Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ben Folds is my hero

I love a good live show, and Ben Folds puts on one of the best. He always gets the crowd to interact with him, whether it's conducting the audience in a sing along, as shown above, or asking his fans to write requests on paper airplanes and throw them onto the stage when he walks out, as seen below. Ben played an entire show of requests from the fans. How cool is that? Also, I am totally jealous of these shots.

 All Rights Reserved (c) Jenn Harrington

So, why is Ben Folds my hero? Because he got together with two other musicians and an author to write and record eight songs in eight hours. The songs were released yesterday and all the money will benefit Berklee City Music. That is awesome. I nicked the artists thoughts from Ben Folds' website:

Damian Kulash comments, "Can the album cycle actually be reduced to a single day? If the recording industry is supposed to be a means of connecting musicians to music listeners, well, then, here it is -- spontaneous and circular. They send us ideas and a day later we have an album, a show, and some semblance of a documentary. And then the next day (we hope), a big public flameout and a battle over rights and the release of competing slanderous autobiographies."

Amanda Palmer comments, “The four of us are creative internet addicts with our own huge Twitter circles. This project is exciting as it will give us the opportunity to collide our circles. I think the Rethink Music conference is going to be a groundbreaking event, and I'm hoping to engage in a dialogue about things that are very close to my heart, namely the importance of audiences and artists creating a new society of patronage and virtual busking.”

Neil Gaiman comments, "I'm excited and nervous both because there is so much room for things to go wrong, and because it shows people how art is actually made. Or would actually be made if you locked three songwriter performers and an author in a box for a day and forced them to collaborate with Twitter to craft and record songs. When I write it down and look at it, it looks even more unlikely than it did in my head."

Ben Folds comments, "Digital technology allows singers who can't sing and musicians who look better than they play to sing and play in tune and in time. At the same time, it empowers the musician to distribute music without a middle man and directly to an audience within moments of its creation. It even allows two-way communication during the process so that the audience might collaborate to some extent or be present in some way -- like live music."

Ben's full post is here. 

A write up from Spin is here. 

Neil Gaiman's thoughts on the project.

Unfortunately, I was under the weather, so I missed out on watching this project unfold live. I can't commend these artists enough. I hate the way the music industry hoards music, when clearly, the musicians can get it done in 8 hours. It's projects like these that just make me happy, even after an 11 hour day in the office. How can you not be happy when you hear Ben sing about a suicidal squirrel? Check it out.


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