In today’s world of laptops, MP3’s and high-speed internet connections, mashups have become a very popular form of music. Girl Talk, the one man creation of Pittsburgh DJ Greg Gillis has used mashups to create one of the most talked about releases on music blogs, his third album on Illegal Art, Night Ripper.
Using a laptop and mixing software, Gillis has created a kind of Paul’s Boutique for the pop culture aware, club-loving set. Night Ripper pays homage to as much of the past 30 years of contemporary music as possible in as short a time span as possible. Girl Talk piles a large number of songs on top of one another to create a manic, danceable rhythm.
A track like “Bounce That” features the Purple Ribbon All-Stars rapping over a series of beats from LCD Soundsystem, the Emotions, Laura Branigan, the Breeders, and Britney Spears (just to name a few) in just over two minutes. All of the tracks feature strange but interesting pairings of artists, put together to create vibrant beats. Just a few years ago who would have imagined that Weezer would have ever been set against a Chicago ghetto rhythm? In all, there are 164 samples (all credited in the liner notes) that are used to create Night Ripper’s non-stop dance mix.
Despite the potential for legal troubles, Night Ripper can be purchased at many retail stores and through many online merchants- a rarity for mashup albums. According to Girl Talk’s label Illegal Art, if Night Ripper is forced into litigation they have prepared a Fair Use legal defense. One of the keys to Illegal Art’s argument is their releases are dramatically different from the originals and therefore do not encroach on the sampled artists’ markets. Illegal Arts' position on the Fair Use law will be interesting to follow, if they need to use it. A case such as that would most certainly change how mashups are used in the marketplace.
Night Ripper is a mashup fans dream and will keep you moving from the first track to the last. If you are a fan of DJ creations, give Night Ripper a spin.