Wednesday, September 24, 2014

100 Copies of The Beatles' White Album Playing At The Same Time

Artist Rutherford Chang says: "I collect first-pressings of The White Album and currently own 1,034 copies." As part of his 'White Album' project (which also includes a record store only stocked with copies of you-know-what arranged according to serial number) he somehow got 100 of them to play at once. I wonder how? Sounds quite good tho, like 100 needles were dropped onto 100 turntables at pretty much the same time. Then they slowly go out of phase, like an old Steve Reich tape-loop piece. Surprisingly wonderful, e.g.: "Julia" (end of side 2) whips up a really nice drone. And I hadn't actually sat down to listen to the White Album since I was a kid, so it's also an interesting way to revisit the album.

Four 20+ minute tracks, one for each side of the White Album, plus lots of pics of White Albums in various states of decay:

Rutherford Chang - We Buy White Albums (file removed by corporate Blue Meanies)

Reminds me of another Beatles-related oddity, a very skillfully executed mashup album based on the absurd (or is it?!) premise that someone visiting another dimension where the Beatles never broke up brought back a cassette of one of their later albums. It's actually made up of tracks from various Beatles solo releases. The whole crazy story, and the album download, is available here:

The Beatles Never Broke Up

Thanks to Amadeus, And Count Otto!


Matt Griffin said...


Insides Music said...

Here is a link to a piece of all the Beatles songs played at the same time. Created 11 years ago in 2003 by artist '19'

AmericanSamourai said...

Cool... thanks!

Count Otto Black said...

Some of those discolored covers are undoubtedly the result of the bizarre 1969 rumor that Paul McCartney had been secretly dead for 3 years. It was at first supposed that the phone number you could (sort of) make out by holding the cover of The Magical Mystery Tour album up to a mirror would, if you called it up at 5 am on a Wednesday, reveal the truth, and possibly win you a trip to Pepperland, or even connect you directly with Paul in Heaven.

When this proved not to be the case after all, a new rumor claimed that this rather obvious number was only a decoy, and the real secret phone number could be revealed by rubbing the cover of The White Album with Vaseline. Needless to say, this wasn't true either, but a lot of people ruined their album covers finding that out.

Mr Fab said...

You're welcome, folks! "all the Beatles songs played at the same time" - well, that was quite a dense cacophony; I esp liked the final minutes, the "I Want You Shes So Heavy' vs "Revolution No 9" mashup.

I certainly remember the Paul-is-dead nonsense, but not that White Album stuff; another most amusing example of, to quote a book title, extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds.

Timmy said...

Complete insanity. I am now changed for the remainder of life.

Amadeus said...

Even more unbalanced is the fact that, being that the White Album had such a huge impact on me 'artistically' I recorded the whole thing backwards years ago on my multi-track tape recorder (of course since then I have a pristine digital recording) and have listened to it numerous times. The only album I ever felt the need to do that with.

I'm not a bad person am I?

Mr Fab said...

'Course not, Amadeus. In fact I think Capital should release both this, and your emublA etihW remix. I'd buy 'em.

Count Otto Black said...

Just out of interest, Amadeus, when you went to the heroically pointless trouble of listening to the entire double album backwards, which presumably very few people have, did you find any reversed speech other than the famous "turn me on, dead man"?

I've listened backward to a fair number of random tracks by other bands to see how common accidental reversed speech is, and it seems to be incredibly rare - I've never found a single phrase anything like as convincing as that one. If there's more than one clearly audible example on the same record, it's at the very least a massive coincidence!

Greg B. said...

"File does not exist on this server"

Man, I need to visit this site more often!

Mr Fab said...

Thanks for the heads-up Greg. There's probably some beatle-bot patrolling the web looking for things to report. I uploaded it again using a less conspicuous name this time.

Greg B. said...

Thank you very much, Mr. Fab! I listened to the first side, which Chang had uploaded to SoundCloud, and was amazed at how chaotic it got after "Back in the USSR"! If you're interested, he also posted a version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" using only 8 copies:

Professor Ludwig Von Straussen said...

While Mr. Chang's experiment might sound interesting on paper, when put into practice it will create nothing more than 'weakly white' noise, a constant power density that is illustrated in the following mathematical equation:

W{[a,a+r]} = fa^{a+r} w(t) dt2

The continuous distribution of such random fields, especially when 'dirty' copies of a sonic source are utilized will merely serve to override the intended audio signal, rendering it nearly imperceptible to the human ear, unless of course that is the objective.

I might suggest that Mr. Chang try employing fewer, say 4 to 5 'clean' copies of the same signal source, staggered them at roughly 2 second intervals apart from one another for a more elucidative result.

Meanwhile, I believe that this researcher should stick with the documentation of the 'soiled' covers which when taken as a whole, reveal quite a bit about the power of the object itself, as well as the way that its owners responded to the artifact.

I give this project a B for effort, but a C- for execution.

Amadeus said...

Hi Mr. Count. I'm glad that listening to the whole 95 minutes backwards makes me a hero. Even pointless heroics.

The backwards thing; the mumbling at the end of 'I'm So Tired' (which is now at the beginning) vaguely says: 'Paul Is A Dead Man, miss him, miss him, miss him'.

As far as the audio vs. visual of this art installation, It just appealed to me, the whole thing, I got a friend in Liverpool to go to the exhibition to get me a copy of the album he pressed and I irrationally love it.

It does degenerate into a mush of ball-less ambient noise. was there a point to this exercise? I don't see one, but I also don't see a point to the whole installation except that it's neat to look at.

Some people like clams but other folks like frogs. Me, I like 100 white albums playing simultaneously.

But I generally don't listen to my albums backwards. It must've been the moment that the album itself hit me,,,, I dunno,,,,,,

I've never had a good custard.

Rodrigo Delli said...

Man, you really knows wath strange means!!! You're the guy!!!

Anonymous said...

Link's dead again.

Mr Fab said...

Sorry folks, I'd better not try putting it up again. Those Beatles attorneys have to justify their fat salaries somehow, so they go after non-profit blogs that post other peoples' works that, because they're 'transformative,' *should* be protected by Fair Use. We're right, but I don't have the $$, so it's playing with fire to keep uploading this.

Amadeus said...

You can hear side one if you go to Rutherford Chang's website. That would probably do most people.

Anonymous said...

I just found this post today, i am (as so many) a fan of The Beatles. I Wich you would reconcider sharing that file :-) I understrand that you want to protect you haed work two. Then why don't you delete it then?

John said...

My friend's band did a couple songs with the same concept as The Beatles Never Broke Up, but in a much more avant-garde context. He called the concept Paralleatles. You can hear them here:
The Beatles songs are the first two; the other songs are similarly sample-based, sampling from Miles Davis tribute albums, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, and Amon Duul II.

Anonymous said...

Talking about beatles and collage, please hear this:

If you liked it please comment

Tipo Sena