Girl Talk (Pittsburgh producer Gregg Gillis) doesn't want to talk about legal issues. This is disappointing because nothing's more interesting than arcane stipulations regarding the fair use of samples in recordings. Seriously, though, Gillis's reluctance is understandable; his music is largely composed of other people's compositions. However, Girl Talk's transformation and juxtaposition of said songs results in striking new musical pieces. It requires incredible dexterity and artistry.
That this is even an issue surprises Gillis. He never expected to reach this level of hype, although he realized Night Ripper was more accessible than his strident glitchcore on 2002's Secret Diary and 2003's Unstoppable. "I was set in an underdog mentality for a while because of the little attention given to my last few releases and tours," Gillis says. "So it blew my mind when the new album [exploded]."
Night Ripper rightly became a critical/blogospherical smash, and his tooth-chipping, stage-mobbing live shows only bolster Gillis's star power. (Tabloid celebs attend his shows, and remix demands from artists like Beck and Grizzly Bear jam his inbox.) The album exudes pan-generic/pan-generational love for radio staples and popular club fare, plus nods to alt-rock icons. To create an album like Night Ripper it seems necessary to be in constant hyperanalytical mode, glued to the radio 24/7. It's ironic that one of this decade's ultimate party records resulted from a degree of nerdishness more typical of social outcasts.
"Well, I am an engineer by day," Gillis says, "so I think that says a bit about my work style. I never intended Night Ripper to be some sort of ultimate party record. I was trying to walk the line between making something interesting as a composition, something you can listen to by yourself, and something that would be enjoyable to get drunk to with your friends. To me, it's kind of experimental dance music. Traditional dance music is much more repetitive, and that is a successful formula. I'm juiced that people want to party and dance to this record, though. It's just not the exact response I expected."
For his live performance, expect Gillis to "use bits and pieces from the album and mix it up with new material. Before every show, I set up a template of samples and loops that I need to practice in order to get the proper combinations and transitions down to a science. So this is like my songwriting and rehearsing process. I play all of this material on the fly in the live setting, but the order and style I'll go through is set in my mind, like a song. I try to change it up as much as possible to keep it interesting for me, but I also like to blast Night Ripper favorites."
SATURDAY JANUARY 27
This is the CD-release party for Detalles' Micros Morning (issued by Seattle's poised-for-greatness Kupei Musika). Detalles consist of Chile's Andres Bucci and Chicago's Kate Simko; their sophomore disc is minimal techno executed with utmost rhythmic and textural finesse and grace. Anyone into Kompakt Records' more melodically beautiful side should embrace this strong, filler-free LP. Simko's solo output is similarly artful, as evidenced by her 2006 Decibel slot. A classically trained pianist/composer, she can work a dance floor or fulfill your most strenuous headphone-listening requirements—and she's remixed a Philip Glass track (visit her MySpace to hear it). Note: The promoters have scheduled Simko's set for 11:15 pm to allow those inclined to catch Girl Talk's performance at Chop Suey, for a best-of-both-worlds scenario. With Portland's SciFiSol and Kristina Childs. VIP Room (below Bad Juju Lounge/Neumo's), 1425 10th Ave, 709-9442, 10 pm—2 am, $5, 21+.
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 31
MAD PROFESSOR, DR. ISRAEL
Dub be good to you tonight. Mad Professor (Neil Fraser) has earned his sobriquet with several albums and remixes that have carried dub's mixing-board sorcery into the post-'70s era. Along with Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound stable, Mad Professor has made the UK one of dub's hotbeds of invention since he began producing 25 years ago in his Ariwa studio. Prof is revered for No Protection (1995), his amazingly sensuous and psychedelic reconfiguration of Massive Attack's Protection. His style is deep, disorienting, and sometimes daft. Brooklyn toaster/producer Dr. Israel was a key figure with avant-dub label WordSound. He's as adept at forging rootsy dub reggae and dancehall-inflected hiphop as he is at lacing drum 'n' bass dynamics into King Tubby—style studio wizardry. Studio Seven, 110 S Horton St, 286-1312, 8 pm—2 am, $12 adv, $15 DOS, all ages.