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 mystified.bandcamp.com, 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.
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.