(Photo by James Andrew Kachan)
I remember listening to Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album for the first time as a junior in college and thinking what a revelation it was. Two artists having only an insane amount of popularity in common — Jay-Z and The Beatles — spliced together in a nearly flawless display of execution. The project launched Danger Mouse, aka Brian Burton, into projects with marquee and emerging artists alike, from The Black Keys to Beck.
When I listen to Kids & Explosions mastermind Josh Raskin has done on his LP Shit Computer, I am not blown away like I was when I put on my headphones and absorbed The Grey Album. Might be because mashups are so commonplace now, or it could be because Shit Computer — with its slicing and dicing of contemporary artists — is an entirely different animal, more akin to the likes of say, Girl Talk.
But Raskin’s forced musical marriages are intriguing, and they manage to provoke all kinds of reactions.
Surprise, maybe an eye roll: When he mixes Iron & Wine’s cover of “Such Great Heights” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with vulgarities from Eminem, Lil Wayne and plenty of other rappers on a track dubbed simply “Swear Words”.
Delight, an appreciative smirk: When Raskin melds Feist’s superb vocals from The Reminder‘s “The Park” with 2Pac’s lament from “Let’s Get It On”. Trust me, it works awfully well.
Or satisfaction: The NPR-buzzed track “Use Your Words”, which takes Emily Haines vocals and layers Ol’ Dirty Bastard on top, along with Lauryn Hill and several other samples.
It’s apparent that Raskin has a good sense of humor about his craft. After all, his moniker is a terrifying mashup itself. Raskin has the skill and precision to twist and manipulate his pieces into combinations that are in fact something novel.
Check out some tracks below (just press play), and get the whole album for whatever you wish to pay here.