Retro-Proto-Electronica (MP3)

Sampling puts an interesting spin on the old axiom about how if you’re going to steal, then steal from the best. As Mystified shows with his Adventures of Plunderman album, available for free download at, much can be made with goofy retro pop. He describes the five-track collection as “a plunderphonic wonder uniting samples of vintage vinyl with the production techniques of contemporary electronica.” The idea of plunderphonics comes from John Oswald, an early copyleft-culture figure who used pre-digital cut’n’paste techniques to produce sonic collages from all manner of audio documents, high and low, pop and classical, musical and documentary. Where Oswald was chaotic, a kind of fast-forward button personified, Mystified’s approach is more populist — he adds beats to the original, space-age pop, bridging the time between the eras of exotica and electronica.

<a href="">Plunderman 3 by mystified</a>

The overall results have much in common with the more pop end of downtempo music, the modern-day lounge music that is often more useful in the background than the foreground — but rest assured that Park, ever the experimenter, uses repetition (there’s something almost maniacal about the lack of development in some of his themes) and peculiar little sonic cues (flies in the bachelor-pad ointment) to distinguish the work. As such, Plunderman has a conceptual aura that brings to mind Lifestyle Marketing, the release by Thes One (of People Under the Stairs) that took as its source material the commercial music of jingle composer Herb Pilhofer.

This Plunderman track’s original home is at More on Mystified, aka Thomas Park, at

4 thoughts on “Retro-Proto-Electronica (MP3)

  1. Marc, I was interested in your comment that “. . . modern-day lounge music that is often more useful in the background than the foreground . . .”. I know you were speaking in general, however, as a fan of modern-day lounge, I’d say something like “like the weakest modern-day lounge music that is often more useful in the background than the foreground.” Yes, I know it is semantics, but to paint an entire genre as background music is not helpful. Imagine is someone wrote the same about Ambient or IDM, etc. Let me reiterate, that I understand your point completely as I detest anemic music by lazy musicians as much as the next person.

  2. Thanks, DP — I am rarely one to single out entire genres. I’d hoped my employment of the word “often” made it clear I didn’t mean the whole realm of modern, electronified lounge. (And if you have names to recommend, please do so. I’d appreciate it.)

    And glad you dug the track. The whole set’s quite good.

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