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Thursday, December 18, 2003

Capsule review:

Mochipet's Combat comes from the Violent Turd label, which has put out, among other things, Soundmurderer's mind-melting mix of jungle songs and Kid606's set of fucked-with pop hits. Similarly, this is an MP3s mashup collection, and its mission statements is in the song titles: "Johnny Cash vs. Cash Money Millionaires," "Barry White vs. The White Stripes vs. White Lion," etc. But this isn't quite the normal mash-up set, as instead of simply combining unprocessed samples from disparate tracks, it's all mixed in with Tigerbeat6-style drill 'n' bass. So we hear Cash's cover of "I Won't Back Down" over a hip-hop loop, but then a stutter-blast of rapid-fire beats and sampled vocal bits is laid over it, so there's not only the song-spotting thrill, but the more traditional pleasures of non-referential electronic music. I love that crap, so I'm inclined to like this disc, but I think the song "Yes vs. NoMeansNo" endears me to it as well, as I didn't think anyone remembered NoMeansNo. The whole set is just a lot of fun, with a lot more replay value than most mashups. And really, it's worth the purchase price just for the They Might Be Giants track, which recognizes the hip-hop nature of "Ana Ng" and throws in the best accordion crunk ever committed to plastic.

Further thoughts:

The Nelly track is pretty awesome, too. That shit gets destroyed. They (the pronoun I've decided to refer to Mochipet by) rip the chorus out of "Country Grammar" and just take it on a goddamn burning airplane ride around beats already pretty harsh (it's paired with Venetian Snares aka Kakarookee) and then twisted into its own fucked-up beats. Those little shards of melody keep popping up in various guises throughout the track, and the chorus as a whole gets passed through every filter on the laptop, it seems. The interesting thing is that it really does seem melodic to me, although maybe to people less familiar with the genre it would sound far too noisy. Regardless, it's one of the best tracks on there, and it's maybe indicative that this is one of two cuts on the album whose mashed-up artists share no elements of their names.

The faux-Atari cover art is pretty goddamn good, too.

I couldn't quite tell if this was Kid606 or not under a different guise. It seems unlikely given that I think this is a newish release and he just dropped a (so-so) proper album, and when compared with the admitted doppelganggery of The Action Packed Mentallist Brings You the Fucking Jams, the Mochipet album seems far less weird, missing anything like the more abstract intro track and the fuck-you 15 minute slow decay of the Radiohead a capella of the latter album. So I'm guessing this is some Tigerbeat associate or other. Any suggestions?

At any rate, they're similar enough that it's useful to rope the two together when making broad comparisons. And the one that struck me while relistening to this last night is how different they really are from regular mashups, especially in terms of song forms: your usual mashup either stay true to the original's form (like the brilliant Metro Area/Eminem mashup Oh, Manchester posted a while back) or uses an existing pop form, or just sort of keeps going in a linear way toward the end (thinking here of Osymyso's mashups). These, however, start, double back, throw in a few totally unrelated bits, loop the chorus, take a two-second detour, and then, uh, just kinda end. But they still make sense, and a lot more sense than, say, any of Kid606's more abstract stuff. I don't know why this is, although I guess it probably has something to do with the aforementioned bits of melody floating through the mix that give us something to latch onto immediately. Still, I think it's really neat that they've essentially created these mostly new pop songforms that are eminently workable, even if I personally can't get my head around it for the life of me. Would that I could! But this sort of abstract use of hooks in the context of beat-heavy but rhythmless compositions somehow comes together in a really viscerally graspable way.

As for the Mochipet thing, it's pretty complex, and I'm finding interesting new bits every time I listen to it. Definitely worth a listen.