This?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"The Left Hand is a Music Computer"

Found this on Fark today:



Just awesome. The fleeting glimpses of the mechanism are pure gold. And the most impressive part? I'm not sure I knew you could do a glissando on a Mellotron.

Something about hearing this thing in action makes me very, very sad. But then I smile when I think that I expect the player's clothes to fly off Jones-style when he turns around to grin at the camera at the end.

D.

12 comments:

dodo said...

That was totally awesome.. The son-in-law looked older than the father-in-law...

Listening to that english ditty he first played, you could totally tell how those types of songs influenced the Beatles when they started.. very similar melodically and chordally..

Interesting to finally see these 'tape loops' we've heard about for so many years.. No wonder they had a habit of breaking all the time.. it just looks like cassette tape!!

Buddy said...

That was totally awesome.. The son-in-law looked older than the father-in-law...

Listening to that english ditty he first played, you could totally tell how those types of songs influenced the Beatles when they started.. very similar melodically and chordally..

Interesting to finally see these 'tape loops' we've heard about for so many years.. No wonder they had a habit of breaking all the time.. it just looks like cassette tape!!

Dave Kopperman said...

What also struck me about it was the weird air of upper-class comforts they tried to include in the selling of it - the pool with slide, the fireplace in the living room, the totally random glitzy lamp.

Those weren't loops - they were 'single play,' which retracted as soon as you released the button. Which meant that you couldn't hold a note/chord for longer than the length of the tape (eight seconds, I believe?).

Seeing these things in person, it's no wonder why most classic rock keyboard players leapt on to digital as soon as possible. But, man, the Mellotron just sounds SO good.

I agree with your assement of the music-hall influence on the Beatles, most obviously in Paul. There's a neat little bit in a recent DVD of his where he shows of the workings of the Mellotron, and he breaks into a mini-routine as a German waiter in response to one of the left-hand samples. Totally bred-in-the-bone, with him.

Oddly, I misread your comment as 'very sinister melodically and chordally,' and I totally agreed with that, too. The Mellotron is an inherently creepy sounding thing.

D.

Dave Kopperman said...

Plus the fact that getting around the lamp to reach his mark in the shot makes for a brilliant moment of awkwardness.

D.

buddy said...

yeah.. I saw that Mccartney thing..

By the by, not to spark a huge McCartney debate here, but I bought the DVD of all of his videos.. and man oh man.. what a bunch of shit.. I mean the videos AND the songs... Some of that stuff was truly horrendous...

Ansley said...

HAHAHA.. That was awesome.. Son-in-law totally looked older than the guy.. great clip..

Dave Kopperman said...

Are you kidding? I live for McCartney debates...

Yes, the Mellotron thing was from that - the 3rd DVD had some extra in-studio stuff from some live from Abbey Road thing he did during "Chaos and Creation."

Someone bought me that DVD, and I perversely love it, but, yes: video is not Paul's greatest strength. What's a little more frustrating about it is that it's woefully incomplete, so you're not even getting the full load of crap, as it were. But I did find interesting the few singles from the UK market that I'd never heard note one of.

A stupid aside: the cut of the video for "Spies Like Us" on that is not the one I like - the 'good one' has a couple of drop in shots of a very young, very hot Vanessa Angel as a back-up singer. A shot curiously, annoyingly absent from the DVD edit.

buddy said...

I couldn't even love it in a 'it's so bad it's good' sort of way.. and as you say, yes it's ALSO incomplete.. Kind of like that woody allen joke.. the food is horrible here.. and such small portions!

I remember in the late 80s when he was releasing flowers in the dirt, Vh1 was playing a ton of paul mccartney clips.. not one of those is on this collection..

totally lame.

Ansley said...

Watched the whole thing once in its entirety and then put in on the shelf...

I came to an epiphany the last couple of years that I don't like McCartney's solo stuff AT ALL..

With very few exceptions its mostly drivel... putrid lyrics.. overwraught arrangements and poor choice of instruments/production touches...

I still respect Ram as a mostly good album.. and of course his Beatles canon is untouchable.. which makes it all the more puzzling..

Dave Kopperman said...

I can't seem to get over my solo McCartney thing. Even when I'm predisposed to not liking an album (Memory Almost Full), it just wins me over. I do think that Chaos... is damn great, though, on almost any scale of what makes an album great. Even the lyrics are a cut above where he normally leaves them. Godrich got good work out of him.

Ansley said...

I gotta say that memory almost full might be my second favourite mccartney album.. i do like that one.. the mastering on it fucking ruins it though.. its fucking SLAMMED.. no finesse whatsover.. He sounded like he tried on it and theres some nice bass stuff and a some good ideas.. and I give extra credit in that its new.. yeah.. MAF.. I like that one..

Dave Kopperman said...

That's not mastering. Paul was just angry.