From Curtis Eagal@21:1/5 to All on Mon Nov 29 13:37:41 2021
It was twenty years ago today that George Harrison passed away, and a closer listen to one of his songs could clarify his perspective on his own contribution: this is "Crackerbox Palace," which seems a more elaborate reworking of the concept behind "Blue
Jay Way" released much earlier. The opening lines of "Blue Jay Way" -
"There's a fog upon L.A. /
And my friends have lost their way /
'We'll be over soon,' they said, /
Now they've lost themselves instead"
- appeared unexpectedly belatedly prophetic regarding the Kobe Bryant tragedy, the location of the helicopter circling before receiving permission to proceed into the fog and its oblivion was near where the tune was written while Harrison was in Los
Angeles. The 1967 track opens with a couple prominent organ notes, then a phrase on cello: the effect was that the organ suggests 'Foggy,' with the cello completing the thought with 'Hearing.' Being aware of the instrumental passages approximating
speech was a notion John Lennon affirmed in an interview with Tom Snyder in 1971, declaring, "All our music is subliminal." Subliminal would be more like the cryptic mutterings in the "Sgt. Pepper" reprise, while the meticulous arrangements are more
supraliminal, a loudly audible factor whose tonalities carry an unspoken message.
Without perceiving the intention to convey verbal information through musical means, analysis of recorded instrumental performances becomes limited to subjective commentary about technical capabilities and stylistic tendencies: however with The Beatles
there was a continual effort to vary the audio presentation, utilize outside musicians, and assimilate various genres; there was also an ambiguity where the songs were expected to have some basis in personal experience, while it was attested some emerged
purely from imagination. After an epiphany regarding the entire Lennon-McCartney catalogue of original compositions having an evident subtext, taking each album as a separate stage working backwards, I realized the primary subtext was events in the life
of Jesus Christ, from the Ascension to the Annunciation - the angularity of the reversed arm semaphore signaling on the "Help!" LP cover suggested Crucifixion, with the 14-song quota matching the 14 Stations of The Cross. Then the garden setting of the "
Rubber Soul" imagery visually implies Gethsemane, taking a step back in the chronology; this was obviously the standard method, since the next album "Revolver" has a title meaning Betrayer - swishing towels in a bucket of water was slowed to obtain the
watery "Yellow Submarine" fantasy, but it recalls the physical washing of feet at the Last Supper.
So as musicians The Beatles did not seem in competition to demonstrate virtuosity, but instead devised how to use their collective musical contributions towards building subconscious impact. The relevant phrases can be produced using any of the basic
instruments, even drum and bass, beyond the clearer guitar and piano, and they are often used in combination. The songs are so well-crafted that the subliminal hooks have an effect that bypasses conscious awareness, examining each component phrase
separately helps to deduce the hidden import, with the cadence and logic of speech. At the end of their cover of "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," Ringo Starr drums what suggests,
Then the guitar follows that and finishes to imply,
Into a wound'
So the Smokey Robinson tune was adapted towards the theme of the doubting Thomas, who said he could not believe Christ had risen without placing a finger into His wounds; their original tune along the same lines was "I Want To Hold Your Hand," where John
Lennon's rhythm guitar had its sound compressed to resemble an organ, and the style was termed 'mock-gospel.' The loud repeating passage opening the tune recurs during the "I can't hide" sequence, which Bob Dylan mistook for 'I get high' - it was a trick
culled from a French record, with the strong opening notes suggesting,
'ONE DOUBTED -
He had risen...'
There were vocal tricks as well, Lennon in "I Should Have Known Better" seeming to sing, "And when I ask you to be my - haha HINE": yet the effect is asking you to be 'my - doubting THOM.' Many of the lyrics that are thought to be inferior are included
since the tonality and inflection carries the purpose, such as the modulation in "Eight Days A Week' on "I lu-uh-uh-uh-ove you.' Expecting things to be what they seem is a recipe for sustained ignorance. Defusing each instance where these esoteric
concerns can be recognized cheats society out of the intended eventual shock value - a 'ton of bricks' effect - that should attend the inevitable discovery; they might each be small cuts, but in aggregation not to be dismissed.
The promotional film for "Crackerbox Palace" has overtones of Monty Python and Fellini, with a unique musical passage against the funky opening rhythm implying,
'WHATEVER we do -
Will be mis-understood /
WHATEVER we do -
Will be mistaken'
Between the baby carriage and the schoolboy phases, the recurring musical part arrives, sounding like,
'What WE DO -
Can be APPARENT -'
This is followed by a part (ironically) played more quietly, as several 'human gnomes' poke their heads out from behind the manicured hedges at Friar Park - the tonality implies,
'(When You Are
Not Hard Of Hearing)'
The opening phrase of this part is repeated ('What WE DO') as Harrison is intercut looking somewhat demented with a grotesque sculptured depiction of a monk devouring an infant head.
This passage repeats before the instrumental middle, with four distinct and unique musical phrases - the third suggests,
'Someone will understand for you" -
The other three phrases were transcribed, but that will not be given here.
There was supposedly an actual Mister Greif upon which the sinister death-clown character was modeled, but it seems a Satanic characterization, with the scene where seated he transforms into various other people before returning to himself, which appears
symbolic of the devil appearing in many forms. The oddly-dressed people in a group posed where George is centered has Greif directly above him: when Harrison delivers the line about the Lord being well inside you, all smile, but Greif has a disturbing
grin sustained after George stops smiling. The impression is that Lucifer has control of the people, whether they know or care, and mere lip service to the Lord delights the devil in its futility.
Towards the coda, a precocious young boy, seeming like playing magician with fake moustache and top hat, could be the embodiment of some future person who would make clear what had to left as self-evident: there is a jump cut that implies the child
having grown into an adult gnome, as a metaphor for an ordinary citizen; then a procession of gnomes is playing follow-the-leader across some round stepping-stones in pond. The symbolism is consistent with a minority taking the 'narrow path' to salvation,
as foretold by Jesus. During this brief sequence, the music is again unique, implying -
'Someone with the ability
Will interpret it.'
The title term means an asylum, with a skeleton showing being 'deported' means execution, since this sanitarium is the entire world. For the final shot, where the strange characters are gathered around a table outdoors near a hedge-maze, the music enters
a final variation of the recurring passage -
'What WE DO
Can be APPARENT -
You Are -
A heavy synthesizer sound amplifies the last note-syllable, with the underlying message that personal ego is the obstacle to acquiring a fuller comprehension of what he and his former bandmates were doing - the subliminal 'we' seems to include The
Beatles more than Harrison's then-current accompaniment.
Just taking a couple moments from "A Day In The Life" it is clear certain bits were overlooked. The line about having made the grade is followed by a subtle piano flourish conveying, 'Heaven'; after the lyric "They had to count them all," the percussion
suggests, 'From wisdom,' withholding the context. The overt message of a song seems subordinate to the submerged esoteric component, which often appear as the genuine impetus for the composition.