Category Archives: Ben

These posts are the contributions of Ben to Selective Listening.

Bieber Buzz Brings Busy Blog Day

We would like to thank everyone for being a good sport yesterday, unfortunately (for some of us) Justin Bieber and Paul McCartney are not collaborating on an early Beatles cover album. This was a little bit of yellow journalism in the spirit of April Fools Day. We hope you enjoyed this and are not too disappointed by the truth.

We have some interesting goings on here that in the next few weeks we hope will take off:

Good Music

We invite all of our readers to submit their favorite songs via comment or on our Facebook page, and we will put it on our list and keep it their forever. You can check out the list of songs, as well as a more detailed description of what the list is all about here.

We Want to Feature Your Music

That’s right. We are looking for fresh and unique content to keep on our site and we would like it to be about your music. You can help us get some awesome stuff to write about as well as photos, videos, and even your songs while we can give your music another outlet for exposure. We can’t promise that you will blow up into the next big thing, but we can certainly help you show your music to people who haven’t heard it yet.

We would like to perform an interview with you, and your group (if applicable) and write as much awesome stuff about you as possible, as well as periodic blog updates to keep people notified of your upcoming shows/music-related-events etc. The idea is that the more exposure we can get for your music, the more traffic we will also generate for ourselves.

We have some big ideas that we are getting pretty fired up about, and we will not reject anyone who is interested in doing this %100 and is also serious about their music. (Those are the only requirements)

If you are interested in doing this please contact us at our Facebook page and we can start collaborating on this.

Thanks for reading,
Selective Listening

Ps. We will still write about all the stuff we usually do, that’s kind of our thing.

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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Ben, Uncategorized


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All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan v. Jimi Hendrix

All Along the Watchtower is the song you here in pretty much every montage about the sixties. Most of us immediately think of Jimi Hendrix wailing on his guitar when the song is brought up. I, for the longest time, even believed that Jimi Hendrix had written the song. I was dead wrong. And if you believe that Hendrix wrote Watchtower you are as dead wrong as I was. It’s lyrics appear to have their roots in Isaiah 21: 5-9 turned into basically an epic poem by master songwriter/storyteller Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan recorded All Along the Watchtower in November of 1967 and Hendrix began recording his cover less than three months later releasing it about nine months after Dylan released the original version of All Along the Watchtower. The rest is history.

Before we go any further here is a *short* list of some notable artists and groups who have also covered All Along the Watchtower:

Bear McCreary/Battlestar Galactica, Bobby Womack, Brewer and Shipley, Bryan Ferry, Calvin Russell, Chris de Burgh, Dave Mason, Dave Matthews Band, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, Giant Sand, Grateful Dead, Indigo Girls, Jackson Browne, Jeff Healey, John Mellencamp, Josh Charles, June Tabor, Lisa Gerrard, Michael Hedges, Mountain, Neil Young, Paul Weller, Phil Lesh and Friends, Phish, Richie Havens, Sal Valentino, Spirit, Taj Mahal, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dream Syndicate, The Killers, The Persuasions, TSOL, Turtle Island String Quartet, U2, Van Morrison, Widespread Panic, XTC plus everyone ever who may have thought it nice to pay tribute to either Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix.

Without also listing the countless movie scenes etc. that All Along the Watchtower has graced with it’s presence, it is pretty easy to say that it is a very prolific song.

I personally enjoy Dylan’s voice and harmonica, some people though, are averse to “Dylan voice” and also the harmonica. While I appreciate both, one of the major reasons Hendrix’s version of Watchtower blew up and Dylan’s didn’t might have been Dylan’s excessive use of both “Dylan voice” and also the harmonica. Another reason could be that the album on which the song appeared, John Wesley Harding was released in 1967: the same year that saw the debut of the Grateful Dead, the supergroup Cream, Hendrix’s rise in America, Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Beatles’ Srgt. Pepper’s Lonley Hearts Club Band, and tons of other rockin’ psychedelic tunes which can often eclipse a low-key (although awesome) roots-country album by an artist who really prefered to stay on the down low.

Those who are curious about taking their appreciation of “Dylan voice” to the next level can check out his “Nashville” voice here at Selective Listening, though, I warn you in the same way the people at Chinese restaraunts warn you about how spicy your food is about to be… we know that’s what you ordered, but you don’t understand this is really freakin’ spicy… You are sure?…*sigh*…alright have it your way… click here

Hang on for a second though- Bob Dylan is a folk hero and song writing legend. He deserves as much respect for writing the song as I feel Jimi Hendrix does for enhancing it.

It’s like Bob made an awesome kid who would eventually go on to achieve great things. Jimi Hendrix just adopted him, took away his goofy harmonica and taught him how to play a mean electric guitar. Seriously, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar solo in his cover of All Along the Watchtower is regarded by many to be one of the greatest guitar solos ever. From about 1:42 – 2:49 Hendrix executes a guitar solo, as artistic and beautiful and expressive as any piece of art laying around in any art museum ever.

Dylan even admitted to being overwhelmed by Hendrix’s talent and musical abilities and even went so far as to say:

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

Jimi Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower was so unbelievably amazing, that now when Bob Dylan plays his own song, he plays Hendrix’s version as a tribute to Hendrix. Tell me that doesn’t sound like some kind of weird Chuck-Norris-type joke. At the end of the day though, it simply is Bob Dylan’s respect and admiration for Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower that makes this cover so great, perhaps even the greatest cover song of all time.


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Music: Your Daily Dose – Dizzy Gillespie Quote

“I don’t care much about music. What I like is sounds.”

Sounds. Not just noise. Not even music so much. Sounds. What Dizzy Gillespie likes is sounds.

Born in 1917 in South Carolina, he began playing music at a very young age. He almost always wanted to be a jazz musician, and eventually he would recieve a music scholarship to attend the Laurinburg Institute but instead chose to pursue his career in music.

From the early parts in Dizzy Gillespie’s career he is mostly remembered for beboppin’ around with Charlie Parker. Gillespie’s early compositions are notable for featuring different rhythms and harmonies than were customary for the swing music at the time.

Dizzy Gillespie is also regarded as one of the forefathers of Afro-Cuban music.

Most people remember Gillespie for his upturned trumpet bell and his massive puffy cheeks that essentially turned his head into a bagpipe. Legend has it some guy fell on his trumpet and he decided he liked the way it sounded while he was playing it better.


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Music: Your Daily Dose – Sergei Rachmaninoff Quote

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music”

Though it has not been expressly stated at any point in the short life of this blog, we try to be inclusive of music in all of its forms and manifestations. This is an absurd undertaking, yet, this is okay. This quote explains why this is okay and why in a thousand eternities we will never be without something to write about at Selective Listening.

Sergei Rachmaninoff is widely regarded as one of the last great Romantic composers in Russian music. The size of his hands were bested only by the immense breadth of his freakish memory and virtuosic piano skills. Sergei Rachmaninoff’s large hands actually contributed a great deal to his unique sound and abilities by allowing him to play much larger chords (as in distance between keys on a piano).

One reason his compositions are so popular today is because of the powerfully immense chords throughout his writing.

Fun Fact: Rumor has it that DCI fan-favorite Carolina Crown will be performing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd and 3rd piano concertos as part of their 2011 show “Rach Star.” (Could be pretty fun…)

Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op.3 No.2 in C-sharp minor


Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Ben, Music: Your Daily Dose


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Col Pugno – With the Fist!



Col pugno means with the fist, so in music I suppose it would mean to bang your instrument with your fist. I suppose there would be instances in music where a composer would want a soloist to start punching their instrument for musicality’s sake. Would that not be an exciting performance to see the principle violin of a renowned symphony orchestra begin punching the holy hell out of their instrument – musically – as a cadenza or solo – because the music told them to. Perhaps only more exciting than that would be to see an entire section of an orchestra or ensemble begin to engage in a bout of fisticuffs with their respective instruments – again, in the hopes of performing beautiful music.

From the reading I have done the term col pugno comes up mostly in piano music. I don’t think we, as a species having been blessed with gift of music and fists, have taken col pugno as far as it can go. Col pugno could be an entire genre of music where people fight their musical instruments to create music. Maybe this dream is unrealistic and expensive as many musical instruments cost upwards of hundreds or even thousands of dollars… but I think it could evolve even further after it’s creation into a genre of music where individuals (or teams) fight each other using musical instruments, the catch of course being, the fights must produce music. Beautiful, respectable music… otherwise it’s just senseless violence.

Think about how awesome the drumline battles from the movie Drumline would have been if they had actually been fighting each other Kung-Fu-Movie-Style using the drums as weapons while still maintaining the musicality, rhythm, and tempo of each cadence. Not only would the movie be great, it would be the greatest movie ever made. That is, until the sequel is made: Drumline 2: Enter the Drumline (Starring Jackie Chan as Nick Cannon’s new sensei).

As this whole idea begins to gestate in my imagination and in this post I realize what most of you are now thinking: “Gee Ben, that sounds swell… but how can I help col pugno go mainstream and revolutionize music pageantry as we all know and love it?”

Hell, maybe if you got bored as a music student one day you could just start writing a bunch of these below the staves of your music – especially if you have an important solo or cadenza, so everyone can know that you are punching your instrument. This would work especially well if you have an instrument that you could feasibly hold and play with one hand whilst still being able to punch with you other hand. In the interest of maintaining a playable musical instrument it might also be best to use some of these terms in your playing to gradually adjust your own abilities as a col pugno musician while refraining from offending your potential audience. Col pugno, like John Cage, is not for everyone.

col pugno ma non troppo

would mean “with the fist but not too much,” or better yet…

col pugno con tenerezza

would mean “with the fist with tenderness.”

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Ben, Fun With Words


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