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I am incapable of making plunderphonics / I make plunderphonics all the time.
A PLUNDERPHONIC REANIMATION OF LISTENING WOMAN’S NONE​-​A​-​THAT STUFF! by James Staub or Muddy Wires is a hyperactive record, and it uses this hyperactivity to interweave these nearly cacophonous patterns with one another into a quilt of texture and sound. It’s plunderphonics in its purest form.
There’s a transition on track one A Placated Knee’s Nettings that invokes a feeling of impending dread for me, but at once breaks into something that comes closer to mental fog and confusion. I’m going along with James Staub who is sharing the results of an operation not entirely without pretension, as he explores what places these snippets can take us.
Track 3, A Cemented Sinus Noun A Cad Evergreen, Nine Gyms Town 2,740 / Bitch Wit 8, reminds me of a time I once smoked DMT by myself, and then decided to take a walk. I walked until I came to a deadfall. I climbed (and fell off) this deadfall repeatedly for 20 minutes in a misguided attempt to climb over it for some reason. When I came to my senses I was exhausted and covered with small scratches/scrapes. I turned around to walk 5 minutes back to my house thinking about what just happened and vowing to never smoke DMT alone again. With this contemplative ending it’s a perfect anecdote for this song. By its end you’re left sitting there, bleeding from a hundred small scratches, pondering what just happened to you.
Following this track is A Placated Knee’s Owl Nettings Encircle As Turmeric, which hits me in a fucked up way, and reminds me of a dog yelping in pain. Everything on this record is fractured, broken, and rearranged. It’s the audio equivalent of creating a tile mosaic where you smash everything into random pieces and using those pieces to make another whole, which plunderphonics is striving for this as a musical genre. Track 6, Ed’s Pink Rig, explores the underlying procedure more, like he’s showing you how this happens. This track is definitely the most “musical” so far, but it’s actively decaying into fragments to match what was used to build everything else. Meanwhile we’re being led into the closing track Twit On Hotcakes, which returns to its fractured and hyperactive form.
This album makes me want to see a performance of it badly. To sit in a coffee shop among my fellow pretentious assholes as we watch a person weave a tapestry of sound from music that’s been ripped to shreds. To experience it less as a piece of music, and more as a piece of art. As far as a source, he’s exploring spaces provided by the origin album, “none​-​a that stuff​!​” by Listening Woman, originally released by Friendship Tapes. It’s an avant garde jazz record that’s part musical appreciation, part performance art. I would have loved to see this live too, hopping around from genre to genre. Expressive vocals spouting these surreal snippets of lyrics. Definitely an interesting piece from which to create a sound pallette.
The term plunderphonics originates with John Oswald’s Plunderphonic EP, but earlier examples of these same techniques exist. My view is that plunderphonics as a genre is a continuation of the evolution of foley art. Early Warner Brothers Looney Tunes soundtracks were using foley art to explore creating music using a similar method, applying disparate sounds into a larger whole. Plunderphonics turns this entire concept on its head somewhat, and creates something slightly left of music yet made with musical pieces. Plunderphonics is the chicken nuggets of music. Grind up everything into tiny bits, and press them into “familiar shapes” for simpler palatability. Unfortunately not everyone will be able to palate it due to the nature of the exercise, very much like actual chicken nuggets. Since it’s by design a pink slime of sound we’re being presented on purpose, I dip my nugget brain into some sauce and bite into it contentedly.

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