“Welcome Abroad” by People Like Us
Release date: 24 May 2011
Illegal Art IA124 http://www.illegalart.net
UK – price including P&P: $11.00
EUROPE – price including P&P: $12.00
ELSEWHERE – price including P&P: $13.00
Download as mp3s, FLAC, plus some video downloads
“Welcome Abroad is the soundtrack to a dream – overlaying a cabaret with the circus, a music hall with the radio, a nightclub with the movies. Finely tuned sounds from the collective unconscious, fitted together with care and clarity and skill, producing a hallucinatory landscape that shifts and slides, shimmering with each new sample. Julie Andrews duets with Jim Morrison? Damn.” –Steinski
Vicki Bennett, under the People Like Us moniker, returns from several collaborations for her first solo album in several years. Stranded in the United States for an extended period after the Icelandic volcano eruption blocked her British homeland’s airspace, Bennett derived thematic material of displacement, travel, and a longing for elsewhere, from the natural disaster that caused her own predicament. Volcanically marooned in Baltimore and NYC, Bennett utilized some of her “free” time to work on the album and even gained audio contributions from fellow experimental musicians Jason Willett (of Half Japanese) and M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) via her extended stay.
Taking a glance at just a few tracks from Welcome Abroad, songs from The Beatles, Ennio Morricone, Danny Kaye, Bob Dylan, Rod McKuen, Elton John, Gene Pitney, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Julie London, and Queen are all amalgamated. While recent mashup culture often centers on the instant gratification of seamlessly juxtaposing hooks, People Like Us tracks transform the source material into collages that are equal parts dissonance and pleasure, making artful commentaries on our culture and Bennett’s own existential amusement within such a wondrous world.
Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been an influential figure in the field of audiovisual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives. Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio shows that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. These collages mix, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio.
People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use, and have made work using footage from the Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archive, and A/V Geeks. 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 Tate Modern, Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Centre and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show ‘DO or DIY’ on WFMU has had over three quarters of a million hits since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.
With the release of Welcome Abroad, Illegal Art continues to embrace a pay-what-you-want business model for high-quality downloads. All label releases over the last five years have been issued (or reissued) under a the flexible payment system. People Like Us also have a history of offering free downloads of entire projects, both new and old. Vicki Bennett is such a firm endorser of the gift economy that she is the top downloaded audio artist on UbuWeb.
“… a freeform, unfolding imaginary landscape that is liberally peppered with slapstick.” – Phil England, The Wire
“Bennett has continued to impress us with her technical ability and her wonderful sense of the ridiculous.” – Olli Siebelt, BBC
“… beautiful, compelling, funny, crazy stuff. I listen to [People Like Us] while sitting at my drawing board.” – Matt Groening
“… it is that delirious adventure to tune in Disney cartoons while we administered a strong dose of amphetamines, LSD, and any other lysergic cocktail.” – J. Carlos Vellamueva, Rolling Stone (Mexico)
“… after prolonged exposure to the alchemical work of Vicki Bennett, we see and hear our own everyday world as one big joke which is already cut to pieces. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.” – Drew Daniel, Matmos
“… warped-out easy easy-listening goddess and sample abuser extraordinaire.” – Ben Willmott, NME
“Bennett has taken Eisenstein’s montage collisions and refashioned them as bumper cars at a seaside carnival.” – Jim Supanick, Film Society of Lincoln Center
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