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Author Topic: SMiLE: Bygone Mix  (Read 843 times)
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« on: February 25, 2019, 09:17:53 PM »

Hi, a new member here.

I've been doing Smile-mixes every once in a while for ten years or so, and because I've now finally managed to create a tracklist that seems pretty good to me from start to finish, I'm eager to share! This mix is based on a sequence proposed by Very Extremely Dan on this post:

I came up with this sequence after hearing Brian's "Smog" recording when he states his intention for SMiLE:  

"The way we can help is to make a record, and more or less present the facts in some interesting manner, not boring but in some way that people can retain these facts, and to sort of set up in their minds a goal to get rid of this sh*t!"  

With that in mind i found SMiLE to come together easily as a textbook American fable about the environment and the wave of change being called for by Brian and Van (and soon many others) in 1967.  Would love to know people's thoughts!

Good Vibrations (I HEAR the sound of a gentle WORD)
Heroes and VIllains Pt.1 (OFTEN ARE my sunshine)
Do You Like Worms
I'm In Great Shape
Cabin Essence

Wind Chimes
Mrs. O'leary's Cow
Love to Say Dada
Child is Father of the Man
The Old Master Painter (you WERE my sunshine)
Heroes and Villains Pt.2 (ARE WISE)
Surf's Up (I HEARD the WORD)

After trying out this sequence,  I started shifting things around a little. My goal has always mainly been to find a Smile-mix that flows flawlessly and in this case I couldn't see how "Vega-tables" could follow "Cabinessence" without any transitional track(s) in between. Also,"Heroes and Villains" following "Good Vibrations" felt a bit clunky to me, so I started to look for link tracks or different sequence altogether.

After lots and lots of obsessive tinkering during the past month, suddenly all the pieces seemed to fall in their right places. This happened after I gave up on the idea of "Elements-suite" ("I love to say dada" was omitted from this mix - as was "Holidays"). The current tracklist still basically follows the same template as the aforementioned sequence. It can be understood as two movements, first being the masculine "American progress" movement, and second the feminine "Destruction of the natives" movement. These are bookended by "Heroes and Villains parts 1 & 2" that work as a framing device similar to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band's "Sgt. Pepper"-songs, while "Good Vibrations" and "Surf's up" are the summaries of sorts ("Surf's up" being the final epiphany).

So, my sequence goes like this:


SIDE ONE (Masculine/American Progress)

You're Welcome:
Listener is welcomed to the album experience and the settlers to the "New world" of uncolonized American continent.  

Heroes and Villains Part 1:
Cantina version with "Sunshine"-version of the fade.
The male protagonist tells his story.

Do You like Worms:
"Bicycle rider" is introduced and the ocean-crossing settlers start their movement across the continent. Ends with a fade as the rider continues his journey.

Variation on Bicycle Rider's journey.

Bicycle Rider theme:
Picking up where "DYLW" ended, this instrumental track ends the "American gothic" phase of the album. The music here evokes a ghostly image of some magnificent steam-locomotive, so it feels suitable to place it after "Cabinessence" which was about building the railways.  

Great Shape suite: a) Barnyard; b) I'm in great shape; c) I wanna be around/Workshop:
Album shifts into a more comical phase as the settlers settle into a more domestic life. I put "Moaning laughing" into "Workshop" to lead into the next song: at the same moment when the moaning bursts into laughing, piano intro of "Vega-Tables" kicks in. Tedium of work (moaning) turns into joy of being alive (laughter - and getting high maybe?...).

After working in barnyards and workshops, this song is about having fun and reaping the goods of the earth. I mixed an improved party-skit from "Psychedelic sounds" boot over the first "do a lot" chorus. I also edited dialog from "vegetable arguments" into the fade section to reconstruct a skit of Hal Blaine's landowner fighting off the young "punks" who have without a permit grown a vegetable garden on his land ("What do you think you're doing with a garden on my property?") You can read this dialog as continuation of the historical theme of the album: now the commons have been fenced off and all land turned into private property ("Get a job and buy some vegetables!").    

Heroes and Villains Prelude:
Consists of: "Mission pak"/"Bridge to Indians"/"Prelude to fade"/"Flutter horn". Edited into the ending of "Vega-tables" as if belonging to same song - this turned out to be a perfect fit! Gives an ending to the first movement of the album.

Good vibrations:
Continues the high energy of "Vega-tables" and caps the first side of the album. Works kind of as an interlude in the album context. Lyrics here are important, especially the line "Gotta keep those lovin' good vibrations happenin' with her" in the "persuasion" section. This can also been seen as the boy-meets-girl/falling-in-love moment within the story.

SIDE TWO (Feminine/Destruction of the natives)

"Wonderful" starts the feminine movement of the album and tells the story ("All fall down and lost in the mystery") of the female protagonist who apparently is/was a native american and the male protagonist's loved one. These two tracks suggest innocence, beauty and wonder of the nature.

H&V intro/Mrs. O'leary's Cow (Fire):
Sudden arrival of the settlers & destruction of the native's villages and lands.

Child is Father of the man:
I structured this tune like this: bridge/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge again with a fade out. I also laced it with sound effects from "Bob Gordon's real trip" and "Burning wood session". As such this is about the damage done by the colonizers and serves as the darkest moment within the story. Added water sounds during the verse suggest care and rebirth though.

Wind chimes:
Female protagonist (now an old woman?) remembering the dead ones and all that has been lost. The choruses of this song sound actually like exaggerated, cartoonish crying! For the tag/fade I edited in dialog from "Taxi Cabber" tape and inserted some wailing horns from "George fell into a French horn" sessions. Idea was to increase the cacophony as the taxi cabber talks about the Chicago metropolitan area with it's highways and airports and "the plains" now covered with several cities. This should tie into the themes of urbanization, alienation, air pollution etc. Wailing horns also suggest dead souls hovering in the winds.

The Old Master Painter:
Male protagonist (now an old, dying man?) lamenting lost love and lost blue skies (because of the smog maybe?).

Our Prayer:
A hymn (by a funeral-choir?) to end the second movement.  

Heroes and Villains Part 2:
I Imagine this kind of like a burlesque show played in the afterlife, in Heaven! Starts playfully with "Gee" and other chanting parts and goes into "Children were raised---healthy wealthy and wise" and "Sunny down snuff" sections. Ends with the chorus ("Heroes and villains, just see what you've done") and "Bridge to Indians" bringing definite closure.  

Surf's up:
Caps the whole album and conveys the final message. I always like to hear this song in an extended form with the instrumental backing track as an intro.  

Hidden tracks:
Couldn't decide which one to use so used both: first an obscure little track of oceanic waves mixed with a distantly heard "Surfin'" by the Beach Boys. (This is from a certain Smile-mix which had first a tight 12-track album and then another disc called "The Big Grin" featuring extras. That mix was propably the first Smile-mix I ever listened to and it was very well made. I have no other info about this little piece, but it might be a fan creation by the makers of that mix since I've not heard it elsewhere.)
Second hidden track is a "Good Vibrations" reprise; the "persuasion" section with "hum-de-dum" chanting. I increased the volume gradually towards the ending note to create a similar effect as in "You're Welcome" that started the album. (If you'd open this particular track in an audio editing software, you'd see an image of a horn - an instrument that's quite prominent on the album. A cool little easter egg, I think.)


And that's it for the album. I think every transition from track to track is pretty smooth (except maybe "Bicycle Rider theme" into "Barnyard" but it also kind of works imo) and the album flows well from beginning to end managing to tell the story in coherent way. Every piece of music, lyric and dialog is supposed to tie into the whole. First side is around 24 minutes and second side around 27 minutes; if I would've cut the instrumental backing track intro from "Surf's up" and removed the hidden tracks after it, the second side would have also been around 23-24 minutes. 48-51 minute length I consider not too long as that would have been at least theoretically plausible in the vinyl-era (The Rolling Stone's "Aftermath" released in 1966 clocked in at 53:20).  

All tracks are in mono. Best sounding mono mixes were used when possible and if not possible, stereo-mixes were just folded down to mono. All editing was done in Audacity.

Sources used on this mix (All lossless audio unless otherwise noted):

The Smile Sessions: 5-cd, 2-cd & the Vinyl Set
Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys
Soniclovenoize's Smile-mixes
Mok's Smile
SOT Unsurpassed Masters vol. 17
Smiley Smile / Wild Honey (90's cd)
Psychedelic Sounds (lossy mp3) (used on tracks "CIFOTM", "Vega-tables" and "Wind Chimes")
Hermit & Devoir - Smile/The Big Grin (lossy wma) (used on a hidden track after "Surf's up")


tl;dr: A Smile-mix that aims to flow as smoothly as possible from start to finish telling a 2-movement story of "American progress" & "Destruction of the natives" in a logical, coherent manner.  The most unique individual edits on the mix: "Vega-tables", "Child is father of the man", "Wind Chimes".


Thanks to everyone who've contributed their sequencing ideas and/or their mixes regarding Smile on this message board. Special thanks to Very Extremely Dan whose ideas and tracklist proposals I chose to follow.

Feel free to comment and give any kind of feedback. Thanks for reading (I'm not very fluent writing in English, so there might be many mistakes in this text).

« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 02:57:11 PM by Bygone » Logged
The Old Master Painter
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 02:20:51 PM »

Iíve always loved Very Extremely Danís analysis and track-list. I shall check it out and give feedback! Good job!
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