Remixes can be a tricky thing but I was intrigued when I learned Beatles' producer Sir George Martin had gotten permission from remaining band members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, as well as Yoko Ono, and the Harrison estate, to make experimental mixes from the band’s master tapes in a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil.
I have more trust in projects like this (which have the potential to be poorly executed) when the original artists give their permission to let someone try something different with their work, than say a record company saying, “we own the rights we can do what we please.”
The sample I received contained four songs out of the 26 featured on the full-length CD:
- "Lady Madonna"
- "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
- "Octopus' Garden"
- "Strawberry Fields Forever"
Of these tracks I was only familiar with the last two. The remixes have a more modern day feel to as the original songs were definitely a product their day. Martin has dropped in new drums, guitars and basslines and has included sampling. instead of using other aritists’ works for those samples, he fuses previously recorded Beatles' music, rhythms or spoken words. Though by doing this there’s a large margin of error, where the new sound loses the integrity of the original, this synchronization of different styles and era is deftly done. My wife, who has never really heard a Beatles song, said she could tell the difference in the tracks of the original version and the new additions and liked what she heard.
I wish the sampler had more songs with which I was more familiar, like “Help!,” “Revolution,” “Back In The U.S.S.R,” “Blackbird,” or “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” but then again this is a sampler whose main purpose is to give you a taste and prompt you to go out and buy the full CD.
I’ve heard hardcore fans either love these remixes or hate them, but as a casual fan of The Beatles I liked what I’ve heard so far.