07 August 2008

Deerhoof's Fresh Born project

I first saw this on Cool Hunting: Deerhoof has released the sheet music for its latest single, Fresh Born (off of new album Offend Maggie). They are inviting people to interpret and record the music in whichever way they want, and upload it back to the site.

Deerhoof project

This is on a different level from I have seen before: bands like Beastie Boys, Radiohead, NIN and Beck have released the layers of already-released songs, inviting people to remix them. Really great stuff can come from these, of course (my personal favorite being Lauren Flax's interpretation of Heartsrevolution's C.Y.O.A.). In Deerhoof's case, however, you have to go a step further than that and create + record all of the music yourself, only with seemingly handwritten notes to go from. Fresh Born has not even been released yet, so you have nothing – no combination of instruments, for example – influencing your creativity. Some of the Fresh Born interpretations have already been uploaded to the site and you can see what I mean. The recordings range from beautiful piano instrumentals, to upbeat dance beats dripping with synth and the downright Dadaist.

This project will also give people the opportunity to get involved who maybe couldn't before. Those classically trained, who can sight read sheet music but not necessarily have any clue how to operate a mixing program.

I have had this post dancing around in my head for a couple of days, and reading my friend Kevin's description of another "you have to do more than just remix" idea – Telephono – pushed me to finally write it out. Kevin says of Telephono, "I love it because it's 'about the process'. I worry sometimes that we as a culture have become so used to mashing things together that we have lost touch with the craft that goes into bringing original ideas to life." Yes, exactly.
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