a stockton professor i follow, @adelinekoh, tweeted a link to an article that detailed the existence of a kony mixtape. the fact that someone took this video and already (it was uploaded march 19th) transformed it into a musical work is pretty crazy. i don’t think it comments on the content of the kony 2012 video, but rather on the concept of kony 2012 and how the internet treated it. it deals with, as dylan valley’s article states, “kony 2012 went from being a viral campaign (the biggest in history?) to an internet meme, to a self-fulfilling parody,” however, “one can’t tell if this [this mixtape] is purely an opportunistic release or meaningful satire.” the genres that the creator lists are “afro-glitch,” “dronecore,” and “microbeat,” which is pretty much exactly what the work sounds like (i had no idea what those meant, but once you listen to it and those genres will define themselves for you.)
moving past timely remixes, i realized after listening to this mixtape that it reminds me a lot of andy dixon/secret mommy, whose sound is not as heavy as the kony mixtape, but still has a lot of glitches and samples, which he repeats and skips. he also has a dj set/ very long mashup here, which is more similar to girl talk, and less similar to kony 2013.
a sample oriented band which has a completely different aesthetic are the books. (their website is fairly hard to navigate, so be warned) they collected samples for most of their music from cassette tapes found in thrift stores, and i recall reading an interview with one of them explaining that they had a very large library of samples from which to choose from.
this song, “a cold freezin’ night,” from their last release the way out, includes samples from children found on cassette tapes. i think in that context, that these are real things that real children said and recorded, in combination with with the visuals that the books chose to include (including the sped up and chopped up clips and the quick cuts), the video is fairly scary. it definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. it gets into the dark things children say in an innocent way, but twists them and makes them sound a lot worse. (a lot of their other songs are completely the opposite of this- this video for “take time” is a lot more soothing in comparison.)
since we have also been talking about mashups, i also wanted to share some mashup albums. one of my personal favorites is “blue eyes meets bed stuy” (dj cappel and smitty, 2005), which pairs frank sinatra instrumentals and samples with vocals from biggie smalls. the different songs sampled on each track speak to each other in ways that transcend anything that the composer could ever possibly say about them. take, for example, everyday struggle vs a day in the life of a fool, which combine’s biggie’s rap detailing his hard life and the fact that he doesn’t want to live anymore with a hook featuring sinatra’s depressing piano, and vocals “a day in the life of a fool” before each chorus. it is commenting, perhaps, on the the lifestyle biggie is talking about, and how this “struggle” is simply “a day in the life of a fool.” this album is fairly “google-able” and easy to find online, as it is an unofficial release.
another one i think is worth mentioning is “enter the magical mystery chambers,” created by tom caruana. this takes different instrumentals by the beatles, speeds and chops them up, and pairs them with a cappella vocals from wu-tang clan. caruana also took the time to create “interludes” for the album with samples from the beatles’ interviews, which makes the album really stand out to me.
this is one of my favorite tracks, ‘got your money,’ which combines odb + kelis’s ‘got your money’ with the beatles ‘you never give me your money.’
this release, while also unofficial, is much harder to find than the sinatra/biggie mashup. the label which released the mashup for free online, tea sea records, stated that the album was released in january 2010, and downloaded 500,000 times in two months, before the label was forced to take it down for ‘legal reasons.’ according to this site, wu-tang apparently released an “official” special edition version of the mix, which a. made people who wanted the mix pay for it, but b. showed that wu-tang approved of the mix. in order to get around copyright issues, the fee of $8 was apparently labeled as “shipping and handling,” and the mix was branded for “promotional use only.”