As Geoff Emerick memorably documents in his engaging memoir Here, There And Everywhere, one of his first jobs as The Beatles' recording engineer was fulfilling John Lennon's desire to sound like "The Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop" for "Tomorrow Never Knows." That demand was fairly typical of Lennon, who tended to discuss musical ideas in abstract, fuzzy phrases. In that respect, he tended to perceive music like a writer: in evocative, strangely lyrical terms. It's telling that in Here, There And Everywhere, Emerick and his closest ally in the group, Paul McCartney, discuss music in a more concrete, technical fashion, like studio rats or session musicians.
Here, There tells the alternately remarkable and rather dry story of how Emerick began working with The Beatles in an entry-level position at EMI Studios while barely out of school, and became their recording engineer at the tender age of 19. On Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Emerick was given the daunting, exhilarating task of helping the biggest band in the world realize its boundless ambitions, transforming vague concepts into concrete sonic realities.
But though Emerick became a key component of the group's sound on some of its most groundbreaking albums, he never seems to have gotten particularly close to its members. As a result, his book isn't particularly intimate or psychologically piercing. It's clearly the work of an engineer, and he isn't afraid to bust out the technical terms. But no amount of detail can extinguish the dizzy excitement of passages in which Emerick miraculously finds the means to propel not just The Beatles' songs, but music as a whole, forward through hastily improvised innovations.
As Elvis Costello notes in his admiring introduction, it's strangely refreshing to know that Pepper and Revolver's sonic achievements were achieved in a spirit owing more to Rube Goldberg than NASA. A minor yet worthy addition to the sprawling canon of Beatles literature, Everywhere offers a unique take on one of the most documented acts in history. Even for readers who wouldn't know a mixing console from an Atari 2600, there's real enjoyment in having a musical magician like Emerick reveal the secrets behind some of his more formidable sonic tricks.