BIOGRAPHY

Under the name “People Like Us,” artist Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution since 1992. Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and appropriation as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form. Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an “original” or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant.

Most of the People Like Us back catalogue has been available for free online since 2002. For many artists, profit and publicity is more likely through free distribution (the gift economy) than independent publishers and distributors, which often struggle with limited resources. Online self-distribution allows an artist to keep their work available, resolving a tension between label production costs and the desire of an artist for work to be available.  UbuWeb generously hosts the discography and filmography of People Like Us.

As a solo artist or collaborator Vicki has published more than 35 video projects and 50 audio recordings, with works released by labels including Illegal Art, Rough Trade, Soleilmoon Recordings, Discrepant, Sonic Arts Network and Touch. Vicki’s DO or DIY show on the fiercely independent New York City-market radio station WFMU has run since 2003. Her video work has been screened at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, BFI, Purcell Room, the Barbican, the ICA, V&A. Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Sonar (Barcelona), MAXXI/National Museum of XXI Century Arts (Rome), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and Centro de Cultura Digital (Mexico City), among other institutions. Video works have been aired on Channel 4 and radio sessions created for John Peel and Mixing It. People Like Us has been commissioned by Arts Council England, The BBC, WDR, Great North Run, Sound and Music, Channel 4/Animate Projects, AV Festival, Hallwalls, Recombinant Media Labs (RML), Sonic Arts Network, Forma, LUX and Lovebytes.

Notations (2013), a film for live improvisers toured the UK with TUSK/Sound & Music in Autumn 2013; Gesture Piece, a film with seven invited artist soundtracks; two films for Animate Projects/Channel 4 television, UK, broadcast as part of their Random Acts series. In 2015, Vicki created A/V performance Citation City, using techniques of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project in relation to London-based feature films. Nothing Can Turn Into A Void – a documentary film about People Like Us has screened in cinemas and festivals since Autumn 2015, and No One Is An Island, a radio work created for WDR, broadcast in April 2016. The Expanded Radio online/virtual commission/artist residency Optimized! broadcast on WFMU in June 2016. In 2018 Vicki has just completed a new solo a/v performance The Mirror which which is currently touring the UK and overseas, released an album under the same name, and produced the video for the spring 2018 The The Comeback Tour.

So far in 2019, Vicki is completing Gone, Gone Beyond, an hour-long seamless multiscreen and multi-speakered immersive installation with RML CineChamber. Vicki is a participant in Sound and Music’s New Voices programme, an a-n Artist Bursaries 2019 recipient, and will be Hallwalls Artist in Residence from 2019-2020.

Shorter Bio – Artist Statement
Filmography
Exhibitions and Editions
Selected Performances and Screenings
Commissions and Awards
Talks, Lectures
Discography

Vicki People Like Us 2016

Click below for hi-res photographs

Vicki - People Like Us 2016

Press Cuttings and more

People Like Us/Vicki has been reviewed in, amongst others, The Wire, BBC website, Bizarre Magazine, Rolling Stone, Frieze, The Independent, Record Collector, Time Out, Film Comment, The Guardian, The Scotsman, XLR8R, Baltimore City Paper, Sight and Sound, NME, Metro and San Francisco Bay Guardian, and interviewed for Found Footage Magazine (2016), The Observer (2006), Filmmaker Magazine (2015), The Wire (2014, 2011, 2008, 1999), Sight and Sound (2013), a-n Magazine (2012), Wired (2012), RadioWeb MACBA (2010), Sound and Music (2011), Sound Projector (2012, 2000), Bizarre Magazine (1999), NME (1995, 1996). On radio I’ve been interviewed on Late Junction (2016), Soundproof (ABC Radio National 2016), WDR 3 Open Sounds (WDR 2016), Cutting Up The Cut Up (BBC Radio 4 2015), North by Southwest (British Council 2012) PM (BBC Radio 3 2010), Twenty Minutes (BBC Radio 3 2009) and Mixing It (BBC Radio 3 2004). Please note: we no longer update this section very often because the internet is effective in finding these things, unlike the old days of magazine articles
Interview about Copyright on Ableton site (Nov 2016)
Interview on Soundproof (ABC Radio National) (July 2016)
Interview in Found Footage Magazine (April 2016)
Interview in Venture Engraved Magazine (March 2016)
Interview on WDR (Feb 2016)
Interview on Late Junction (BBC Radio 3) (Jan 2016)
Documentary about People Like Us (Jan 2016)
Interview in Filling Station Magazine Issue 63 with Peter Jaeger (Sept 2015)
Cutting Up The Cut-Up (BBC Radio) (June 2015)
Feature in The Wire Magazine (Psychic Jams) (August 2014)
Interview with The Wire Magazine (Feb 2014)
Interview in SyncTank about Gesture Piece (Sept 2013)
Interview in a-n magazine about Gesture Piece (Sept 2013)
Feature on our Random Acts commission in Televisual (June 2013)
Interview in Sight and Sound magazine and Clipping (May 2013)
Interview in De-Bug (February 2013)
Interview with City Sonic, Brussels (September 2012)
Review in The Wire of People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz The Keystone Cut Ups DVD on Illegal Art (October 2012)
Review in Wired of People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz Moon Magic 7″ on Illegal Art (August 2012)
Mention of Radio Boredcast
 by Radio Web MACBA (April 2012)
Interview in Wired about Radio Boredcast (March 2012)
Essay by Vicki Bennett in The Wire magazine’s Collateral Damage page 
http://thewire.co.uk/articles/8439/ (March 2012)
Review of AV Festival 12 in The Guardian (March 2012)
Blogpost by Vicki Bennett about Radio Boredcast for AV Festival 12 (February 2012)
Interview with Vicki about Radio Boredcast for AV Festival 12 by Pixel Palace (December 2011)
The Doors of Perspection preview in The Independent (29 July 2011)
The Doors of Perspection preview in The Independent 2 (29 July 2011)
The Doors of Perspection review in Front Row Reviews (July 2011)
People Like Us interview in Invisible Jukebox in The Wire (July 2011)
Review of Welcome Abroad in Groovemine (May 2011)
People Like Us feature in XLR8R (May 2011)
Review of More Soup And Tart In The Wire Magazine (June 2011)
People Like Us Chart In The Wire Magazine (June 2011)
Expanded Video exhibition at Maxxi – pdf (April/May 2011) More documentation here.
Review of Welcome Abroad in Letters With Mixtapes (May 2011)
Review of Welcome Abroad in AOL/Spinner (May 2011)
Review of Welcome Abroad in Dusted (May 2011)
Review of Welcome Abroad in Unheard Music (May 2011)
Review of Welcome Abroad in Decibel Tolls (March 2011)
The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in Aesthetica Magazine (September 2010)
The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in The Scotsman (September 2010)
The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in IDMb News (September 2010)
The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in The Guardian Guide (September 2010)
Interview and feature about The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in Berwick Advertiser (September 2010)
Interview and feature about The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in Kyeo TV (September 2010)
Review of The Keystone Cut Ups (People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz) in Observealot (September 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire in Sound Projector (2011)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Rumore (September 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Record Collector (August 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Sentireascoltare (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Skug (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in RifRaf (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Go Mag (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Magic (July 2010)
Preview of the People Like Us exhibit at Edinburgh Printmakers Prints of DarknessThe List (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Playground (June 2010)
Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Huw Stephens’ Radio show BBC Radio 1 (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Limewire Music Blog (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in MusicOMH (June 2010)
Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Stuart Maconie’s Radio show BBC Radio 6 (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in My Old Kentucky Blog (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Polychromic (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Beyond The Noize (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in aaamusic (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Little Village Mag by Kembrew McLeod (May 2010)
Music For The Fire gets Radio 1 airplay (May 2010)
Article on the Recycled Film Symposium at AV Festival in axisweb (May 2010)Axisweb website
Review of Genre Collage in Baltimore City Paper (April 2010)
Review of MACBA’s Variations program, which Genre Collage is a part of (February 2010)
Review of Genre Collage in Film Comment magazine (January 2010)
People Like Us co-curate an evening at AV Festival (March 2010)
Nothing Is New, Everything Is Permitted – People Like Us play at AV Festival (March 2010)
BBC News – about People Like Us Baudrillard cassette (January 2010)
BBC News Front page (January 2010)
BFI Southbank (December 2009)
Straight.com (October 2009)
Alienated In Vancouver (October 2009)
Jean Baudrillard Le Xerox et l’Infini – Hard Format (August 2009)
Jean Baudrillard Le Xerox et l’Infini – Aquarius Records (August 2009)
Time Out – Critics Choice (August 2009)
Withers In The Waking review – Heathen Harvest (July 2009)
Interview in Crawdaddy (July 2009)
Rhapsody in Glue – Liability (March 2009)
Withers In The Waking review – Record Collector (January 2009)
Withers In The Waking review – Norman Records (December 2008)
Interview with People Like Us – Blow Up (December 2008)
Withers In The Waking review – Aquarius (December 2008) 
Withers In The Waking review – Boomkat (December 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Bad Alchemy (November 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Hair Entertainment (October 2008)
Rhapsody In Glue review – Goute Mes Disques (November 2008)
DO or DIY chart – The Wire (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Orkus (November 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Rumore (October 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – Blow Up (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Westzeit (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Ox (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Le Son Du Grisli (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Sound Projector (May 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Frieze magazine (September 2008)
Rhapsody In Glue review – Pop News (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Octopus Record Of The Week (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Rock Delux(September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – D Side(September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Titel Magazine (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Schlendrian (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Vital Weekly 162 (September 2008)
Mention in the Guardian (UK) – Click That Dial! (August 11 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – O Dominio Dos Deuses (July 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue/Smiling Through My Teeth Review – Incendiary Mag (July 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – Octopus (July 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – The Wire (August 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – Skug (July 2008) 
Rhapsody in Glue review – D-Side (July 2008) 
Rhapsody in Glue review – Choices Cologne (July 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – The Wire (July 2008)
Rhapsody in Glue review – Titel-Magazin / CD of the Week (June 2008)
People Like Us interview part 1 – The Wire (June 2008)
People Like Us interview part 2 – The Wire (June 2008)
People Like Us interview part 3 – The Wire (June 2008)
People Like Us interview part 4 – The Wire (June 2008)
People Like Us interview part 5 – The Wire (June 2008)
Perpetuum Mobile – Music For Maniacs (October 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Geiger (September 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Bad Alchemy (August 2007)

Perpetuum Mobile – Brainwashed (June 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – RifRaf (June 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Rolling Stone (Mexico!!) June 2007 
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Norman Records June 2007

Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Jumbo June 2007

Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Loop June 2007
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Boomkat June 2007
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Cologne Choices June 2007
Story Without End – Review in Jazzthetik July 2006
Story Without End – Review in Trax Magazine June 2006
Interview with People Like Us in 
The Observer 6 November 2006 – herehere & here
Story Without End – Review in Black Jan 2006
Story Without End – Review and Interview April 2006
Story Without End – Review in Cinemania May 2006
Story Without End – Review in The Wire May 2006
Story Without End – Review by Kevin Hamilton February 2006
Story Without End – Blow Up February 2006
Story Without End – Rock Delux Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Magic Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Debug Magazine January 2006

Story Without End – Intro Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Sonic Seducer Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – D Side Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Go Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Bad Alchemy Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Clone Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Metro Magazine Summer 2005
“The Remote Controller” won second prize in the Backup Festival in Weimar 2004
Worked on a film/installation commission with Sonic Arts Network, 2004-2005 
Worked on a film commission for LUX, 2004
Yerba Buena Center For The Arts with Matmos, November 2003
Article featuring media work of PLU on BBC site July 2002
Review of People Like Us album, Recyclopaedia Britannica, on BBC website 2002
PLU get a mention in Larry Lessig’s blog 2003 
Very good interview with Kenny G on WFMU, March 2003
Small mention in The Guardian (UK)
Sound Unseen Festival, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis 2002

Sound Unseen Festival, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis2 2002

Ether Festival Flyer, Purcell Room, London 2002
Ether Festival review in The Wire, Purcell Room, London 2002
Ether Festival reviews, Purcell Room, London 2002
Sight and Sound magazine 2002
Lovebytes Festival Programme, Sheffield 2002
Lovebytes Festival Programme, Sheffield 2 2002
Oblique Lu Nights Festival, Nantes, France 2002
People Like Us at Sound Unseen, Minneapolis 2002
LMC 10th Anniversary Festival, Purcell Room, London 2001
LMC 10th Anniversary Festival, Purcell Room, London 2 2001

People Like Us and Matmos concert at Sonar, 2001 (The Wire)

Laptops Live ICA, London 2 2001
Laptops Live, ICA, London 2001

Futuresonic Festival, Manchester 2001
EMAF, Osnabruck, Germany 2001
Electrofringe, Newcastle, Australia 2001
Reviews in NME and Bizarre Magazine 2001
Sydney Opera House flyer 1 2001
Sydney Opera House flyer 2 2001

Sydney Opera House ticket 2001
Lux Centre, London 2001
BBC Radio Times 2001

Sound Projector interview 2000

Exit Festival, Creteil, France 2000
The Wire magazine interview 1999
San Francisco Bay Guardian review 1999
Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria 1998
NME Single of the Week 1996
NME Interview 1996
NME Interview 1995

This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are many that we have not scanned in from the 1990s, and many a web search we have not made. But it’s a taster.

pumpkin

First press coverage for Music For The Fire is very good!

Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Go Mag (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Magic (July 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Playground (June 2010)
Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Huw Stephens’ Radio show BBC Radio 1 (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Limewire Music Blog (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in MusicOMH (June 2010)
Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Stuart Maconie’s Radio show BBC Radio 6 (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in My Old Kentucky Blog (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Polychromic (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Beyond The Noize (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in aaamusic (June 2010)
Review of Music For The Fire (People Like Us & Wobbly) in Little Village Mag by Kembrew McLeod (May 2010)
Music For The Fire gets Radio 1 airplay (May 2010)

A Fistful of Knuckles

Released Winter 2000 on Caciocavallo/Soleilmoon Recordings CAD10
SOLD OUT on CD

“People Like Us is simply too good. Why it presents us again and again CD, like a circus. One must win something distance from this music, thus her one not flatly with the endless heavily meaning basic sounds and memories. Here to the world between American white diapers, Pferdchen those the world mean, Kleinkinderklukluxklansofties and other one like Country, donkeys, sakeless Schubidus and cold kriegern in a leckeren soup. People Like US is like cinema, like which old humans at MTV finds so exciting always, these many cuts, only the cuts are not cuts, but, deeply inside into this world from sound the world of the television offers precise interventions to surgical quality, without it would refer to expressly drauf that that really like that it is but supplies actually only for People Like US material, which so unconsciously passed through quasi by us that one can cannibalize it ever further and further. Carefully naturally and with a Manie CUT copy paste of the Artworkings, which one, once belonged never again loose will. ” A Fistful OF Knuckles ” is the terminator point of a long long search to the praised country, which ran from the east coast in long Trecks to the west coast, made a stopover with John Wayne over in People Like US to end.” – translation from de-bug magazine

SOLD OUT

You can download this album from UbuWeb

Smiling Through My Teeth CD curated by Vicki Bennett

Sonic Arts Network is proud to announce the release of our latest CD publication. Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) curates “Smiling Through My Teeth”, a compilation exploring the use of humour in music and sound art and bringing together an assortment of humorous songs, amusing ditties and deranged sound works. Buy the CD or get it free by joining Sonic Arts Network today. The CD contains an essay by American journalist, artist, activist, and professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, Kembrew McLeod.

Download Kembrew McLeod’s essay here or link to it here.

Smiling Through My Teeth 

It is relatively unusual to find humour in sound art, even less has been written on the subject. The avant-garde can be a dry and humourless area (and is therefore perceived as such), both in writing and practice. It is not unusual for writers and audience alike to dismiss anything to the contrary; the catch is humour sometimes isn’t taken seriously, although the reality is a practitioner has to be extremely serious and accomplished in order to carry off a good piece of humorous work.

Humour and music are commonly perceived as an unlikely pair. But the removal of this expression from the pleasure and appreciation of creative art is impossible. Inflections of wit can be found in the most unlikely places, from John Cage’s 4’33’ (using silence in the way Tony Hancock used dead radio air to implicate his own boredom) through the parody of Erik Satie and Charles Ives, the metric disruptions and misquotations of John Oswald or Stock, Hausen and Walkman, and the mixing of genres by Ground Zero’s Revolutionary Pekinese Opera. The more popular end of sound manipulation is also inflected with avant-garde playfulness, for instance Carl Stalling’s cartoon music, the cut up manipulations of Spike Jones, the chaos and disorder of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the ruination of the classics by Portsmouth Sinfonia.

If the receiver isn’t intimidated by the sort of extreme surreal humour presently found in TV and radio production, there isn’t a reason why they cannot open up to the same categories of humour apparent within the work of, for instance, Runzelstirn and Gurzelstock, Otomo Yoshihide or the Nihilist Spasm Band. This isn’t to say that they would necessarily listen to this art form in the same way as pop music, but it is possible to shift the barriers between “popular” and “obscure”. Humour transcends the confines of language and metaphor, opening the receiver’s mind to new ways of experiencing art, and a comprehension of something that may previously have been obscured.

It is interesting when my work succeeds in a humorous context, then I research and discover that it fits into all of kinds of psychological categories of humour and music that I didn’t know existed. It is true that one doesn’t need to know anything about art or cultural history to be able to make good art, but it enriches the context in which one is working, and is very inspiring to take the time to look into this history and try to also apply it to the art of one’s contemporaries.

Having considered all this, I’ll throw it all away and just say that I love the music and sounds found on this CD, for the pure energy and enthusiasm found within, and may sparks fly when you press play.

Vicki Bennett, People Like Us 2008

Scans of REVIEWS here:
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Machina (November 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Bad Alchemy (November 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Hair Entertainment (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Orkus (November 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Rumore (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Westzeit (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Ox (October 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Le Son Du Grisli (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Sound Projector (May 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Frieze magazine (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Octopus Record Of The Week (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Rock Delux(September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – D Side(September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Titel Magazine (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Schlendrian (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – Vital Weekly 162 (September 2008)
Smiling Through My Teeth review – The Wire (August 2008)

TRACKLIST:
01. 3:15 Spike Jones and his City Slickers “William Tell Overture”
02. 2:51 Raymond Scott “Girl at the Typewriter”
03. 2:17 Paul Lowry “I Got Rhythm”
04. 2:53 Leif Elggren & Thomas Liljenberg “9.11 (Desperation Is The Mother of Laughter)” (edit)
05. 1:54 Komar & Melamid and Dave Soldier “The Most Unwanted Song” (edit)
06. 0:58 Ground Zero “China White”
07. 3:16 John Oswald “Pocket”
08. 1:04 Nurse With Wound “You Walrus Hurt The One You Love” (edit)
09. 2:13 Rudolf Eb.er’s Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck “Eel Dog Rap Mix” (edit)
10. 0:28 Nihilist Spasm Band “It’s Not My Fault” (edit)
11. 3:53 ‘The Freddy McGuire Show’ with Anne McGuire, Don Joyce & Wobbly “Dark Days Bright Nights”
12. 4:00 Vomit Lunchs “Total Pointless Guidance Mix” (Stock, Hausen+Walkman)
13. 0:07 Gorse “Interlude”
14. 3:40 Rank Sinatra “Take On Me”
15. 0:51 DJ Carhouse & MC Hellshit “Motha Fuck Mitsubishi”
16. 2:56 DJ Brokenwindow “Kit Clayton vs. Roscoe P. Coltrane”
17. 3:01 Christian Marclay “Maria Callas”
18. 2:35 Viennese Seven Singing Sisters “William Tell Overture”
19. 1:55 M.A. Numminen, Tommi Parko, Pekka Kujanpää “Eleitä Kolmelle Röyhtäilijälle”
20. 3:18 Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device “Berlin, Germany, 270104” (edit)
21. 1:34 Adach i Tomomi “Lippp”
22. 1:02 Bill Morrison “Single Breath Blow”
23. 0:51 Zatumba “Natchung”
24. 1:12 Nihilist Spasm Band “Going Too Far” (edit)
25. 7:21 People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Air Hostess”
26. 0:44 Christian Bok “Ubu Hubbub”
27. 1:14 Gwilly Edmondez “Cock!”
28. 1:47 Spaz “Spaz”
29. 1:34 Komar & Melamid and Dave Soldier “The Most Unwanted Song” (edit 2)
30. 4:20 Xper. Xr. “Ride On Time”
31. 8:49 Richard Lair and Dave Soldier “Thai Elephant Orchestra Perform Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony First Movement”
32. 0:10 Nurse With Wound “You Walrus Hurt The One You Love” (edit 2)

Download at UbuWeb

Smiling Through my Teeth is a beautifully presented CD and book, with the musical side of the collection put together by Vicki Bennett, who’s a Sound Projector favourite in long standing for her work as People Like Us. It includes a few early ‘novelty’ records from Raymond Scott and Spike Jones, but the bulk of the CD is made up of contributions from assorted well-known (and some lesser-known) names in the world of extreme avant and experimental music, and the selections (if lined up in a row, as they are here) do indeed create an escapade of jet-black humour scaped from the laughing lips of the lunatic fringe: step forward Nihilist Spasm Band, Otomo and Eye, Christian Marclay, Lucas Abela, John Oswald, and Xper.Xr. Plus of course a couple of cuts by Nurse With Wound performing in his vaguely nutsoid cut-up mode. In fact most of Bennett’s selections reflect aspects of her own chosen way of working – layering, editing, turntabling, and the collaging of an eclectic selection of ‘funny’ vinyls. I’ve got mixed feelings about the deeply intellectual essay written by Kembrew McLeod (once read, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is smiling, let alone laughing), but the red skull cover graphic and anatomical engravings on the inside make this an attractive proposition from Sonic Arts Network. Few people can match Bennett’s skill for setting forth warped humour laced with a deep undercurrent of constant menace, to chilling effect. If played end to end, I think this 32-track CD can certainly guarantee an unsettling and mixed experience which will slowly turn your cheery smile into a rigor sardonicus. – Sound Projector

Perpetuum Mobile CD

Released 23 April 2007 on Soleilmoon Recordings
SOL156 CD (now deleted)
download at ubuweb

“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 left, 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

Scans of reviews here:
Perpetuum Mobile Music For Maniacs (October 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Geiger (September 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Bad Alchemy (August 2007)

Perpetuum Mobile – Brainwashed (June 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – RifRaf (June 2007)
Perpetuum Mobile – Rolling Stone (Mexico!!) June 2007
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Norman Records June 2007

Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Jumbo June 2007

Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Loop June 2007
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Boomkat June 2007
Perpetuum Mobile – Review in Cologne Choices June 2007

Story Without End – DVD

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”. Each of these films are available on this page, through UbuWeb, for free download in mp4 format. However, if you would also like the DVD, which has beautiful fold-out packaging, go to our shop. All prices include postage and packing

Scans of Reviews here:

Story Without End – Review in Jazzthetik July 2006
Story Without End – Review in Trax Magazine June 2006
Story Without End – Review in Black Jan 2006
Story Without End – Review and Interview April 2006
Story Without End – Review in Cinemania May 2006
Story Without End – Review in The Wire May 2006
Story Without End – Blow Up February 2006
Story Without End – Rock Delux Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Magic Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Debug Magazine January 2006

Story Without End – Intro Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Sonic Seducer Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – D Side Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Go Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Bad Alchemy Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Clone Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Metro Magazine Summer 2005

Story Without End (and three other Films) – review

Music videos for mash-ups are rarely as enjoyable as the audio originals – the pleasure of the sound collage is the simultaneity of clashing spaces, where visual montage makes us choose between one space or another through sequence. The web is awash in video cut-ups today; giddy editors take advantage of bountiful source material in online archives, easy desktop editing software and mostly free distribution through video.google or youtube.com. Surrealist film technique is the stuff of late-night television comedy, as each day’s presidential speeches are cut up and re-arranged for comedic effect.
This explosion of montage only highlights the differences between sound collage and video pastiche. Multi-track recorders, turntables, samplers and sequencers gave us densities no film editor could dream of. Yet sometimes film collage carries a more obviously political impact – visual juxtapositions seem to jar more directly.

Into this dynamic steps the singular art of PEOPLE LIKE US. At the controls is artist Vicki Bennett, a masterful and prolific sound-collagist whose works in video have been recently released by the Sonic Arts Network as a DVD. Where traditional montage makes us choose between one cut or another, Bennett’s meticulous work relies on compositing, masks, and mattes to create a visual simultaneity every bit as dense as what we hear in her music.

Through four works, completed between 2002 and 2005, Bennett has extracted various subjects from their backgrounds, and backgrounds from their contexts. Recombined, these artifacts occasionally grow synchronous with sound, but always stand out in contrast to each other. As in some of the more jarring mash-ups one might encounter on Bennett’s radio shows for WFMU, the seams are far from hidden. A boy sets a toy house down upon a giant circuit board – later we see him again laying out his little town on a pumpkin patch.

Opacities and edges blur to give way to various cohabiting characters – a man peers into a screen to reveal another composited world, even as he’s oblivious to the third one above him, or the beetles crawling over the screen on yet a fourth layer. Narrators stand above it all, promising all sorts of things to come. Bennett introduces each new element as she would a new loop in her sonic compositions, and lets us hold it all in our head for a moment (or sometimes far longer – she loves repetition) before moving on to something else. It’s a happy marriage of pastiche in sound and video that helps demonstrate the musicality of vision – the work is more Vertov than Eisenstein.

All of this makes STORY WITHOUT END a welcome and rare addition to the lively world of the cut-up. Bennett’s films offer much more than this, however. After all, as the narrator of THE REMOTE CONTROLLER tells us, “mixing is so simple, a child could do it.”
Directing Bennett’s deft and patient hand at the mouse is a very specific sort of curiosity, and a particular approach to human creation and action. These films are the result of countless hours of sifting through the archives of various digital and physical collections. Specifically named in the credits are the collections of Rick Prelinger at The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org), Skip Elsheimer’s avgeeks.com, and London’s Lux collection of avant-garde film. Except for some footage of Bennett’s own screen desktop in WE EDIT LIFE, none of Bennett’s source material appears to be self-generated. She even borrows from herself, recycling audio or video from old works in new.

The result is a very specific kind of collection. Though individual elements within a frame are composited to remain estranged from one another, the ingredients add up to a whole that’s from a particular palette, a specific time and place. In all four of these works, we see and hear hopeful proponents of techno-marvels from modernity’s golden age. Men and women hunch over vintage screens and typewriters, monitoring, tweaking and enjoying newfound power through perfect analog connections. Telephone operators, orchestra conductors, audio engineers, and city planners listen to the spaces on the other side of an edit, command our attention, or carry out plans via remote operation.

We see an artist and an engineer negotiate a new collaboration; we get transferred by a series of attractive switchboard operators from Chicago to Wabash. Maps and radar, puppet strings and monitors mediate the relations between distant actors. Throughout it all, Bennett plays an equally magical role, creating new seamless spaces through edits, as her subjects create spaces through telepresent connections. These hopeful operators and technicians are people like us, twiddling knobs at a remote, if enamored, distance. By revealing her own hand, Bennett identifies herself with the films’ optimistic subjects, who according to their narrators “merely push a button and let something else do the work.” Another narrator adds, “the result is breathtaking beauty, and lasting good taste.”

Like Craig Baldwin in SPECTRES OF THE SPECTRUM, Bennett tells a story of hope about technology, using the artifacts of a more hopeful age. Her films marry medium to message to reveal the folly of such hope, yet without resorting to irony. Refreshingly gentle and humble, the work relies on humor, awkwardness, and empathy to produce skepticism without cynicism. If through her reliance on found materials Bennett lacks the faith of scientist-magicians who create something from nothing, she shares their joy at seeing pushbuttons produce results.

In the tradition of modernist reflexivity, Bennett relies on the stutter, the scratch or pause to call attention to her own hand. Importantly though, she reminds us that stutters and burps are also human, and funny. Laughter is likely to be one’s first and lasting reaction to Bennett’s work in sound and video – so much so that perhaps this act of analysis might seem absurd. Close examination of the works on STORY WITHOUT END yield rich results, however, and make me grateful for Bennett’s generous and labored marriage of humor and criticism.

Kevin Hamilton
February 13, 2006
http://www.kevinhamilton.org