Boards Of Kanyeda – Get MashedPosted: March 17, 2014
Do you remember a few years ago when it was considered almost impossible to be even halfway relevant unless you were involved in the construction of ‘mash-ups’? The art of illegitimately fusing the vocals of one song with the music of another to occasionally thrilling and naughty effect, perfected by the likes of Richard X and 2ManyDJs? Well, I’ve finally got round to making one of my own, in spite of the fact that the whole scene is now considered rather old hat in our post-Nathan Barley universe. However, I’ve decided that is how I operate best – arriving late at a long-abandoned table and picking over the bones. And as there are still a small group of my associates who never tire of comparing my every move with Shoreditch’s favourite ‘media node’, I can’t see much point in stopping just yet.
Another way of putting it would be that I had an hour or two to kill with only the delights of youtube and a slightly malfunctioning copy of Adobe Audition at my disposal. It was quite fun and is surely worth the titular pun if nothing else:
Though far from being an expert on mashing, I always felt that the finest examples of the form were those that managed not only to render the source material in a dramatic new light, but also to cock a gleeful snook at an outmoded record industry’s notions of copyright and intellectual property, rather like a Duchamp’s Mona Lisa you could dance to. And I’m certainly not sure that the above quite manages the transcendent heights of genre classics such as Freelance Hellraiser’s ‘A Stroke Of Genius‘ and Richard X’s ‘We Don’t Give A Damn About Our Friends‘, both so successful in their own right that it’s unlikely I even need to remind you of their existence. Messers Hellraiser and X have both gone on to forge successful legitimate production careers off the back of these early bootlegs, although to my mind it was the release of the latter’s major label debut that actually sounded the death-knell for the entire mashup scene.
Don’t get me wrong, ‘X-Factor vol.1‘ is a perfectly agreeable collection of sleek and futuristic pop with some nicely rough edges. But when flicking through the liner notes, I was surprised to discover that alongside the usual glossy photos of fabulous sexy people looking confused, a full half-page of the CD booklet was devoted to a lengthly paragraph of stentorian legal jargon on the subject of copyright violation and of the stiff penalties that would be imposed on anyone engaging in unauthorised usage of its contents. When I then noticed that underneath this dry piece of corporate finger-wagging was written ‘Rich X says “That’s me f**ked, then!”‘ in quasi-graffiti scrawl (though complete with polite asterisks), it felt as if all the cheek and wit that epitomised the best mashups had been bludgeoned to death by the hammers of the law. I am certainly not going to insult your intelligence, dear reader, by outlining the staggering hypocrisy of a major label releasing an album featuring tracks that began life as illegal bootlegs produced by someone who has achieved success through illegally copying other people’s music on a ‘copy-protected’ CD . Or indeed of including a half a page of dire legal warnings on the consequences of doing anything with the music other than passively listening to it. Unless, of course you happen to work for Virgin Records, in which case pull up a chair and I’ll draw you some diagrams…
On a completely different and far more important note, Band Of Holy Joy are currently on tour promoting their excellent new album ‘Easy Listening’, which is out now on Jonny Mugwump’s rarely bested Exotic Pylon label. They’re playing at the Charterhouse Bar near Farringdon on Saturday 22nd and I’m very pleased to announce they’ve asked me to be their support DJ. This band are always worth catching live and are currently on top form, and I can assure you the only mash-ups occurring will happen to the characters who populate their dark and expansive brand of classy folk-punk. Best news of all is that all proceeds from this event will be going to help keep Resonance FM on air, so it’s a good night for a good cause. Here’s a quick taster of recent single ‘Wyrd Beautiful Thyme’ to get you in the mood:
And to give you an idea of what to expect from my contribution to the evening, I’ll leave you with a reminder of last November’s DJ set at The Forum supporting Public Service Broadcasting. Remember that if your band, gallery opening, dance party or public event is in need of it’s own DJ, you’ll find me well-prepared, punctual and reasonably presentable. I also do weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and funerals for unpopular relatives. Send a cash-stuffed envelope to the usual address…