Feed the Animals
When I heard the first Girl Talk album a few years back, I was pretty excited. It isn’t like remixing is innovative, nor is Gregg Gillis fashioning a new art form (even if he has made it more fashionable again). Sound collage has been around since Frank Zappa and Negativland made waves in decades past (and current), and DJs had been making beautiful mash-ups in clubs long before professors and college kids alike decided The Grey Album was a novel concept. But I liked hearing almost-recognizable '80s tracks under the latest dance craze, so I stuck with the unlikely DJ. Upon the arrival of the newest effort from the Pittsburgh-based laptop fiend, who more than a few of us grew up alongside, I remained optimistic while knowing I could be in for far too much of the same. Eight years is a long time to remix pop samples, even if you’re good at it.
And yet, Feed the Animals is fun, if excessively hip-hop heavy, at times, and a welcome change from older tracks that have since become far too repetitive in my iTunes. Once you get past the first two tracks, the album - which felt sort of a pair of shoes too bulky, heels too high to properly walk - becomes suddenly comfortable. Suddenly you’re ready to dance down the block and catch yourself wondering if that’s a Mya track from 1998 next to 2008 Britney Spears. Who knew Hot Chip mixed so well with Big Country? It all sounds so suddenly similar, or at the very least, complimentary.
Perhaps this is how sampling is supposed to evolve: new music, available for free via download, every so often. Otherwise, will we get bored? Did we already? The difference now is that what once felt like intangible club remixes now come out of your computer speakers. And maybe that magic was supposed to be left behind at the end of the night out, but I’m pretty into bringing it home.