8 songs in 8 hours. That’s what artists Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five), Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls), Damian Kulash (OK Go), and author Neil Gaiman have been attempting from 4 pm to 12 am today. The idea to write and record 8 songs in 8 hours, which will be released online tomorrow, is a part of the Rethink music project. The conference challenges artists to rethink music from a licensing and distribution standpoint, and this particular project is aimed at showing how internet distribution has changed how music can be recorded.
As I have observed the session via the excellent live camera, I have had many thoughts. As an artist and a producer, the frantic nature of the 8 hours initially made me anxious and more than a little queasy. I have been involved in my fair share of recording sessions, and those with time limits are more than often more nerve-wracking than they are creative and even useful. Once I got over that, it became inspiring to observe these four different yet talented artists working together. They each took different roles in each song, working with each other’s strengths to make the best music that they could. Though fighting colds, bad recording tendencies, and a deadline, thus far the songs have all turned out to be completely quality. That is just impressive.
It remains to be seen if they will get to 8 songs or not since as of right now at 11 pm they are at either five or six songs. In the grand scheme of things that will matter little. What this project is proving is that music as a raw and natural art form is still alive and well – and it isn’t tied to any kind of distribution schedule. This session is capturing a special energy that has been knocked out many musicians by years of record label involvement and a reliance on popular trends rather than art. That statement won’t be lost on those who take in the music, and these artists deserve all of the recognition they can get.
Related – Record Store Day Is Saturday!