Mashups have always facinated me. The best mashup I've ever heard was the Nirvana/Rick Astley mashup, Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up. It's amazing how well these two songs mesh up, Rick Astley's vocals and Kurt Cobian's more than adequete compositional skills. Cobain was far from the best guitarists out there, and to be fair he ripped off a ton of his music. But he had an excellent musical instinct.
Rick Astley can sing, his one of millions of eighties pop fluff. He's better known as a internet meme today... if he's still remembered for that. But somehow his mouth sounds fit perfectly to the music of Smells Like Teen Spirit. That blew my mind when I first heard it, I'm not sure I will ever recover from this.
There ate tons of mashups out there. You can search Youtube or Soundcloud, and you can find just about any two songs cobbled together. Some are pretty good, most are terrible, and some are these unbelievable and unexpected portmanteaus that work on so many levels in spite of or perhaps because of their percieved differences.
One musical man creates mashups under the name Girl Talk, Gregg Micheals Gillis is his real name. A bio-engineer who decided he was better off mixing beats. Girl Talk's mashups are pretty good. Mostly rap and pop music, mayeb a little classic rock and funk mixed in. You can listen to it in all day.
Or you can rip through it at night...
The amount of rap music being sampled here... literal appropriation. Despite that I really love how he mixes these songs together. But it all really makes sense, it rarely takes risks. But it's the past fifty years of pop congealed together.
Now what if you want something completely different. Mouth Sounds, Neil Cicierega. He is an internet personality. There's this other guy, I forget his name, he has a youtube channel, makes these weird videos. It's Robert Benford. I always get him confused with Neil Ciceirega these days. If it weren't for Neil's Lemon Demon project, The Ultimate Showdown. I never noticed how bad the audio is on that song, at least in that video. He also did BRODYQUEST.
You're probably familiar with all that. You probably know well enough who this nerd is. Which brings us to Cicierega's latest projects. And to be fair you probably already know about it. Mouth Silence, Mouth Sounds. Both albums are mashup albums. Mouth Sounds uses copious amounts of Smash Mouth's All Star, a little bit of Walking On The Sun, there other slightly superior song... maybe. Smash Mouth is a very nineties, and much of what Cicierega covers in, especially the Mouth Sounds album is nineties music, with a few exception. There's a bit of Kanye West, a bit of Micheal Jackson from the eighties. But the album is primarally a nineties entity, and Smash Mouth was pretty big when I was a kid. Perhaps that's why, despite how much I disliked them then, and I never went out of my way to listen to them since... I find it charming. The Modest Mouse/Smash Mouth mash up is excellent, nearly as good as the Nirvana/Rick Astley mashup, which is my number one Mashup. the Daft Punk Mashup with Walking On The Sun is right up there. Daft Punk is a personal favorite, as is Modest Mouse, perhaps that's why this two songs appeal to me.
The Lennon Mashup is not so great. but you have to appreciate the experimentation.
Girl Talk and Neil Ciceriera's mashup approaches are two ends of the spectrum. With Girl Talk it feels like Gillis has very carefully chosen his samples and how they will come together. Cicierega on the other hand seems to make the most insane choices. The reality is probably closer to the opposite. I'm sure that Girl Talk did put in a lot of effort into their work, I like it. But I think it takes more skill to try and take the risks that Cicierega took with his albums. Mouth Silence seems to push the envelope even further. I haven't listened to it in it's entirity yet. But you should check these out. Now might be the time to dig back into that mash up craze and see what festers.
And happy birthday to me.