Pittsburgh artist Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) has scrupulously created music from samples for over eight years. His fourth album, Feed the Animals, continues his sonic evolution towards his...Expand
Pittsburgh artist Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) has scrupulously created music from samples for over eight years. His fourth album, Feed the Animals, continues his sonic evolution towards his party-infested live show. While his first album, Secret Diary (2002), was full of purposeful glitches and noise, his subsequent albums, Unstoppable (2004) and the groundbreaking Night Ripper (2006), moved closer and closer towards dance-able mixes of varying genres, often including dozens of audio sources in a stream of juxtaposed hooks. With the fourth Girl Talk album on the Illegal Art label, Gillis steps even closer towards a creation that is centered on pop musicality rather than attention-deficit sample splicing.
Girl Talk has been known to underground audiences for several years, but it wasn't until 2006 that Gillis crossed over and caught the attention of a larger audience. With Rolling Stone, SPIN, Blender, Pitchfork, and even Beck including Night Ripper in their "best albums of 2006" lists, Girl Talk has gone on to be booked by major festivals (Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Virgin, All Points West, Pitchfork, DEMF, etc.), and solicited for remixes (Beck, Thrill Jockey, Tokyo Police Club, Grizzly Bear, Simian Mobile Disco, Peter Bjorn & John, TeddyBears, and Of Montreal). And with roughly 200 live shows over the last couple of years, Gillis has consistently played larger venues to capacity crowds (every date on his 2007 North American tour with Dan Deacon sold out).
The new album, Feed the Animals, collects the material that was developed over the last two years as part of Gillis' ever-changing live show. With hours of material in hand, it still took months to meticulously edit together the seamless album that combines 300+ samples in 50 minutes. Such fastidious care is what separates Girl Talk from the dime-a-dozen remixes that are posted to the Internet daily. In comparison to the previous release, Gillis has described this new album as expanded, with a larger range of tempos and samples. Yet, at the same time the focus has shifted from technical prowess to the flow and balance of each segment in an effort to successful translate the over-the-top party feel of the Girl Talk live show into album form.
While Girl Talk's music is often categorized alongside mashups, or DJ mixes, it is critical to note how distinct his assemblages are from the traditional mixing of two simultaneous tracks. Gillis' roots lie more in the rich history of sample-based compostion as demonstrated by artists such as Dickie Goodman, Negativland, John Oswald, Steinski, Public Enemy (The Bomb Squad era), and countless others. Rather than taking mashups to an extreme, Girl Talk is more focused on the art of the sampling and developing new tracks that have their own character, and surpass the original elements. Such transformative work is what helps qualify his output as being protected by the fair use principle of U.S. Copyright Law.