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People Like Us

Idioma disponible: inglés
East Sussex DJ and multimedia artist Vicki Bennett has performed and composed under the name People Like Us since 1991. Much like her friends and occasional collaborators Negativland, Bennett's works mix music, dialogue, and found sounds from old vinyl, films, and downloads into expressive, amusing compositions. Her approach has had several interesting names applied to it, including "culture-jamming" and "plunderphonics," but none are as intriguing as the work itself. Early PLU releases such as 1996's Beware the Whim Reaper explored an obsession with easy listening and lounge music, then Bennett moved on to country & western with A Fistful of Knuckles (2000) and Wide Open Spaces (with Matmos and Wobbly, 2003). Much of her best work, such as 2004's Abridged Too Far, has thrown everything into the blender, including polka, yodeling, soft rock, and glitch. Collaborations with Ergo Phizmiz such as 2007's Perpetuum Mobile have pushed both artists' work to the brink of absurdity, combining dense, cartoonish collage with the duo's own singing. Later solo works like 2018's The Mirror consist of surreal, dream-like mashups of familiar pop oldies. Starting with her first album, 1992's Another Kind of Humor Another Kind of Murder, which was a joint effort with Abraxas, Bennett's works have combined humor, menace, and kitsch into experimental yet accessible sound collages. Her contributions to international experimental music festivals and radio shows and collaborations with Negativland, the Jet Black Hair People, and MusikTerrorist are critically acclaimed, as are albums like 1996's Jumble Massive and the following year's Hate People Like You, which were respectively released by the Soleilmoon and Staalplaat labels. The 1999 remix album Hate People Like Us featured many of Bennett's collaborators reworking her collages, and her seventh album, The Thermos Explorer, came out in 2000. Recyclopaedia Britannica, issued in 2002, summed up the first decade of Bennett's career. That year, Bennett recorded Wide Open Spaces, which also included Wobbly's Jon Leidecker and Matmos' Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, in the San Francisco Art Institute's lecture hall. The album was released by Tigerbeat6 in 2003, the same year People Like Us began the acclaimed sound art radio show Do or DIY on WFMU. In 2006, Bennett was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. Bennett released Perpetuum Mobile, the first of several collaborations with sound artist/songwriter Ergo Phizmiz, in 2007. Music for the Fire, another collaboration with Wobbly, was issued by Illegal Art in 2010. Welcome Abroad, released in 2011, was inspired by Bennett's extended stay in New York and Baltimore in 2010 thanks to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which shut down airspace over Europe for weeks. The Keystone Cut Ups, a DVD produced in collaboration with Phizmiz, was released in 2012. Bennett's mashup-heavy Don't Think Right, It's All Twice appeared on the Cutting Hedge label in 2013. 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of Bennett's first album. To celebrate, the Discrepant label began issuing a series of PLU releases, beginning with Abridged Too Far. Originally a 2004 digital release, the album included pieces recorded for John Peel's show as well as WFMU. The label also issued Optimized!, a split LP with Porest, and sublabel Sucata Tapes released the cassette Early Radio Works, Vol. 1. Discrepant released Wide Open Spaces on vinyl for the first time in 2018. The Mirror, a CD containing music from an audiovisual performance of the same title as well as an immersive cinema piece titled Gone, Gone Beyond, was released by Cutting Hedge in 2018. An abridged vinyl edition was issued by Discrepant a year later.
© Heather Phares /TiVo
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