"This album began as an exploration of songwriting. I decided to write songs for different voices, and invite these singers to perform them. My dear friend Sam Spiegel (Squeak E. Clean) offered to produced the record I had conceptualized, and we began working on the collaboration in earnest in 1998," Ben Lee recently wrote in a long-form message on his newly-launched Bandcamp page. A MIXTAPE FROM BEN LEE is more of a "mixtape" in the loose sense of the term; leaning more towards the direction of a 90's radio-to-cassette mix(ed)tape, rather than a modern-day Hip-Hop loosies promotional collection. Spiegel self-describes the 11-track project as "the first album that [he] ever produced over 10 years ago," which boasts vocal appearances from Zooey Deschanel, Empire of The Sun frontman Luke Steele, former The Bens bandmate Ben Folds, Sean Lennon, Azure Ray, The Cardigans songstress Nina Persson, and Gelbison, amongst a wide-spanning array of talented friends and performers.
"I should have kept better notes during the sessions, but I know you can hear Eric Gardner, James Valentine, Rusty Logsdon, and Alfredo Ortiz amongst many others [throughout the mixtape]," Ben Lee half-jokingly notes. It would seem as though Ben Lee & Squeak E. Clean continued to diligently work on A MIXTAPE FROM BEN LEE for the next 6-7 years (until about 2005), "but [when] life moved [Lee] in other directions and distractions," its progress was temporarily shelved and put on hold; although with Lee's recent move to the big leagues, Warner Bros. Records, it would appear that his label execs helped resurrect their A MIXTAPE FROM BEN LEE sessions to coincide with his forthcoming album, Love Is The Great Rebellion. Ahead of its premier track, "Big Love," expected to be released as a Record Store Day single on April 18th, A MIXTAPE FROM BEN LEE is currently available at on a name-your-price basis with all proceeds accrued going to The Q'ero Project, a foundation "which supports the basic needs and development of The Q'ero people of Peru."