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DJ Food Mashup

The Disquiet Downstream focuses on recordings posted by musicians online for intended download. Occasionally a demonstratively law-flouting set, like DJ Danger Mouse’s matchmaking between Jay-Z and the Beatles, last year’s Grey Album, vaults itself into the near-public domain through sheer force of ubiquity. By Danger Mouse’s concise litigious standards, Ninja Tune Records stalwart DJ Food‘s new Raiding the 20th Century is a veritable Bleak House of mashups, an hour of copyright-teasing snippets sewn together with a blend of Christian Marclay’s sense of pop-culture curation, an FM radio promo’s interest in keeping your attention, and an NPR afternoon forum on intellectual property. Listen in as Dizzee Rascal fades into the Beastie Boys, not long after the 20th Century Fox drum roll starts things going and Roy Orbison returns from the dead for evenly paced moans. According to Food’s website, djfood.org, the mix’s unwitting lineup includes concrete-music figures (Alvin Lucier, John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Steve Reich), pop-music ones (Kylie Minogue, S Club 7, Destiny’s Child, Missy Elliott) and those who bridge the gap (Negativland, Beatles, Jon Oswald, Grandmaster Flash, Invisbl Skratch Piklz).

DJ Food is a name up for grabs at the Ninja Tune offices, and it’s been used by Ninja’s founders (Coldcut’s Jonathan More and Matt Black) and by Patrick Carpenter, among others. On Raiding, it’s Strictly Kev calling the shots, with chunks of spoken word by William S. Burroughs, and by Art of Noise veteran Paul Morley, talking about the subject at hand in excerpts from his recent book, Words and Music: A History of Pop in the Shape of a City. The DJ Food site removed the track after download requests overloaded its server. Now the file is floating about the Internet, all 72,552 kilobytes of it. Two places to start looking are entroporium.com (entry, file) and seibuone.com (entry, file). An earlier, and somewhat less sizable, version of the track remains up on djfood.org’s info page (here), along with a PDF of the track listing, though that’s somewhat less than helpful, since it consists largely of remixes, and not of the remixes’ contents.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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