Sunday, 15 October 2017

Either // Or

It seems that around this time of year, I'll take a dive into an artist that I've heard of but never taken the chance to listen to. I'll also dive in by blind buying one of their LP's and taking it from there. Last year I bought Pink Moon by Nick Drake and absolutely obsessed over it for weeks. This year I went with Either / Or by Elliott Smith. Normally a mass reissue of an LP wouldn't be much to sing over, but I managed to pick up the expanded edition for cheap from that crazy All Your Music sale in August. It was listed as used, it came brand new and sealed. It was a great come up, and I bought a few more from that sale too. 

This new expanded edition comes as a double 180 gram deal and released by Universal; quite a long way up when you consider that it's initial release came from Kill Rock Stars in the US and Domino records in the UK. 
First up, this record came with a cool obi strip which you don't see too often nowadays.

The back of the obi advertises some of Elliott Smiths other recordings. Since buying this a couple of months ago, I've also picked up Roman Candle, the Self Titled LP and XO. However, they are just Back to Black reissues so I'll likely not post about them.

A close up of the front obi shows the explains of the record, including some great photographs and an essay by Larry Crane on the time surrounding the recording and release of this record. Even as a complete newcomer and layman to Elliott Smith, this was a great read and the bonus stuff was just as enjoyable a listen as the studio LP. 

As I said, the record comes on plain black double 180 gram in printed jackets. I believe there were a couple of variants for this release too. An indies only copy, and a mail-order exclusive too on Buttercream Splatter. I wasn't bothered about a colour copy at the time, but the Kill Rock Stars store won't allow orders to the UK anyway. 

One side of the jackets contain all the lyrics... 

The other side contains some credits and some archive photographs. The photographs all seem to be credited to a Felice Ecker; who I gather was his publicist. Initially I assumed it would be his then partner, but a quick read online told me otherwise. 

The inside gatefold contains more photographs and the essay by Larry Crane. Larry Crane I gather was a friend/ producer/ archiver and Jackpot! Recording Studio owner. From what I understand, a bunch of these recordings were made on 4-track or 8-track. Certainly the albums prior to this were. The essay is pretty in depth about the time of this recording, and Smith's distance from Heatmiser too. 

Finally, the download code comes as a postcard. I assume they're reels or VHS  tapes cased in those boxes. It's a cool piece of history that won't really come around again. 

I was always fascinated by the life and death of Elliott Smith, and for years was aware of his music without diving in. However, I'm doing my best to make up for lost time and grabbing as much as I can. I'm still worried about listening to Figure 8 and the posthumous recordings, as Figure 8 sounds like a big departure in sound. I'm sure I'll get into them at some stage, but for now I've got a decent amount to go on. 

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