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A megamix renaissance

Double Dee and Steinski, "Lesson 1: The Payoff" (mastermix.org)

Thanks to 2 Many DJs and Hollertronix, the megamix — quick-cut DJ showcases matching bits of popular songs without regard to genre or copyright — is enjoying a renaissance. English DJ Rich Colour’s Web site, a virtual museum cataloguing dozens of vintage hip-hop and house tapes digitized from cassette and bootleg vinyl, is a reminder that DJs and tape-edit radicals were playing cut-and-paste as early as 1982. "Punk rock, new wave, soul, pop music sounds so rock and roll/Calypso, reggae, rhythm and blues, mastermix those number-one tunes," rapped G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid on their early electro-rap hit "Play That Beat Mr. DJ." The pioneering cut-and-paste duo Double Dee and Steinski took them at their word, peppering the song with bits of songs and dialogue; their remix won a 1983 Tommy Boy–sponsored contest, became a radio hit in its own right, and launched a revolution.

The Illegible DJ Caps and Pandemonium Jones, Moving in Stereo (capsandjones.com)

Even Manhattan DJs fond of Hollertronix have been blown away by Caps & Jones’s megamix. With quicker edits and a broad palette, Stereo sounds as if someone had dug around in your closet, found every secret pleasure you’d ever hoarded, and thrown them all at you like confetti. On the eight-minute snippet available free at their site, the Manhattan duo send Neneh Cherry’s "Buffalo Stance" strutting through Paul McCartney’s "Say Say Say" and Hall and Oates’s "I Can’t Go for That"; it emerges on the other end as the Beastie Boys rapping "Brass Monkey" over the Pixies’ "Monkey Gone to Heaven." That’s in the first 55 seconds: buy the CD and hear Ernie from Sesame Street singing "I’d Like To Visit the Moon" followed by a live performance where the late ODB declares, "I ain’t no motherfucking puppet!"

Certified Bananas, "CB Radio June Mix" (certifiedbananas.blogspot.com)

The monthly MP3-only mix tapes issued by this Providence DJ duo aren’t the work of indie-rockers trying to break into rap — rather, P.Nice and the Audiovandal are two white hip-hop fans trying to shake up their estranged peers on the OC-loving side of the fence. Last month, CB served Three Six Mafia’s "Sippin on Some Syrup" over a hilariously "screwed-and-chopped" version of Modest Mouse’s "Hold On"; this month, the pièce de résistance is Clipse rhyming over Rhode Island frazzle-rock heroes Lightning Bolt. The rest of the mix is equally chainless: Hrvatski’s glitch-riddled "VatStep DSP" resolving into 504 Boyz’ "Wobble Wobble"; a grime blend of Trick Daddy’s "Shut Up"; and a home-run remix of Mashonda’s Beyoncé-esque smash "Back of the Club."

Mark E. Moon, Crunkin’ Donuts (Phoenix featured download)

Indie-rockers are getting into the mastermix too. On this half-hour mix, Moon, a/k/a cartoonist/producer Jef Czekaj, strings songs from Boston basements — Big Digits’ party rap, Cassette’s synth-pop, Squids’ grrrl punk, UV Protection’s sci-fi electro, and his own band Plunge into Death’s disko-punk riot — into an uproarious house party. This is the sound of a scene dancing and screaming its way into life.

(For a full track listing, see 'On the Download.' Certified Bananas spin this Friday, June 3, at Enormous Room, 567 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-491-5550. Plunge into Death play this Tuesday, June 7, at ZuZu, 474 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-3278.)

Issue Date: June 3 - 9, 2005
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