For two decades, Vicki Bennett recorded albums and toured the world as People Like Us, a comprehensive audio-visual art project that makes prodigious use of archival films, library music, and vintage Billboard hits, and is also responsible for the phrases “plagiarhymthic” and “irritainment.” You may know People Like Us from WFMU’s amazing Do or DIY show.
If you’re not yet familiar with People Like Us, think of Bennett as a wholly psychedelic and disjointed Girl Talk or a tuneful and playful Negativland. But don’t confuse her with some sort of wanky mashup treachery or inaccessible noise exploration. People Like Us exists as more of a musique concerte-style sound collage – a delightful kaleidoscope of trippy hauntological movements and pop-oriented culture jamming. She pulls tons of source material from the fair use Pellinger Archives, and was the first artist ever to be granted unfettered access to the entire BBC Archive. The result is a gorgeous deconstructing and warped reassembling of 20th century pop standards and atomic age ambient electronic that should thrill fans of The Advisory Circle and other Ghost Box contemporaries.
Her new album, the cleverly titled Welcome Abroad, plays like a seamless mixtape, and was the result of being volcanically marooned in the U.S. throughout much of 2010. She made the most of her situation by inviting members of Half Japanese and Matmos to contribute. The result is awesome. Welcome Abroad is out May 24 on Illegal Art, but you can stream it right now… which you should do!
For fans of: The Advisory Circle, Negativland, Wise Blood, Paper Rad