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Monday, March 30, 2009

GAMEHENGE 09 - downloadable album

As a policy, I avoid writing about things here that I'm actually involved in. But this is such an odd album, and since I was only one of 100 people to contribute some sound to this, and since you can download it for free*, I figured this was worth mentioning.

I also don't usually have any interest in Phish, or jam bands of that ilk, but here we have some kind of rare Phish concept album, covered in its entirety. Nat Hawks, mastermind of the Little Fury Things record label, got the idea to take a recording of this Phish piece, chop it into 100 segments of about 15 seconds to a minute and a half each, and get 100 different artists to cover each chunk.

I don't know about anyone else, but I have not heard much Phish and the chunk I heard sounded pretty indistinct. Random noodling without much of a tune to speak of, and some kind of rambling story being spoken over the top.

So it's kind of strange to me that the final result actually seems pretty cohesive and is a really enjoyable listen. I am willing to bet it's about a million times better than the source material. I don't know how much it turned out this way due to the selection of artists, or if everyone really did a decent job of keeping the vibe from the source material intact. Almost everyone is doing something experimental, ranging from loose rock to free-folk to electronic to ambient to whatever, but it all turns out pretty chill and trippy and a little edgy. Which happens to be the vibe of Little Fury Things in general also.

Many of the tracks blend smoothly into each other, some have distinct breaks in-between. At times I wish they were all merged and blended together a little more completely, but it would have been difficult since some artists seem to have covered their piece of music as though it were a stand-alone song, with a beginning and an end. I'm amazed this whole thing actually got completed, and I sort of suspect that several of the credited artists might actually be Nat under different aliases, but even if so, there are a huge variety of sounds and approaches at work here. Just a few of the credited names that seemed familiar to me: Scissor Shock, Holzkopf, say no to architecture, Teeth Mountain, Video Hippos, Robe., Yellow Crystal Star, Sperm Whales.

Anyway, this is a huge and totally weird project and I recommend checking it out.

Download it here.

Read more about it at Little Fury Things on MySpace.

And about that asterisk next to the word "free" above: Nat suggests that if you appreciate this, you might make a 5 or 10 dollar donation to Explore Charter School's (Brooklyn) trip fund

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