Saturday, March 23, 2024

SMiLE - The Ever-Changing Moment Of Sublime Incompletion Just Changed The Game, Again

Old School non-Ai scissor-and-paste artwork ©False Memory Foam Department Of Art Dept.

A SUBTLY TWEAKED NEW VERSION is linked at the end of this piece, tagged with the above swell cover design.

Everybody knows everything about SMiLE, mainly that it was never finished. And, leave it alone. Brian signed off with it on Brian Wilson Presents Smile, and there's a box set of sessions and completed tracks, and that's how it should rest. End of. But people will be people, and the first thing we should have learned by now is that people don't care what we think, and mainly do what they want. And what they want is to get under the hood of SMiLE and resto-mod the fuck out of it.

SMiLE has been the subject of many fan recreations over the decades, none of which in any way affect the original recordings. It's not like throwing a pot of paint at an Old Master Painting, fundamentally damaging the original. There's no desecration, no disrespect. Deep thinkers who claim that all opinions are equal, and it's all subjective, should bear in mind that all versions of SMiLE are just that - someone's opinion, someone's point of view. Nobody's claiming a definitive "answer to the question". We don't have to agree with it. Nobody cares what we think. Welcome to the internet.

The key point that many are missing is that the technology of music; playing, recording and reproduction, isn't a fixed thing. Every advance is part of the process, a pulse in the flux. And no advance is any more or less human or authentic than the last or the next. The microphone itself was seen as the devil's work on its introduction, so was the saxophone, the synthesizer. Drum machines were going to put drummers out of business! Home taping was going to kill music! CDs were going to kill vinyl!

Recently, sonic wizard Dae Lims (Smile A.D. backwards) boosted the SMiLE industry into an entirely new era with his AI recreation. Liberties were taken, opportunities grabbed with both hands. Across the world, jaws dropped, brows furrowed, and shoulders shrugged, as the applause rang out. Lofty opinions were voiced as to the moral rightness and the esthetic integrity of such an exercise. The snowflake-eared winced at the sonic anomalies they thought they heard. But the damage was done - SMiLE was reinvented, refreshed, awakened from its slumber. Old School mixing had taken SMiLE as far as it could, and Dae Lims' revelatory mix opens up Pandora's Box. 

It's not perfect - he makes several questionable artistic decisions. Authenticity isn't the aim of his mix, so omitting Good Vibrations, the album's most famous ("iconic", even) song because there's a fan theory it was never going to be included is bat-shit crazy. And he bolts on You're Welcome, a sonic sore thumb which fits nowhere. His running order is all over the place, his titles are sometimes not the best, and he omits Love To Say Dada/Cool, Cool Water - some of the album's most blissed-out vocals - because, well, reasons. That's what I think, and nobody cares, quite rightly. But if you want to hear my version of his version, the link's below. Right now, it's the version I listen to, but I'm anticipating further developments with open ears and open heart. SMiLE, the perfect imperfection, was never finished - yet. And always will be. That's what makes it won, won, der wonderful.

Smile!

Differences from Dae Lims' version, showing the depths of my madness:

ITEM! "Our Prayer" moved from intro (where it's over-familiar) to outro, serving as a calming out-breath after the rush of "Surf's Up", replacing "You're Welcome". It's the album's chill-out tent.

ITEM! "Good Vibrations" added, because DUH. And - for fuck's sake!

ITEM! "Cool Water/I Love To Say Dada" blended in to the mix with a butter knife. Bliss!

ITEM! The jaunty theme from "Holidays" sneakily snuck into the "Fire" section.

ITEM! "I'm With You Tonight" (SMiLE era recording) smoothed into "Vegetables" (where, according to some authorities, it was intended to fit), replacing some repetition. And a nice little tag added.

ITEM! The "you're under arrest" interjection cut from H&V, because I never liked it. It's badly acted and disruptive to no purpose. You love it! Because hahalol! I don't care!

ITEM! Various granular edits and smoothies throughout which will be noticed by nobody (I hope).

Leaving aside the contentious issue of "authenticity", this is the definitive, best, most enjoyable, and complete (thanks to Dae Lims' creativity) version of SMiLE! currently available. Until the next one, anyway.


(PS that's the link, up there, the word Smile!)



43 comments:

  1. No, th' IoF© isn't back and firing on all cylinders, refreshed after its long slumber. This is something I was enjoying working on and thinking about - and I couldn't think of anything else to with it except keep it to myself. So here ya go. Better out than in.

    Link up later when I'm sure and certain I done finished a'tinkerin' wit' th' damn thing.

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  2. Sure, when the policia are looking for me, I'm on the lam. When you're hiding out from the gendarme, "you're tinkering with ☻"

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  3. Any idea as to the identity of Dae Lims?

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    Replies
    1. Gyalwa Rinpoche is a Beach Boys fan.

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    2. Listened to it last night. Not a fan of AI and its potential for abuse in the music industry (and others), but its damn good. Thanks for the work and the share.

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    3. It's not exactly like the music industry hasn't been abusing musicians since minstrels got thrown out of alehouses. AI has some very worrying aspects but the musical side is fairly benign. And it will all depend - like any other music technique - on the person using it. It'll be capable of producing terrible-sounding crap, and astonishing beauty (like this SMiLE, which is my most-played music since the Stones album). It's the terrible-sounding crap that will sell, like always.

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  4. i knew my constant stalking of th'isle would pay off. thanks very much for dropping this one. IoF, even a shallow breathing one, is a fabulous treat ...

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  5. Look who's back in town!--Bill

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  6. Listened to this twice in a row, and it's excellent.
    Thanks, Farquhar!

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    Replies
    1. Why, you're mighty welcome, Miss Babs! Dae Lims new vocal parts are little short of Brian-like genius. The new melody/harmony to Roll Plymouth Rock is a highpoint.

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  7. Back with a big splash...thanks!

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  8. Brian has one-upped The Grateful Dead with this project. They have dozens of live LPs of similar sets out there. He has at least a dozen versions of THE SAME ALBUM.
    That being said, I'm fascinated and excited by the possibilities recent remix technologies represent. Thanks and it's good to see you present and accounted for.

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    1. One of the major advances is there's no longer any need for master tapes! AI can sort everything out into its constituent parts. It's like Lego Technic for the ears.

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  9. I'll have to check this out...Thanx for posting it & welcome back (sort of). Glad I didn't delete your link!

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    1. Yes indeed...I like it very much! I tried to do my version from the box set, but quit after about 15 minutes worth & added that to my "anthology" CDs that I make for every artist that is worthy of my appreciation. I still like the challenge of selecting, sequencing & editing down to an 80 min. or less portable product. No Spotify for me...

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    2. Dae LIms really took it to the next level here by integrating his own work so seamlessly. His "untweaked" version is on YewChewb, but it's @192 - YT standard - and suffers from the idiosyncratic choices he made. Don't take my word for it - download using a third party app. Good to se the hundreds of positive comments there - most people don't seem to have any purist authenticity worries about this.

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    3. I think Brian Wilson would approve...if he even remembers the originals.

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    4. The originals are all still within him, part of his DNA, never forgotten.

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  10. We knew you'd be back but supplies have been running low on the Isle in your absence while we've been holding vigil; did you bring any toilet paper?

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  11. Replies
    1. The showy bouquets of fresh blooms you leave at the stage door every night have had their effect, you rascal.

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  12. The unexpected pleasure of your company is most welcome.
    Sheesh, is a new Wormhole going to open somewhere?
    Thanks for the gift SMiLE, too.
    D in California

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    Replies
    1. Well, you're well, you're welcome, D. I can't stop listening to it - some new detail reveals itself on every play. Headphones is the way to go.

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  13. Wow!! Dropped by on the off chance .. and ...hey a new upload to schleppp for free!! Thanks Farq!! ...BTW ..back in UK and it's COLD and EXPENSIVE!!! Be gone in about 10 days!!!

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  14. run step fetch a kippy cuppa candyman? Look at you, posting, and look at us smile.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Welcome back Farquie! I'm glad I cheque in or I woulda missed this fine version of, "Grin"!

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  16. I am so glad to find this amazing version of SMILE. Many parts I have never heard of but beautifully put together - it is like one piece. Thanks Farquhar! I wonder how Brian would react to this...

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  17. Thanx for the new SMiLE. & BTW, found a link to Shawn Phillips @ Rochester '72. Parts are on the 3 cd set. (Thanx to Marios)
    https://we.tl/t-Xt0vokllTz
    -notBob

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  18. Heeeeey! good to see ya FT3.
    I had the SLN version you put up back in the ‘good old days’ of 2021 but I must have deleted it for some reason. This version sounds great to me, however it would sound even better if the bloody sun would come out here on the south coast of England. Big hugs.

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    1. It's been 40c here at noon for a week now. That's "feels like" (the important one) 45; too hot to do anything but try to keep cool. I've been listening to this every day, and the details keep emerging - spot the "You Are My Sunshine" in the tag to vegetables? And Dae Lim's glorious vocal parts to Roll Plymouth Rock are some of the highlights, could not be more Brian if written by the man himself. I tried playing "Brian Wilson Presents" after this - never a favourite - and it sounds thin and dull in comparison. The problem is, most people will dismiss it because "not authentic" - as if there was an authentic SMiLE that's somehow being tampered with. There's nothing fake about this. It's a pop music masterpiece, and if someone improves upon it in the future, that's good, too. Ai is a tool, an instrument, a technique. It's what gets into your brain via your ears that matters. Good Vibrations.

      FT3 (signed out from Sundar Pichai)

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  19. Think you might enjoy this. Has a Beach Boys vibe to it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCz-4w-VrZw

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    Replies
    1. Nice! The nicest I've heard from these guys.

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  20. Who said this?

    “There’s no greater world created in rock and roll than the Beach Boys; the level of musicianship, I don’t think anybody’s touched it yet.”

    FT3

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    1. Pretty sure that was Springsteen.

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    2. Yup! I never figured him for a Beach Boys fan, their entire Left Coast culture being alien to his blue collar boardwalk roots, and there's no hint of influence in his music, the closest, I guess, being Flo and Eddie's harmonies in Hungry Heart ... but yup. Respect.

      FT3

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    3. He was a fan of 60s US AM radio, so he undoubtedly heard a ton of their hits in his early years. Yeah, there's little influence in his discography, but nice to see him give praise.

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  21. fun mix. Smile is like the "Hitler Hates" clip it just keeps giving us new versions of the same thing. Neal t

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  22. Simon & Garfunkel bumper fun pack, by request:

    https://workupload.com/file/mV3nPunzkeE

    https://falsememoryfoam.blogspot.com/2021/10/tvs-sid-slaw-explains-dept-where-paul.html?showComment=1713327881422#c3262732920633484141

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