New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

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

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 4 ]


  1. Thomas
    [ Posted July 12, 2010, at 5:58 pm ]

    Excellent, thanks! btw if you download the whole ep (free) at bandcamp, you also get a free music video.

  2. Disruptive Platypus
    [ Posted July 13, 2010, at 10:10 am ]

    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.

  3. Disruptive Platypus
    [ Posted July 13, 2010, at 10:11 am ]

    Forgot to mention that I enjoyed Mystified’s Plunderman as well.

  4. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted July 13, 2010, at 11:18 am ]

    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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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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