Elliott Smith New Moon

Elliott Smith New Moon
Sound engineer/Elliott Smith archivist Larry Crane has an easy job — frankly, bereaved fans will buy anything with the tragic figure’s name attached. Not for nothing, as Smith’s music is the kind that can soundtrack a lifetime, from "awkward years” to post-college vacuum to 30-something loneliness, and after a while one might reasonably pine for something new. It’s hard to write about a dead guy without eulogising or using clichés, particularly when the album to be written about is not a "best of” or themed compilation — there are no curatorial decisions to be contested. New Moon is a two-disc set of unreleased tracks made between 1994 (after the release of Roman Candle) to 1997. It was compiled with care by Smith’s Estate, Kill Rock Stars and Crane — the latter even interviewed fans of the artist to determine which tracks were in demand — and contains detailed liner notes explaining the origins of Smith’s work and its biographical context. The quality is consistent and the time and place are firmly established. Simply said, New Moon is not a cash-grab — the songs are all true-to-form, and the collection is of considerable value to any fan of the artist. To use the inevitable cliché, Smith’s genius is apparent — there’s no argument to be made on behalf of the music contained here.

(Kill Rock Stars, www.killrockstars.com)

How did you come to preside over Elliott Smith’s archives?
Crane: The Estate was curious if I’d want to work on this album; my question was if someone was going to back all the tapes of Elliott’s up to digital and catalogue them? I was asked if I’d do it and I said yes. When Elliott and I started Jackpot! Recording Studio ten years ago I recognised that someday this would need to be done and used to make copies of tapes he left around, "just in case.”

How do you think Smith’s work will be viewed 20 years from now?
One of the reasons for archiving his work is that the Estate and I imagine there will be continued interest in his work as time goes by. He was a unique songwriter and his work spoke to a lot of people. Even now, I see people posting on forums about Elliott Smith that were too young to have seen him perform or buy his records when they came out. Comparisons to an artist like Nick Drake are inevitable, where the albums receive more acclaim in the future. For those that adore Elliott’s music, they know how good it is. Maybe in the future others will find out. (Kill Rock Stars)