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Thursday, March 24, 2011

George Harrison - Electronic Sound

Name: George Harrison
Album: Electronic Sound
Year:
1969
Style: Ambient & Electronic Moog
Similar Bands: modem log-on noise, gun shots, zooming Moog sound, haunting bells
"One-Word" Review:
Sampler Non-Melodic Moog Platter
Based Out Of: England / California
Label: Zapple, Apple
Electronic Sounds: Cover & Record
Electronic Sounds: Back & Record

Electronic Sounds (1969)
  1. Under Mersey Wall 25:10
  2. No Time or Space 18:41
Album Rating (1-10): 2.5

Members & Other Bands:
George Harrison - Moog, Electronics, Guitar, Vocals, Producer, Composer (Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, Quarrymen)
Bernie Krause - Assistant (Beaver & Krause, Weavers) Peter Mew - Engineer

Unknown-ness: So obviously I know who George Harrison is. I did not know this was his record when I found it. From the odd kids-like painting, I initially thought it was going to be a kid’s album. But I saw that the record had the Apple Records / Beatles label, and I also saw that there was one lengthy track per side. Now as far as the content of these two songs, I am not sure if it’s going to be complex or simple, melodic or chaotic, memorable or forgettable. It could be any or all, or even a mix of all these elements combined. I guess I’m picturing the album to possess a bit of the chaotic whirlwind of sounds & noises from the white album. But this is one album that I cannot guess anything about it from the cover art, unless this album is really geared toward impressing kids with sound effects. Over all, I guess I’m just intrigued to see what this musically famous dude does outside of the box.

Album Review:
“Under The Mersey Wall” begins with gunshots that end up sounding like firecrackers. The following section has echoing sounds that remind me of the video game breakout. A windy version of the deep echoing sounds come next which turns into wind and swooshing, sweeping static. A rotating hum slowly builds behind the static then goes away as ominously as it came. A bubbling effect is added around 4 minutes that takes turns with the windy pong and the static. Gurgling Star Wars droid sounds are paired with a chaotic moog to seemingly no rhyme or reason. All the while the rotating humming brings its presence back. Seven minutes in and we are treated to some higher pitch moog screeches, followed by a more defined rotating hum. The moog transforms into what sounds like a pole position car revving up & changing gears. Single moog tones are played in a random order and slowly grow from crisp to echoing, as if they are leading the way through a dark cave. A low hum and an insect infestation bridge the way to the next set of effects. What sounds like a metallic watering hose spraying all over concrete takes center stage, only to pause and let electronic echoing space sounds twitter and blow around, which eventually blend together to sound like a metal spring boinging out of control in an echo chamber. The swishing spring is joined by a water helicopter (also sounds like a mellotron) and the two have an argument. Single Moog notes are played below the helicopter sound and they soon decide to glide up and down as if caught up in the helicopter’s updraft. The static used next sounds like tromping through leaves. Low buzzing tones are used in conjunction with the leaves, and higher pitch warning tones also eventually get their share of audio time. Crackling & echoing moog sounds are rendered at a hyper-hysterical pace. Then around 20:30 the wind comes in to clear the palate. Sporadic laser shots are fired after what sounds like a huge rip in time. The moog is used next to send zigzagging notes past the ear like the sound of a truck passing on the high way. The high intensity and pace that the buzzing sounds travel to end the track makes me think of the agility and speed of the saucers in Batteries Not Included.

“No Time or Space” begins wit a single note forced through a couple of different effect loops and some low rumbling is added, like the dialogue out of Predator. A segment of ice-cold notes are stretched and elongated past our ears. And for a short burst, the most melodic, but still chaotic stream of notes crashes through. What sounds like tuning a guitar, with single notes played, and a huge synthesized cymbal fading in and out follows for a minute or two. Warbling electronic bird cries seem to be next fading in and out and accompanied by washing waves. The moog itself is tested with the volume knob it seems, where just as a note fades out, it is brought back to the forefront with a startling increase. For a few seconds, this experiment seems like it will become more of a song, but it goes right back to random notes.
An oscillating ringing sound of a metal disc, as it warbles to the ground and then back up fills the next space with the later addition of an emergency alarm, also slightly warbling. Buzzing notes played in disjointed order, like a 2 year old trying to make out a complete song take the forefront with more ringing tones sound like bells or alarms at different distances away from the listener. The moog effects are downright eerie with what sounds like the powering down of the echoing bell tones and the stuttering end of each tone played in an overlapping and random scheme. The ending of the song creates an image of metallic bats flying around a bell tower that had gone haywire and is toning out odd time signatures with its haunting pre-programmed effects.

Stand Out Track:

Links (associated with this album, as there is lots on GH):

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