Thursday, July 16, 2009

Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins

Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins is an album released by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1968. The result of an all-night session of musical experimentation in Lennon's home studio at Kenwood, John and Yoko's debut album is known not only for its avant garde content, but also for its cover. The album's title came from the couple's feeling that they were "two innocents, lost in a world gone mad", and because after making the recording, the two consummated their relationship for the first time.

The recording consists largely of tape loops, playing while Lennon tries out different instruments (piano, organ, drums) and sound effects (including reverb, delay and distortion), changes tapes and plays other recordings, and converses with Ono, who vocalises ad-lib in response to the sounds. Lennon's longtime friend Peter Shotton remembered later in his memoir (The Beatles, Lennon and Me) that many of the loops were made by Lennon and himself, in the days before the recording. Lennon recorded directly to two-track stereo, but much of the source material was monophonic.

Two Virgins was the second album released under the Apple Records label, after George Harrison's Wonderwall Music. It was distributed by Track Records in the UK and Tetragrammaton Records in the USA, after EMI in the UK and Capitol Records in the US refused to handle it, because of the cover photo. (Nonetheless, EMI mastered and pressed the record in Britain, charging their standard fee.) The couple soon after released a related recording called Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions.

1 comment:

marram62 said...