HitRECord is an open-collaborative production company in which artists can submit songs, stories and short films on its website, hitrecord.org, and different artists can contribute or remix the pieces. The company, founded by Golden Globe-nominated actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, released its first “RECord,” “RECollection: Vol. 1,” a 26-track RECord that is in the style of a radio station, with Gordon-Levitt as DJ RegularJOE.
The album is compiled of artists from many different walks of life that may or may not have already found their way into the public’s eye. Most notably, aside from Gordon-Levitt, is Sean Lennon, the son of legendary musicians John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The younger Lennon is a perfect mesh of what his parents sound like, and his song “Nebulullaby” is a shining example of this. Having inherited John Lennon’s smooth vocals and Ono’s quirky style, Sean Lennon contributes a wonderful tune that fits in well with the rest of the album.
“Nothing Big” is the first track on the album that is actually performed by Gordon-Levitt. Honestly, when I first heard it, I didn’t believe it was him. His voice in this song is much deeper and the song itself has a drop of Bob Dylan flavor added to it, but that combination makes the 52-second song one of the best on the RECord.
HitRECord artist Lizzienrose contributed “The Garden,” in which one simple lyric is sung over and over. Rather than feeling repetitive, the song is remixed by another hitRECorder, A.M. Ferraro, and it comes to life. With rich layers of dancing cymbals, walking bass lines and backup vocals that are almost haunting, the originally a capella song is one of the standouts of the RECord.
“Morgan M. Morchestra” shows how a song can take listeners on a musical journey without ever speaking a word. “It Starts with a Glitch” is a smorgasbord of different artists from the New York area who turned up to contribute to a hitRECord show one night, with many of the different artists having their songs remixed together into one catchy tune that could easily be played during a radio station’s late Friday night dance mix hours. “Le Petit Soldat” sounds like Gogol Bordello attempting to sing “Bali Ha’I,” which is surprisingly entertaining and sticks in your head well after listening.
Finally, “Burn On” is an ode to Gordon-Levitt’s older brother, a fire spinner by the name of Burning Dan, who passed away last October. Gordon-Levitt recorded his brother spinning fire and used that track as the background music to the repeated lyric, “He will burn on.” Burning Dan’s posthumous contribution to this song is a great example of how something as different as fire spinning could be remixed into a song to last a lifetime. Gordon-Levitt quipped “What? You thought he was gonna stop making s— just because he’s dead?”
The album as a whole is a very interesting concept, especially if you take the time to find the original versions of some of these songs. Artists remixing and collaborating on each other’s songs makes every song RECorded grow more and more. The creativity behind it is astounding and every song is as entertaining to listen to as the last. If this album doesn’t inspire the inner artist to come out of everyone, it’s impossible to tell what will. This album is a must-own.