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Monday, February 18, 2013

Happiness Is a Worn Copy of The White Album

Posted by on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 10:01 AM

[This post has been amended.]

Obsessive collector Rutherford Chang, curator of the We Buy The White Album store in New York, had the daft/brilliant idea to record 100 copies of the first side of the Beatles self-titled 1968 LP—aka The White Album—simultaneously. What ensues is an interesting study in the infallibility of turntables and a bizarre listening experience, as Über-familiar songs erode and mutate before your stunned ears.

Things start off sounding normal enough with “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” but by track 2 (“Dear Prudence”), the recordings start to go out of sync and consequently strange overtones appear. As the needles move across the vinyl over time, the sound gets progressively more chaotic and the songs become barely recognizable. Tragically, you can hardly hear George Harrison and Eric Clapton’s guitars gently weeping. On the plus side, the execrable "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" sounds more tolerable in this messed-up condition. Side-closer “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” turns into a haunting ambient dirge with a choir of ghostly Lennons singing way off in the distance. Spooky as fuck, man.


Comments (10) RSS

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nipper 10
Interesting AND flutter indeed, most daft tho.

I wonder how many different versions, like different issues, were used. That could account, besides the turntable variance, for the track time variances.
Posted by nipper on February 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
@8 I know I read about that decades ago, but I must've subconsciously deleted this fact from my memory after "Tears in Heaven" came out.
Posted by Dave Segal on February 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Okay, guitar nerd here. You do know that Eric Clapton actually played lead guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", right?
Posted by BallardBoy on February 19, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
psbirch 7
@1 Heh -- I thought the same thing
Posted by psbirch on February 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
what @4 said!
Posted by cb on February 18, 2013 at 7:27 PM · Report this
sirkowski 5
That's pretty cool.
Posted by sirkowski on February 18, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this
Methods! I want methods! Did they have 100 turntables in the room and 100 people who did a needle drop on a countdown? Or did they just record the same side playing 100 times and sync it all up digitally?
Posted by LMcGuff on February 18, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
This is amazing. I'm disappointed they only did one side.
Posted by redemma on February 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
matt 2
One man's execrable is another's untouchably happy childhood memory. I was offended, but then again taste is so subjective, Dave.
Posted by matt on February 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 1
I just skipped to the 13 minute mark and it sounds like an MBV record.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this

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