Internet Musicians Adopt 'Pet Sounds'

Posted by Greg J. Smith | Sun May 15th 2005 1:21 p.m.

Internet Musicians Adopt 'Pet Sounds'.

A group of internet-based electronic musicians are celebrating the
anniversary of the release of the classic Beach Boys album 'Pet
Sounds' by remixing it for the 21st Century. The album, titled
'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds', comes from contributors to acclaimed net
label Each track from the original album has been
reconstructed by a different artist, creating an album as diverse and
inventive as the original.

In a project similar to DJ Dangermouse's controversial 'The Grey
Album' (which spliced rapper Jay-Z's vocals with the music of the
Beatles), 'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds' takes the original Beach Boys
vocals for each track and creates new musical landscapes for them.
Comprising styles ranging from electro-pop via glitchcore and ambient
to all-out avant-garde, this release demonstrates that art cannot be
stifled in an era of closely guarded copyrights and litigious record

"The idea came from Hippocamp contributor Blue T-Shirt", explains
fellow contributor Martin Bryant (AKA The Star Fighter Pilot). "We
wanted to do something interesting and new with an album that
regularly tops 'Best album ever' polls. We wanted people to get a new
perspective on a classic.

"Pet Sounds was originally released on May 16th 1966 and next year is
the 40th anniversary of its release. It made sense to us to release an
unconventional album at an unconventional time - its 39th

The album is spreading across the internet via P2P (peer-to-peer)
networks and more information can be found at the website


Critics and fans of popular music have long identified the 1966 album
Pet Sounds as a milestone of musical achievement. The circumstances
that birthed this masterpiece are well documented - the turmoil of the
Wilsons, within and without (especially Brian, tormented genius and
Pet Sounds mastermind); the band's disinterest in spearheading a
sophisticated-feeling musical revolution; and perhaps most
significantly, the indelible ripples cast over the future of pop music
as we were to know it.

The music-loving public's fascination with Pet Sounds has increased as
its fingerprints continue to be discovered throughout the outer
reaches of the pop universe. The shadow cast by this monolithic album
looms over the discographies of all but the most accomplished
musicians of history, with the obvious exception of the Fab Four.
Indeed, the Beatles played a pivotal role in the genesis of Pet
Sounds; Prior to the landmark 1965 Beatles LP Rubber Soul, an album
was generally constructed as a collection of songs, usually padded
with mediocre b-sides. Legend has it that Brian was caught off-guard
by the completeness and cohesiveness of Rubber Soul and vowed to best
this accomplishment. The next few years pitted Brian Wilson pitted
against the Beatles (each of which had stopped touring at this point)
in a brief exchange of attempts to one-up each another, culminating in
the insurmountable achievement that was the Summer of Love's Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and sending Brian into a downward
spiral of depression and self-abuse in his attempts to best the
Beatles' undeniable masterwork.

The story doesn't end there. the condensed version outlines Brian's
triumphant return to the top of his game; his well-received
re-creations of Pet Sounds on tour; and the completion of SMiLE, his
"teenage symphony to God" intended to trump Sgt. Pepper's. The year is
now 2005; the Wilson saga continues to unfold. Strangely enough,
however, the latest chapter in this story was written not by the man
himself, but a rag-tag group of electronic bedroom musicians hell-bent
on blowing his undisputed classic apart. Out of respect, of course.
Not to mention that there's something particularly thrilling about
taking a sledgehammer to something untouchable.

Net label has been releasing experimental, mainly
electronic music since 2000. Based in Manchester, England but
releasing music from all over the world, Hippocamp distributes all its
releases as MP3 downloads free of charge. It has become a respected
site for finding new and unusual music of the highest quality.
'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds' is released in the month of the net
label's fifth anniversary.




Here are some things that need to be said:

Pet sounds is an album that everyone should own, study, cherish, and
enjoy. Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds is an open-ended experiment
conducted out of reverence, curiosity, and aware of the sobering fact
that you can't improve upon perfection.

Despite the fact that the release is named Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds,
Hippocamp does not endorse the creation or distribution of this work.
At no time was involved with distributing this material
to the public. Hippocamp's involvement has been explicitly limited to
providing a forum where the artists could plan the project before its
completion and where fans could discuss the values and cultural
ramifications of such a piece of art.

As the project tended towards completion we began to contemplate the
merit of the art we were making and what it meant to the artists
involved. It became apparent that the values of such a project were
greater than we had anticipated. We believe the recognition of these
ideas reinforces the project's merit as a piece of critical commentary
to be freely disseminated and discussed. Here are some of the key
concepts regarding Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds:

- The songs that form Pet Sounds are timeless and as relevant today as
they ever were.
- Recontextualizing the sounds, lyrics, and feelings of the original
work can transform the listening experience entirely.
- Anything we meager bedroom artists shall ever hope to accomplish
will never hold a torch to the masterpiece that is the original Pet
- We hope that any fans of the Beach Boys with no previous electronic
music listening experience may discover an appreciation for the stuff
and vice versa.
- We relish the opportunity to increase public awareness about the
original Pet Sounds and perhaps increase album sales as a result.
- The recognizable elements of Pet Sounds are still beautiful when
presented in a drastically altered form.
- Perhaps this demonstrates in an exagerated way how pervasive the
influence of classics such as Pet Sounds may be.

Support Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys! Buy an album! See a live
show! Great music never dies.
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