When the mashup phenomenon hit remix culture a little over a decade ago, I was quickly hooked by the ingenuity of some of those DJs. As with any fad, there was a lot of crap to sort through, but the likes of Freelance Hellraiser, Dsico, and Party Ben made some extraordinarily clever works out of totally non-intuitive, incompatible-seeming combinations of existing songs. Of course, Girl Talk came along and turned the concept into a big awesome party, and Dangermouse turned it into the underground classic The Grey Album.
But the overwhelming majority of the time, when I heard a mashup track that completely blew me away with its ingenuity and skill, the creator would turn out to be the UK-based producer Mark Vidler, under his nom de mix Go Home Productions. He made his biggest waves with his 2005 piece “Rapture Riders,” a wonderful hybrid of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” and Blondie’s “Rapture.” He’s surely the genre’s most prolific practitioner—I have well over two hundred MP3s of GHP mashups, and almost all of them are top-shelf stuff. The man clearly has a prodigious gift for this, and this is a mere sideline to his paid remix and production work and his ambitious collaborative audio-visual experiment with Graham Daniels, Addictive TV.
The heyday of the fad is a few years past us now, but Vidler continues to do great work with the basic “Band vs Band” construction. He recently released—for free, naturally, as for screamingly obvious reasons, he can’t sell this stuff—a collection of 12 new tracks called Spliced Krispies Vol 2 (Vol. 1 was released in 2008). It includes a couple of Beatles mixes, one sort of obvious pairing of “Paperback Writer” with the Knack’s “My Sharona,” and an utterly weird combination of “Back in the USSR” with Outkast’s “Prototype.” Another astonishingly winning combination is Madonna’s “Into the Groove” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic.”
The big winners here are Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Tracks Of My Tears” vs Oasis’ “Whatever,” Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” vs The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” and disco-era Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” vs Killing Joke’s “Love Like Blood.”