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.