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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Wu-Tang Clan, Beatles come together on album”

    Six years ago, Danger Mouse released The Grey Album, a mash-up of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and The Beatles’ self-titled album colloquially known as The White Album. While it was not the first mash-up album, it was the first to garner widespread notice. Since then, the mash-up album has become a rite of passage for Internet DJs.

    On Jan. 20, Tom Caruana released Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers, a mash-up of The Beatles and the Wu-Tang Clan. Available as a free download at Tea Sea Records’ Web site, Chambers has not experienced the furor that met The Grey Album. Rather, it has found praise from Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon, who called the mixtape “”ill”” on his Twitter feed.

    While Chambers could have been a bombastic excuse for blatant showmanship, it is instead a subtle ode to two musical emissaries, one which features mostly unrecognizable Beatles covers and a diverse array of Clan songs, as well as tracks from the group’s solo projects.

    Much credit for the album’s success comes from Caruana’s deep library of jazz covers of Beatles songs. Raekwon’s “”Clientele Kidd”” starts with a group chant over Byron Lee & The Dragonaires’ jazz cover of “”Live and Let Die”” that captures the fury and excitement of the song’s New Orleans setting. Similarly, Bobby Bryant’s forceful trumpeting on “”Happiness is a Warm Gun”” captures the song’s original anger, while complementing Inspectah Deck’s oft-overlooked lyricism on anti-ghetto invective “”City High.””

    Caruana dips into The Beatles’ own catalog, but rarely anything well known. “”Uh Huh”” features Method Man rapping the chorus over mechanized drum claps and “”You Know My Name (Look up the Number)”” — the B-side to “”Let it Be.”” As obscure as that song may be, it is one of Paul McCartney’s favorites. Caruana also experiments with Jungian synchronicity on “”Got Your Money,”” as he spreads Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s distinctive style over “”You Never Give Me Your Money.”” The result is as inspring as it is gleeful.

    Chambers is at its best when Caruana explores the Beatles’ more eclectic work. Clan favorite “”Da Mystery of Chessboxin”” is mixed with The Beatles’ version of George Harrison’s “”Not Guilty.”” Originally recorded for The White Album, this version was not released until 1996. After an off-time harpsichord intro, electric guitar highlights U-God’s seminal verse from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). “”Release Yo Self”” combines the chaos of Method Man with the abstract nature of “”Come Together,”” as covered by The Phoenix Authority, a fusion jazz band.

    There is a poignant moment on the skit “”Wu vs. Beatles”” where ODB sings the chorus of “”Love Me Do.”” While the singing isn’t one of his finer moments, the juxtaposition encapsulates The Beatles’ immeasurable influence on music. With Chambers, Caruana has crafted a convergence that neither dilutes the source material, nor cheapens either act’s artistry. For a product that sounds like a bad joke, Chambers is seriously good.

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