Saturday, May 31, 2014

Upshot: Smile '66

 Compilation (single artist)

Okay, so here is one of those things I was telling you good people about earlier... The question being I guess, like why am I doing another Smile mix? I mean I've done two already, and I'm guessing everyone in the so called community has heard them by now. So the point being... whaaaat?

Here's the thing, you guys... Just wait...

(Are you waiting yet?)..............

Wait.. Breathe in....

Okay, so we just got rid of all the stragglers.

So here's the deal: my Smile '66 is essentially what Brian had in his arsenal as of New Years Eve, 1966, no more and no less. What this is is an attempt to get the real Smile out, per tracklist, before the insanity really took hold. 

What this is not is another Smile mix attempting to emulate the 2004 abortion recreation. What we're going to do right here is go back ("how far you goin' back?") wayyyyy back.. And it goes. A. Little. Something. Like. This...

While you ponder that exceedingly sophisticated question in your heads, let me take advantage of your nostalgic state for nineties hip-hop and crow for a second. To put it bluntly, I, Mr. Fonzie J. Robocop, have figured out the first truly passable Smile mix. Many have tried and failed. I may have failed as well, but mine is better. Okay. You still say I suck...

Well you're probably right, but here's the deal. This is the best Smile mix you've ever heard. Real talk; this is the one where, if my mixing skills are what I think they are, and all the years and years of pouring Smile into my head have resonated worth a fuck, then I think... hope!.. you might see it my way.

Confused yet? Good. I see my powers are working. In a perfect world, this would be the Smile you know, only it's different.. and better. But get this you guys (wait for it) -- I have stuck faithfully with the original tracklist. Yes! You know the one:

So the typical Smile bro mentality would say like, "oh, where is 'Our Prayer'? and where is 'You're Welcome'?, and you left off 'Look', and yo my mom is a bitch because she won't give me money, and I'm a huge fan of the Miami Heat", and so on...

Well right now we're about to say fuck that mentality, and we're going straight after the list. All holds barred. I don't care if it's right, only that it sounds good. But can this happen following this list that no one seems to adhere to?

Well I like this list. I'm not saying it's "right", but I guarantee you I can make the best Smile mix you've ever likely heard based off of it. Let us move on..

I dig opening with "Worms", and I love the fuck out of ending with the "Old Master Painter" and that beautiful fade that it entails. More to that point, Smile '66 is what you've been craving.

I get Smile mix off of TAVCS. My neighbor cannot afford. Great success!!

Yes, you, mister "I've heard a bajillion Smile mixes in my life and what's one more?" Your cynicism is your downfall, and it's going to lead to an early, unfulfilled death.

No, seriously, you have to watch your blood pressure and cholesterol on the reg, and once you hit 40 then you have to submit to the ol' finger up the grand wazoo for your own best interests. It's part of being a grown up you see.

But you tell me. I'm not so cocky that I think I've reached into the mind of Brian Wilson; but I do think I've come closer than anyone has so far to nailing this bitch. Again, you tell me.

This bro loves his Smile mixes. You got something to say?

P.S.: "Surf's Up" will be lacking some vocals. "Worms" will not have some vocals and overdubs you might be expecting. "Heroes" is absolutely going to be different from any version you've ever heard before. The second side of this made up album will blow your mind.

That's because nothing in this mix was recorded in 1967 or later. This is the true Smile, the one that was destined to sell a million units... in January. Or maybe it totally sucks and I'm just shouting at windmills and passing cattle.

Anyway this will be upped to YouTube on Monday, so I wanted to give you people a sneak peak. Feel free to tell me your opinions, positive or otherwise.

P.P.S.: This is presented in two lossless FLAC files: side 'a' and side 'b'. Those expecting some sort of epic 80-minute suite will be disappointed. This is sticking to the tracklist, 30 minutes, in and out Smile that is trying to approximate what Brian himself would have released if pressed for the January '67 deadline.

Can you dig it?

Side 'A' Smile
Side 'B' Smile


  1. Okay, so I know my commentary was ridiculous, but I would love some feedback from anyone who has an opinion on this little Smile mix of mine. Thanks.

  2. Definitely something different in all the "what-ifs" reconstructions of SMiLE... Will give it a try!

  3. Looks interesting. Can't be the greatest Smile mix (mine is) but it is always good to hear something different!--Bill

  4. Sounds great but I can't believe that they would have stuck with this nutty track listing for the final product. With no basis in actual fact, I'm going to assume that they would have come to their senses and rearranged the track listing as follows: Side A - Surf's Up, The Old Master Painter, Cabin Essence, Wind Chimes, Heroes and Villains, Wonderful, I'm In Great Shape. Side B - Child Is Father of the Man, The Elements, Vega-Tables, Do You Like Worms, Good Vibrations.

  5. Well, after hearing it, I must say this is a great mix. It has a "pet sounds follow up" feeling that lacks (IMHO) in the modern reconstruction. Keeping that in mind, I found that the "surf's up" instrumental first part was close to the pet sounds instrumentals and worked that way (never realised that before!). "Cabinessence" is... well let's say the "doiing doiing" vocal parts are not the greatest thing of the record.
    P.S.: Heroes & Villains: loved it!

  6. I like the flow on side one quite a bit, well done. I thought some of the edits and segues on side two were a little rough and sloppy.

  7. I'm trying to do track breaks for iTunes. Which I realize is contrary to how you mixed. But could I persuade you to list what the individual tracks times would be? Thanks!

  8. Forgive the delayed comment — I downloaded and played this immediately when you uploaded it, but haven’t been able to post a comment until now!

    Apparently I like the 2004 album a few hundred times more than you do! But even then, I’d admit it wasn’t the “real” SMILE but a conceptual work — a kind of deconstruction in which the components of the lost album were taken apart and assembled into a functionally new piece. I consider that new work hauntingly beautiful, others may disagree, but it helps to approach it as a separate thing based on the old. The same caveats apply to The SMILE Sessions of course.

    The great thing about your mix is that your aesthetic appreciation of the original comes through in all of it: you’re alert to the beauty of the original music and Brian’s way of thinking and you’ve succeeded in conveying that.

    The only quibbles I have aren’t really your fault. First of all, that track listing wouldn’t really have happened. Capitol would have heard it and immediately sent the masters back for rearrangement into a more commercial sequence. I can definitely see why people want to honor that written order, but I honestly don’t see the album playing out that way in the real world.

    Second of all, the missing lead vocals wouldn’t have gone out that way. Those tracks weren’t intended to be instrumentals. Perhaps the fact of Brian working with lyricists like VDP sometimes makes people miss how important the words really were to him. (Some of his later interviews may also contribute to that impression!) I see the value of you doing those tracks that way as the realization of a thought experiment, but it may give a slightly skewed impression when listening to the mix.

    As I say, these are quibbles. I respect the integrity you brought to this, as well as your enviable mixing skills, and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of listening to this.

  9. Thanks everybody. Unfortunately I edited the sides together in Pro Tools before downsampling to 16 bit, and therefore don't have a listing of the track times per se. Sorry about that.

  10. Just to clarify, I don't really think that track list was to be taken as gospel either. Following it was more of an academic exercise, and an attempt to break out of the "2004 Smile" order that is taken as gospel today, but likely would not have been followed in 1966.

  11. That said, I *really* like "Worms" as an opener. With a proper lead vocal in place, I think it sets both the mood and the theme. If the album is about America colonialism, then it makes sense to start with a song about colonization. Likewise the "False Barnyard" theme makes for a perfect outro. I always wondered why Brian felt the need to graft it onto the end of "OMP", so here is one plausible scenario I guess.

  12. BEAUTIFUL work! This is easily the most plausible, listenable "Smile" I've heard, including all official variations. Only "Smiley Smile" is your rival, J. And "Vegetables" has some real Jan and Dean madness with the skit elements. Awesome stuff! yr pal in Castrano ~ Chris D.

  13. JP, I just discovered your SMiLE '66 post and have listened to it a few times already. Of all the versions I've heard - and I've got about 15+ in my collection, this seems to be the one that comes closest. Often it's best not to over-think it, which is the problem with most SMiLE re-creations. Brian made the list so follow it! This version makes me think (for the first time) about how this follow-up to Pet Sounds would have been taken by the public in 1967. I think that it would not have helped their career much, but might have saved Brian from his breakdown and years of living in his own wilderness. Thanks for this one, JP

    Blank Frank

  14. Thank you both, Chris and Blank Frank! I'm glad people seem to be digging this as much as I do. It really was something I got the whim to slap together on a Sunday afternoon and I just used my knowledge of the different sessions to piece it together the way I thought it sounded best. I'm sure there's one or two things that could stand to be tweaked, but I like the general approach I used. As Frank said, "best to not over-think it".