm not a fan of the 2012 mix, but at one time there was a fan edit on youtube of "Sail Plane Song" and "Loop de Loop" that worked astoundingly well.

I was going to post it here, but it looks like it was taken down.

Luckily I did save it to my computer way back when.
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Ruby Go Home
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2020, 11:56:32 AM »

A ghostwritten autobiography referring to Loop de Loop as Brian's song is a good source? Hmm.

I figured "Loop De Loop" is an error made by Ben Greenman (or maybe an editor) and Sail Plane Song was meant.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to argue it is or isn't a demo; I just though it was an interesting and relevant quote.
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SMiLE Brian
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2020, 12:32:17 PM »

It’s same damn song, Al just got wrapped up in recreating that BW vibe... Cool Guy
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2020, 01:03:49 PM »

It’s same damn song, Al just got wrapped up in recreating that BW vibe... Cool Guy

I dunno, to me they're different songs. SPS has this slightly eerie psychedelic vibe that Loop completely misses. (Although I don't dislike Loop.)
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SMiLE Brian
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2020, 01:15:15 PM »

Yeah agreed, just was being a bit hyperbolic... Grin
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And production aside, I’d so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 01:21:27 PM »

Al didn't just rewrite the lyrics, but the chords too. It is largely a new song.
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Mr. Wilson Joliet
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2020, 02:09:40 PM »

I'm not a fan of the 2012 mix, but at one time there was a fan edit on youtube of "Sail Plane Song" and "Loop de Loop" that worked astoundingly well.

I was going to post it here, but it looks like it was taken down.

Luckily I did save it to my computer way back when.

I think I remember this video too, or something similar to it. It was Sail Plane Song's verses but with the Loop De Loop chorus, very dynamic, and was visually accompanied by some sort of first-person pilot-shooter game (with the game sfx included). One of the comments even said something like "I'm pretty sure this wasn't what Brian had in mind when he wrote this"
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2020, 03:19:20 PM »

C'mon, Mr. Positive Man, slap it back up onto YouTube so we can all get a chance to download it!!  Smokin
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2020, 10:08:02 AM »

My favorite aspect of it is that when Dolby Atmos is activated on my Samsung smartphone, it has quite the (vertical) surround effect.
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