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MP3 Ben Weaver - Paper Sky

music for total strangers

14 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Pop Crossover, FOLK: Modern Folk

“I only have one rule when it comes to songwriting. That is: whenever I have an idea I stop whatever I am doing and I write it down.”

So goes the life of Ben Weaver.
And though the Minneapolis-based songwriter spends more time in his basement getting those ideas down than is likely proper or healthy, it’s hard to argue with the results – evocative, hushed songs populated by birds, phone booths, lovers, empty parking lots, friends, shoppers in the checkout line, and plastic bags stuck in trees.

A former Casket Company warehouse is Weaver’s current world headquarters. Multitudinous organs, synthesizers, guitars, a sampler, a piano, a dog, Polaroid cameras, sketch books, New Yorker back issues, boxes of CDs and a PowerBook mark the territory. There is an air of controlled chaos and the musty smell of old tube amps.

This is where, under the watchful eye of a dog and perhaps several hundred interred ghosts, Weaver’s striking new album, Paper Sky, took shape. With the aid of committed producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine), the record coalesces into a seamless blend of urban and rural, experimental and roots. “This record explores urban and industrial themes that I hadn’t touched before. I have been living in the city and that has made me see the relationship between the city and field differently.”

Consequently, Weaver’s interest in experimental and electronic music steps to the forefront on Paper Sky, with crinkly synthesizer textures and other mutilated sounds mixed beneath beautiful layers of cello and blasts of processed trumpet. “Deck exposed me to the Austrian laptop performer Fennesz. He was a huge influence for a lot of the sound stage and static feel of this record. But I was also listening to a lot of Bill Evans, Glenn Gould, Silver Jews...”

The Casket Co. warehouse is also home to Ben’s label Fugawee Bird Records. Of running his own label Weaver says, “there was a point where I felt the business was taking away from the music but I began to see how everything was related: the more I focused on things as a whole - music and business - the more things grew together and complimented each other.”

When not writing, recording or releasing his records, Weaver is often on the road, touring through Europe, America and Australia. “I try and change my surroundings as often as I can,” says Weaver, who performs solo and with a revolving cast of collaborators. “This way I am always being exposed to new things that effect and change my interpretation of the world, which leads to a constant renewal in my art.”

Weaver writes continuously, a process perhaps more akin to breathing than composing, and has released a veritable Minnesota blizzard of material – at the age of 26, Paper Sky is his fifth record. So perhaps it’s not a surprise that Weaver has already set to planning the record to follow Paper Sky, which he hopes to release early next year. “I have always identified with those people who make art because they have to, that sense of necessity and urgency. That is why I make art, to fulfill that need within myself and to connect with the people of the world who also cannot live without it.”

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