People Like Us

Recyclopaedia Britannica

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A wide-ranging selection of tracks from Vicki Bennett, the creative character behind the People Like Us name, Recyclopaedia Britannica covers ten years' worth of sometimes snarky, sometimes silly, but always entertaining sonic collages and dips into the realm of meta-sampling mania. It's little surprise Bennett is a fan of such acts as Negativland and John Oswald (the love for the latter readily given away with song titles like "More Plunderblunders," referring to Oswald's Plunderphonics), but there's a certain song-based artistic sense that holds sway even with the spoken word works. One can find oneself whistling or humming along, at points due to the dominance of a core sample to be sure, but at other points due to the artfully done arrangements. Many of the songs chosen are barely two minutes or so long, while others are excerpted from larger pieces. Heard all together they could almost be one huge meta-composition, but a better way would be to think of them as miniatures, combinations of melodies and source material into often entrancing end results. One of the more jaw-droppingly entertaining efforts, "The Sacred Erm," revamps an ever-so-polite English radio show host and her callers into a sometimes scatologically minded insult fest, all while maintaining a great sense of rhythm and dynamics. Other tracks with similar bases -- "In the Panto," the second excerpt from "T424PLU," and "I'm 89" -- are just wonderfully weird, while "Handjob" is just the naughty-minded via innocent material one might think. Then there's the perfectly merry "Clippety Cart Horse," which will have plenty of people yodeling along as desired, while "If Someone Touches You" puts one of the strangest glosses on child abuse one could ever hear -- though the actual song sampled is a freakish number on its own.