The Pet Sounds Sessions
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A unique retrospective-produced by Brian Wilson himself-that redefines and deconstructs a musical work of art like never before! Here is the first-ever true stereo mix of the album; the symphonic instrumental backing tracks without vocals; the choral-like vocals without instrumental tracks; more than a dozen alternate versions of tracks from the Pet Sounds sessions; a remastered version of the original mono album; a 42-page color booklet with rare photos from the session and ANOTHER 120-page booklet with interviews of the Beach Boys, Paul McCartney and George Martin. God Only Knows; Wouldn't It Be Nice; Caroline No songs so great it's worth hearing them five different ways!
Released in 1966 to tepid sales (and hence causing no small amount of grumbling among the notoriously fractious band members), Brian Wilson's Rubber Soul-inspired album of "spiritual love" eventually became one of pop music's most celebrated artistic accomplishments. Paul McCartney would later claim that Pet Sounds in turn inspired the Beatles' magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper. This four-disc box set offers an unprecedented deconstruction of Wilson's masterpiece, taking fans, armchair scholars, and musicians on a compelling creative journey. Leading off with what once was heresy--a complete true-stereo mix of the album cleverly conjured from the existing session tapes by engineer and project coproducer Mark Linett--the set proceeds through edited audio collages that document the evolution of each song's backing track. Along the way, listeners are treated to a playful, unreleased gem ("Trombone Dixie") and the very genesis of Wilson's other great period masterpiece, "Good Vibrations." Conversely, disc 2 presents all the songs' glorious harmonies, sans instrumental backing tracks, then 19 more tracks that highlight alternate working versions (including the original take on "I Know There's an Answer," the pointedly titled "Hang On to Your Ego"), session snippets, and radio promotional spots. Disc 3 contains a newly remastered version of the album's original mono mix. The album's two comprehensive booklets were written and edited by coproducer and veteran Beach Boy biographer David Leaf and include commentary by Wilson and quotes from McCartney and producer George Martin. The 126-page "Making of Pet Sounds" pieces together the recollections of the band, session men, and engineers behind the epochal album into a warm, human-scaled history. --Jerry McCulley
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I finally bought 'The Pet Sounds Sessions' and I had to write a review.
Disc One starts off with the stereo mix of 'Pet Sounds' - I will say that I prefer the mono version way more, but the stereo version really shows how many elements Brian crammed in to make the perfect sound. After the stereo set, the 'session takes' begin. You hear Brian in the booth talking to the musicians, guiding them into playing precisely what he wanted. The seven minutes of the 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' studio session are almost worth the price of the entire set! Along with the session audio are tracks of the instrumentals of each song - great for musicians who want to dissect a particular song to answer the question of "how did Brian do this!?"
Disc two continues the session takes of each song. Disc three starts of with the 'vocals only' set of songs...again, I am speechless when trying to describe the beauty of these songs. Also on disc three are the alternate versions of many of the 'Pet Sounds' songs. The most beautiful, in my opinion, being the 'Don't Talk' Vocal Snippet - buy this set if only for this one track...it is the most beautiful vocal piece I have ever heard in my life.
A fourth disc is included which contains the re-mastered mono album.
The audio quality is amazing on all the songs/sessions. Capitol really put a lot of time/money/effort into this boxed set and it shows.
Also included in the box are two booklets about 'Pet Sounds'. One booklet includes 126 pages of interviews from nearly everyone involved in the 'Pet Sounds' project...including audio engineers, studio musicians, collaborators, to the Beach Boys themselves. This booklet also includes a wealth of information on how Brian would work in the studio and how he came up with his music. The other booklet is more of a scrapbook full of pictures, song notes, etc.
If you dig 'Pet Sounds' and want to hear more of it, I definitely recommend this box set.
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