The Beatles “Moggology Vol. 4″ Medusa ( MD-008/9 )
DISC 1 – WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (Take 1 – Dilrubas mono TK3+4) / WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (SI onto Take 2 – Orchestra mono TK3) / WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU (SI onto Take 1 – Vocals+Sitar mono TK4) / WHEN I’M 64 (Take 2 mono) / WHEN I’M 64 (Take 2 mono Speed Corrected) / WHEN I’M 64 (Take 1 – Drums+Guitar mono TK1) / WHEN I’M 64 (Take 2 – Piano mono TK2) / WHEN I’M 64 (Take 2 – Bass mono TK3) / WHEN I’M 64 (SI onto Take 2 – Lead Vocals mono TK4) / WHEN I’M 64 (SI onto Take 4 – Backing Vocals+Bell mono TK3) / WHEN I’M 64 (SI onto Take 4 – Clarinets mono TK4) / LOVELY RITA (Take 8 – Partial mono) / LOVELY RITA (Take 8 – Guitars+Partial Piano mono TK1,2+4 Partial) / LOVELY RITA (Take 8 – Drums mono TK3) / LOVELY RITA (Take 8 – Piano Partial mono TK4 Partial) / LOVELY RITA (SI onto Take 9 – Bass mono TK2) / LOVELY RITA (SI onto Take 9 – Lead Vocals mono TK3+4) / LOVELY RITA (SI onto Take 11 – Backing Vocals+Piano mono TK4) ( 56:26 )
DISC 2 – SGT. PEPPER (REPRISE) (Take 9 – Rhythm Section mono TK1) / SGT. PEPPER (REPRISE) (Take 9 – Bass Overdub mono TK2) / SGT. PEPPER (REPRISE) (Take 9 – Percussion mono TK3) / SGT. PEPPER (REPRISE) (Take 9 – Vocals mono TK4) / SGT. PEPPER (REPRISE) (Take 9 – SFX mono) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (Take 4 – With Overdubs mono) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (Take 4 – Guitar+Piano+Maracas+Congas mono TK1) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (SI onto Take 5 – Drums+Bass+Percussion mono TK3) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (SI onto Take 6 – All Vocals+Piano mono TK2) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (SI onto Take 6 – All Vocals+Piano stereo TK2) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (Take 7(b) Orchestra mono TK4+Tape 2) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (Take 7(b) Orchestra stereo TK4+Tape2) / A DAY IN THE LIFE (Take 7(b) Orchestra+Clavichord mono TK4+Tape 2) ( 48:03 )
DISCS 1 & 2 – MOGG FILE EXTRACTIONS FROM ‘ROCKBAND’ REMASTERED AND RE-CONSTRUCTED
The fourth release and sister volume to Vol. 3′s “Sgt. Pepper” collection Vol. 4 of Moggology collects together the rest of the remaining “Sgt. Pepper” tracks from the Mogg file extractions. In what seems like a move aproaching overkill the 31 tracks here are the splints of only 5 songs but it’s not to say that the experiments from dissecting these tracks aren’t successful in the main. As we’ve discovered before the tracks are sometimes a hit and miss affair so rather than pick apart the bad from the good, this review aims to highlight only the best of the CDs contents.
The continuation of the “Within You, Without You” stems opens the show ( we heard the Tabla, Swarmandel and Tamboura tracks on the last volume. ) and so we begin with the Dilrubas this time around.
A haunting solo track that could have come straight from George’s instrumental “Wonderwall” album of the film of the same name, the Dilruba track sounds like a slightly overlong introduction to the album but the golden factor is that, even without hushed vocals or the rest of it’s instrumentation it’s a powerful piece. The same can be said for track two, Orchestra only, unless you had a real affinity with this track you wouldn’t have really noticed this track behind the bolder indian instruments that cover it so much. The only downside is it’s participation is marginal and so the first minute of the track is silence. As it lasts over 5 minutes, it’s a tricky wait to sit through without pressing fast forward on your remote control.
The vocal track is brilliant. It’s George listening to a playback of the track through headphones and so, as before, uncovered from the rest of the instrumentation, unburied by George’s coyness from putting an indian music track on to a Beatles album. Towards the middle we’re joined by the sitar, the pinnicle of the song that the other instruments base themselves around. It’s an astounding listen and possibly, despite the track appraised at the one to skip on a brilliant album, the best listen of the disk.
We next venture to the multiple takes of “When I’m 64″. The first two tracks are essentially the same thing but at different tempos – the ‘original’ and then the ‘speed corrected’ versions ( Everyone knows this fact I’m sure but just to quickly recap – the young McCartney fancied an even younger twist to his tone when he originally heard the song in the studio so it was down to George Martin to speed up the vocal a bit to give a little lighter edge ). This mono version does a better job of opening up the little flourishes of the guitar, the piano and – on the speed corrected version – the bass sounds a little more like it should with a little more room to spill out at the ends, giving the sound a little more ‘plonk’ at the end.
Going further along the best of the stems are in the guitar parts of Track 6. ( The drum parts are excruciating ), the piano of track 7. ( sounding more like a polished demo rather than the finished piece – although the dreaded silence is apparent too ), the bass – only of track 8. ( A master class in playing the bass but with melody rather than adding back bone to the part ) and the clarinets of track 11. ( To an Englishman, these sound warm, cosy and reminiscent of, indeed, an innocent age. To anyone outside of the British isles – shades of Glen Miller or Gershwin )
The rest of the disk comprises of various “Lovely Rita” extractions.
A brilliant, demo styled partial mono version ( Track 12. ) concludes with a flourish of drumming from Ringo and an otherwise unheard, approving comment from John. Track 13, the mono guitars and piano is another wonder. The feeling is of a heavy metal band playing a track acoustically, or maybe a Kinks classic being polished such is the power behind the acoustic guitars. A lot of tremendous fun is being had here and it’s a great way to hear the song played inside out.
Things are a little less exciting until track 16. when we have another illustrious bass track from Macca, ping-pong-ing the bass notes around like it was effortless. Granted, with nothing but bass notes it’ll be a hard graft for many but certainly worth sticking with towards the end.
Then two vocal only takes – you know the routine for this one – but evidently the Beatles were afforded a few live vocal effects this time and as Paul and John scat towards the end of their lead vocals, the effects fizz, pop and sparkle. It’s quite an event to listen to and more of an indication of the fun that the Beatles were allowing themselves in the studio after their relentless touring.
The two final tracks of the album lead off the set – 5 veriations of the “Sgt. Pepper (reprise)” and a fantastic 7 variations of the closer “A Day In The Life”.
The “( Reprise )” tracks consist of the rhythm track ( a version of the backing track essentially ), a Bass overdub ( Slightly more interesting to hear ), Percussion ( Live listening to Paul McCartney on the bus singing along to his walkman at full blast ), Vocals only ( featuring new studio chatter that has been cut out from the CV. Rather revealing at the begining when Paul shouts out a phrase and John mishears him then, at the end, when the band are revealed as winding down. ) and the sound effects ( pointless. )
The “Day In The Life” segment should be most interesting as one of the most prothetic tracks in the Beatles oeuvre is stripped back to it’s bare components. Take 4 with over dubs ( Track 6. ) is first and begins with a short warm up as the tape ramps up and John’s count in. All small beans so far as the song continues but as we get to the middle eight Paul’s section, or rather just his vocals, are missing as is the orchestration that obscures Mal’s count through thus we hear Ringo’s drumming and John’s piano playing a lot more clearly. The song fades to a counted end rather than being buried under the orchestral miasma.
(Track 7. ) fares a little less well, essentially a muted John under guitar, piano and percussion this version adds little to the mystique of the song but ends instead with the ‘Final piano chord’.
Now on to Take 5 ( Track 8. ) “Drum, bass and percussion” is slightly underwhelming apart from hearing Ringo’s wonderful drumming and Paul’s deathly bass ( Which falters a little towards the end. )
Both versions of take 6 ( Mono & Stereo vocals ) have a slightly erie quality. The sound is akin to John singing and playing piano parts along to an old 78 on a distant gramophone. They both suffer from the dreaded silences but open out again to Paul’s vocal where we can hear his single tracked vocal ( with count in! ) lead towards the unprocessed harmonies that lead out that section and track back towards John’s final verse. This cuts out again for the final piano chord but beneath that we hear the creaking of a chair and someone sniffling. An obvious mistake that was nixed from the album.
The stereo vocals pan across between right and left between the first two verses, left to right again at Paul’s section and then stick to the left for John’s last verse.
The Final three tracks ( 11, 12 & 13 ) – “Orchestra Mono, Stereo and Clavichord” are mostly dead air the min, strange thing about it all is that the final piano chord is instead replicated as a strange electronic noise rather than acoustic piano. The Clavichord seems to have been recorded underwater and only appears where the first chorus should be.
Again, it’s a rather personal task the guys or girls at Medusa seem to be perfecting. When the songs hit home, they really flesh out the workings underneath the music.
Despite the lack of fulfillment on some of the tracks ( disregarding the obvious boon to desktop remixers ) the set is occasionally interesting to even the casual listener who cares what went on behind the scenes to these songs. Personally I hope that they get as far as an Abbey Road set – there isn’t much you can do with ‘Her Majesty’, granted, but for the other tracks they could uncover some greatness.
If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)