Picked up the deluxe CD+DVD-A package of The Beatles: Love, the remixed-and-mastered soundtrack to the Cirque de Soleil show currently running in Las Vegas. I couldn't care less about the show itself (for some reason, Cirque de Soleil has always appealed to me about as much as Topo Gigio on Ed Sullivan), but the music is astounding. Beatles producer George Martin and his son Giles Martin have done all the remixing and mastering, adding one new bit of music--a string accompaniment to the acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Otherwise, everything you hear on this disc is comprised of tracks taken from the original recordings--but you've never heard them like this before.
Martin & Martin have taken snippets of music and reassembled them in musical layers, building something new out of something old. It's a sort of music sampler, with motifs taken from multiple songs. Bits of "The End" lead into "Get Back"; "Tomorrow Never Knows" motifs work their way into "Within You Without You." It's a fascinating blending of musical snippets, and something that I suspect John Lennon would have loved were he alive to hear it.
What's most compelling, though, is the vitality and presence of the music. I've heard "Within You Without You" hundreds of times--but never until now have I heard the subtleties of George Harrison's voice, the subtle harmonics and undertones that have gone unreproduced until now. "Strawberry Fields Forever" builds from demo to a finished mass of swirling musical fantasy without ever losing the in-front-of-you quality of John Lennon's vocals.
The absolute best place to hear this music is in an Acura with an Elliot Scheiner-designed sound system (the best sound system in any automobile, and one of the few places where your placement among the speakers is virtually contolled by the equipment--unless you're in a habit of wandering from seat to seat in your car, that is) but you'll enjoy it on any DVD-A capable system.
I'm hoping that this (and the just released Doors: Perception boxed set of CDs plus DVD-A mixes of their entire catalog) will herald a renaissance of DVD-A releases. With Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus adding DVD-A players to their vehicles, it's a shame that so little music is being released in this superior format.
Oh, what I'd give for a boxed set of all the Beatles recordings on DVD-A!...