Feeling the ATMOS of Pet Sounds

By Brad Rosenberger

I had the pleasure of being invited to an exclusive listening experience of Giles Martin’s new ATMOS mix of The Beach Boys’ landmark album Pet Sounds at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood … interestingly, the event was held on the 56th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, an album that might not have existed without the influence of Pet Sounds. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of “revisionist” history and due to the technology we now have, the impulse to remix everything and it has gotten a bit out of control IMHO … however, this was Pet Sounds and Giles Martin’s pedigree, both familial and musical, is not to be ignored. 

I was happy to attend this curious event with my girlfriend Laura … she had never really experienced this album from start to finish before and I, on the other hand, have probably listened to Pet Sounds from beginning to end without interruption several thousand times … as of this writing, I’m still not completely sure what I thought of this new mix BUT, the experience of hearing this album, in the dark, on a sound system none of us are likely to ever own, was priceless. And I was not prepared to be overcome with the emotions I felt. I can honestly say that somewhere in the middle of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder),” tears ran down my eyes … the sheer beauty of these songs and their recordings was almost too much for me to take. Hearing instruments play bits that I’ve never heard before on recordings I thought I knew like the back of my hand was strangely odd … BUT, the vocals, especially the lead vocals, and most especially Brian’s lead vocals just blew me away.

We should all be so lucky to hear an incredible piece of work like Pet Sounds in a theatre as amazing as the Dolby Theatre but the real takeaway for me is still the music, the lyrics, and the performances … nothing can ever change how truly amazing this record is, and if an ATMOS mix exposes Pet Sounds to more people around the world, I’m all for it.

Giles Martin’s post-Zoom Q&A was equally as revelatory and there was one thing he said that really stuck with me, “the music hasn’t gotten older, but we have” … this music was recorded in 1966, and despite technology, this is still a recording of amazing music made 57 years ago … and while the music hasn’t changed, the music has changed us, and for that, I am very grateful. 

“[The event] was like being in The Beach Boys’ orchestra with Brian Wilson conducting, while listening to the Giles Martin Atmos remix of Pet Sounds.” — Jerry Schilling, President and CEO, Brother Records

“It was a nice gathering, with a lot of old friends and colleagues in attendance. It was quite an experience to be fully immersed within the sonic textures that are Pet Sounds in the state-of-the-art Dolby screening room where the listening event was held.” — Alan Boyd

“When the presentation was over, there was a Q&A with Giles Martin.  I was the first to step up to the mic and said something like this. ‘Giles, a remarkable piece of work, an amazing experience (for those of us in the room). Given that Brian was all about feel and Brian mixed in mono, what were the biggest challenges you faced? Giles answered at great length my question [and others] in technical terms about how he did the works, but his focus was on the songs and being true to the record. He spoke from his heart. Which fits the album perfectly. Giles is such a great person, and his father would be so proud of the work he’s doing.” — David Leaf, Author of God Only Knows: The Story of Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the California Myth

“Giles did a great job. It felt like I was right back home being surrounded by some of the greatest music ever recorded.” — Mark London

©2023 Endless Summer Quarterly/All Rights Reserved


Leave a comment

Helmut Knocke

11 months ago

I love this album! For me, Pet Sounds is the best album I’ve ever heard in my whole Life. I am now 72-years-old and this wonderful music from Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys has been the best part of my lifetime!

Visit our store to purchase any of our available back issues.