Brian Wilson presents SMiLE!!! - diyAudio
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Old 11th November 2004, 06:30 AM   #1
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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Thumbs up Brian Wilson presents SMiLE!!!

On the recommendation of a very good friend, I went out and purchased Brian Wilson's SMiLE. I thought that I'd share my thoughts about it.

Simply put, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

A bit of personal background; I am not a Beach Boys fan. I always figured that they were surfer be-bop sounds that frankly didn't interest me. That was the end of my interest...until now!

The best analogy that I can draw is one of looking at a fine painting or tapistry. I think the tapistry is closer to what I felt while listening... The weaving of the different musical styles creates a 3-D landscape that is astounding. It is without a doubt the finest mind-candy that I've experienced in many many years; possibly ever! It was also like a breath of fresh air when I heard it.

The analogy that I've drawn for friends is this; think of standing somewhere on a hot day and all of a sudden a gentle, cool breeze sweeps across you. That's as close to the feeling describing this album as I can get. It's magic!

Some will think parts of it are too weird. Fair enough... It is a concept album that is designed to be played start to finish and it was envisioned to be a journey while also celebrating the positive things in life. 38 years ago when it was conceived there had never been another rock concept album. The Beatles' Sargent Peppers album didn't exist and the closest thing was Pet Sounds, also by Brian Wilson. This was his "Teenage symphony to God" as he put it back then.

In 1965 Brian Wilson set out to create an album that encompassed what defined America (no small undertaking if you really think about it). Just as the process was nearing completion, he suffered a major nervous breakdown. Drugs, severe mental illness, and ridicule of his work by the other Beach Boys who didn't understand it combined to send him into a downward spiral for the next 30 years!!! Pretty much everyone that knew him had written him off for dead. As a side note, throughout history when this has happened to other great artists, it has usually killed them. In Brian's case, with the love and support of a new wife, loving and supportive friends, the correct medication, and an unbelievable band, he's back in a big way. That's honestly an understatement! He's back with two new albums in the same year one of which is the massive undertaking that nearly killed him!

Within the first 5 minutes of SMiLE, I realized that I was listening to a living genius. The music and lyrics paint a picture in your mind and simply carry you away. By the end of the second movement, it's as if something has bypassed your head and directly connected to your heart. It's beauty and creativity are mindblowing.

There will be people that will criticize the work for one reason or another. I would say to them, "get over it". The recordings from the 60's weren't meant to come out then for whatever reason. Be happy with the fact that Wilson has finally released the work and in the process personally triumphed. Also rejoice in the quality with which it's put together. Sure it's different than the few pieces that were released in the 60's and early 70's. No Brian's voice is not what it was when he was 24 but it's still excellent (he's now 62). That having been said, I feel the work stands on its own fully and completely and is as fresh today as it was back then. By using outstanding musicians as well as vocalists, he has created a musical weaving that is simply like no other that I have ever heard.

I've been listing to this pretty much nonstop for a week now. Each time I hear it, I hear something new that I haven't heard before. I also find that I am not the least bit tired of it and find myself thinking about and humming different parts of during the day while at work.

From an audio perspective, be prepared for a HUGE soundstage with lots of stuff going on. With a decent audio system, you will be amazed! It's also worth noting that it has been released on vinyl as well...

Finally, if you are someone who wants a "pop" album similar to what you hear on the radio today, don't buy this CD. If on the other hand, you are open to something totally new and are ready to have your musical boundaries expanded, grab this and run. It's a gift given to each of us by a very gifted artist. It's also worth noting that "Beautiful Dreamer - the story of SMiLE" is running on Showtime right now for those who are lucky enough to have it... It's the story of what Wilson went through on his journey back and gives you an idea of the mountain(s) that he had to climb. He's an amazing man!

Brian's objective in creating SMiLE was to show music could be viewed in the same manner as abstract art. I think he achieved his goal and then some. I wouldn't be surprised, if when history is written, this ends up being one of the greatest pop works of the 20th century!

http://www.brianwilson.com/

Enjoy and...

SMiLE!!!!
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Old 11th November 2004, 07:53 AM   #2
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Thanks for the tip. I jumped over to ebay and bought one on the spot.
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Old 11th November 2004, 04:45 PM   #3
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Smile Forgot to mention a couple of things...

This was recorded using a custom built all tube console. It also was recorded at Sunset Studios in Hollywood, the same place the original work was done in the 60's.

I linked to his website but failed to mention checking out the reviews section.

This is a three movement rock opera. Be prepared to take a musical trip across America.

This is a completely new recording. They didn't use any of the original tapes from the 60's (except for inspiration).

For those interested in more of Brian's story and how this project came about, look here:

http://www.brianwilson.com/media/words/wash_post.html

Enjoy and SMiLE,
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Old 11th November 2004, 05:25 PM   #4
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Talking Now I'm done...

Here's a link to one last article that is worth checking out. It's a bit long but well worth the read to get "the whole scoop".

http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/S-...le.html?page=1

Back to Windchimes...
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Old 11th November 2004, 11:12 PM   #5
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Hmmm. A mate of mine (who is also not a BB fan) heard some of this last week and was also impressed. I'm off to buy it now.
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Old 12th November 2004, 02:56 AM   #6
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uuuhhhh, I am a bb fan -- meaning Brigitte Bardot and Beach Boys -- just ordered it.

if you were a teen in the 60's...
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Old 12th November 2004, 08:34 PM   #7
roibm is offline roibm  Romania
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been in the cd shop today, listed to it here and there. hard to get an impression that way, but home everything became clear: masterpiece
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Old 21st November 2004, 02:29 AM   #8
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I just got my copy of Smile today. I must say I was very disappointed in the sound quality. You can barely understand the words unless there is little else going on.

The sound quality is just plain MUDDY. On the overall, a poorly engineered recording.

The songs also impressed my as pretty much silly unless you want to hear about, for example, someone eating their vegatables.

Not only that, the whole thing is too short. 47 minutes. That that I object to that - it minimized my suffering.

I won't be recommending this album to anyone.

I'd like to hear some other opinions about the sound quality to verify that I haven't lost my mind sometime during the day.
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Old 22nd November 2004, 04:33 AM   #9
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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Unhappy Hmmmmm....

Sorry Bill....

I feel badly now and it's the last time I recommend any music...

I am puzzled by your muddy comment though...

I've heard this so far on Vandersteen 5a's with Wadia equipment on the front end, Apogees with Threshold and Proceed on the front end, and large Advents with a basic Sony receiver on the front end. At no time was it ever muddy sounding.

When I took it to a store and auditioned in on the Vandersteen/Wadia equipment, half a dozen people sat down and listened to the whole thing...

I'm sorry you don't like the music, but I am very suspicious of your muddy comment (ie - perhaps something is not correct at your end)... Not saying this to be insulting in any way, just worth considering.

Anyway, I'm bummed because I'd really hoped you'd enjoy it...
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Old 22nd November 2004, 06:19 AM   #10
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Don't feel bad about the recommendation as I'm sure it was given in good faith.

Regarding the quality, if I didn't have CDs that sounded good then I could admit that I have a marginal system. Everything is functioning properly.

My system may not be the best but with a Marantz 63SE, GAS power amps (bi-amped) and some decent woofs and satellites, my only cause for complaint are the many poor CDs available.

I'm hoping that others will speak up as to the sound quality they experience. There is a mystery here and I would like to find an explanation.
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