“Sea Of Monsters” is obviously another George Martin’s production for the Yellow Submarine project. Like all of side 2 on the original album, this is also an instrumental piece. In short, Martin had to tie the musical content to the visuals of the film. Indeed, he done this with great effect.
Recorded: 22-23 October, 1968
Studio: Abbey Road, London
Genre: Classical, orchestral
Track Duration: 3:37
Record Label: Apple
Producer: George Martin
Co-producers: John Burgess and Ron Richards
Engineer: Geoff Emerick
George Martin: Composer and conductor of a 41 piece orchestra
Sea Of Monsters
Side 2 of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine soundtrack album includes only instrumental pieces of music by George Martin. Since “Sea Of Monsters” is in the film, it is also on the soundtrack album.
We all know that the Beatles’ music was some of the best ever, but musical genius and producer, George Martin, had a big part to play in all that. The countless hours of experimentation in the Abbey Road recording studios gave us some wonderful sounds.
Obviously, the score for the film had to be epic and dramatic and that it was. But, there was a lot of trial and error:
“Yellow Submarine saw some pretty strange experiments, too. In one sequence, in the Sea Of Monsters, the yellow submarine is wandering around and all kinds of weird little things are crawling along the sea floor, some with three legs. One monster is enormous, without arms but with two long legs with wellington boots on, and in place of a nose there is a kind of long trumpet. This is a sucking-up monster – when it sees the other little monsters, it uses it’s trumpet to suck them up. Eventually it sucks up the yellow submarine, and finally gets hold of the corner of the screen and sucks that up too, until it all goes white. I felt, naturally, that scene required special ‘sucking-up’ music – the question was how to do it with an orchestra!
Suddenly, I hit upon the obvious – backwards music. Music played backwards sounds very odd anyway, and a trombone or cymbal played backwards sounds just like a sucking-in noise. So I scored about 45 seconds for the orchestra to play, in such a way that the music would fit the picture when we played it backwards. The engineer working at CTS at that time was a great character named Jack Clegg, and when I explained the idea to him he said, ‘Lovely! Great idea! I’ll get the film turned ’round, and you record the music to the backward film, then, when we turn the film ’round the right way, your music will be backwards.’ It sounded like something from a Goon script.”
All You Need Is Ears
George Martin recorded “Sea Of Monsters” together with the rest of the instrumentation for side 2 of the Yellow Submarine album between the 22nd and 23rd October, 1968. He conducted the 41 piece orchestra at the Abbey Road Studios in London, of course.
Towards the end of the piece, he incorporates a section of Bach’s “Air on the G String”. This adds a nice touch and makes the instrumental piece so much more interesting.