People Like Us Recyclopaedia Britannica Review

BBC Review

A compilation of the finest plunderphonic moments from the career of Vicki Bennett...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Surely if anyone could possibly be next in line John Oswald's plunderphonic crown, it must be Vicki Bennett (aka People Like Us). With a background that includes work on labels like Staalplaat, Audioview and Solielmoon, she's been at it for a while now and luckily for us, somebody has finally seen fit to collect some of her best material and release this excellent and often hilarious "best of" compilation.

While having worked closely with a variety of artists and musicians, including renowned American audio terrorists Negativland, the past few years have really seen Bennett come into her own; forging a path that heads boldly forward rather than just looping an endless circle. She challenges the cultural elite and that's exactly why we love her.

For those unfamiliar with Bennett's work; imagine hearing a dj mix where the record changes every 2 seconds, mixingobscure German polka, children's records, BBC Radio Sussex, 80s synth pop, spoken word self-help programmes, radio call in shows, bad jazz records etc; everything and the kitchen sink has been re-assembled, re-arranged and re-interpreted to create a world that makes Alice in Wonderland look basically like, well Milton Keynes.

Often with music like this, it's very easy to get caught up in the whole postmodern pseudo-intellectual diatribe of plunderphonic cut and paste aesthetics. For Bennett, however, her sense of humour is what really shines through. Instead of getting all heavy on us - she basically tells us what we already know - that fart noises, kazoos, yodeling and obscure German polka will always be funny, no matter how many syllables you prefer in your conversation.

Bennett has continued to impress us with her technical ability and her wonderful sense of the ridiculous, especially when it relates to her particular world view of British culture (and let's not forget her brilliant cut ups from the Happy Valley Ranch). Recyclopaedia Brittanica is a wonderful release that should be a must for cut and paste connoisseurs everywhere, and like crisps - once you start indulging, you won't be able to stop.

And let's face it - anyone who not only wrote but wholeheartedly admitted to writing adoring fan letters to Marc Almond and Genesis P-Orridge can't be all that bad, can they?

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