We live in the age of appropriation.
Of mashups and remixes.
Of taking what was and reframing, rethinking — remaking it — into what will be.
Worlds built on worlds. Echoes upon echoes. The past reimagined as future, where then is now, and old is suddenly new.
How far through time is there purpose in repurposing? Years? Decades? Centuries?
"That Fatal Gift of Beauty" reaches back 200 years to the work of a master composer and — at the hands of the inspired — recasts his greatest triumphs for a new age.
In December of 2013, I gathered 10 people in a South St. Louis recording studio to attempt an impossible feat, to rethink, reframe, remix all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies by stacking the movements and refining that chaos into order. In this age of appropriation and mashups, this group of 10 recast the composer’s work for a new age, becoming a different kind of orchestra for a new age. Liberating the masterworks from the master.
The result is a collection of symphonic sound collages that sound familiar, yet entirely new. Surprising harmonies and rhythms were discovered lying dormant in these 200-year-old works.
Conceived and Orchestrated by Benjamin Kaplan
Recorded by Jason McEntire at Sawhorse Studios, St. Louis, MO
Edited and Mastered by Benjamin Kaplan
Liner notes writen by Rebecca Kinzie Bastian
Completed in 2015
Kissing the Sea on the Lips is the debut recording from multi-disciplinary artist and producer Benjamin Kaplan’s recording project, The Vaad.
Kissing the Sea is an album of cinematic richness defined by its marriage of stunning sonic architecture and literate, layered, and poetic storytelling.
Recorded and engineered over a period of seven years by Kaplan, Tim Breon, and Jack Petracek at a variety of studios, spare bedrooms, and one laptop in a garage in Central Pennsylvania, the album was mixed and mastered by Jack Petracek at Eagle Rare Studios in St. Louis.
RIYL : Byrne/Eno, The Sixths, Matthew Ryan, Mark Lanegan, Mitchell Froom, Death Cab for Cutie
Completed in 2012
“38.627,-90.194” is a collection of multi-genre compositions by some of St. Louis’ best musicians, inspired by the individual sculptures found in one of downtown St. Louis’ most popular destinations, Citygarden. The collection includes musical styles ranging from ambient to sound collage to Americana to klezmer to electronica to straight ahead rock-n-roll. The collection includes contributions from the groups Magnolia Summer, RAC, The Vaad and Brothers Lazaroff as well as from individual artists Kevin Buckley, Rick Deja and Chris Grabau.
Commonwealth, founded by artists Chris Grabau and Benjamin Kaplan, “is an approach to making art that comes in response to our surroundings,” says Grabau. Kaplan adds, “St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods, both geographically and psychologically. We live in our neighborhoods. We know the people we know. We frequent the businesses we know. We go from one building to the next building to the car to the next building. And we see Commonwealth as a way to expand that neighborhood.”
Check out the project at commonwealthstl.com
Completed in 2014
Completed in 2010
Completed in 2006