Note from Ben
This page is still being polished, as of 6/28/2012. Check back in July when it should be ready!
A collection of music recordings I’ve made over the years.
These songs were created for various posting milestones on The Improv Resource Center, a major long-form improv website where I (known as benorbeen) was by far the most prolific poster. The songs make specific references to people and events on the IRC, as well as to improv, improv figures, improv ideas, and my own book on improv. My relationship with the IRC had generally been contentious, often the result of misunderstanding or hegemony (from my perspective). This leads to emotional as well as self-mocking songs, not to mention humorous songwriting that mockingly aggrandizes posting milestones and my place in the IRC culture.
One of my most artistically meritorious creations, this song takes the form of a rant somewhat motivated by a New Year’s Eve gone bad close to midnight, which sponsored a lot of anger.
This song was a significant improvement in my song-making skills, and it is reminiscent of the song “5,000,” my second-ever posting song. Most of the lyrics have to do with my personal theories on improv, which at the time were significantly influenced by game theory and derivative ideas.
“8,000 (Greatest Post of All)”
Using a karaoke version of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All,” I altered the lyrics to be about posting on the IRC. The song is a complete change of style and pace from how I had done the previous posting songs. I absolutely love the final lyric.
“7,001″ is a rap built on top of a loop that I’d created from a combination of Beaker from The Muppet Show and a line from Boogie Nights. To my ear, the combination is awesome.
This song was the first really big stylistic departure for me. Before this, the songs were getting louder and more electronic. Suddenly, this “smooth jazz” song shows up for my 7,000th post and 4th posting song. The song is a little about self-loathing and/or depression.
This song was created with a lot of humor, and it’s one of my favorite songs: it’s like a mantra.
My first “major” song, this is my first time formally experimenting with looping software. I found some awesome dance loops and created a cool dance track with them.
Here’s the first posting song I ever created. The song was created as a surprise for the IRC. I decided I’d create a rap to “celebrate” the event.
There was the age of homemade songs that used a tape recorder for recording, then there was the age of songs created with the aid of a computer. The songs contained in this section were all made in some way or another by use of the computer. These songs tend to incorporate sound files found freely on the internet and mixed using audio software. Still DIY, the quality is increased in these songs from the homemade age–mostly sound quality and precision.
“Ladies & Gentlemen”
I actually posted this rather randomly for my 12,900th post on the IRC. (See Posting Songs above if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) When I created this song, I think I just wanted to make a song. In addition to broadcast audio of Orson Welles, there’s a snippet from Kris Kross’s song “Jump” unevenly placed in the song, an Al Pacino clip, and Star Wars attack insinuations.
“Pot Roast & Potatoes”
This song is based on the generally true nature of my family life. It’s sad and funny at the same time, sort of a family commentary.
This song was quickly created I believe soon after “4,000,” and it was posted on the IRC as well. The idea was making July 19th “P Day.” I don’t believe I elaborated on what that meant, I just invented it.
“The Superbowl (Is Gay)”
This is a cover of the improvised Choo Choo Andee song that made him famous. I released it on the IRC along with “10,000,” having re-discovered it more than a year after having made it.
“Razor Blades, Sock Puppets”
The music is intentionally ridiculously loud. The opening clip is from a children’s book a girlfriend gave me in college. The reference to razor blades and sock puppets is nonsense, possibly a perfect poetic characterization of my feelings at the time.
In the beginning, my music was DIY and totally homemade, using a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard and anything I could find that made an interesting sound. I often drew from toy instruments such as battery-powered air drumsticks and a plastic keymonica. The samples I used during this period tended I’d make from cheap cassette tapes I’d buy with notches cut out of the sides, or from movies whose audio I could pump through my stereo and record.
“This Party Ain’t Got No Alcohol”
This is one of my anthems. The chorus came to me while driving to work in North Carolina one morning.
One of my original sad but funny but still sad songs, “All Yesterday” features a toy keymonica.
A very bizarre song intermixing Muppet references and references to literature, this song didn’t really ever make sense though it almost seems to.
“Git Along, Lil Dogies”
I found the lyrics for “Git Along, Lil Dogies” on the back of a record of Western songs. I didn’t know how it went at the time.
“Torment The Sister Who Loves You”
I think this is one of my catchiest and funniest song ideas in my early years of writing songs.
This song, made in college and perhaps my last song before the computer-aided age, was inspired by my perception of punk at the time.