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673068 Posts in 27119 Topics by 3988 Members - Latest Member: davidTN December 06, 2021, 07:45:22 AM
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Author Topic: New Brian music this Friday ?  (Read 11305 times)
Pretty Funky
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« Reply #100 on: November 17, 2021, 08:26:02 PM »

If there is a delay, it would most likely be for pressing the vinyl.

Adele releases her album Nov 19 also. Anyone else, including Brian, is going to be blown out of the water. The Beatles documentary is also coming up with the same giant wave.
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Pablo.
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« Reply #101 on: November 18, 2021, 07:04:54 PM »

Full album just released on Spotify.

https://open.spotify.com/album/2wA42FpaNT9PKJn1RLdWwO?si=xLPrUnWKSX21S3KJYC7gjw
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rab2591
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« Reply #102 on: November 19, 2021, 03:27:30 AM »

Just finished the album and here are my initial thoughts:

The song progression is simple and brilliant: aside from GOK and California Girls, it mostly starts off with songs heavily influenced by 50s rock n roll. And then there is this abrupt shift when the rest of the Pet Sounds songs start: it sounds like classical musicÖfrom Chopin to Gershwin (is he considered classical?). The chords/progressions are out of this world.

Which leads us to Sketches of SMiLE. This is a tiny little capsule of SMiLE and itís truly the first time Iíve heard what Brian meant when he wanted to mix and match parts of different songs. All these SMiLE sections mix so well with one another. I love how it is book-ended with Our Prayer. In 4 minutes Brian gives us this little pocket symphony, and it really shows how complex these songs are and how well they work together.

I do wish they had closed the album with Love and Mercy as thatís how he ends his concerts and how Love and Mercy the movie ends. But closing with GV does make sense as well.

The mixing on this album is fantastic. I watched Love and Mercy last night in anticipation of my Brian Wilson filled Friday. In it Paul Dano talks about closing your eyes and you see a place - that really happens with many of these songs. There are just so many layers of beauty on songs like IJWMFTT and you can kinda see/hear those different levels when you solely focus on the music.

And finally, when this album was announced I was very excited, but I was basically expecting an album of relaxing music to put on in the background when I work. When in reality this set of songs is a testament of Brianís genius. And before I get called a Brianista for saying that: listen to Brian play ĎFriendsí on the piano - it sounds just like Trois Gymnopedies but yet Iíve NEVER picked up on that listening to the original song. This album is kinda full of those moments.

Sometimes I would forget I was listening to Beach Boys songs - so many moments just donít sound like pop-music but instead classical.

Anyways, I hope the rest of you find as much enjoyment from this as I did. I know this project was initially looked down upon by some and I know it wonít be everyoneís cup of tea, but really give it a chance. Itís a lot more complex than youíd initially think.
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Theydon Bois
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« Reply #103 on: November 19, 2021, 01:03:34 PM »

Interesting old album, this.  The CD arrived today and, as I'd avoided listening to any of the advance teasers, it was my first exposure to any of it.  It's unlike most other albums of piano music I own, not just because of the overdubbing of parts in different registers (which is certainly striking: I'd call these versions "reductions" rather than "arrangements") or the recorded sound of the piano (very roomy with middle frequencies prominent; it sounds like it may not have been the world's most expensive piano, even if it maybe actually was), but also the performances.  BW's piano playing is simple, unshowy and unaffected, but also careful and precise; it reminds me of a child nervously but capably navigating his way through a piano exam.  It's not a virtuoso showpiece, but I'm sure that there are lots of pianists out there who could record virtuoso showpiece versions of these songs, and it's not clear that it would be any more interesting if they did.

What the album does do is showcase the songs as compositions, and it does this extremely effectively.  One of my favourite aspects of BW as composer, one of the things about his music that always grabbed me and which has turned me into the sort of fan-for-life that might post on a website like this, is his remarkable chord progressions that are unlike those of any pop songwriters of his time or since.  And this record is extremely forthright in presenting those chord progressions, always in interesting voicings, in a way that anyone who is mesmerised by the songwriting of peak-era BW is going to find rich and inviting.  And the starkness of the presentation is sometimes moving, haunting even.  I like it!  Which wasn't guaranteed; I'm the sort of fan who tends towards "tough love" rather than lapping everything up, and I broadly hated most of No Pier Pressure (though kept it to myself at the time as things were getting pretty feisty on here).  But I think that this is one of his strongest solo projects in years.

Highlights (after one listen): "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", "Sketches of Smile" (the glimpses of "Our Prayer" especially; what a stunning piece of piano music that turns out to be), "'Til I Die", "Mt Vernon Farewell" (which was spellbinding straight out of the gate; I sat up the moment it started).  The songs that are less rich compositionally are perhaps less revelatory but still charming.  I do sort of wish he'd held back on the slightly heavy-handed oom-pah-pah waltzism on "Friends" and gone for the full-on Satie pastiche that rab2591 has suggested though.  If I were a better pianist I'd record one myself.

Observations from the sleeve: the album is dedicated to Don Randi.  Must confess my first thought was "Oh!  I don't remember hearing that he'd died."  I'll save you looking it up: he hasn't.  Also, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is credited to Wilson and Love and that's an abomination of a disgrace, even on an instrumental performance that preserves nothing of Asher's perfect lyrics.

(Irrelevant to thread but inspired to mention it anyway, as I very rarely log in these days: going to see Charles Lloyd in concert tomorrow night!  Very excited, truly one of the greats.)
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« Reply #104 on: November 19, 2021, 04:24:14 PM »

I'm really enjoying the album as a whole. the piano and the way it's miked/recorded puts the songs in chamber music territory, and the slightly slower tempos on several songs gives them an added elegance and reflective tone.

Sketches of Smile is brilliant, and it's interesting to see some of the other titles Brian chose especially for this collection. Til I Die, Mt. Vernon, Friends, IJWMFTT... very revealing.

I do find it odd that Brian seems to think very highly of Warmth of the Sun, including it here and on the Classics Selected By BW release, and Endless Summer of course, yet he almost never performs the song live. it's certainly always been one of my very favorites.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 04:53:12 PM by bossaroo » Logged
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« Reply #105 on: November 19, 2021, 06:06:51 PM »

This is a special album. Itís much more of a creative statement than I expected, and I hope everyone spends some time with it. This is the soul of Brian on a record.
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« Reply #106 on: November 19, 2021, 09:37:04 PM »

 Nice review:

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/brian-wilson-at-my-piano-album-review/
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« Reply #107 on: November 19, 2021, 10:29:23 PM »

I listened once on Spotify, and will probably get a copy! Thanks for the thoughtful review above, Theydon Bois... I'm glad it has a more homespun feel than it could have had (sounds kind of like some of my rudimentary 4-track recordings of my household upright many years ago, or, more interestingly, like some of the Smiley Smile piano backing tracks). Good Vibrations sparkles in comparison to some others, it's definitely the most elaborate one.

Kind of like the backing vocal montages, I wish the Smile section went on forever.
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« Reply #108 on: November 20, 2021, 08:25:43 AM »

In recent years I've noticed a kind of disappointing trend among fans where the opinions of the "Smile" music as a whole is veering more toward lukewarm or even less than positive reviews or "re-evaluations", like the average comment I'm thinking of might be along the lines of "well, it was good but not as good as the hype" or "it's not as mind-blowing as we thought years ago", or whatever the case. I guess it happens with a lot of iconic music over the years, or maybe there are other layers of narrative involved too, I don't know.

But when you LISTEN and HEAR those melodies and chord changes from Smile, I for one can't help but think Brian was standing alone among his peers when he crafted that music. Nothing sounds or feels like it.

And even though it's only one track, hopefully hearing it in a piano-only format as we can on this album will reinforce or remind us just how amazing these melodies and chords really are. There is truly nothing like it.

Of course that's just my opinion. And I'm biased as hell.  Grin
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« Reply #109 on: November 20, 2021, 10:54:57 AM »

I was genuinely surprised by my reaction to hearing this. Unexpectedly poignant.
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« Reply #110 on: November 20, 2021, 11:09:12 AM »

In recent years I've noticed a kind of disappointing trend among fans where the opinions of the "Smile" music as a whole is veering more toward lukewarm or even less than positive reviews or "re-evaluations", like the average comment I'm thinking of might be along the lines of "well, it was good but not as good as the hype" or "it's not as mind-blowing as we thought years ago", or whatever the case. I guess it happens with a lot of iconic music over the years, or maybe there are other layers of narrative involved too, I don't know.


That's news to me and pretty surprising to hear.  If there is any criticism I have with the album it would be that it was never finished, making it frustrating to listen to at times over what could have been.  The 2004 solo version of SMiLE is still pretty satisfying (the live version preferable over the glossier studio version) to me because it's a complete thought and puts the brilliance of the music into the forefront.  

As for the new piano album, I'm probably going to pass on it.  Interesting idea and I know some fans love it, but it's just not very engaging for me.  What I've listened to is certainly pleasant, but I just don't find myself coming back to this one very often.  🤷‍♂️
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 11:11:22 AM by Awesoman » Logged

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« Reply #111 on: November 20, 2021, 11:35:55 AM »

'Don't Worry Baby' was released today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt08M-AMIwo). It's amazing how beautiful this song is played in a higher octave (not sure if my musical terminology is correct there) - the melody lines are played lower than the chords (though the bass notes are still very prominent) which creates a really cool dynamic that you don't hear in the original song.

Basically, I'm glad to hear this variation in these covers - it still very much sounds like the original, but it's also different.

I can't wait for next week!

This is the track that has sold me on the project. Raising the pitch of the chords does make it even more beautiful than just foregrounding the melody.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2021, 11:41:52 AM by harrisonjon » Logged
rab2591
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« Reply #112 on: November 20, 2021, 11:44:36 AM »

But when you LISTEN and HEAR those melodies and chord changes from Smile, I for one can't help but think Brian was standing alone among his peers when he crafted that music. Nothing sounds or feels like it.

And even though it's only one track, hopefully hearing it in a piano-only format as we can on this album will reinforce or remind us just how amazing these melodies and chords really are. There is truly nothing like it.

This is what I came away with. For me, it's just awesome to hear what Brian heard when he was composing these songs in the 60s. And granted, I know these tracks are layered so it's not exactly what Brian heard, but you get the point. The SMiLE songs remind me so much of Gershwin/Americana - which I don't really pick up on when listening to Brian's studio recordings, but you can really hear it on these piano tracks.

Again I'll say, I was expecting to be happy with this album and to basically have it to listen to in the background while working...but instead it's this glimpse into just how intricate these songs are.

'Don't Worry Baby' was released today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt08M-AMIwo). It's amazing how beautiful this song is played in a higher octave (not sure if my musical terminology is correct there) - the melody lines are played lower than the chords (though the bass notes are still very prominent) which creates a really cool dynamic that you don't hear in the original song.

Basically, I'm glad to hear this variation in these covers - it still very much sounds like the original, but it's also different.

I can't wait for next week!

This is the track that has sold me on the project. The prominence of the chords does make it even more beautiful than just foregrounding the melody.

While I enjoyed the other singles, 'Don't Worry Baby' gave me hope that many of the songs on the album wouldn't be just straight-up copies of the original songs. And thankfully that turned out to be correct.

My only qualm with this project is that Brian leaves out those step-down notes in the coda of 'Surf's Up' - those notes are one of my favorite Brian Wilson creations, and he didn't play them here! Oh well.
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« Reply #113 on: November 21, 2021, 09:23:53 AM »

I wonder why the digital version has a recent picture of Brian and the vinyl version has Brian from the 60's.
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« Reply #114 on: November 21, 2021, 10:43:05 AM »

I think itís just a then and now thing ó vinyl Brian from the past, CD and download Brian from the modern day.
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« Reply #115 on: November 23, 2021, 08:48:27 AM »

Also really enjoying the piano album, sketches of smile in particular but I really like 'side 2'  run of songs.
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« Reply #116 on: November 23, 2021, 10:45:07 AM »

I freakin' LOVE this album.   It's a real treat.  Kudos to Brian and team for hitting one out of the park.

I already find myself fantasizing about Volume 2.  Here's my proposed line-up...

1. Surfin Safari
2. This Whole World
3. Catch a Wave
4. Be True to Your School
5. Still I Dream of It
6. Cabin Essence
7. Surfer Girl
8. When I Grow Up to Be A Man
9. Please Let Me Wonder
10. Help Me Rhonda
11. Darlin
12. Vega-Tables
13. Time to Get Alone
14. The Night Was So Young
15. Caroline No

The depth of the BW catalog is so insanely great that we could all probably very easily come up with Volume 3 and 4 track lists that themselves would dwarf oeuvres of mere mortals.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 10:45:41 AM by juggler » Logged
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