Friday, January 22, 2016

Elliott Smith Rarities Archive - The Moon is a Sickle Cell

2021 UPDATE: The archive has been updated with over 650 tracks.

Check it out here.

Elliott Smith fans have had a rarities collection available for download for a long while called Grand Mal and it has circulated quite well in fan communities. This new collection, called The Moon is a Sickle Cell, was created as an archive to preserve the original leaked sources as much as possible. It also includes material that isn't on Grand Mal as well as live versions.

Whoever made Grand Mal took the time to edit a lot of the files, either when it was first compiled or when it was "re-released" in 2012. They were most likely just trying to make something a little more listenable. However, applying noise reduction, for example, is always difficult if you're not doing it from the source material. So some of the songs had small audible digital artifacts in them. Additionally, any time a file is re-encoded, especially to a lossy format, there is a loss in quality. I also found some songs that had been trimmed, with some instrumentation missing from the original leaks.

Until someone can access the original recordings and make a proper release (which all fans wish would happen, but it seems less likely with every year that passes), the ambition of this project is to preserve a record of the tracks that aren't on Elliott's official releases in a quality as close to the studio as possible. This also entails including information about where and when the songs were recorded and what releases they have have appeared on. The track listing on Grand Mal was approximated, being compiled from the leaks that the group of files came from. So here, the songs are organized chronologically, with unreleased songs and b-sides first and then alternate released versions.

The archive also includes unreleased songs that Elliott performed live, some which were on the fan curated Confusion collection (and also some that were not), as well as alternate acoustic or electric live alternate versions of album songs. There have also been a few leaks and releases since 2012, such as on the soundtrack for the documentary film Heaven Adores You, and those tracks have been included in this archive as well.

If you'd like to hear two "best of the box" mixes--two collections of only unreleased and b-side studio(ish) quality songs, check out this post here.

If you'd like to hear a mix of Elliott's work with his first band, Heatmiser, check out this post here.

Elliott was making music on the cusp of the internet piracy event horizon. I believe that Elliott's work should be available for anyone that wants to hear it, but if you do want to support Elliott and his family, donate to the memorial fund or go to and buy a record.

In reference to the Napster revolution, Smith said:
"I like the idea...sure, people should be able to trade musically with each other, I mean people do anyway...there's arguments to be made...but I don't really have an opinion...I'm not one of those bands that sells millions of records and then gets mad at Napster." 
Gary Smith, Elliott's father, was quoted as saying:
"While we were talking, we talked about sharing/trading elliott's music and he thought it was important to mention it was ok to share or trade elliott's music because elliott believed people should be able to trade musically with each other and that the family feels the same."
The following links were used to curate this archive:

Check out my other posts on Elliott Smith:

Elliott Smith - The Miser of Heat

Elliott Smith: A Shot of White Noise and Violent Girl

1 comment:

Peter said...

this is awesome, thank you!

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