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Boomkat Product Review:
Domino reissues a remastered edition of Roman Candle, the debut solo album by the late and very great Elliott Smith. Originally released back in 1994, Roman Candle has always sounded conspicuously lo-fi, and while nothing has been done to alter Smith's original mixes, some delicate mastering has been undertaken so as to make the record a little louder and remove some of the louder moments of fret buzz and dampen some of the harsher sibilant sounds. Don't worry though, the job has been handled with great sensitivity by all the right people: Larry Crane, Elliott's official archivist and editor of Tape Op Magazine teamed up with Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering. Crane explains the process: ""The intention that I had was to make the album more listenable. I felt that a lot of the guitar "squeaks" were jarring and very loud, and that many of the hard consonants and "S" sounds were jarring and scratchy sounding. I felt by reducing these noises that the music would become more inviting and the sound would serve the songs better. When I went to Roger Seibel's SAE Mastering, he proceeded to equalize the tracks a small amount and to make the volume slightly louder. We never tried to make this CD as loud as current, over-limited trends, but just to match the volume of the rest of Elliott's KRS catalog in a graceful way." As for the music itself, Roman Candle points the way towards the classic material that was yet to come, and although the album tends to be unfairly thought of as a warm up for his eponymous album and the breakthrough, Either/Or, songs like 'Condor Ave.' and the wonderful title track go some way to reminding you that there's plenty of truly great material here, even by Smith's superlative songwriting standards. Thanks to the release of this new master there's never been a better time to rediscover how good Roman Candle actually is.