Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Mar 23rd 2010 10:00AM by Linda Laban
The highly influential singer-songwriter's old studio cohort, Larry Crane -- who is also the archivist for Smith's estate -- has remastered 'Roman Candle,' which was originally self-recorded by Smith and released on Portland's Cavity Search Records in 1994.
"I'm getting pretty much bashed around there on message boards for something nobody's heard," Crane tells Spinner. "Some people are like, 'Oh my god, how can you do that?' I'm not smashing it and flat-lining it like a Metallica record."
Still, Crane knew from the beginning of this project that he was reworking a sacred recording. "My first thought was, 'Am I doing the right thing?'" Crane says. "I said to my girlfriend, 'My god, should I be doing this?' She said, 'Are you making it sound better?' I said, 'I guess.' She said, 'How can that be wrong?'"
Actually, remastering isn't an accurate description of what Crane has done. Unlike 'From a Basement on the Hill,' which was mastered before its posthumous release in 2004 and is reissued as-is, 'Roman Candle' was never mastered in the first place.
"I really felt that the album, some of the guitar squeaks when he was changing chords -- he used really cheap mics on the record -- some sounds are really jarring," Crane says. "I was very timid at first, but the more I listened and altered the volume on those squeaks a tiny bit; you can still hear them -- they kind of punctuate the phrases and such -- but all of a sudden the guitar playing just became more clear. I know it's going to sound different to some people, but I cannot imagine that they'd have a problem with what we've done."