City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Can’t Beat the Boots

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More incredible 'bootlegs' emerge (confusing name for those of us 25+, where 'bootleg' = illegally recording a gig). This meta-genre arguably includes The Avalanches' Ibiza mix but definitely two great Osymyso mixes doing the rounds – one makes the best pub quiz question ever; the other more dance-oriented (findable via AudioGalaxy). Best of all are the Strokes/Aquilera hybrid and Destiny's Child vs. Nirvana (conjuring a mental image of a supergroup way harder than Blind Faith – bootylicious grunge). 

<pseud's corner>

I really think this could develop into a genuinely 21stC artform … going way beyond the DJ mix and creating entirely new metamusic out of fragments isolated and recombined through software … a parasite music, preying on the feast of sounds colliding in the infosphere. It's more than just an audacious mixup; you'd need 8+ decks to realise what, say, Osymyso does (more DJ Octopus than Dr. Octogan?). But it's beyond that – it's studio-based editing, timestretching and pitchshifting through software, having stripped out vocal and backing tracks. New music, not new performance. Truly recombinant sound architecture. (That's enough recombining. Ed.)

</pseud's corner>


5 responses to “Can’t Beat the Boots”

  1. jt Avatar

    I spent a couple of anxious afternoons trying to secure ownership of some of these bootleg 7″ releases with their limited runs of 200/300. When done well it’s quite inspiring, always puts a smile on your face. The down side: now this ‘meta-genre’ has been around for over a year there appear to be a few dj’s, in the more ironic venues of London town, that have amassed enough bootlegs to play back-to-back for about an hour or two, exactly what i experienced a couple of weeks ago. I was left longing for an ‘original’ song. Still, this genre does seem to be developing at break-neck speed, as artists seem to try and out-fashion each other.


  2. peter Avatar

    it’s an interesting experience when one is unfamiliar with the source materials that are being played with; having never heard the strokes or christine aguilera chewns i assumed that i was listening to a bit of bubblegum indie – garbage or somesuch. a couple of weeks later i heard ‘genie in a bottle’and all was revealed. there’s much more than mere cut n’ paste going on here though; while osymyso’s work isn’t much more than clever collage, the destiny’s child/aguilera mixes are really sophisticated and for those of us sad enough to be interested in music theory at some level, are evidence of some really keen ears at work. ‘genie in a bottle’ is pretty aptly named; the reworking teases out some delicious harmonies and stuff which are in neither version…not too far distant from charlie parker’s mutation of ‘how high the moon’ into ‘ornithology’or monk’s extraction of ‘rhythm-a-ning’ from ‘i got rhythm’. as jamie says, the quest for novelty and bigger harder faster, stoopider recombinations has probably got every pro-tooled up kid in shoreditch searching through mummy and daddy’s 7″s for nefarious recombinant thrills. probably not a good thing.


  3. dan Avatar

    The site I mentioned above has been closed down. But this one is up and even better.


  4. dan Avatar

    Interview with Osymyso here. Says a couple of interesting things about the bootleg scene blowing itself out as it goes ‘mainstream’ (I personally read that as the user experience suiting the internet rather than ‘real life’) … and about how, despite audiogalaxy etc., he’d still buy records if they were good.


  5. baddie Avatar

    i personally like bootleg remixes because they really pair up the most unlikely to pair-up artists. i have to say that the strokes vs. c. aguilera is unbelievably good. i was so shocked.


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