Love brings up an interesting thought

larryc

“This cd [the Beatles Love] brings up an interesting thought: how much messing around with an artist’s back catalogue and master tapes is ethical? I recently started working with the estate of Elliott Smith, researching and archiving my late friend’s music for his family and for the future. One of the first jobs entailed working with Kill Rock Stars and the estate on a collection of mostly unreleased material. I researched what tracks might be out there, dug through the reels to find unreleased masters, and then transferred tracks into protools and did the mixes. One song which consisted of double tracked vocals and an acoustic guitar, i found that the guitar track had a prominent scraping flange sound all through it – see “Last Hour” on Elliott’s Basement on the hill album which is on the same reel – I tried mixing it and was unhappy with the flange noise, and then I remembered that I’d found a take of the same song on another reel, yet with no vocals. So I flew the tracks together, matching the instrumental take with the acoustic guitar track where the vocals were, instead of just flying the vocals on top of the other take in order to keep the vocal phrasing dead on. Over eight hours later, I had something that worked pretty good. Thankfully, he had used the same arrangement and key. The tempo is just a little off, so I used a time compression program to get it closer. So… I made it work but was it okay to do this? We made sure that the liner notes were clear on what had been done to this track and noted that the rest of the album wasn’t created this way. I felt that in this rare case of having a flawed guitar track and perfectly fleshed out instrumental take that showcased Elliott’s arrangement skills, the option was laid out in front of me what should be done.”

Larry Crane (17 février 2007)

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