This CD came about in a wonderful way. Tamara Barnett-Herrin, a singer with a UK band called Free Form Five, recorded simple a capella tracks and little keyboard/celesta melodies. Then she posted them on her site, Calendar Songs and at Creative Commons remix site CCMixter.org, applied Creative Commons licenses to them, called herself Calendar Girl, and invited people to remix her. Over 325 remixers, located literally throughout the world, responded with remixes of the 12 songs (each titled with a calendar month).
She picked her 12 favorite of the songs, and created the CD. I gave it a listen during a long drive to work this morning. It's really an impressive CD--the kind of innovative, varied pop that large record companies can't make anymore. I listen to arcane electronic music, as well as a good spot of classical, these days, more than anything else, but I definitely am pleased with this rather more traditional CD--because it's got heart and verve (and it's catchy and well-done). Here's the February song featuring Calendar Girl in a youtube video:
I posted a remix or four of Calendar Girl's work, but they were all of the quirky
field-recordings-and-odd-poetry-reading worksthat I tend to do. I never seriously sought to be on anyone's CD, but just loved the fun of the project. The 12 remixers' work for the CD, by contrast, put together an eclectic mix of styles which all work very well, and belong there.
Today we hear too many stories about the RIAA and betrayed artists and record industry collapse and people despairing of the system. I like that Tamara has set out to make a professional record with solid lyrics, good singing, and the world as her collaborators. This is what Creative Commons collaboration can mean--and I'm pleased to hear this CD come to fruition.
I hope her work catches on--she's doing the things I like artists to do. She posts the songs on her site so that people can listen before they buy. She's got them available for digital download as well as by CD. Her parts of the songs continue to be available for remixers. It's the kind of read/write experience that will replace rock stars with
down-to-earth artists who particpate in a community of music. I've been a fan of this project since it began--and I hope it gains momentum now that the CD is finally out.