Let them scream for cake

Harry loves cake

A father-son milestone — our first airplay on WFMU.

Last week Kenny G. (featured in my recent WFMU marathon plug) challenged listeners to submit their covers and remixes of Todd Colby’s Cake (MP3 1.3 MB), a long-time staple of his weekly show, with hopes of filling an entire three hour show.

My boy Harry has a long-standing passion for cake, dating back to a memorable full-body cake orgy at his first birthday party (archive photo above). So it was natural I would shamelessly exploit enlist his skills in an attempt to answer the call. Unsurprisingly, he effortlessly delivered the goods, nailing a superb version on his first take.

I had hoped to do more than basic editing, maybe coax another vocal track or two (Harry hates to repeat performances), and add some backing tracks. I intended to get heavy-handed with the post-production, but got knocked by a virus and had no choice but to submit an unadorned version of Harry’s vocal. Which is just as well, as I think the strength of Harry’s performance lies in his simple identification with the character of the cake fiend. No need to clutter it all up with gimmicks.

I suppose it is unsound parenting to encourage your child for saying “I’d punch somebody in the head for some cake” with great conviction, but we had fun. You can download and hear the result (794 KB MP3). Here’s a clip of subsequent DJ banter with Station Manager Ken.

The resulting show is a pretty solid example of participatory media creation and complementary use of radio and the web. Kenny G not only solicited and received tracks via the WFMU weblog, he periodically updated an ongoing list of all the submitted MP3s. The updates provided a sense of momentum and I suspect it stoked participant creativity.

Not only did Kenny G get his three hours of wildly diverse cake covers, he’s got enough material to fill most of next week’s show as well. The cakeathon may go on for weeks and weeks.

Some of the submissions were amazing. This cross-sampling of a vast number of tracks by Health Food gives a pretty good sense of the wild variety of approaches. A few of my favorites:

* So Cakey Inside by Gurber
* Cake Cover (Death Metal) by Listener norelpref
* You Can Call Me Cake by Scott Puhl
* In the Merry Month of Cake (1608) by Listeners Berit, Henry Youll & Listener Ian
* Grandpa Cake on the Phone by Scott Williams

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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