An Intro to Plunderphonics w/ N.Weis

text by digital-media

21 December, 2018

Recently, Negativland’s Mark Hosler and Wobbly performed a live set in the KCSB courtyard alongside KCSB programmer Irene Moon. Negativland helped pioneer the practice of “plunderphonics”, so DJ N. Weis put together a brief soirée into “plunderphonics” for those unfamiliar with the genre.

John Oswald – Don’t
John Oswald coined the phrase “plunderphonics” with his 1988 EP Plunderphonics, describing the niche genre as “a recognizable sonic quote, using the actual sound of something familiar which has already been recorded”. “Don’t”, a song off the EP, consists of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t” overdubbed with dense piano chords and vocal samples of other musicians.

Negativland – A Most Successful Formula
Negativland’s Dispepsi was a criticism of the 90s Coca-Cola-Pepsi advertising frenzy. While “A Most Successful Formula” isn’t subtle in this message, it’s definitely catchy.

Land of the Loops – Day Late and a Dollar Short
“Day Late and a Dollar Short” has Land of the Loop’s usual drum machine loops overlaid with chanting and meaningless voice samples,creating something almost dance-like. “Multi-Family Garage Sale”, off the same album (Bundle of Joy) is great as well, and a little more accessible.

People Like Us, Matmos, Wobbly – Chicken Legs
People Like Us recently released a collaborative album with one of the artists performing. Wide Open Spaces is a western-themed hour-long live performance containing constantly shifting rhythms and spoken word samples.

Evolution Control Committee – Rocked by Rape
The center of a dropped lawsuit from CBS, “Rocked by Rape” contains anchor Don Rather delivering news over AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. Quotes include “criminal anti-government love triangle” and “communist international smuggling pipeline”.

The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist
Easily the most popular group on this list, The Avalanches create semi-abstract, incredibly catchy electronica out of massive collection of vinyl. Their first full album, Since I Left You, debuted in 2000 to wild success, consisting over over 3,500 samples. “Frontier Psychiatrist” additionally features some fantastic scratching (listen to that part with the parrot a few times).

Oneohtrix Point Never – Sleep Dealer
“Sleep Dealer” is made up of four or five samples from 90s advertising, including a completely bizarre 1988 Wrigley’s gum commercial (watch it). Fun fact: Oneohtrix Point Never’s album Eccojams Vol. 1, a one hour mix I couldn’t really fit in this list, essentially started vaporwave.

By N. Weis