Genre-Blenders

Audio

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I’ve championed Pogo here often for his brilliant blends of cinema and sound, scratch-cut into mash-ups that create new music, a form of creative recycling that’s genuinely innovative. But there are many other types of genre-blending that can be found on online sites, and they’re moving in on the mainstream.

DJ Zebra is a French DJ who pairs two tracks by noting their harmonic similarities and double-tracking them. Sometimes the effect is startling. His mix of Ennio Morricone’s western scores with tracks by Marc Almond and The Clash seem so obvious when you hear them that it’s hard to imagine why you never noticed before. Because of rights issues, his albums are all bootlegs. Here’s ‘At Last’ blurred with a certain Bond song…

Then there’s a blur of styles I first picked up on in the soundtrack of the film ‘Easy Virtue’, in which old disco hits like ‘Car Wash’ were retooled for ragtime bands. Ancient crooner Paul Anka reinvented himself with covers of songs by bands like The Killers, showing that they were so well composed that they could easily sit in a Vegas lounge act – one in the eye for grumpsters complaining that modern music is just noise. Meanwhile, jazzhands fans discovered the show ‘Galavant’, a medieval romp featuring knowing songs from Vinnie Jones (!) and Kylie Minogue. Despite two successful seasons it has yet to be picked up for the UK.

Taking this to its logical extreme is New Yorker Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox, whose meteoric rise to fame came from his brilliantly orchestrated assault on YouTube, wherein his band staged new pop hits as period dance numbers. He hit hard and fast, producing ten albums in two years, all accompanied by videos. He’s currently playing at Camden’s Roundhouse, just a short walk from my front door, but the tickets went ages ago, dammit, so I’ll have to make do with his online output instead.

4 comments on “Genre-Blenders”

  1. Jo W says:

    That first mix was a bit of a shock,I was expecting a different At Last, the thirties/forties song,which would have fitted well with that Bond Song. 🙁

  2. snowy says:

    Bit naughty of me this, but there are a couple of things that follow on from previous posts/comments.

    Martin Parr has a couple of exhibitions running in London, He is also doing a Q&A. [Apologies to the 99.999% of readers not in London or who don’t much care for photography.]

    And ‘April and the Extraordinary World’, [AKA ‘Avril et le monde truque’], has been given a BBFC rating. With a release date listed as 21/04/2016

  3. Wayne Mook says:

    I always liked Big Daddy’s version of the Bruce Springsteen song Dancing in the Dark done as a 50’s tune, not unlike Bobby Vee or Paul Anka of that time.

    Next thing you know they’ll use Queen & David Bowie’s Under pressure as a rap tune.

    Wayne.

  4. Trace Turner says:

    Pity about the Scott Bradlee tickets – I saw PMJ (although without Bradlee) here in Florida last year and it was fantastic. The highlight for me was their doo-wop version of My Heart Will Go On.

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