iPod DJ Tamar Newton and her exploration of the thriving mash-up culture.
Mash ups or bootlegs are the delicate art of splicing together two or more songs (often featuring at least one member of Destiny’s Child) to make an underground ironically commercial finger up to the establishment mix. That you can dance to. Ironically.
According to those in the know it’s either the new interactive form of DJ-ing, or the last resort for bedroom nerds too embarrassed to admit they love ‘Toxic’, though mashing it with ‘Head Like A Hole’ is surfing the virtual zeitgeist.
Soulwax had a surprise hit with the 2 many DJ’s compilation several years ago which brought the practice to mass attention and it’s been growing ever since, with many clubs devoted to the practice and mixes played on radio stations such as London’s XFM.
Obviously there are many uninspired examples of the genre where lacklustre beats sadly, badly, pulsating over an already overplayed song is the last forlorn chance of coolness or virginity loss for someone more intimate with his Mac than his durex; however, as with all other art forms, there are masters, artistes, or just pure entertainers. And it’s so cheap, it’s free, although donations to the DJ’s are always appreciated to contribute towards the cost of the bandwidth.
Life is surely not complete until you have listened to Rolf Harris’s back catalogue being bastardised, murdered and mangled on the Shitmat website, with a sample track being; ‘RolfHarris-NickOTeen & AlK Hall' (Tiffield Crew Remix By Bovaflux), mashin it down like a bulldozer in a small hungarian town!!’ Indeed.
If destroying Eastern Europe is not your cup of tea, maybe you would prefer to listen to a new interpretation of 'In the Club' by 50 Cents versus Sir Jimmy Shand with a polka backdrop. This mix is courtesy of Father of E-Jitz (Site close down by BPI) and retitled '50 Bluebells'. Or there’s always 'In the Pod' by 50 Pence, not strictly a bootleg but very funny: If you check it out on this website you can also learn how to make an iPod out of paper - which is certainly something that needs to be known. You can find 'In The Pub' there by another artist known as 50 Pence, should your need for novelty 50 Cents tunes be unsated. In which case, you’re just weird.
"The aural equivalent of attention deficit syndrome"
Mash-ups are the aural equivalent of attention deficit syndrome - they make one song, let alone one album, seem to last a millennium obviously in need of a bit of stern bass and a sample of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' before it shouts 'Gay Bar' at an amusingly appropriate time, only to go all Beatles on your ass. In five seconds.
Oh yes, The Beatles: 'The Grey Album' by DJ Danger Mouse is a mix of The Beatle’s 'White Album' and Jay-Z’s 'Black Album' and if it had been an official release would have gone straight to number one with the number of people downloading it. However, EMI vetoed this original interpretation of overheard pop songs, inspiring 'Grey Tuesday; in February 2004, when websites banned from hosting it united in solidarity to download it to the masses to whom a bit of rapping about “bitches” is nothing without a few Liverpudlian harmonies. And it made it acceptable to listen to that ‘I’ve got 99 problems but the bitch aint one’ song as it had a classic band in the background.
Making mash-ups is still a legal issue, many DJ’s are hit with 'Cease and Desist' orders: So disclaimers on most mash-up sites warn you not to download the MP3s posted.
If you wish to err on the side of caution then check out the excellent Webjay. This site offers thousands of Playlists of varying degrees of insanity with songs that have been linked to directly from the original artist’s site. A bit of Klezmar music can lead to drum and bass veering into hardcore punk and finished with a touch of Franz Ferdinand - or you may merely wish to only hear songs that feature cats.
Mash-ups are the perfect soundtrack for the iPod generation where everyone is permanently switched on to their own personal soundtrack. It’s to feel a sense of immediate exciting schizophrenia, perusing the cheese counter with your little white ear-plugs screaming twenty-seven different songs into your head at once.
With different backing tracks.
Which means you half-sing half-say: “Heeey yaaa don’t mug yourself, don’t you know that it’s toxic?” At the checkout. Then realise your iPod is made out of paper.
Where to start
Anyway, you evidently want more of this sort of thing as you’ve bothered to read this far. So as an entrance to this exciting new world, may I suggest Smash, whose songs are often heard on XFM. Smash offers a few classic examples of the genre but even better links.
Then, as everyone ever wants to hear a superb juxtaposition of Eminem and Fraggle Rock, do check out Dark Helmet.
Get into it, just download it all to iTunes and pretend to be cool. And then nullify your coolness by playing a trance version of David Dickinson on Bargain Hunt, which is so uncool it’s cool again.
Bask in your glory then pull someone to the sweet, sweet tunes of Nirvana’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (played in an electro elevator style). Although this might be classified as 'bastard pop' (it’s probably not, but I just love the term).
Bastard pop is more typically generalised by the likes of Kid Carpet from Bristol, who plays strange tunes with instruments from the toy section from the Argos catalogue or whatever he found on a bit of deserted wasteland covered in blood. Or just weird freaks doing strange things with unstrange music, inappropriate instruments and a bit of help from Mac technology.
Anyway, now you’ve seduced someone, may I recommend playing the Sixxmixx65 from Party Ben, which cunningly warps Nine Inch Nails with The Beatles to spectacularly rude results. If that’s not found amusing or sexy then don’t blame me, just take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.
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