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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

264. "Tomorrow Never Knows" by The Beatles

It's basically ill-advised to attempt to cover such an incredible-sounding song from what to me is the finest record the Beatles ever released, especially given that the tune has already been sodomized by Phil Collins, but my attempt evolved from a conversation on FaceBook about the tune's implied chord structure (seems that a lot of folks hear it as a one-chord drone) and how one might, theoretically, arrange it for acoustic guitar. It occurred to me that I was in a position to try it all out and get it out there without having to go too far out of my way, so I did. In the process, I thought it might be cool to do the entire acoustic part backwards... leaving the listener with a recording that was unquestionable an arrangement for a single guitar and a single voice with a minimum of processsing (a bit of delay and reverb are inevitable, but I stayed away from flanging, phasing, distortion, or anything which in my judgment fundamentally altered the natural timber and tone of what was in front of the microphone), except that one happened to be occurring in reverse. Had I had more time, I would have done the vocal backwards as well, recording my best Twin Peaks midget voice pronouncing the words backward and reversing them to play surrealistically forward, but this will have to do... it was hard enough to play what I intended as a constantly building crescendo in the guitar line (for the sake of the dynamics a straight reading of the song would sorely lack) as a diminuendo instead whilst counting the measures to keep the progression going in the proportions which would play back as "correct" when reversed for vocal tracking purposes.

The result may still be a little too much on the "psychedelic cliché" end of the spectrum, but I hope it gets the job done.

Personnel: Rex

1 comment:

  1. The argument about whether the song has a second chord depends on yr beliefs concerning "functional harmony" and its applicability to non-WAMT (western art music tradition, f/k/a "classical music") noisemaking. Somewhat analogous to this: you're playing a D-major chord, and one point the vocal line sits on a B natural for (say) one beat. Do we say that the song has a D6 chord or not? Partly it depends where the song's coming from and going to surrounding that B: if a D6 seems to be a logical link between the D and whatever chord comes next, a link which, if missing, would render the D to next-chord kinda odd, then arguably, that's a D6 chord. If on the other hand, the melody just happens to sit on a B for a beat, and there's no particular anywhere the chord sequence goes that requires a D6 chord, then it's not really a D6 chord.

    Anyway: I'm torn as to whether (a) the whole functional harmony trip ( ) really makes sense in rock, given that a lot of the way chords move in rock is very different from in classical, and (b) I give a damn. Certainly, if someone were to play TNK without ever even implying that second chord a whole step down, it would sound rather someone forgot something.

    This lengthy digression brought to you by the Dept. of What? You're Still Reading This?