Saturday 2 October 2010
Dylan Jones: ‘Smells like Rockin’ Robin’ is a record that by rights should be number one all over the world'
"Smells Like Rockin' Robin" may not be troubling the mashup charts (the last time I looked, Squarepusher vs Emiliana Torrini was No 1), but it was all over New York Fashion week two weeks ago. It was used as a warm-up for the Tommy Hilfiger show, and could be heard blasting out of iPod docks all over the city. Produced by bootleg/mashup remixer Mark Vidler (aka Go Home Productions), "Smells Like Rockin' Robin" is an astonishing combination of Nirvana and the Jackson 5, and is one of the best records I've heard all year.
"Well, it's surprised me," he says, "but 'Smells Like Rockin' Robin' has indeed caused a bit of a stir. It's already surpassed any previous GHP YouTube effort, Twitter-feed or blog-posting. A couple of years ago I got off the 'mashup/bastard pop' crazy train because the journey wasn't much fun any more. The initial vibe that drew me in back in 2002 had all but evaporated and it was becoming far too work-like, largely due to a fault of my own creation."
Having once been responsible for such bootlegs as "Ray of Gob", which spliced together Madonna's "Ray of Light" and the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" and "God Save the Queen", at the beginning of the year Vidler got the bug back and started mashing things again, producing this classic mashup as well as a Carpenters' version of "Wonderwall", which has to be heard to be believed.
It's not so surprising to hear mashups at fashion shows, as the runway was always the best place to hear sonic juxtaposition. Back in the Eighties, when Bodymap were one of the most important design teams in London, their shows were always accompanied by an esoteric mix of sounds, with DJs mixing Dvorak and the Stooges with Dinah Washington and the Detroit Emeralds. Today's fashion show audiences take this sort of mélange as a given – hardly a surprise when you hear the Rolling Stones blended into the new Dizzee Rascal.
"Smells Like Rockin' Robin" is something else again, a record that by rights should be No 1 all over the world. It is in my house anyway. And we don't even have a catwalk.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'
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