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Author Topic: Feel Flows box set  (Read 369206 times)
juggler
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« Reply #3125 on: April 01, 2021, 08:02:37 AM »

Number two:  With all this talk of the original mix being only available on the first pressing of the records I was wondering if there was a way to truly replicate that pressing?  Then I began to imagine some company doing a laser scan of an original disc -- couldn't that bring back the original mix?!  And with the laser scan, couldn't you then go in and look for the tiniest imperfections in the original printing of the disc and smooth out the occasional pops so that it would be near pristine?  And then you can do two things: converting/manufacturing that scan you could make a new pressing of the record, and, you can also make a digital version to play.  I wish I were a modern day Thomas Edison!

Dan, to some extent, such technology does exist.   And with the right software, the sound could be "smoothed out" to a degree.


The Lawrence Berkeley Lab has worked with the Smithsonian on scanning technology to digitize and preserve old recordings that only exist on shellac, vinyl, etc.
https://irene.lbl.gov/sample-page/irene-home-history/

BTW, for years, I haven't been able to help but smile at your "Love & Merci" tag.  Very clever, so thank you for that!
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« Reply #3126 on: April 01, 2021, 08:13:35 AM »

Yes, there are a few different things at play:
- the original intention/Spatializer mix (3D stereo) reflecting what the band heard in the studio - this was rejected by the label but encoded into...
- the master for the album as we all know it. The first pressing LP is based on the best available LP master tapes (and approved by Carl); subsequent reissues may have used later-generation copies (as happened with many albums of the era) OR, in the case of digital reissues, received different mastering. Any current issue of Sunflower would be based on the original LP MIX but may have a different mastering. The Spatializer would still be able to decode it, but it wouldn't be the exact same as the Carl-approved version unless it was the first pressing LP.
- 5.1 or quad mixes that have been released on various products over the years are not what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be)
- any new stereo remix would not be what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be). I don't know what will be on the set, but it's likely that there will be alternate or modern remixes of many tracks, if not a "remixed album" (a la Pet Sounds sessions).

I can't speak for Mr. Desper but from what I've seen, I get the impression that his frustration stems from the refusal/reluctance to release the "original intention", while other remixes (5.1, quad) with no Carl involvement have gotten the green light.


In movie terms it would be like:
- original Director's Cut (Spatializer) is unavailable
- theatrical version (original LP) is still available but with different colour timings depending on format/pressing
- various "Special Editions" with modern special effects have been made with no involvement from the original director

This box set represents another opportunity to "right the wrong" and get the "Director's Cut" out there but it seems that it may not be happening (I'm not following too closely).

Again playing devil's advocate, strictly in a business sense - If the version that was rejected is the director's cut, it was never available to begin with and what was released originally was what created the interest and legacy. And if it were to be made available, either then or now, anyone who wanted to hear it would need an external piece of hardware to hear it. In terms of film reissues, would it make sense to add a piece of A/V hardware to a reissue package so you could see the cut of the film which was never released?

Again I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but in terms of business bottom lines, securing and having a multi-disc box set full of outtakes and vault rarities would take precedent over manufacturing a device and including another mix of the works specific for that device to be used to view or hear that cut or mix.

And the whole purity of the original mix/master/cut/release subject just isn't practical with all of the changes in format over the past 50 years. Sure there will always be someone who will restore an old BetaMax video machine or a Laserdisc player in order to see a specific release of a film from the 80's or whatever, but that's not the bigger market being courted for archival releases. And anything that gets transferred to workable formats for reissues is going to be different from the original, first-generation release.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #3127 on: April 01, 2021, 08:33:10 AM »

Yes, there are a few different things at play:
- the original intention/Spatializer mix (3D stereo) reflecting what the band heard in the studio - this was rejected by the label but encoded into...
- the master for the album as we all know it. The first pressing LP is based on the best available LP master tapes (and approved by Carl); subsequent reissues may have used later-generation copies (as happened with many albums of the era) OR, in the case of digital reissues, received different mastering. Any current issue of Sunflower would be based on the original LP MIX but may have a different mastering. The Spatializer would still be able to decode it, but it wouldn't be the exact same as the Carl-approved version unless it was the first pressing LP.
- 5.1 or quad mixes that have been released on various products over the years are not what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be)
- any new stereo remix would not be what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be). I don't know what will be on the set, but it's likely that there will be alternate or modern remixes of many tracks, if not a "remixed album" (a la Pet Sounds sessions).

I can't speak for Mr. Desper but from what I've seen, I get the impression that his frustration stems from the refusal/reluctance to release the "original intention", while other remixes (5.1, quad) with no Carl involvement have gotten the green light.


In movie terms it would be like:
- original Director's Cut (Spatializer) is unavailable
- theatrical version (original LP) is still available but with different colour timings depending on format/pressing
- various "Special Editions" with modern special effects have been made with no involvement from the original director

This box set represents another opportunity to "right the wrong" and get the "Director's Cut" out there but it seems that it may not be happening (I'm not following too closely).

It occurs to me that with the unique technology of Stephen's at the time of recording and mixing, coupled with the subsequent reluctance by the label to 100% completely realize that vision when it came time to releasing it back in the day, coupled with the new enhancements which will happen with the box at that I can't wait to hear, this is almost a SMiLE Part II type of situation with the band, where the fully original intent may never be completely, 100% known.

Obviously the originally-released mix on LP should constitute the "final word" having been approved by the band, but if there was a spatializer intent/desire by the band beyond that which never saw the light of day, it just adds one more element of unsolvable mystery to this album and the band's canon, an interesting parallel of sorts to the admittedly much more complicated mystery of SMiLE.

I remain grateful for the different versions that we will soon be getting to hear, it's always cool to hear these amazing works of art in a new light. It sure would be great to be able to hear what Stephen in the band had intended for the spatializer mix to sound like, but if that's not possible due to any number of political and business practicality reasons, I nevertheless expect to be fully satisfied with the upcoming varieties we have to look forward to.

And once again, I respect Stephen's opinion on these matters, as should most any fan. It's a complex situation that is not possible to make everybody completely happy, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 08:35:26 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #3128 on: April 01, 2021, 09:24:08 AM »


It sure would be great to be able to hear what Stephen in the band had intended for the spatializer mix to sound like, but if that's not possible due to any number of political and business practicality reasons, I nevertheless expect to be fully satisfied with the upcoming varieties we have to look forward to.


Desper released those versions of both Sunflower and Surf's Up publicly through his study videos, although that's a digital vinyl needledrop compressed in an online video, so there's inevitably still some degree of separation from an idealised 'original intent' here. It's an interesting listening experience, but probably not commercially viable in a modern setting, and, at the end of the day, still an extra layer of processing on top of a normal stereo mix that already had Beach Boy approval. It is out there if you know how to access it though.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 09:30:30 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
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« Reply #3129 on: April 01, 2021, 10:19:39 AM »

I'll listen to any and all mixes of this stuff, and I respect everybody that worked on every mainstream and niche version, but at the end of the day, who even listens to the actual quad mixes of "Band on the Run" or "Imagine" or "Walls and Bridges" or "Venus and Mars?" Those are far less niche than the encoded-within-a-stereo-mix surround mixes of "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up", and few are listening to those either.

I'm not a big fan of invoking Carl's name when trying to claim new mixes are somehow besmirching Carl's name or his intentions. The surviving BBs have signed off on archival releases, including stereo remixes.

If we didn't do anything Carl can't sign off on, we'd have *no* archival releases. And to be frank, Carl was more stingy about archival releases than some of the other band members. I've heard Carl was *not* into the PS stereo remix when presented with it in 1996. And while I know everybody would much rather have Carl alive, it has to be said that the only reason we got "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" in 1998 was because Carl wasn't around to object. I suspect Carl would have continued to be somewhat colder to putting out tons of remixes and outtakes had he survived. I'd like to think he would have come around, and he did eventually sign off on the PS Sessions set and the GV set.

At the end of the day, I'd have no objection to properly encoding Desper's mixes onto some sort of BD audio sort of format (so that we don't have to procure weird equipment to extact the mixes from the stereo mixes, which just seems absurd to me), but I'd probably listen to it once and then stow it away and listen to the HOURS of *actual outtakes* that we hopefully will have. Such a project is like 47th on a list of things that should be released. It's like the Fred Vail country album. Should it be released? Sure, why not? Do I think it's anywhere near the top of a list of things we'd like to see in terms of BB-related releases? No, of course not.

Debating whether this or that sullies the original mixes of album is sort of like still complaining about classic rock songs being used in TV commercials. It happened like 30-40 years ago, and debating it is like stepping into a time warp.
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« Reply #3130 on: April 01, 2021, 10:35:37 AM »

I'll listen to any and all mixes of this stuff, and I respect everybody that worked on every mainstream and niche version, but at the end of the day, who even listens to the actual quad mixes of "Band on the Run" or "Imagine" or "Walls and Bridges" or "Venus and Mars?" Those are far less niche than the encoded-within-a-stereo-mix surround mixes of "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up", and few are listening to those either.

I'm not a big fan of invoking Carl's name when trying to claim new mixes are somehow besmirching Carl's name or his intentions. The surviving BBs have signed off on archival releases, including stereo remixes.

If we didn't do anything Carl can't sign off on, we'd have *no* archival releases. And to be frank, Carl was more stingy about archival releases than some of the other band members. I've heard Carl was *not* into the PS stereo remix when presented with it in 1996. And while I know everybody would much rather have Carl alive, it has to be said that the only reason we got "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" in 1998 was because Carl wasn't around to object. I suspect Carl would have continued to be somewhat colder to putting out tons of remixes and outtakes had he survived. I'd like to think he would have come around, and he did eventually sign off on the PS Sessions set and the GV set.

At the end of the day, I'd have no objection to properly encoding Desper's mixes onto some sort of BD audio sort of format (so that we don't have to procure weird equipment to extact the mixes from the stereo mixes, which just seems absurd to me), but I'd probably listen to it once and then stow it away and listen to the HOURS of *actual outtakes* that we hopefully will have. Such a project is like 47th on a list of things that should be released. It's like the Fred Vail country album. Should it be released? Sure, why not? Do I think it's anywhere near the top of a list of things we'd like to see in terms of BB-related releases? No, of course not.

Debating whether this or that sullies the original mixes of album is sort of like still complaining about classic rock songs being used in TV commercials. It happened like 30-40 years ago, and debating it is like stepping into a time warp.

While Carl allegedly was against the SOMS song being released due to his flubbed vocal, I do have to wonder if any resistance he had to PS being released in stereo might have had to do with avoiding the band politics and internal conflict that would be sure to arise when revisiting such archival material. Particularly since that material was sourced from a politically sensitive time in the groups history.

I think Carl wanted very much to avoid conflict, and as evidenced by Mike holding up the box set for purposes of changing the liner notes, Carl might have just wanted to avoid the whole thing once he saw that shitstorm coming, prior to it having been worked out. That's my hypothesis and take on it, anyway.

I do have to wonder what type of a stink Mike raised at the time when they couldn't isolate his vocal track on the bridge for WIBN, and went with Brian's vocal in its place. Oh to of been a fly on the wall to have seen how that went down. I'm glad vocal extraction techniques weren't yet available in 1996, because the Brian bridge is absolutely my preferred version of the song. But again, in the last couple years of his life, Carl might have been very aware of the politics about things like that missing vocal line, and just decided initially to not support the project because he didn't know what type of an emotional landmine the whole thing might implode into. Considering how battle scarred he was with regards to internal politics in this band, I can understand that point of view, but I'm very glad he did come around to signing off on that box.
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« Reply #3131 on: April 01, 2021, 10:36:08 AM »

Geez, I mean, at this point debating whether *anything* other than original mixes should be released is like debating whether movies should be remade, or whether Dylan should ever plug in an electric guitar. These things all happened a thousand years ago already, and we all survived.

Overdubbing *new* material onto old BB tracks 60 years later is kind of an extreme example, and different from simply remixing vintage tracks, although even in that case with the symphonic album it was presented as a new, updated project where it's patently obvious *new* overdubs have been added. That was the whole crux of the project, that new overdubs were added. They haven't reissued the original albums with those symphonic overdubbed versions subbed in or anything.

But backing up, is anybody still really apprehensive about *remixing* old tracks? The original mixes/versions are almost always still readily available. If you don't like remixes, you can pass.

Geoff Emerick's legacy is just fine; Apple has gone to great lengths to make sure the original mixes remain *the* main versions still out there, and that they remain available.

Similarly, Desper needn't worry. Like Emerick, the original work he did not only is still there on the raw multitracks even when they *do* remix the stuff. And, his final original mixes remain available.



Well, I'm personally not commenting on whether or not they should be done ... but there is certainly room for opinion/interpretation in what they are when they are done. Sorry, but to some people (including myself): applying a digital reverb in place of an original chamber, or replacing the performance of the original hand on the lead vocal fader during the final dubdown is very much akin to adding a new overdub. You could argue that the reverb in some original mixes is more noticeable in the final result than whether or not someone replaced a rhythm guitar, for example.

Though I'm not stating that remixes should not be done at all, I think there is validity in that concept as well. The Pet Sounds stereo mix, for example, has been on the market now for almost as long as the original mixes were prior to the stereo remix. And we now have plenty of examples of the stereo mix replacing the original mono mix- in fact, IME it's just as common (if not more common) to hear the Carl tag on "God Only Knows" or the Brian bridge on "Wouldn't It Be Nice" when these songs are played in public settings, etc.

The biggest miss I've found in archival releases is there's a noticeable lacking of vintage working or alternate mixes- a few have come out here and there, and to me- these are far more interesting than any remix.

I've certainly found some latter-day remixes to be better than others, and in particular I'm not a fan of excessive digital reverb. The PS '96 stereo mix was quite good overall, and then in the 2000s some of those remixes started introducing too much digital reverb (or reverb in general, regardless of the source) to my taste; I sometimes wonder if Brian asked for that on some of the 60s remixes.

That being said, no I don't equate most remixes to actually adding new modern-day overdubs. Two very different things.

For me, stereo remixes are best done to serve a purpose of something like that "Yellow Submarine Songtrack", to go  back to the raw, often dry sound of the multitracks and hear things with a clarity that just isn't there on the vintage mixes.

Some latter-day mixes are just hands-down better than the original; things like some of the Lennon solo album remixes, where Lennon's original mixes are limp and near-mono. But even in that case, we still have the originals.

As for stereo remixes "replacing" the originals, sure, that happens. In some cases, that's the *intention*, to give the songs new life and give a new reason to be playing them.

I think that as far as remixing goes, it makes sense to say we all have our own opinion, and some of us may not choose to listen to them. So I think "should we like remixes?" is an appropriate question. But I think "should we be remixing?" is no longer a reasonable or realistic question. Again, it's like asking "should movies be remade?" or "should digital replace analog?" It's done, it has been decided, and on top of that, I think there is plenty of room to argue not only that stereo remixes are here and there's nothing we can do about them, but also that in fact they are a *good* thing for many, many reasons.

If all the original mixes start getting deleted, then the discussion takes a different direction of course.
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« Reply #3132 on: April 01, 2021, 10:47:01 AM »

I'll listen to any and all mixes of this stuff, and I respect everybody that worked on every mainstream and niche version, but at the end of the day, who even listens to the actual quad mixes of "Band on the Run" or "Imagine" or "Walls and Bridges" or "Venus and Mars?" Those are far less niche than the encoded-within-a-stereo-mix surround mixes of "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up", and few are listening to those either.

I'm not a big fan of invoking Carl's name when trying to claim new mixes are somehow besmirching Carl's name or his intentions. The surviving BBs have signed off on archival releases, including stereo remixes.

If we didn't do anything Carl can't sign off on, we'd have *no* archival releases. And to be frank, Carl was more stingy about archival releases than some of the other band members. I've heard Carl was *not* into the PS stereo remix when presented with it in 1996. And while I know everybody would much rather have Carl alive, it has to be said that the only reason we got "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" in 1998 was because Carl wasn't around to object. I suspect Carl would have continued to be somewhat colder to putting out tons of remixes and outtakes had he survived. I'd like to think he would have come around, and he did eventually sign off on the PS Sessions set and the GV set.

At the end of the day, I'd have no objection to properly encoding Desper's mixes onto some sort of BD audio sort of format (so that we don't have to procure weird equipment to extact the mixes from the stereo mixes, which just seems absurd to me), but I'd probably listen to it once and then stow it away and listen to the HOURS of *actual outtakes* that we hopefully will have. Such a project is like 47th on a list of things that should be released. It's like the Fred Vail country album. Should it be released? Sure, why not? Do I think it's anywhere near the top of a list of things we'd like to see in terms of BB-related releases? No, of course not.

Debating whether this or that sullies the original mixes of album is sort of like still complaining about classic rock songs being used in TV commercials. It happened like 30-40 years ago, and debating it is like stepping into a time warp.

While Carl allegedly was against the SOMS song being released due to his flubbed vocal, I do have to wonder if any resistance he had to PS being released in stereo might have had to do with avoiding the band politics and internal conflict that would be sure to arise when revisiting such archival material. Particularly since that material was sourced from a politically sensitive time in the groups history.

I think Carl wanted very much to avoid conflict, and as evidenced by Mike holding up the box set for purposes of changing the liner notes, Carl might have just wanted to avoid the whole thing once he saw that shitstorm coming, prior to it having been worked out. That's my hypothesis and take on it, anyway.

I do have to wonder what type of a stink Mike raised at the time when they couldn't isolate his vocal track on the bridge for WIBN, and went with Brian's vocal in its place. Oh to of been a fly on the wall to have seen how that went down. I'm glad vocal extraction techniques weren't yet available in 1996, because the Brian bridge is absolutely my preferred version of the song. But again, in the last couple years of his life, Carl might have been very aware of the politics about things like that missing vocal line, and just decided initially to not support the project because he didn't know what type of an emotional landmine the whole thing might implode into. Considering how battle scarred he was with regards to internal politics in this band, I can understand that point of view, but I'm very glad he did come around to signing off on that box.

One of the issues I've heard that Carl had with the PS remix was the differences from the mono mix, meaning the things that weren't on multitracks that couldn't be included, such as the bridge vocal on WIBN, the double-tracked vocals, the stuff on "God Only Knows", etc.

I'm not sure what process was involved in getting him to sign off. Did he simply not initially understand that technical reasons dictated those changes? Did he initially think they just made weird alternate mix decisions? Or was he aware that there was no way to make a stereo remix with *no* variations and thus was trying to argue the entire concept was objectionable because of that?

I don't know how much Carl weighed the politics of the situation in the case of the PS Sessions set. I've had the impression a lot of work was done on the set without a lot of involvement from the other band members, and at some point after a lot of work had been done, it was thrown in their laps for approval. I have a vague recollection that the band was on tour when Carl was presented with a copy of the stereo mix, and it was at that point that he raised concerns about the mix differences. And of course, at some point in the process Mike allegedly felt David Leaf's liner notes were too Brian-centric.

I don't know how much Carl or anyone feared the set would be a political minefield (beyond knowing that everything and anything could be), but from what I've heard, the set soured the band on some figures. David Leaf never did any BB liner notes again after that, and at least for a short time, a new team was working on archival releases when "Endless Harmony Soundtrack" came out.  
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 10:49:48 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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« Reply #3133 on: April 01, 2021, 11:25:39 AM »

Yes, there are a few different things at play:
- the original intention/Spatializer mix (3D stereo) reflecting what the band heard in the studio - this was rejected by the label but encoded into...
- the master for the album as we all know it. The first pressing LP is based on the best available LP master tapes (and approved by Carl); subsequent reissues may have used later-generation copies (as happened with many albums of the era) OR, in the case of digital reissues, received different mastering. Any current issue of Sunflower would be based on the original LP MIX but may have a different mastering. The Spatializer would still be able to decode it, but it wouldn't be the exact same as the Carl-approved version unless it was the first pressing LP.
- 5.1 or quad mixes that have been released on various products over the years are not what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be)
- any new stereo remix would not be what was originally developed in the studio (enjoyable as they may be). I don't know what will be on the set, but it's likely that there will be alternate or modern remixes of many tracks, if not a "remixed album" (a la Pet Sounds sessions).

I can't speak for Mr. Desper but from what I've seen, I get the impression that his frustration stems from the refusal/reluctance to release the "original intention", while other remixes (5.1, quad) with no Carl involvement have gotten the green light.


In movie terms it would be like:
- original Director's Cut (Spatializer) is unavailable
- theatrical version (original LP) is still available but with different colour timings depending on format/pressing
- various "Special Editions" with modern special effects have been made with no involvement from the original director

This box set represents another opportunity to "right the wrong" and get the "Director's Cut" out there but it seems that it may not be happening (I'm not following too closely).

It occurs to me that with the unique technology of Stephen's at the time of recording and mixing, coupled with the subsequent reluctance by the label to 100% completely realize that vision when it came time to releasing it back in the day, coupled with the new enhancements which will happen with the box at that I can't wait to hear, this is almost a SMiLE Part II type of situation with the band, where the fully original intent may never be completely, 100% known.

Obviously the originally-released mix on LP should constitute the "final word" having been approved by the band, but if there was a spatializer intent/desire by the band beyond that which never saw the light of day, it just adds one more element of unsolvable mystery to this album and the band's canon, an interesting parallel of sorts to the admittedly much more complicated mystery of SMiLE.

I remain grateful for the different versions that we will soon be getting to hear, it's always cool to hear these amazing works of art in a new light. It sure would be great to be able to hear what Stephen in the band had intended for the spatializer mix to sound like, but if that's not possible due to any number of political and business practicality reasons, I nevertheless expect to be fully satisfied with the upcoming varieties we have to look forward to.

And once again, I respect Stephen's opinion on these matters, as should most any fan. It's a complex situation that is not possible to make everybody completely happy, unfortunately.

COMMENT:  Let us be clear, "Spatializer" as a viable consumer and professional iteration did not evolve until a decade after SF and SU were released. So the earlier albums and the product that came along later should not be interchanged or connected.

I never claim that SU or SF were recorded using Spatializer. It did not exist at that time.  The matrix I used was a different animal.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the multi-track for SU or SF is the same thing as you know today. I never envisioned remixes. Therefore, the multi-track does NOT contain all the information used to record the Master Tape. The multi-track has been cut up, emollition wiped, and the mixes themselves were derived from about 25% re-amping of both instrumental and vocal tracks while other tracks had expansion via matrix based expanders -- which both are lost forever.  I used the multi-track as a means to reach the final product, and not enable a repeat mix. Now you can attempt to remix any multi-track, but back in the analog days, the multi-track was expendable and not a vehicle for storing everything that went into the Master. Other words, not everything on the Master Tape is contained in the Multi-track. Some sounds were obtained at the time of mixdown and after the multi-track was made.  Don't apply today's definition of a multi-track to one over fifty years old.   Anyway, why would you wish to re-do a mix that was done with Beach Boy supervision and involvement. Especially taking the original out of the analog format for any changes would depart from the original sonic signature. Out takes and mixes of just vocals are one thing, but the final versions are so entangled with Beach Boy musical involvement, any attempt to re-mix would not include all the music of the original.  Certainly I have taken some Beach Boy songs and re-mastered them, but when I do that I always make certain the listener knows it is a departure from the original or I provide the original for comparison. 

Although no one on the "feel flows" team has contacted me about anything, which I find strange, I am looking forward to hearing and re-visiting the old sounds. 

The only source for hearing SF and SU as originally intended is by listening to the needle drop section within my book Recording The Beach Boys. This analog sourced version is mastered by Carl and myself while being resolved using the playback matrix formula for the realization in the study-video.
  ~swd
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« Reply #3134 on: April 01, 2021, 11:54:31 AM »

I always loved my original copy of Sunflower ( the European version) with mono Cottonfields as the opener... a wonderful sounding mix. Is that the same Spatializer(ish) mix as the US version?  If it is, I must say that it's still the best version I've ever heard. The two different CD reissues don't hold up to it very well at all... (hissssss)
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« Reply #3135 on: April 01, 2021, 01:27:39 PM »

Thanks for the clarification, Stephen! I'm glad to hear that you are looking forward to revisiting that era, as we all are.

Thank you again for all you have provided over the years.
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« Reply #3136 on: April 01, 2021, 02:30:10 PM »

The thing is, I think the teams working on this stuff know what is and isn't on the multi-tracks. To use a similar (though certainly not identical) example, the "Pet Sounds" multitracks are missing elements added during the vintage mixdowns, etc. The people mixing it knew that, and made decisions based on all of the available information and materials, and well as by consulting the surviving members that did produce and participate in those sessions. So back in 1996, Brian directed them to, for instance, *mix out* the extraneous background talking heard in the original mono mix of "Here Today."

The idea is to remix to give a fresh view on the material, with the idea being that of course it *isn't* going to sound just like the original mixes. That's kind of the point.
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« Reply #3137 on: April 01, 2021, 02:47:19 PM »

The Kinks' VGPS box set has "remixes" based on incomplete multitracks, too.
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« Reply #3138 on: April 01, 2021, 03:14:19 PM »

Isn't the simple answer to all of this that if you want the original, then buy the original. Scour eBay and hundreds of other sources until you get what you want. If you want pristine sound, albeit not quite what Carl (& Stephen did in mixing), buy a new release.

I'm not sure why people feel so "entitled", often to an impossible dream.

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« Reply #3139 on: April 01, 2021, 03:54:55 PM »

Isn't the simple answer to all of this that if you want the original, then buy the original. Scour eBay and hundreds of other sources until you get what you want. If you want pristine sound, albeit not quite what Carl (& Stephen did in mixing), buy a new release.

I'm not sure why people feel so "entitled", often to an impossible dream.




Agreed. Again, it’s not like a George Lucas situation.
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« Reply #3140 on: April 01, 2021, 07:45:26 PM »

Hi Mr. Desper,

Thanks for replying here! 

In my case, the reason I like to hear remixes is that Brian Wilson's and The Beach Boy's productions have SO MUCH in them, and all of it is incredibly interesting, yet not everything makes it to the final mix, as some parts are not mixed in and others are so multi-layered it's hard to tell exactly what is going on.  So, I always find it extremely exciting and welcome to hear something new in a Beach Boy song, such as a beautiful counterpoint never heard before as their productions are full of overwhelming genius.  And... without access to the original multi-track tapes or session tapes, if the only way to hear a "new" snippet of musical beauty is by a remix, then, yeah, let me hear a remix.

But, yeah, let me hear the original, too!  So you're saying if the original master tapes were used and run through your matrix and mixed to CD and LP, then we could hear the original intent of the album without having to buy any special equipment, i.e. your matrix add-on?  It seems so simple!  And everyone with a modern amp has Spatializer settings on it, so I don't understand why record executives act like they're afraid of releasing something that has a Spatializer-type effect on it.  Seems very weird and backward to me.

I'm really sorry you weren't contacted to give your input into the box set.  It will definitely be missed.  But Mark and Alan have done great things before, and we're all hoping, and expecting, they hit another home run this time! 

You keep mentioning being able to hear the original intent of the album by getting your book.  But it's not available at this time, is it?  Please let us know when we'll be able to listen to it again!

Love and merci,
Dan Lega
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« Reply #3141 on: April 01, 2021, 10:56:30 PM »

Isn't the simple answer to all of this that if you want the original, then buy the original. Scour eBay and hundreds of other sources until you get what you want. If you want pristine sound, albeit not quite what Carl (& Stephen did in mixing), buy a new release.

I'm not sure why people feel so "entitled", often to an impossible dream.



I personally do not believe it’s that simple, no.

What would be the most simple is the multi tracks don’t exist and we just have the original masters (this is the case for a lot of catalogs- one prominent example is the Mamas & Papas. There is actually a partially remixed 1970 compilation which I find very interesting).

I think one point that Desper is making that is being glossed over is that record making in the 1960s-early ‘70s was not perceived how it is today. There was not a “record all the parts individually, and then later have a thing called a mixdown, then go back and tweak etc”. It was a process of getting the 1/4” mono or stereo master - that was the “performance” that was captured to tape.

I personally believe a consideration can be made to respecting the original work and the time in which it was created.  Additionally, the paradox of choice may come into play also- the concept that more choices tends to lead to less satisfaction.

“I look at sound like a painting, you have a balance and the balance is conceived in your mind. You finish the sound, dub it down, and you’ve stamped out a picture of your balance with the mono dubdown. But in stereo, you leave that dubdown to the listener - to his speaker placement and speaker balance. It just doesnt seem complete to me." -Brian Wilson
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« Reply #3142 on: April 02, 2021, 12:42:29 PM »

I think one point that Desper is making that is being glossed over is that record making in the 1960s-early ‘70s was not perceived how it is today. There was not a “record all the parts individually, and then later have a thing called a mixdown, then go back and tweak etc”. It was a process of getting the 1/4” mono or stereo master - that was the “performance” that was captured to tape.

And what is especially interesting about this very salient point is that 1970 and the surrounding years were themselves a bridge between the two major eras in recording.  I consider the mono, stereo, three-track, and 4-track era to be of a piece -- despite the increased possibility of overdub, the principles of 3- and 4-track recording are essential live to mono, microphone based technique.    The 16- and 24-track era are also of a piece after a certain time.  I think automation is definitely the harbinger of the new era, as hard as it might be to pin down when the true "multitrack era" began.

But 8-track era is sui generis.  Too few tracks for an overdub festival, too many tracks entirely conceive of the recording as a strictly performance based medium.  I think the early, pre-automation 16-track era inherited its initial mindset from 8-track mindset, and that's where we find ourselves for Sunflower and Surf's Up.  And that's where we find ourselves as far as Donny's point goes.  The mix is now way more important than it ever has been before -- certainly, just 3 years earlier there's was not much one had to do to mix at all -- since everything had been tracked together and monitored largely in mono while so doing.  Now, you actually have to put work into a mix, and do some planning.

I think it's at these moments where a lot of the value of art gets imparted into the art.  At the human moments.  Sometimes it doesn't even have to be good art, as such, but because the moment captured in time is so human, there is value there.  I've always thought that Jackson Pollocks sell for so much at auction not so much because his painting is "good" but because he was able to imbed himself and his time in the canvas.  I think this goes for a lot of abstract artists especially.  But it needn't be limited to abstract artists -- part of the great thrill of seeing a painting in a museum is the ability to see the brushstrokes in 3D and know they were created by a human in some other time; in some other part of the world.  If you're lucky, you can smell the art.  There's a particular sculpture-type thing in MOMA that smells like an ashtray.  That artist connected with me, somehow, by allowing me to smell the cigarettes they constantly smoked while making the art.

It's about sharing a moment with a human, I think.  So hearing the original mixes and masters are an added human connection -- Steve and Carl and whomever else was drafted into running a fader on the ol' Quad-8 injected their humanity in that move, recorded their existence, and passed it on to us.  To not have those moments there in the music is unequivocally a loss, but I think that the identity of art includes loss as a sine qua non, indeed, essential player.  It's the shade to the dark that gives us chiaroscuro.  It makes art a conversation--a chronological experience--a lung inhaling and exhaling.

And then of course, what is lost gets compensated for by equally human moves -- and again, it's a question of the individual appreciator's values, but there is no responsibility to privilege one set of human moves over another's.  It's humans that do remixes, humans that do remasters, and at the end of the day, in our particular case of the Beach Boys, we know these people are good humans who authentically love the music -- which helps a lot.


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« Reply #3143 on: April 02, 2021, 12:53:47 PM »

I think one point that Desper is making that is being glossed over is that record making in the 1960s-early ‘70s was not perceived how it is today. There was not a “record all the parts individually, and then later have a thing called a mixdown, then go back and tweak etc”. It was a process of getting the 1/4” mono or stereo master - that was the “performance” that was captured to tape.

And what is especially interesting about this very salient point is that 1970 and the surrounding years were themselves a bridge between the two major eras in recording.  I consider the mono, stereo, three-track, and 4-track era to be of a piece -- despite the increased possibility of overdub, the principles of 3- and 4-track recording are essential live to mono, microphone based technique.    The 16- and 24-track era are also of a piece after a certain time.  I think automation is definitely the harbinger of the new era, as hard as it might be to pin down when the true "multitrack era" began.

But 8-track era is sui generis.  Too few tracks for an overdub festival, too many tracks entirely conceive of the recording as a strictly performance based medium.  I think the early, pre-automation 16-track era inherited its initial mindset from 8-track mindset, and that's where we find ourselves for Sunflower and Surf's Up.  And that's where we find ourselves as far as Donny's point goes.  The mix is now way more important than it ever has been before -- certainly, just 3 years earlier there's was not much one had to do to mix at all -- since everything had been tracked together and monitored largely in mono while so doing.  Now, you actually have to put work into a mix, and do some planning.

I think it's at these moments where a lot of the value of art gets imparted into the art.  At the human moments.  Sometimes it doesn't even have to be good art, as such, but because the moment captured in time is so human, there is value there.  I've always thought that Jackson Pollocks sell for so much at auction not so much because his painting is "good" but because he was able to imbed himself and his time in the canvas.  I think this goes for a lot of abstract artists especially.  But it needn't be limited to abstract artists -- part of the great thrill of seeing a painting in a museum is the ability to see the brushstrokes in 3D and know they were created by a human in some other time; in some other part of the world.  If you're lucky, you can smell the art.  There's a particular sculpture-type thing in MOMA that smells like an ashtray.  That artist connected with me, somehow, by allowing me to smell the cigarettes they constantly smoked while making the art.

It's about sharing a moment with a human, I think.  So hearing the original mixes and masters are an added human connection -- Steve and Carl and whomever else was drafted into running a fader on the ol' Quad-8 injected their humanity in that move, recorded their existence, and passed it on to us.  To not have those moments there in the music is unequivocally a loss, but I think that the identity of art includes loss as a sine qua non, indeed, essential player.  It's the shade to the dark that gives us chiaroscuro.  It makes art a conversation--a chronological experience--a lung inhaling and exhaling.

And then of course, what is lost gets compensated for by equally human moves -- and again, it's a question of the individual appreciator's values, but there is no responsibility to privilege one set of human moves over another's.  It's humans that do remixes, humans that do remasters, and at the end of the day, in our particular case of the Beach Boys, we know these people are good humans who authentically love the music -- which helps a lot.





Great, great post - thx.





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« Reply #3144 on: April 02, 2021, 05:21:08 PM »

They should have at least talked to Stephen Desper... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3145 on: April 02, 2021, 05:21:46 PM »

I don't care about who mixes and different this and that. All this is that! As a long-time fan - 50 years+ - I'm just happy there is "new" material coming out, legally. Hopefully I'll stay alive, trying to avoid this damn corona, for many years. In the next few years we'll hopefully get to hear more from the best era in the BB history. So stop bashing, stop those silly meaningless discussions, and just be happy there is "new" material coming out at all! I'm happy for every little snippet that comes out. Wishing a Happy Easter to all BB fans and prominent guests of this board!
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« Reply #3146 on: April 03, 2021, 12:24:16 AM »

^ Here here👍
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« Reply #3147 on: April 03, 2021, 03:54:10 AM »

I don't care about who mixes and different this and that. All this is that! As a long-time fan - 50 years+ - I'm just happy there is "new" material coming out, legally. Hopefully I'll stay alive, trying to avoid this damn corona, for many years. In the next few years we'll hopefully get to hear more from the best era in the BB history. So stop bashing, stop those silly meaningless discussions, and just be happy there is "new" material coming out at all! I'm happy for every little snippet that comes out. Wishing a Happy Easter to all BB fans and prominent guests of this board!

I think any discussion about the changing ontological status of the mix is entirely pertinent to this thread and is far from meaningless! Whilst I concur that any project that holds a stethoscope up to the Sunflower / Surf's Up era is going to be interesting and worthwhile, to adopt the mentality that we should be happy with what we get is to lay yourself wide open to a good soap-dropping in the prison shower from the forces of capitalism. 

People do care about the ontology of the mix in this case, as these two albums, Sunflower in particular, are defined by their mix, (this Donny, Joshilyn et al have succinctly explained). Not only that, Stephen Desper, the actual MIXER of the original project, has stated many times that the way to hear these projects as the artists intended is via the encoded matrix mix and in a correctly orientated listening environment. His study videos bear this out. Whilst it is true that the average 50+ year fan may not care about things like this, (as bsten has ably demonstrated), a lot of this boxed set's potential audience DO CARE. These are the audiophiles, the recorded sound scholars, and the historians (although in honour of Joshilyn's videos I think all Beach Boys practical sound historians should be referred to as hoistorians henceforth).

Sorry to single you out bsten. To a point I'm playing devil's advocate. Not only is your post as valid as anyone's, it  also perfectly asks the purism vs revisionism question of 'does it matter'? The answer is 'to some yes, to others, no'. But as always such a simple binarism belies the nuances which are being discussed. Of course historical accuracy matters, but should that inhibit any new interpretations?

It was stated earlier in the thread that up until the fixed medium of recorded sound, the printed score was an interpretive tool. The advent of recording for the first time gave sound object status. If one rejects the myth that up until the advent of multitracking the purpose of recording was to capture a live performance, then one quickly sees (hears) that even as far back as the acoustic era of wax recording, this was a heavily mediated process. The introduction of microphones further separated recording from a live performance. The idea that one could hear a performer singing or playing as if standing right next to you  was perhaps the most shocking and revolutionary aspect of recording that ever took place in terms of its status as an ontological object. Recording has always been mediated, it has always been manipulated. It has always been presented as a fixed medium deemed ready by the creators for dissemination. The final word.

However, I have always wondered about Brian's famous quote about the sacrosanctity of the mix being preserved better through mono. Had he never seen a tone knob? Since the 1930's, playback equipment in the home had given the consumer the ability to filter the sound via tone controls. Whilst his point is well taken, it seems to refer to early hard-panned stereo such as Don't Worry Baby, or much of the Beatles early stereo mixes. My point is that the user manipulation of the finished product began long before Brian was born. The stereo  of the early 1970's  in fact really cemented and encouraged the idea of the audiophile, and the sacrosanctity of the mix. This is an era when home users really were concerned with speaker placement and listening position, the prerequisites under which Desper's matrix operates. Perhaps Mark and Alan are conscious of the fact that very few people access music in this way anymore, with headphones now the preferred delivery medium. Stereo is a different beast through headphones, and this informs many contemporary mix decisions.

With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the majority of the 2012 boxed set MIC, and the contemporaneous single album stereo releases are, to my ears  mixed to be more headphone-centric than previous releases. In fact it took me awhile to reconcile myself with this set, as the pre-1970 material in particular sounded very mediated over speakers. Through headphones however, a lot of the decisions, particularly regarding dynamics started to make sense. Also, much of what defined the sound of this set is that it was , according to Mark mixed fully 'in the box', that is to say no outboard gear. As someone who had also gone fully over to plug-ins by this point, I could certainly hear the difference. Since MIC, there have been some amazing advancements in the sound of plug-ins. Not only hardware based emulations such as the UAD plugs but also companies like BrainWorx. Even Waves have upped their game (the RS124 emulation - wow). My point. 10 years ago you could easily hear the plug-ins, now, not so much. Mark, if after the MIC box I ever doubted you, I have to say that the Wild Honey stereo mix more than brought me round. Great through headphone and speakers. We're in safe hands.

So whilst I would welcome, and would pay premium for a Desper encoded Sunflower mix to be included as the central part of the set, I can understand why this probably won't happen. Most people do not access music in a way that would be conjusive to it. We have also, since the 1930's manipulated the end product, essentially voiding this idea of the sacrosanctity of the mix before it even took hold.

I personally like art that is in flux, that can be open to reinterpretation. Access to multi tracks almost takes recorded music back to the idea of the score as an interpretive tool. If the material is good, then surely it can not only withstand reinterpretation, but also thrive because of it. Out of all the classic art forms, music is the most ephemeral. It is a flexible artform.

Free those multitracks I say, but hand me a copy of the encoded Sunflower for my desert island sojourn.

 
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« Reply #3148 on: April 03, 2021, 06:00:07 PM »

I don't care about who mixes and different this and that. All this is that! As a long-time fan - 50 years+ - I'm just happy there is "new" material coming out, legally. Hopefully I'll stay alive, trying to avoid this damn corona, for many years. In the next few years we'll hopefully get to hear more from the best era in the BB history. So stop bashing, stop those silly meaningless discussions, and just be happy there is "new" material coming out at all! I'm happy for every little snippet that comes out. Wishing a Happy Easter to all BB fans and prominent guests of this board!

Whilst I concur that any project that holds a stethoscope up to the Sunflower / Surf's Up era is going to be interesting and worthwhile, to adopt the mentality that we should be happy with what we get is to lay yourself wide open to a good soap-dropping in the prison shower from the forces of capitalism. 

Well, that choice of metaphor is just class all the way . . . hardly likely to be offensive to anyone.
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« Reply #3149 on: April 03, 2021, 07:57:33 PM »

Lots to digest from Greg -- thanks for Hoistorians coinage, I love it!

I agree, obviously, that there is much value in this discussion.  It's easy to see it as bitching and moaning if you pass over some of the points people are making too dismissively.  But it's actually a really important thing to consider.  It's true, and I think one would be hard pressed to formulate a satisfying argument to the contrary, that art is not a one-way street.  I don't think anybody really wants that--it would be boring, yeah?  I like to think of art (ad arguendo, at least, if not de facto, if I may mix my Latin stock phrases a bit) as people throwing stuff out there and saying, "well, whaddya think of that?"  To create art and share it with people is, in a sense inviting pushback.

One of my least favourite experiences is creating something, sharing it, and getting back toothless bromides.  I would rather someone say "I hate your video" than "Nice video" because at least hatred has some real feeling behind it.  The point is, I think most artists, despite the agony of negative feedback, would much prefer some sort of pushback to tacit, plastic "enjoyment" of the work.

That's not to say that it's ok to be needlessly negative.  Especially when we are engaged in discussing work whose creator is liable to walk in on us.  It's different and more abstract to talk about criticism and to push back against artists who aren't around anymore.  It's easier, and it's also a sucker punch in some ways because they're not around anymore to push back themselves.

So I think the question we have to ask ourselves on this messageboard is, how do we continue to have meaningful discussions about this music?  Repeating over and over again how awesome the music is and how much we love it is not really that interesting (and, frankly, a bit of a given, here?).  I'm always looking for ways to drive interesting, meaningful, and if possible, new discussions about the music that I consider to be legitimately important music in the history of western music.  And in the meantime, I'm trying to get people who have not been Beach Boys fans to come over to our side.

But I think to do both of those things is going to require some hard discussions (hopefully not emotionally hard--I just mean hard because it makes us all think deeply.)  And I think that thinking deeply about our relationship to this music,--what it should be, what it can be, what it could be, what it should not be-- both qua art and qua commercial product, is a huge and worthwhile topic.
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