He's also contributing editorial duties Sonic Experimental Labs collective in East Oakland. Halfway through his first year at UCSC he started recording on his dorm room PC. In many ways this was a good idea. In others it contributed to his taking five years to graduate. He tried hip-hop beats at first, which were cool in and of themselves, but seemed weird enough at the time to poke him in another direction.
Four years later that NY's KOOL A.D. completed Kool Kwiet Emerson & The Rhodera Present THAT OTHER OTHER SHIT with six of the original beats. Hear them at: www.myspace.com/otherothershit Some say Ben's extended jest into pop songwriting was inspired by--if not borrowed from--the somewhat more serious artist Spencer Owen, whom Ben roomed with at the time, and whom he's consistently employed for instrumentation/production since. While Ben collected influences from those around him--Spencer, Powmod, GTB, Victor Vazquez --his obsessions with the rest of the world's recordings swelled too. Ben finished a 14-track debut called Rope Swing in 2003, playing guitar, singing, producing and arranging most everything else.
These sessions consisted of two very different EPs (Gimme! & Rope Swing) which were squished together into one for yet to be understood reasons. The already tightly packed box was released with a third rare, exotic and downright goofy bird, The Oxen EP (2003) with Dave Mertzig. There was enough good unfinished material and loose ideas around to fuel a second album, Etcetera (2004). Etcetera was supposed to be a short 10-track concept with country, folk, hip-hop, and pop influences, but when the meat fell from the grinder it became clear to Ben that though his sense of arrangement had matured greatly, he couldn't yet sing at the level his music required, and his lyrics could so far only refer to sincerity -- not speak from it. He later left the horticulture & chemical-addled mists of Santa Cruz with a BA in English and a handful of new demos with which to begin the mighty Pith Hat project in Oakland, with Spencer on drums, Morgan Klein on bass and Doc Miller (Tigon) on lead guitar. After Pith Hat fell through--and after a brief stint in the corporate world--Ben ran into producer LIL BEN--the last California golden bear, who has a fondness for urban aesthetes.
LIL BEN would be a celebration of creative possibilities during an economic contraction, and a locator of "nature" within the city landscape. In April 2009, as lead producer and performer, he released LIL BEN's "JAH FLAGRANT" online, which included collaborations with Spencer Owen (Bird by Snow, James Rabbit, Sean Smith), Victor Vazquez (Boy Crisis, Das Racist, KOOL A.D.) and saxophonist Joel Reber (A Fashionable Disease). With the follow-up "NOW EVERYBODY" and an EP of noise remixes on the way, LIL BEN is preparing for a season of performances. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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