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by plunderphonics

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    also includes all the original CD artwork size-as: rip your own clone!
    Each track is accompanied by a relevant excerpt from a 50,000 word interview with plunderphonics producer John Oswald by Norman Igma in which they discuss all sixty tracks in the 69plunderphonics96 retrospective box set.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $4 USD  or more


  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 5 plunderphonics releases available on Bandcamp and save 15%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of RipRap, plunderphonic songs, plunderphonic tunes, GRAYFOLDED, and ELEKTRAX. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      $29.75 USD or more (15% OFF)


o'hell 03:54 video
'hello, you love me'
2net 01:21
'crazy crazy crazy'
anon 04:22
'love me only as long as if some day is yours this time to fill'
vane 03:22
‘you took me hot to perform one thigh’
mother 01:58
'jam out the kicks motherffffffffffffffff'


The following is an excerpt from an interview with plunderphonics reproducer John Oswald and mLAB historian Norman Igma during which Oswald recounts the backstory for Elektrax:

Igma— These five tracks constitute the entirety of an EP commissioned by Elektra Entertainment in 1990, which was never released.

Oswald— A few thousand were pressed for radio. I think that except for a fix-up in 'o’hell', and remastering 'mother', which was bass-shy in the original, that this is more or less an exact replica of the 'elektrax' CD-EP.

I— Which Elektra gave the title Rubáiyát. Were there any other things they changed or gave you a hard time about?

O— Other than vetoing Carly Simon’s breast for the cover, no. That was a bit strange because they had already released the same photo on the front of her album.

I— I’ve noticed that many of the cuts in [the CD box set] '69plunderphonics96' have different track start points than they did in the original releases.

O— Which is a result of mastering in house now, which we weren’t doing in the late eighties. This resulted in a few errors, like the last note of 'vane' seeming to be the first note of 'mother', which has been corrected here. In addition we’re treating some of the intros as true segues, or as things which are separate from the song.
The whole 'elektrax' project ensued serendipitously from a phone call Nonesuch president Bob Hurwitz and Elektra president Bob Krasnow made, with the intention of eavesdropping on the mLab phone machine message. They got me instead and Krasnow began pitching me on committing plunderphonics on all forty tracks of a retrospective they were preparing. Trouble was he wanted it in two weeks. We negotiated a less ambitious game plan and i set about transforming a half dozen commercially available tracks. Their proposal was that i could have access to anything in their vaults: out takes, and so on, but in its purest sense plunderphonic pieces are made from resources familiar to and available to everybody. So i went down to the record store and bought the CDs and made new songs from them. Perhaps this is the main distinction between most of what i’ve done and the dub esthetic, and the remix subindustry: you don’t need special access to source materials to do what i do. But there was something else we had been wanting to try at mLab, which entailed my switching entirely away from tape recorders and working exclusively with computers as dubbing, editing, mixing and reproducing devices for this project.
Up to that point, if i wanted to work with a recording i would make an analogue dub of it which is a bit like taking a photograph of a photograph, or making a photocopy of it. The dub is different. Not necessarily worse but definitely different. In the early days i would intentionally make very noisy dubs of things and dubs of dubs of dubs which is why there’s such a maelstrom of noise in some of my first efforts. But, and particularly in response to the casual and often feeble electroquoting found in hip hop, i eventually became very fastidious and perhaps fetishistic in that audiophile sort of way about finding versions of sources which sounded close to the master tapes; and then reproducing these very carefully. Compact discs simplified the search in many cases because, at least with new releases which were mastered specifically for compact disc, each copy on CD was essentially a clone of the digital master; so each was the best version. Transferring our operations to computer and keeping everything in the digital domain meant that we could maintain this veracity throughout the process. The plunderphonic versions would sound identical to the source, only rearranged variously in time.
The potential difficulty was in changing everything about my working methods within a two week schedule. I usually have a different working method for each project. In this case, although the metaphors in computer audio software emulate analogue tape recorders, my way of working or thinking about working was initially so different as to be disorienting. I tried to edit sound clips for about a day on the computer and then thought we had made a mistake and was about to go back to razor and tape and the wild-synch multi-track system which was central to mLab working methods. But on the second day i continued to edit on the computer and things began to fall into place and, in a few days, i had finished 'o’hell'.


released October 31, 1990




plunderphonics Antarctica

plunderphonics is the genre title coined by John Oswald to 'cover the counter-covert world of converted sound and retrofitted music, where collective melodic memories of the familiar are mined and rehabilitated to a new life. The blatant borrowings of the privateers of sound are a class distinct from common sample pocketing, parroting, and tune thievery.' ... more

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