In the world of music, 2010 was the year of the mash-up. Many of the top hits this year sampled other successful songs, such as Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say”, which samples the acoustic version of Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face”. The public has seemed to ignore the fact that many songs “borrow” from other artists and in fact, have seemed to embrace it. The most obvious example of this phenomenon is the rise of mash up artist Girl Talk. If you’re unfamiliar with Girl Talk, he samples one or two dozen songs, taking portions of each, to create a “new” song altogether.
Up until now Girl Talk’s mass-song mash up albums have been unparalleled and without competition. But, a new artist has appeared in the underground mash up circuit. He calls himself Pelican Bomb, and in early 2011 will release his first album entitled Attention Deficit Disco. I had an opportunity to get my hands on an early release of the album and I was amazed at what I heard.
Much like Girl Talk, Pelican Bomb samples a large volume of songs to create a new danceable, segmented track. The difference is Pelican Bomb samples an incredible number of songs in each track. The first track, “Pizza Party”, samples an astounding 7,000 songs. On a typical Girl Talk track each portion of a song seems to last anywhere from 10 to 45 seconds at which point a new beat or chorus is brought in. On Attention Deficit Disco, each track contains about 0.5 to 2 seconds of each song that is sampled; sometimes not even long enough to recognize what song it is. There is a point in the albums third track, “That a Boy”, which combines 2 seconds of the beat from “It’s Getting Hot in Here” with the words “one eye” from “Enter Sandman” that is just tremendous.
Although Girl Talk has surprisingly avoided any law suits with the bands he samples, that luck may run up any day. Pelican Bomb is not taking any legal chances with his album. He is paying royalties for each song he samples on his album. Since Pelican Bomb samples such a large number of songs, it’s not surprising his album is a bit expensive. But the replay value of Attention Deficit Disco makes it well worth the $300 price tag. When asked why he is paying royalties, Pelican Bomb has been quoted as saying, “I feel like these other artists deserve some kind of credit for partly inspiring my own music.”
Pelican Bomb has come to a level of understanding that no other 21st century musician has. Much like the end of Manifest Destiny, in the world of music there is nothing left to explore. There are no more genres left to discover. Pelican Bomb has realized that the purpose of a musician is not to create great beats, intelligent lyrics, and music that is fun to listen to. Rather, their only purpose is to create songs that contain a few redeeming elements that may later be combined into something great by someone else. I think Pelican Bomb’s album is a step above anything Girl Talk has done and is, to be frank, genius. He has really come to show what a real musician can do and will surely contribute to the end of so called “original artists.”
–Pete Byrne, January 2011