"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
The Museum of Endangered Sounds, by Brendan Chilcutt, launched in January of this year and is a small treasure trove of sounds from outdated technology. For me, these are childhood sounds, sounds I haven’t heard in years. Clicking through the interactive GIFs, memories popped up: the excited anticipation I used to feel while waiting for my dial-up modem to connect, the noises of the Game Boy I loved dearly before my parents took it away, the Pac-man game my sister and I would play at the local Pizza King.
I tried to make an endangered-sounds symphony by playing multiple sounds at once or to a beat, to little effect. But one nice aspect of the Museum of Endangered Sounds that I missed on my first visit is the interactive shadow effect behind each image, which I recognized from the OkFocus Labs by Jonathan Vingiano and Ryder Ripps. And speaking of Ryder Ripps, the whole museum reminds me of his Internet Archeology, which definitely deserves a thorough examination.
As technology evolves more and more quickly, the toys and machines of yesterday look less and less like those of today. In the seemingly infinite space of the internet, finding and savoring these old artifacts and aesthetics can be near impossible. Thankfully Chilcutt is there for us.
Hailing from Indiana, Ben Valentine moved to Brooklyn a year and a half ago. Now working for Tara Donovan and Allan McCollum, interning for Creative Time and Hyperallergic, Ben has immersed himself in the contemporary art world. Ben is interested in public art, the Internet's potential and in learning how to write and think about art without becoming a snob.More Ben Valentine.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)
Salon is proud to feature content from Hyperallergic, a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today.