Sunday, July 11, 2010


We're stretching the definition of "mashups" here to include any kind of radical sound-collage craziness. Some brilliant free download-able stuff that's been blowing my mind lately:

Orange County, CA's Voicedude has been a music pro for over 20 years, doing everything from radio production to music theater. And it's all been leading up to this:

"Mashin' Jackson: The Untold Story" (alternate link) is not just a collection of MJ mashups, it's a "Spinal Tap"-like mock-umentary of Jacko's life, with hysterical narration between the songs. A "BBC 9" special (complete with radio jingle and announcer) describe MJ's shocking life and career dating back to the '50s. Yep, turns out he was well into his 70s when he died and had done secret collaborations with everyone from Elvis to Nirvana.

It's hilarious, and insanely clever, but it's so professional-sounding that it could convince the gullible.

"Motown Meltdown 2" also features Michael Jackson, but this mash-terpiece by San Fran's Gigante Sound posse slices 'n' dices its Motown (and only Motown) sources sometimes beyond recognition. The results include: groovy go-go beats, insane glitchy cut-ups a la John Oswald, ambient dronescapes...

The Symphony of Science is collection of six songs (with more on the way) and videos that sample the voices of scientists like Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking from documentaries, using the Melodyne software to literally make these voices sing. Science and art occupy two very different places in our brain, one all logic and literal, the other intuitive and metaphoric, thus making it difficult to combine the two. But TSOS wisely opts for the poetic view of science, emphasizing the grandeur of the universe and the inspirational nature of man's struggles and accomplishments over nuts-and-bolts facts and figures.

Tho some will no doubt find the idea of Carl Sagan "singing" along with New Age-y electro-beatz to be some kind of weird high-minded kitsch, I think we're seeing the beginnings of a new era in musique concrete, where, with the help of software programs like Autotune and Melodyne, we can use non-musical sounds and speeches to make actual songs and melodies, not just abstract "art" music. I predict!

People Like Us and Wobbly (from the UK and San Fran, respectively) have a new collaborative album called "Music For The Fire" that is "a plunderphonic concept album depicting the lifespan of a relationship, as told through samples of hundreds of different songs and voices who had no idea they were all telling the same story until they were all spliced together." With many mashups, I think half way thru the song, "Okay, I get the idea." With these dense (tho sometimes humorous) collages, I find myself thinking after a track ends, "What just happened here?" and play it again.

You can buy it off the People Like Us site, or download it from illegalart using their "pay what you like" model.


Anonymous said...

Music For the Fire is brilliant. There are a lot of people who have made plunderphonic recordings, but no one does it with more sheer musicality and cheeky humor than PLU, and this collaboration with Wobbly shows them both in top form.

Space astronomy said...

Another one for you: "The Good, the Bad and the Remixed," a mashup of spaghetti western soundtrack music and songs by dancehall star Sizzla Kalonji.

Free download here: