MUZE Notes: Elliott Smith's death in 2003 left a cavernous hole in the world of popular music. Tender, intimate, and painfully honest, the songs in Smith's catalogue capture the fragility of human existence with rare, breathtaking beauty. On his first posthumous release, Smith reaffirms his status as an extraordinarily gifted artist, giving fans yet another reason to mourn his tragic loss. Conceived as an ambitious double album, FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL was ultimately narrowed down to 15 tracks by Smith's close friends, producer Rob Schnapf (Beck's MELLOW GOLD, Smith's X/O) and musician Joanna Bolme (the Minders, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks). The result is a heartbreaking collection of songs that plays like a retrospective of Smith's entire career. "Strung Out Again" reflects the early edge of ROMAN CANDLE; "Last Hour" recalls the bittersweet melodies of ELLIOTT SMITH; "A Fond Farewell" is a sad anthem in the tradition of EITHER/OR; "Shooting Star" employs the more polished sound of ! X/O; and "Don't Go Down" is an extension of the more electrified FIGURE 8. Of course, the most haunting aspect of FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL is the lyrical content, which is impossible to hear without placing it in the context of Smith's untimely passing.