Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Beatles - Instant Karma! (1970)

The Beatles – Instant Karma!
(a soniclovenoize reimagining)

Side A
1.  Instant Karma!  (We All Shine On)
2.  All Things Must Pass
3.  Every Night
4.  I Found Out
5.  Beware of Darkness
6.  Working Class Hero
7.  Momma Miss America

Side B
8.  It Don’t Come Easy
9.  Isolation
10.  Junk
11.  My Sweet Lord
12.  Maybe I’m Amazed
13.  Love
14.  Hear Me Lord



I received numerous requests for this, so I thought I’d actually do it as a ‘thank you’ to everyone who is listening to my crazy reconstructions and supporting my blog Albums That Never Were.  Now, if you guys enjoy this one, it can be the first in a series of five albums.  I know it’s been done before, but this is my take on it.  Let me know if you want me to continue this series, and I most surely will…

This reconstruction—or reimagining, as I’m calling it—asks the question that I think we’ve all asked at one point or another: What if The Beatles didn't break up?  This theoretical album attempts to cull the best of The Beatles solo material from 1970 alone to create what could have been the band’s follow-up to Abbey Road (or depending on how you look at it, Let It Be).  The songs were carefully chosen to create a unified and cohesive album that would best carry on ‘The Beatles torch’ while still retaining each of the members’ diverging interests.  The best and least brickwalled/clipping remasters were chosen for source material, volume levels adjusted for song-to-song balance and all songs are tightly book-ended to make a continuous two sides of music.

The result—an album I call Instant Karma!—is a somber, introspective album, full of contradicting stripped-down John & Paul songs juxtaposed with the massively-produced George & Ringo songs.  Sonically, it lies somewhere between The White Album in its stark contrasts and Abbey Road with its epic majesty.  All of the songs are from different perspectives, yet hint at the same thing: a desire for understanding the essences of basic human nature and the quest for the soul itself.  If I may dare, the songs seem to create a particular narrative: the members of the band themselves engaging in their own dialog with themselves, repairing the bond between them that had slipped over the previous 4 years. 

So sit back and imagine, if you will, an alternate timeline…  That sometime in 1970: The Beatles fired Allen Klein and somehow came upon an agreement of how to run Apple Records, allowing the band members to separate the music from the business, the chief destruction of the band being averted; with the success of “Here Comes The Sun” and “Something” and an amazing back-catalog of unused and new songs, George successfully campaigns for an equal share of his own songs to be featured alongside the Lennon/McCartney originals (with the compromise that Linda and Yoko are allowed in the Beatles' inner circle if need be); pleased with Phil Spector’s work remixing Let It Be, The Beatles opt to have him produce the bulk of their recordings throughout the 1970s (despite McCartney’s reluctance); John agrees but wants to elaborate on the stripped-down and live-band-sounding arrangements, as revisited in the Get Back sessions from the previous year, but at least for his own compositions written from his Primal Scream therapy sessions; Ringo was, as always, just happy to be there. 


Instant Karma! is released to critical and commercial success in late 1970, re-establishing The Beatles as a dominant musical force in the 1970s.  Three hit singles were released from this album in 1970 and early 1971: “Instant Karma!” b/w the non-album B-side “That Would Be Something”, “Maybe I’m Amazed” b/w the non-album B-side “Apple Scruffs” and “My Sweet Lord” b/w the non-album B-side “Well Well Well”.  The success of Instant Karma! gave a new confidence to the band that was so close to breaking up, especially with a new producer, a stronger leading-role for their lead guitarist as a songwriter and the band's uncertainty of relevance in a new decade.  Regrouping in the summer of 1971 with a new set of songs and a new sense of unity, The Beatles attempt to record their second album of the 1970s.  Can you... imagine?

320kps mp3 

Flac part 1
Flac part 2

Source used:
All Things Must Pass (2010 40th Anniversary remaster)
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (2010 remaster)
McCartney (2011 remaster)
Photographs – The Best of Ringo Starr (2007)
Working Class Hero – The Definitive John Lennon (2005)

flac --> wav --> editing in Audacity and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included