more from
Secretly Canadian

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins

by John Lennon/Yoko Ono

supported by
/
  • Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

     $9 USD  or more

     

1.
2.
3.

about

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 concrète fever dream document of the pair falling in love in real time. The album is a curious and amazing 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. "Two Virgins No. 1" begins with a looping bird-like whistle that almost immediately threatens to clip as the magnetized tape erodes around it. But miraculously, not for a moment do these sounds ever register as foreboding or violent. It unspools into a sort of stretched and warbled piano waltz as Ono's singular vocal explorations arch above it. In the last few minutes of Side A, we hear Ono and Lennon mock domestic life over a low, ringing drone. "Is that you? Is that you?" Ono calls out. "It's just me Hilda, I'm home for tea," Lennon responds in a shrugging lower register. It's a perfect, genius antidote to the preceding 13 or so minutes. After all the distorted samples and noisy disturbances, the humorous and commonplace exchange grounds us once again. Moments like this — moments that assure things never get too depersonalized — pepper Two Virgins.

Upon its release in 1968, Two Virgins became instantly famous / controversial for its now-iconic cover, featuring Ono and Lennon standing nude together. For market, Apple Records interns had to bag the album up so that all but their heads were covered. Please be reminded, however, that this avant-garde domestic field recording also charted on the US Billboard album charts. Of course, that speaks to the international fame of the nude people on the cover. But I'd like to think it also speaks to the raw, universal power of the wild, creative love shared by these two people. Nothing about Two Virgins is safe. It would be a risky move today for artists in the larger, pop-culture conversation just as it was a risky move in 1969. But this is an uncomfortably private, two-person dialogue about —and celebration of — experimentation, inspiration and play. And these two souls bravely let us look through the keyhole.  

credits

released November 11, 2016

tags

license

all rights reserved

feeds

feeds for this album, this artist

about

Yoko Ono New York, New York

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933. Throughout her childhood, she and her family moved to New York City and back to Japan, eventually settling in Scarsdale, NY. She enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College in 1952, and during her time there cultivated her interest in the avant-garde, and ingrained herself with New York City artists, writers and experimentalists. Ono married John Lennon in 1969. ... more

contact / help

Contact Yoko Ono

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code