ECR #014: spotlight on John Oswald’s “Plunderphonics”

Wikipedia sez:

John Oswald (born May 30, urticaria 1953 in Kitchener, prostate Ontario) is a Canadian composer, weight loss saxophonist, photographer, and dancer. His best known project is Plunderphonics, the practice of making new music out of previously existing recordings…

Oswald has been devising illegitimate compositions since the late ’60s. His 1975 track ‘Power’ married frenetic Led Zeppelin guitars to the impassioned exhortations of a Southern US evangelist at least 10 years before hip hop discovered the potency of the same (and related) ingredients. Similarly, his 1990 track ‘Vane’, which pitted two different versions of the song ‘You’re So Vain’ (the Carly Simon original and a cover by Faster Pussycat) against each other, was a blueprint for the contemporary bastard pop subgenre, glitch pop. Oswald coined the term ‘plunderphonics’ to describe his illegitimate craft. In 1993 Oswald released ‘Plexure’. Arguably his most ambitious composition to date, it attempted to microsample the history of CD music up to that point (1982 – 1992) in a 20 minute collage of bewildering complexity. The ambition of this piece would later be recalled by the British bootlegger Osymyso, whose ‘Intro-Inspection’ captured the pop-junkie feel of ‘Plexure’. Osymyso, who at the time was unaware of Oswald’s work, used the same structure of an accelerando (putting his source material in an order from the slowest tempo to the fastest), to link a few bars each of 100 songs, creating a simpler sound than the thousands of overlapping and morphing pop ‘electroquotations’ in ‘Plexure’.

The year 2000 saw the release of the box set “Plunderphonics 69-96″, a two-CD set of Oswald’s works. The 30-minute mix below are some of my favorites from that set.

Track listing:
Birth1
O’Hell
Net
Cyfer
Pretender
Power
Birth3
Z
Angle
Black
Brown
Dab
Birth2

Egg City Radio #014: spotlight on John Oswald’s “Plunderphonics” (MP3)

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778 Responses to ECR #014: spotlight on John Oswald’s “Plunderphonics”

  1. Mark L says:

    Thanks for putting this up, I’ve heard a few John Oswald things and although it’s pretty difficult listening, it’s always interesting. Keep up the excellent work.