Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Beach Boys - SMiLE (2004)

The Beach Boys – SMiLE

(soniclovenoize Stereo BWPS 2004 mix)

Sept 2013 UPGRADE

Suite One:
1.  Our Prayer/Gee
2.  Heroes and Villains
3.  Do You Like Worms?
4.  Barnyard
5.  The Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine
6.  Cabin Essence

Suite Two:
7.  Wonderful
8.  Look
9.  Child Is Father of The Man
10.  Surf’s Up

Suite Three:
11.  I’m In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop
12.  Vege-Tables
13.  Holiday
14.  Wind Chimes
15.  Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow
16.  I Love To Say Dada
17.  Good Vibrations

This is an UPGRADE to my ‘Stereo BWPS 2004’ mix of The Beach Boys SMiLE album.  It is constructed to follow, as closely as possible, the sequence devised by Brian Wilson and Darian Sahanaja for the 2004 album Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE (which is a bit different than the version presented on disc one of The SMiLE Sessions boxset).  My mix is also completely in stereo, as opposed to the mono-only version from the boxset.  So, if you think that the blueprint of SMiLE found on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE is the way SMiLE should be, this mix is for you!  Or if you really wanted SMiLE to be all in stereo, then this mix is for you!  Also, absolutely no fly-ins from the 2004 Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE were used.  In my opinion, I believe that to be anachronistic and contrary to the project itself.  It would be like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa!  I would rather have an instrumental track than a combination of 1967 and 2004 recordings.  Also note mono mixes from The SMiLE Sessions were excluded in my synchs if it was obvious that the makers had also flown-in unnecessary pitch-corrected bits.

The upgrades in this Sept 2013 edition are:
-  The true stereo 1967 mix of “Our Prayer” from the Made in California boxset (as opposed to my synch of the mono 1967 version with the stereo 1969 version)
- New edit of “Heroes and Villains” to follow closer to the actual BWPS mix
- My own upgraded stereo mix of “Old Master Painter” with a more accurate synch of the backing and vocal tracks
- A completely new stereo remix of “Cabin Essence” sources from recreated mutlitracks.
- My own upgraded true stereo mix of “Wonderful” instead of my previous ‘duophonic’ mix. 
- New edit of “Look” to follow closer to the actual BWPS mix
- New edit of “Vege-Tables” to follow closer to the actual BWPS mix, sourced from the Made in California mix, as opposed form a vinyl rip of The SMiLE Sessions LP.
- Upgraded stereo mix of “Wind Chimes” from the Made in California boxset, as opposed form a vinyl rip of The SMiLE Sessions LP.
- Remixed “Good Vibrations” to make the vocal track a bit louder. 

Sometime in late 2003, Brian Wilson, with the help of his musical director Darian Sahanaja, decided to top his grandiose Pet Sounds with the only logical topper: a SMiLE Tour.  In doing so, it forced Wilson to revisit a troubled time in his life: troubles that would inevitably overshadow and nearly defeat the genius music he originally created in 1967, forcing the unreleased SMiLE album into the vaults for over 40 years.  Sahanaja and Wilson plowed through the mastertapes and created a 45-minute set composed of three suites, organizing nearly all of the finished (and unfinished) SMiLE-era tracks into three concepts: Americana, Childhood & Adulthood and The Elements.  New lyrics were written for the unfinished songs with the help of original lyricist Van Dyke Parks, and Sahanaja composed original instrumental link-tracks to further unify the songs into a cohesive whole.  The set was so successful, a studio album was recorded in 2004 and SMiLE was finally finished.  But the sound of a 60-year-old Brian Wilson with the backing harmonies of The Wondermints performing a facsimile of the cutting-edge magic that made the original records so unique left many fans dreaming of the original 1967 Beach Boys tapes in this finalized configuration.  But with the abundance of source material found on 2011 boxset The SMiLE Sessions just waiting to be re-edited and remixed, this SMiLE mix accomplishes just that!

Suite one—a collection of songs about Western Expansionism, The Old West and farming—begins with the newly-released true stereo mix of “Our Prayer” found on Made in California.  It is followed by a series of clever edits of “Heroes and Villains sections” and the stereo mix of “Heroes and Villains” from The SMiLE Sessions boxset.  Next is my own unique stereo mix of “Do You Like Worms?”, with the vocal tracks synched up to the stereo backing tracks.  Also note the slow panning of the ‘Bicycle Rider Theme’ from right to left, symbolizing the pioneer’s journey from the East to the West (what the piece originally represented to Brian).  A stereo mix of “Barnyard” is created when the mono mix with vocals is panned at 9 o’clock and synched to the mono instrumental mix (with a different arrangement of animal noises!) panned at 5 o’clock, segueing directly into my newly-upgraded stereo mix of “Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine”.  Here we have the stereo backing track in which the cellos (panned hard right) are literally replaced by the mono mix when the vocals come in, to retain both the stereo picture and the vocals.  The suite is concluded with the my brand new stereo remix of “Cabin Essence”, mixed from recreated multitracks; it is a synch of the reconstructed stereo backing tracks and backing vocals form TSS box, and the isolated lead vocals from the album version found on the Good Vibrations box (extracted via a simple Center Channel Elimination technique).  Because this new mix has the lead vocals panned to the center and the instrumentation panned hard right and left (as opposed to the opposite found on the 20/20 album version), we are allowed more atmosphere and are able to appreciate the track as a whole, rather than subjected to a reverby, muddy mess.  Although we lose Mike Love’s scat vocals in the second chorus, it is an even trade-off to have a crystal clear new stereo mix of “Cabin Essence”. 

Suite two—a collection of songs which represent the life cycle of childhood to fatherhood—begins with my own brand new stereo mix of “Wonderful”, replacing my poorly-conceived duophonic mix from my previous SMiLE 2004 mix version.  Here we simply have the full mono mix panned at one o’clock with the isolated backing vocals synched and panned at seven o’clock, creating a true stereo mix of the song without the need of changing EQ or adding reverb.  Next a new edit of “Look” which does follow the BWPS version more closely, but which does not feature fly-in overdubs from other sources.  Following is my own stereo mix of “Child Is Father of The Man”, in which the mono track with vocals is synched to the stereo backing track, thus creating a full stereo picture.  The structure of the song was re-edited from The SMiLE Sessions boxset to match the structure found on Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE.  It concludes with the otherwise unused middle-eight instrumental piece as a replacement for Darian Sahanaja’s original instrumentation which obviously did not exist in 1967.  The suite concludes with the stereo mix of “Surf’s Up” found on The SMiLE Sessions double-LP.

The final suite—a collection of all the supposedly ‘Elemental’ songs—begins with the isolated piano track from the ‘Cantina’ section of “Heroes and Villains”, again approximating the original instrumental introduction to “I’m In Great Shape” composed by Sahanaja, modeled after the ‘Cantina’ section anyways.  It glides into my own stereo mix of “I’m in Great Shape” which features the piano & vocal demo synched to the stereo instrumental backing track.  “I Wanna Be Around/Workshop” follows with the isolated ‘workshop’ sound effects slowly panning from left to right, so that upon its conclusion the workshop sounds morph into the percussion of “Vege-Tables”.   This is a newly-made re-edit of the stereo mix of “Vege-Tables” found on Made in California, now matching almost precisely the structure and length of the BWPS version.  “Holiday” is presented as a stereo instrumental from TSS tracking sessions, as I chose to leave the song as it was in 1967 without anachronistic fly-ins, followed by the Made in California stereo mix of “Wind Chimes”.  My own stereo edits of the “Heroes and Villains intro” and “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” create a complete ‘Fire’ Element; the “Water Chant” from the bootleg Unsurpassed Masters Volume 17 is segued into the stereo instrumental track of “I Love To Say Dada” to create a complete ‘Water’ Element.  Note that I chose to exclude a synch of the vocals (or fly them in from elsewhere) because it muddied the mix; as was the case in “Holiday” and “Look”, I choose to keep them as instrumentals.   Concluding SMiLE is the epic set-closer, my own unique stereo mix of “Good Vibrations”, in which the original ‘telepathy’ lyrics are synched into the stereo backing track, as well as including the extra “Hum De Dow” middle-eight not found in the common single edit, but featured on BWPS: the ultimate ‘Frankenstein’ stereo “Good Vibrations”. 

Sources used:
Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of The Beach Boys (1993 CD box set)
Good Vibrations (2006 40th Anniversary CD EP)
Made in California (2013 CD box set)
The SMiLE Sessions (2011 CD box set)
The SMiLE Sessions (2011 LP, son-of-albion vinyl rip)
Unsurpassed Masters - Volume 17 (1997 bootleg, Sea of Tunes Records)

flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR, Audacity & Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included


  1. A huge sonic improvement over your original mix. I have added it to the mono 13 track version of yours as my official go-to versions of SMiLE.

    Bravo, again!

  2. This is great! The best sounding version of smile that I have heard.
    But for some reason the crosfades doesn't work when I listen on my htc phone, but in windows media player it flows perfectly.
    Can some of these new upgrades be used to improve your stereo 1967 version of smile?

  3. Hey guys! Thanks for the comments.

    I will be updating that 1967 mix later this week, so hold your horses!

    Then the following week I'll upload my reconstructions of Landlocked and Adult/Child.

  4. Sounds like your best work to date.

  5. Awsome! Du är bäst på det här!
    I listened on my way to and from work today. It’s really good, very nice indeed.
    At first when I started listen to different versions of SMiLE I was a bit disturbed by the wide dynamic range of the songs. How different sounds were so much louder than others. It hurt my ears to the extent that I ran all the songs thru a compressor/gate.
    But later on I began to appreciate the difference in volume. I listen on a general lower volume now because I know it will get much louder. SMiLE is more like “classical music” than pop music. And here, on this version of SMiLE, you have really succeeded in making that obvious. It sounds real epic! More like a symphony.
    I still have real problems with the crossfading between the songs though; it might just be the music player on my phone and VLC player on my computer. It’s most noticeable between Our Prayer/Gee - Heroes and Villains and Wonderful – Look. I will try to burn the album onto a disc and play it on the computer.
    Thanks a lot! It’s hard for me to put in words how much I appreciate your work. It means a lot to me!
    post scriptum: I didn’t mean to rush you about the 1967 stereo mix.

  6. I was truly excited to read about this upgrade. Thank you very much, and look forward to the rest of the BB/Smile coming. Will there also be mono mixes coming? I'd love a true mono reconstruction of the 2004 Smile if possible. Thanks again.

  7. As bad as putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa is to repudiate Brian's wishes and stereoize his greatest work.

  8. I have listened to a lot of SMiLE reconstructions. Have you listened to the alternatebrianwilson mix? he does a lot of what you did.

    I think that you might like it.

  9. "File does not exist on this server"

  10. An orgasmic audition!! Thanks a lot for this work!!

  11. An orgasmic audition!! Thanks a lot for this work!!

  12. Very confused by this. Good Vibrations is track 8 in both the mono and stereo versions and it's supposed to end the record, and there are only 13 tracks as opposed to the 17 listed. I love your work, so please don't think I'm being petty!

    1. Looks like you are talking about my 1967 mix instead of the 2004 mix.

    2. User error. Thanks for correcting me! Feel free to delete the above post.

  13. This here is for you Beach Boys fans, but mostly to you SLN:

  14. thanks for your good taste in music!

  15. I've been listening to your original mix for years, and was hoping you upgraded it. You didn't disappoint, thank you soniclovenoize!

  16. Mr. Socilovenoize! 403 Forbidden!!
    The links are dead! :(

    1. That's because it was updated here

  17. am I an idiot? where's the download link?

  18. i'd like to dl this wheres the link?