Today is finally here – the first batch of Yoko Ono reissues. Secretly Canadian has partnered with Chimera Music to release eleven of Ono’s studio albums, remastering the audio, reconstructing the original vinyl packaging, and curating treasure-laden archives of ephemera. Today also marks the first time each of these albums will also be available digitally: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins; and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With Lions.
Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band
This long-overdue vinyl reissue of Yoko Ono’s seminal, but massively under-appreciated Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band has all the makings of a classic rock nostalgia trip: Ono, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman and free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. All the pieces are here to stir up a dangerous amount of nostalgia. But once the needle drops, the record achieves something exactly perpendicular to nostalgia. Released in 1971, the album not only influenced the approach of other musicians for decades, it also sounds absolutely modern 44 years out, eternally fresh despite the forward march of time. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band not only predicted the intersection of the avant-garde and rock that would take place in the second half of that decade, the album would sound right at home at where that intersection is happening today. Our reissue also includes four additional songs “Open Your Box,” “Something More Abstract,” “Why (Extended Version),” and “The South Wind” that did not appear on the original release.
Apple Music: http://apple.co/2fDDLgU
Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins
Turns out the very sound of falling in love is just as abstract, subjective and loopy as the concept itself. Yoko Ono and John Lennon are two of history’s greatest lovers, and Two Virgins is the musique concrete fever dream document of the pair falling in love in real time. It’s a Cageian suite recorded over one weekend in Spring 1968 at Lennon’s Kenwood home: Distant conversations; comedic role playing and footsteps; laughter, birdcalls and plunking piano lines; silly songs and space; tape delay stretching shrieks, bass rumbles and moans to the moon and back again. It’s two young people attempting to weird one another out, attempting to make one another laugh, falling deeply into one another. John mucks around with delay and loops while Yoko exercises her expressionist vocalizations. The smoke and wine is nearly audible. Our reissue also includes “Remember Love,” which did not appear on the original release.
Apple Music: http://apple.co/2fHFmED
Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life with Lions
If Two Virgins is the ecstatic first kiss shared between two of pop cultures greatest lovers, then Life with the Lions is the sound of the pair validating their love as something impenetrable and timeless. It’s when we, the listener, begin to fully understand that the scope of their recording efforts was much more than a recording collaboration, and something closer to a performative documentary, a declaration of our life and our love is our art, every nitty, gritty part of it. The collection begins with a more straightforward – at least in terms of explaining what it is – piece of improvised music, edited down from live performance at Cambridge University’s Lady Mitchell Hall in March 1969. The entirety of Side B was recorded in a patient suite at London’s Queen Charlotte Hospital, where Ono was admitted with pregnancy complications and ultimately lost a child, John Ono Lennon II. The album cover photo was taken in the suite, with Ono in her hospital bed and Lennon in a sleeping bag made up on the floor next to her, both of them looking exhausted from the process. Our reissue also includes Ono’s “Song for John and Mulberry,” which did not appear on the original release.
Apple Music: http://apple.co/2fHwIpG