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April 22, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Something wonderful is happening.
gaiman/palm/folds/kulash/awesome-music-filter
posted by es_de_bah (50 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not terribly familiar with the dynamics of supergroups - is there any reason to think a load of independently creative people will produce something exceptional (in the context of music)?
posted by serif at 6:03 PM on April 22, 2011


Something wonderful is happening.
Jupiter was supposed to blow up last year.

I keed I keed, this looks really interesting.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:05 PM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


In all seriousness, is Gaiman a musician at all? I seem to remember Dave McKean is.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:11 PM on April 22, 2011


according to Palmer, Gaiman is there for when they get stuck on lyrics.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:13 PM on April 22, 2011


Who wants to bet that four overrated artists can't produce an overrated album?
posted by clarknova at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Despite being a big fan of his early novels (Stardust, Neverwhere, Good Omens) I hate to admit that I'm slowly getting sick of hearing and seeing his name everywhere. It almost feels like he's becoming a brand.

But I'll never be able to fully hate on him, cause the fact that he signed my xylophone makes it eternally badass.
posted by mannequito at 6:19 PM on April 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


The clammy dead hands of Ben Folds will throttle this project in its crib past midnight, then, with swift taxidermy and animatronics applied to the tiny corpse, produce an awful changeling, something you feel you should love but can only muster revulsion for while its glass eyes stare at you from the stroller.
posted by adipocere at 6:23 PM on April 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm not very familiar with Ben Folds aside from a couple songs, and OK Go I know only for the videos.

But I'll listen to / watch / etc anything with Amanda Palmer in it. So they've already got me hooked.

(and Neil Gaiman is awesome too, of course, but if I wasn't jealous enough of his talent marrying Amanda put it over the edge)
posted by wildcrdj at 6:27 PM on April 22, 2011


Wow. You really hate Ben Folds, adipocere.
posted by maryr at 6:28 PM on April 22, 2011


(That said I'm more worried about Palmer's contribution skewing things. Amazing voice, but I'm not completely won over by her aesthetic.)
posted by maryr at 6:32 PM on April 22, 2011


I wonder which minority culture Palmer will take a shit on this time?
posted by kmz at 6:34 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, missed that the first time around kmz. Can you fill me in?(goth-cabaret? weimar-zombies? normal sized ladies?) I'm not really a Dresden Dolls fan, maybe I just missed it.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:40 PM on April 22, 2011


kmz is referring to this

As a big fan of Palmer's work (mostly as herself and as part of the Dresden Dolls), I will say this was... well, I understand the controversy, at least.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:42 PM on April 22, 2011


/slaps adipocere with white glove.

Shall we say pistols at dawn, Sir?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:43 PM on April 22, 2011


ah, got it.
kinda fucked.

as for the fpp: I like Ben Folds in collaboration. He's a good producer. I LOVE the main section of Shatner's Common People- but why does Ben Folds ruin it by singing at the end. Gah.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2011


I'm still waiting for Amanda to collaborate with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. That's the only collaboration left by now, isn't it?
posted by katillathehun at 7:08 PM on April 22, 2011


Greg Lake's already been in a supergroup.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:24 PM on April 22, 2011


Greg Lake's already been in a supergroup.

Greg Lake has been in more than one, actually. Although I'm not sure if King Crimson counts as a supergroup despite it having huge people in it, because I think it was through KC that those people became huge.

But ELP was certainly a supergroup. As was ELP.
posted by hippybear at 7:34 PM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Although I'm not sure if King Crimson counts as a supergroup despite it having huge people in it, because I think it was through KC that those people became huge.

The mid-70s lineup might count as a supergroup: Fripp from earlier lineups, Bruford from Yes, Wetton from … Family, I think?, Cross from wherever he was from (possibly nothing), and, briefly, Jamie Muir from the Music Improvisation Company. Also the 80s lineup, I guess.
posted by kenko at 7:40 PM on April 22, 2011


Yeah, I'd agree. Although Greg Lake was only in the group for the first two albums, so it's hard to tell whether KC would count as a supergroup at that point or not.

But then, music was so incestuous at that point in time, it's hard to tell exactly where some bands ended and some began for a number of years.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, is Gaiman a musician at all?

I seem to recall reading somewhere or another (probably in Hy Bender's The Sandman Companion) that Gaiman was very briefly in a high school punk band in the 1970s. Of course, whether that qualifies him as a musician is still up for debate.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:48 PM on April 22, 2011


According to a story in Fragile Things, he played stand-up bass in middle school.

Wow guys I am the biggest nerd.
posted by wayland at 8:54 PM on April 22, 2011


It almost feels like he's becoming a brand.

He's becoming a band.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:05 PM on April 22, 2011


I wonder which minority culture Palmer will take a shit on this time?

Maybe this just reveals some unexplored cavern of my own cultural insensitivity, but I don't see how (based on reading their online info and listening to a few songs) Evelyn Evelyn can be construed as anything but a harmless goof on the sister-act concept and old-timey music. Palmer and Webley's characters are as representative of actual conjoined twins as a pantomime horse is of a Kentucky thoroughbred.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:18 PM on April 22, 2011


It almost feels like he's becoming a brand.

What does that actually mean? A brand is a mark applied to a product manufactured by a company, with elements of a certain design style or mark of quality.

Gaiman is a prolific artist. He's working on a number of projects in different genres and mediums. How is that a bad thing?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:19 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the official press release:
Ben Folds, Damian Kulash (OK Go), Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls, solo), and author Neil Gaiman will write and record eight songs in eight hours (4 p.m. to midnight) at Berklee College of Music, Monday, April 25, and release them 10 hours later during Rethink Music, in Boston. Like Radiohead did recently, this group will show how record companies are becoming superfluous to building buzz and distributing music.
Yes, because nothing will show the world that record companies are not necessecary like artists who already have huge followings.

Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, etc, can do whatever the hell they like, because people already know them. And if they don't currently get email updates or are members of fanclubs, the name recognition around major artists is enough that anything they do will make it into online music news aggregators.

Sure, Ben Folds, OK Go, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman are all recognized "brands," so far as there are plenty of people who will pay attention when their names are mentioned, no matter what the context. Which is what makes their big show ring so empty.

If an unknown band does this, it's a stunt. If Great Big Names collaborate, it's news.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:23 PM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, because nothing will show the world that record companies are not necessary like artists who already have huge followings.

Yes, this always bugs me. Big name artists who strike out on their own always conveniently forget who fronted the money to make their work famous in the first place.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:33 PM on April 22, 2011


Well, honestly, more artists are taking the independent route despite not having huge followings. Carbon Leaf left their label and is doing several independent virtual and physical EP releases in a year rather than pushing for a giant album every couple of years. Indigo Girls left their label and released what is arguably one of the strongest releases of their career. There are two others that I listen to regularly that also have left their labels and seem to be happier with their lot in life now, but I can't remember who they are at this exact moment.

But yeah, it's not just the huge acts, and the more people who do it the more will see it can be done and the more audience members will learn how to find them outside the usual channels.

This, however, really feels stunty to me on some level. I don't dislike any of the artists involved, and will consider that maybe they'll turn out something worthwhile, but mostly it just feels... stunty.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 PM on April 22, 2011


Strange Interlude: "Maybe this just reveals some unexplored cavern of my own cultural insensitivity, but I don't see how (based on reading their online info and listening to a few songs) Evelyn Evelyn can be construed as anything but a harmless goof on the sister-act concept and old-timey music."

It is important to know the entire story of Evelyn Evelyn to understand why many people (including me) find it offensive. The story, created by Palmer and her co-writer, Jason Webley, is that the two girls--conjoined twins--had been subjected to sexual abuse as children and were part of a traveling freak show, and then Palmer and Webley "rescued" them and produced an album of their music. Of course, it's Palmer and Webley themselves playing the twins -- so here were two able-bodied adults playing dress-up as disabled, sexually-abused children for a rollicking good time and mp3 sales. In my opinion, yes, that's incredibly insensitive.
posted by tzikeh at 10:11 PM on April 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is not wonderful to me. Oh well.
posted by NiteMayr at 10:58 PM on April 22, 2011


They plan on having each song be less than 30 seconds long.
posted by Catblack at 11:18 PM on April 22, 2011


It is important to know the entire story of Evelyn Evelyn to understand why many people (including me) find it offensive. The story, created by Palmer and her co-writer, Jason Webley, is that the two girls--conjoined twins--had been subjected to sexual abuse as children and were part of a traveling freak show, and then Palmer and Webley "rescued" them and produced an album of their music. Of course, it's Palmer and Webley themselves playing the twins -- so here were two able-bodied adults playing dress-up as disabled, sexually-abused children for a rollicking good time and mp3 sales. In my opinion, yes, that's incredibly insensitive.

Well, what about novels that feature characters who have been the victims of sexual abuse? Or movies? If you think this is a subject that should just be verboten in the arts, then okay; but if for some reason your objection is limited to the fictional depiction of same in music, I think that's a little bit odd.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:18 PM on April 22, 2011


tzikeh, I was about to debate you on the grounds of artistic expression based on the whole freakshow and carnival genre; however, if I compare it to Blackface, I see that this has many similarities and may be similarly insensitive. It also furthers the whole othering of people as it portrays them as something strange instead of people. If I were a conjoined twin, I wouldn't want to always be seen as some freakshow thing.

Perhaps one problem with art in general is that it constantly echoes the past and just won't stop recreating some things that should simply disappear from pop culture.
posted by Knigel at 11:24 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


it constantly echoes the past and just won't stop recreating some things that should simply disappear.

Ah, Gaiman Ghouls.
posted by Mblue at 11:54 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, kfb, I'm not sure I disagree with you, but I can certainly see why people would think it's different. In movies and books, those elements of the characters are supposedly critical aspects of the narrative. But in music, I think it's easy to think "the music is the quote unquote actual art, and the backstory is frivolous" and is therefore treating X flippantly.

Again, not espousing my own opinion, but it's not exactly the riddle of the sphinx why people might view it differently.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:15 AM on April 23, 2011


I would love to hear a comparison between what these artists achieve and what other actual Berklee students might manage given the same time constraints . I mean they are the come side right? Consider that this is a place where you have to write something like this just to audition to get in (he got in).
posted by rongorongo at 2:17 AM on April 23, 2011


This sounds like one of those things, like Angel Delight or anal sex, which sounds more fun before the event than they end up being in reality.
posted by joannemullen at 4:50 AM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief, you do have a point. I still think it's a neat project and their heart is in the right place.

I actually have pretty high hopes for this. I expect at least 3 or 4 pretty great songs to come out of this. These artists are known for putting out good work under deadlines and/or through on the spot improv.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:33 AM on April 23, 2011


If you're interested in further internet douchebaggery from Palmer, may I direct you to the following sentiment:

"ironic product placement is only ok if you take no money & beyond that give all the income to something ironic. like the Klan." (source) also, sparkymonster's link NSFW, graphic lynching images
posted by pxe2000 at 5:44 AM on April 23, 2011


pxe2000, I don't suppose she responded to that particular controversy, did she? I'd be interested to see what she said.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:01 AM on April 23, 2011


His thoughts (etc), this comes from Sparkymonster's link:
People have asked if Amanda Palmer responded to me or this post. Her one response was this "for those of you out there who can't bear the thought of the ku klux klan used ironically...you'll LOVE this!!: http://bit.ly/awIOOX " The link is to video from a play about the Jerry Springer Show which shows the KKK being invited on to the show.
I'm having some trouble connecting to Twitter right now (my browster doesn't like the new Twitter layout), but Sparkymonster both links to and screencaps the tweet in question.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:39 AM on April 23, 2011


Huh? Evelyn Evelyn certainly raises issues of taste. But why am I meant to be offended at an essentially meaningless gag about ironic donations to racist organisations? I find Amanda Palmer alternately invigorating and irritating, but I can't fathom why anyone would be offended by a complete non-statement. Am I missing something here?
posted by howfar at 8:23 AM on April 23, 2011


Well, what about novels that feature characters who have been the victims of sexual abuse? Or movies?

The problem is that Palmer and Webley don't treat the subject matter seriously. It's vaudeville schtick. A jingly-jangly pantomime that's weird for weirdness' sake. "A harmless goof" on a subject that isn't goofy at all. I even like most of Palmer's and Webley's music, but I felt uncomfortable after I heard Evelyn Evelyn for myself. Novels and movies have the same potential to be offensive when it comes to this subject. Some, however, are well-made and respectful, so it CAN be done! But Evelyn Evelyn is not respectful in the least. That's the problem. Not the subject alone but its treatment here.
posted by katillathehun at 9:10 AM on April 23, 2011


Mystery meat schlock
posted by mrgrimm at 10:14 AM on April 23, 2011


But Evelyn Evelyn is not respectful in the least. That's the problem. Not the subject alone but its treatment here.

Okay, I get that. I'm actually largely unfamiliar with Palmer's music, which from what I have heard is not my thing at all, so I was coming at this from a place of...um...unfamiliarity.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:45 AM on April 23, 2011


I think it best to wait for the product before deciding whether it's wonderful or not.

If there's any fucking ukulele on this I'm going to kill something. Are you listening, MeFi's own Amanda Palmer? Bah. Thought not.
posted by Decani at 1:15 PM on April 23, 2011



His thoughts (etc), this comes from Sparkymonster's link:

People have asked if Amanda Palmer responded to me or this post. Her one response was this "for those of you out there who can't bear the thought of the ku klux klan used ironically...you'll LOVE this!!: http://bit.ly/awIOOX " The link is to video from a play about the Jerry Springer Show which shows the KKK being invited on to the show.


Well, that saddens me. I like Amanda Palmer's work, and I hoped she would respond in a reasonable manner to what was clearly a reasonable criticism (and probably a complete misunderstanding in any case).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:23 AM on April 25, 2011


The album is online. You can listen to it streaming free, and download for a minimum donation of $1 (all proceeds to Berklee City Music Network, as noted originally).

I'm on track 3, and ambivalent. This isn't my usual thing, but it hasn't made me want to turn it off yet. "Because the Origami" (track 2) is amusing and will be worth another listen so I can pay more attention to the outcome.
posted by yiftach at 10:22 AM on April 26, 2011




Minnesota GOP leader apologizes

Choice quote:

“My mom is staying with us right now,” he tells Minnesota Public Radio.

ah, that explains it.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 AM on May 5, 2011


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