Various Artists: Boom Selection_Issue 01

Various Artists
Boom Selection_Issue 01
Boom Selection import

How can you parse a monument like Boom Selection_Issue 01? Don't be silly: You can't. So here are the basics. Put together by The_Dr. (a.k.a. English teenager Daniel Sheldon), the staggering Issue 01 contains three discs of MP3s--mash-up tracks that mix the vocals of one artist with the backing music of another. Featuring 432 songs and 11 DJ mixes ranging in length from 20 to 75 minutes, and totaling around 34 hours (it says 42, but I counted), it is probably the most elaborate compilation ever assembled. And with the inclusion of several unadulterated songs by people like De La Soul, the Avalanches, and Clinic, which have been previously released by the artists' official labels, it's almost certainly the most illegal album ever made.

The selections are dominated by the Frankenstein songcraft of Freelance Hellraiser's justly famous "A Stroke of Genius," or Braces Tower's equally deserving "Special Child" (the vocals of Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" over the music of the Specials' "Ghost Town"). There are also cut-up collages from the Negativland school: Cassetteboy's "We Are New Labour" joins four tracks from Negativland itself, while featuring John Major declaring war on England ("We are launching the biggest assault on poor 11-year-old Emma O'Brien"). And there are combinations of these two styles, like Osymyso's "Intro Introspection," a collection of 100 famous song openings compacted into 12 minutes of concentrated what-the-fuck. There is also, as you'd probably guess, lots and lots of crap: computerized voices intoning "Superstition" and "Anarchy in the U.K.," cluttered sample hodgepodges that go nowhere unpleasantly, DJ sets that not only repeat overarching ideas but contain many of the same mixes as one another and the rest of the compilation itself.

In short, it's too much. But that's a kind of achievement, too: Issue 01 is a smorgasbord, a world unto itself, and when it's good--which is about half the time--it's a better version of the stuff you hear on the radio. Also, the song titles are great found poetry: "Intro (Whoop de France)," "Can't Get You Out of My 24 Hour Party People," "Walk Like a Preacher Man," "Unidentified Flying Thong," "Boom I Fucked Your Boyfriend." Thirty-two hours of this stuff might seem scary on the face of it, but here's something even more frightening: If you've heard mash-up wonders like Freelance Hairdresser's "Marshall's Been Snookered" ("Without Me" over ragtime piano) or Musique Concrete SA's "Third Edition" (Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" over Public Image Ltd.'s "Careering"), you know there's actually stuff Issue 01 missed.

 
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