Monday, April 18, 2005

Bastard Pop

Or whatever you want to call it. If you haven't clicked it, the link above goes to a Wikipedia article that begins thusly:
Bastard pop is a musical genre which, in its purest form, consists of the combination (usually by digital means) of the music from one song with the acapella from another. Typically, the music and vocals belong to completely different genres. At their best, bastard pop songs strive for musical epiphanies that add up to considerably more than the sum of their parts.

The first bit of bastard pop that I got into was last year's Strictly Kev (aka DJ Food) opus Raiding the 20th Century - A History of The Cutup, described here like so:
From Borroughs to b-boys & beyond & back, Raiding the 20th Century is, to put it succinctly, pure brilliance.

Layers of mash-up tracks and samples galore seamlessly stitched into 39.03 minutes of utter apology for bastard pop(sters) everywhere. Subtitled a history of cutup, Strictly Kev's tour de force is sophisticatedly streetwise in its academic intentions. It highlights through reinstatement and excitement the castration inflicted by copyright to the building blocks of our cultural conversation. It stresses the polished turn-of-phrase that can be articulated through our common artistic alphabet. It underlines the function of fun.

Raiding the 20th Century is like a 21st Century ragamuffin rewrite of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, penned with sound-editing software on a laptop somewhere in the global dystopia of the suburban or inner-city sprawl.

To be honest, it is fairly difficult piece to listen to as it skitters maniacally from clip overlayed upon clip. This is not the sort of music you can play in the background. You have to listen carefully to catch what's going on. At the same time, it all comes so thick and fast that it can get to be almost annoying, like flipping channels on the tv and finding nothing but commercials. I think it aggravates my a.d.d. as well.

Better that Strictly Kev, in my opinion, are The Kleptones. Instead of doing the shotgun cutup thing, Eric Kleptone meticulously matches mostly familiar vocal parts (usually hip-hop) to rock and pop songs. I recommend everything available on their download page. "Yoshimi Battles The Hip-Hop Robots" is what you think it is: the Flaming Lips album of similar name mashed up with hip-hop lyrics, and very well done. Even more ambitious is "A Night At The Hip-Hopera", in which the musical fodder is exquisitely arranged and recompiled classics from Queen where Freddy Mercury shares duties with a seeminlgy endless procession of rappers, and which begins and ends with an impassioned audio-collage apologia for copyright reform. It is really quite something. Best of all, this music is 100% free, so enjoy it all you want and never feel guilty about not paying for it.


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