In a performance that is both a high-concept commentary on the way digital technology has enabled a musician to become even more self-sufficient, and an equally high-concept dump on the increasingly superfluous record industry, Ben Folds, OK Go’s Damian Kulash, Amanda Palmer, and her husband (and occasional songwriting partner) fantasy author Neil Gaiman will team up to write and record eight songs in under eight hours on April 25. The one-off collaboration is part of the Rethink Music conference, which is focused on examining new ways for artists to approach distributing their music. In Kulash’s words, their project will consider whether the album cycle can be “reduced to a single day,” as the group composes songs based on ideas sent to them through Twitter, records them in a marathon session that will be broadcast at the conference’s website, and then performs them live at a concert the next day.
Following that, the songs will be released through Bandcamp.com, with proceeds benefitting Berklee City Music. The whole point is to prove “like Radiohead did” that “record companies are superfluous to building buzz and distributing music”—which, as with Radiohead, is easy to say when you’re a bunch of famous people. It’s also not all that random a collaboration either, considering Palmer is married to Gaiman and worked with Folds on her solo album. Still, the time constraints should make for an interesting experiment, and it’ll be interesting to see the group attempting to translate the surely awful, “Write a song about The Sandman!” suggestions from Twitter into something workable.