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In fact, some observers predict that "sound pictures" may prove to be the medium through which the Beatlesand the more adventurous rock groups in their wakecan merge with "classical" contemporary music. Already, says Robert Tusler, who teaches 20th century music at U.C.L.A., "the Beatles have taken over many of the electronic concepts in music that have been worked on by the German composers of the Cologne group. They've made an enormous contribution to electronic music."
Whatever else it comes to, the Beatles' approach to recording Sgt. Pepper will serve as a model for future ses sions. And the boys themselves will be commanding more and more of the technical operations. "We haven't pushed George Martin out of the engineers' booth," says McCartney, "but we've become equals. The music has more to do with electronics now than ever before. To do those things a few years ago was a bit immoral. But electronics is no longer immoral."
In their other enterprises too, the Beatles are reaching out for total artistic autonomy. They are talking about directing their next film themselves. Last week they careened through the southwest English countryside filming Magical Mystery Tour, an hour-long TV special, for worldwide broadcast during the Christmas season. They are not only providing music but writing, directing, producing and financing as well. When it is wrapped up to their satisfaction, they will offer it to the highest bidder. And they have already written songs-later this year they may do a full score for a forthcoming feature-length animated cartoon based on Yellow Submarine.
Filling the Gap. Unlike the occasional celebrity who grows to believe his own publicity and uses it as a license, the Beatles have maintained their good humor and, apart from toying with drugs, their exemplary behavior. But fame and instant millions also have a way of inflicting private agonies on public personalities. The Beatles' current solution is spiritualism, specifically "transcendental meditation," as propounded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 56, a tiny, cherubic seer with shoulder-length locks. The yogi, unfortunately, is somewhat less than lucid when it comes to describing his insights. Two 30-minute sessions of transcendental meditation a day, he says, enable a person to perceive the divinity within himself. "It is the direct, simple and natural way of coming to That." What's That? Replies Maharishi: "I am That, you are That, all this is That."
That's good enough for John, Paul, Ringo and George, who plan to take two months off to study with Maharishi at his Academy of Meditation in Shankaracharya, Kashmir.
"The four of us," explains Ringo, "have had the most hectic lives. We have got almost anything money can buy. But when you can do that, the things you buy mean nothing after a time. You look for something else, for a new experience. It's like your Dad going to the boozer and you want to find out what