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Elliott Smith

Biography

Patron saint of indie music, Elliott Smith was once making folk based baroque pop on his own while simultaneously fuzzing-out amps in his former band Heatmiser. Upon "going solo," Smith's own moderately downtempo songwriting had tastefully expanded and grown with clever arrangements and matured instrumentation. Grand pianos and classically arranged strings took the place of grungy distortion boxes and toy guitars. The overall production was stepped up, but not stylistically compromised. And still, what remained consistent in these recordings was his ability to play the heartstrings better than any instrument in his back-line. An artist who single-handedly redefined the term "singer/songwriter," Smith influenced countless other bedroom four-trackers as well as a myriad of professional musicians, including Beck Hansen, Bill Callahan (Smog), Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy) and Chan Marshall (! Cat Power). Before he could finish what was to be his last album, From A Basement On A Hill, Smith took his own life on October 21, 2003. His nearly completed posthumous album was self-tracked on Smith's home recording devices, as well as with the infamous Hollywood producer Jon Brion. Collaborator David McConnell, explained that the CD was originally intended by Smith to sound lo-fi and dusty in its final production. However, since Smith's family had legal say as to how the album was to be sequenced and mixed, they handed the project over to engineer/producer Rob Schnapf and Joanna Bolme (an ex girlfriend of Smith's and member of Stephen Malkmus' band the Jicks) to make what they believed were necessary changes. It has since been re-mixed and released to a much-deserved overwhelming critical acclaim as well as a bit of controversy regarding the author's intent.
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