Album: Cassetteboy

Mick's Tape, SANCTUARY
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Once offering an exciting, instant survey of contemporary trends, the mix album has become one of the more tedious items in the pop landscape. Most are simply unimaginative DJ sets committed to disc, a string of guaranteed (i.e.: banal) floor-fillers linked by that ubiquitous boom-cha-boom-cha kick-drum and hi-hat: utilitarian, characterless, and soon out of date. Who buys this crap?

Once offering an exciting, instant survey of contemporary trends, the mix album has become one of the more tedious items in the pop landscape. Most are simply unimaginative DJ sets committed to disc, a string of guaranteed (i.e.: banal) floor-fillers linked by that ubiquitous boom-cha-boom-cha kick-drum and hi-hat: utilitarian, characterless, and soon out of date. Who buys this crap?

Thanks, then, to Cassetteboy for restoring the mix-tape to its more entertaining, inventive origins in hip-hop patchworks like Paul's Boutique and 3 Feet High and Rising. And further, for replacing the sometimes annoying raps with cut-up vocal samples designed to raise a smile whilst you wait for the next track by Squarepusher, Fela Kuti, Ivor Cutler, Screaming Lord Sutch or calypso veteran Lord Kitchener - a list which gives an impression of the broader boundaries within which the Cassetteboy collective work.

The duo have previously worked under a variety of aliases, and released 2002's The Parker Tapes as a de facto bootleg - and no wonder, judging by the potential copyright minefield posed by the 44 tracks of Mick's Tape, whose thousands of tiny edits conceal all manner of mischief. Basically, wherever Cassetteboy can make a sample-subject appear to swear, or discuss matters sexual, rest assured it will be done, in a manner which blends the scurrilousness of Chris Morris with the schoolboy humour of Viz. TV presenter Tiff Needel appears to discuss crack-whores with a Scotsman; a historical documentary appears to claim that Queen Victoria grew testicles; and Cromwell, it's claimed, "deposited his noxious spunk all over the Domesday Book", a breach of good manners which for some reason went unreported in my history textbooks. Elsewhere, one hilarious bit depicts how "on September the third, 1939, Britain declared war on George Formby", by editing together a split-second fragment of ukulele followed by an explosion: facile, but funny.

Interspersed between these humorous entractes are tracks ranging from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's theme to Tomorrow's World, to MC Cox's Mike Skinner-esque "OPT", in which he offers a new perspective on the Middle East by imagining "London on a Palestine twist". Curtis Mayfield, Ramsey Lewis, Fennesz and Happy Mondays are also included - though not necessarily as they might wish: the Mondays' "Kuff Dam", for instance, has been sped up, so that Shaun Ryder sounds like a cartoon midget. Anything for a laugh. And if you don't like something, be reassured that it'll soon be replaced, probably in less than a minute, by something equally offensive. God bless Cassetteboy, restoring the fun to a form that was dying of boredom.

Comments