Welcome to the only official site for People Like Us and Vicki Bennett
Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been working across the field of audio-visual collage, and is recognised as an influential and pioneering figure in the still growing area of sampling, appropriation and cutting up of found footage and archives. Working under the name People Like Us, Vicki specialises in the manipulation and reworking of original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. People Like Us have previously shown work at, amongst others, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, The Barbican, Centro de Cultura Digital, Maxxi and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. She has an ongoing sound art radio show 'DO or DIY' on WFMU. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.
In 2015 Vicki completed a new A/V performance CITATION CITY, a project using techniques of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project in relation to London-based feature films. This premiered at transmediale Berlin, and Flatpack Film Festival Birmingham UK. Nothing Can Turn Into A Void – a documentary film about People Like Us has been screening in cinemas and festivals since Autumn 2015. Currently, Vicki is focussing on expanding both audio and moving image work for a multiscreen and multi-speakered environment with Recombinant Media Labs, and the new Expanded Radio commission Optimized! broadcast on WFMU in June 2016. Her most recent commission No One Is An Island, for WDR, broadcast on 9 April 2016.
We are very pleased to announce that DO or DIY with People Like Us will return to the radio waves and internet tubes every Wednesday evening starting June 24th, right through the summer to October 7th inclusive, bringing you All Things Avant Retard.
The show will be on after the fantastic “Seven Second Delay” (with Ken and Andy) – between 7pm and 8pm NY time. That is midnight Wednesday evening in the UK.
Generally we do a live playlist and enable live commenting so do watch as well as listen if it’s not too much of a distraction from the beeauutiful music. If you live in NY/NJ you can listen on the radio at 91.1fm in New York and 90.1fm in the Hudson Valley. If you’re on the internet then listen anywhere by clicking on Live Audio Stream links at the top of WFMU.org.
Click on images below to download the larger version (around 2MB).
Please credit where listed, otherwise credit People Like Us. For photographs of People Like Us with Ergo Phizmiz ONLY use these for JOINT advertisements.
Please note: the film stills are from the original QuickTime movies, and therefore the size you get them is the size that they will always be, in 72dpi resolution. If you need it to be a different dpi then do go to Photoshop and resample the image as such yourself. We have resampled some for you.
The 8th in the series of Touch Sevens, and the first to introduce melodic narrative. Both songs are results of the WFMU podcast series “Codpaste”, in which Vicki & Ergo publicly composed a series of collage compositions, deconstructing their respective practices, and a live soundtrack to Christian Marclay’s “ScreenPlay”. The series and soundtrack resulted in the online only album “Rhapsody in Glue”, from which these two songs are alternative versions.
“Withers in the Whist” takes one of Vicki & Ergo’s current staple obsessions: the melody line of Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’ from the Lieutenant Kije soundtrack (originally used in V & E’s work during a particularly snowy sequence of the Marclay film). This treatment dispenses with sampling entirely, instead using instruments to create variations on Prokofiev’s deceptively simple melody-line, tied together with impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. It is playing with Prokofiev like a bad child who loves it’s toys.
“In The Waking” began with Ergo replaying with multitracked guitars the main melodic motifs Vicki collaged in the composition “Carmic Waltz”, with Vicki then ornamenting the guitars with splashes of colour like a real painter of sound, all blended into a pot of carnival steam with Ergo’s wordplay. It is a fantasy for the dream the fairground has when the world is sleeping, but only takes place five minutes before the carousel wakes up
Side A: In the Waking 5:55 [Locked groove]
Side B: Withers in the Whist 4:27
UK – price including P&P: $8.50 EUROPE – price including P&P: $9.50 ELSEWHERE – price including P&P: $10.50
People Like Us “On The Rooftops of London” was a session for the final edition of BBC Radio 3’s “Mixing It”, broadcast on 9 February 2007.
This is a one track CD single – just under 20 minutes long, hence at a lower price.
Thanks to Felix Carey, Philip Tagney, Mark Russell, Robert Sandall and Ergo Phizmiz. You can download this as an mp3 elsewhere on this site.
UK – CD price including P&P: $8.50 EUROPE – CD price including P&P: $9 ELSEWHERE – CD price including P&P: $10
“Perpetuum Mobile” is the result of a uniquely schizophrenic “open source” compositional process: the UK’s finest collage composers Ergo Phizmiz and People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) uploaded files to a shared server, downloaded and processed each other’s work, and flung the resulting fragments back at each other. The result is an interpenetrating audio-collage so intricate that neither party can recall who did what to whom. So far, so avant-garde; but what makes this record different is that Ergo and Vicki then wrote and sang their own vocals on top of their Frankenstein creation. Here you will find slyly absurdist lyrics replete with monkeys, carousels, trousers, apple trees, tinkling bells, dogs, sausages, whiskey, and cannibalism. No matter how fraught with trauma, these ballads and ditties are sung with a straight face and mixed front and center, and the results feel like 1930s British music hall standards from an alternate universe: half Ivor Cutler, half George Formby. The astonishing thing is that for all this jiggery-pokery, “Perpetuum Mobile” makes for an exhilarating, remarkably fresh pop album. It works. On “Ghosts Before Breakfast” Ergo and Vicki proudly declare that they’ve got “quite a selection of pastry”, and if the profusion of cuckoo clocks, gunshots, horn farts, string vamps, and digital malfeasance which go hurtling through this opening track is any indication, that’s no idle boast. For sheer cornucopia of sonic raw materials, this track’s avalanche of information sets the tone for the overflowing, manic record that follows. There’s far too much to fully parse, but among the highlights: “Beyond Perpetuum” pushes off from the Comedian Harmonists’ take on the 19th century compositional craze for “moto perpetuo” runs of continuous notes at a rapid tempo, and folds found piano, voice and strings into an interlocking array of M.C. Escher harmonic stairways. “Air Hostess” is detourned lounge pop that stitches together Nelson Riddle’s “Ya Ya” theme to “Lolita”, “Walk Right In”, light operettas, organ, bachelor pad cha cha and mambo, and nervously twitching shards of Louis Armstrong. “Pierrot’s Persecution Mania” bravely explores the possibilities of a Montparnasse-via-Dixieland hybrid of can-can and bluegrass, with ridiculous canned strings colliding with jew’s harp boings, while “Soggy Style” rides banjo twangs, a digital bossa nova breakdown, and the “whooo-ooes” nicked from Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion”. Living up to the perpetual motion of its title and cock-a-hoop cover art, this is a frantically energetic music whose layered repetitions become cumulatively more disorienting and preposterous as they loop back. “Perpetuum Mobile” goes beyond the stealth-oldies nostalgia of the mashup scene and the “culture-jamming” rhetoric of plunderphonics, and shows Mr. Ergo and Ms. Vicki to be a potent, if Surrealist, songwriting team, and together they braid oddly affecting vocals and their trademark stolen audio into twenty-first century pop. Like the perpetual motion machines for which it is named, this collaboration will run and run and run and run and run and run and run… – Drew Daniel
UK – CD price including P&P: $16 EUROPE – CD price including P&P: $17 ELSEWHERE – CD price including P&P: $17.50
People Like Us proudly present 27 minutes of new songs following visits to several music libraries, and appropriating favourites from the western world into a musical pantomime.
1. Blue Bayou
4. Stand By Your
5. Green, Green Grass
6. I Walk The Line
7. Singin’ In The Shower
Buy the CD here or download it at UbuWeb
UK- CD price including P&P: $10 EUROPE – CD price including P&P: $10.50 ELSEWHERE – CD price including P&P: $11
Released Autumn 2005 4 Short Films by People Like Us Design by Joerg Hartmannsgruber & People Like Us
Sonic Arts Network proudly presents a collection of short films by leading British A/V artist People Like Us, a true champion of a particularly English sense of humour. The DVD shows a journey though a multi-layered 20th Century, represented by bright eyed and enthusiastic images of the modern world, concluding with the new Sonic Arts Network commission ‘Story Without End’.
Contains: We Edit Life
The Remote Controller
Story Without End
UK – DVD price including P&P: $10 EUROPE – DVD price including P&P: $11 ELSEWHERE – DVD price including P&P: $12