Saturday, February 17, 2007

Santastic II - Clausome!

Welcome to Mash-up Saturday!

Today we look at four different Christmas online comps that feature the handy work of DJs and mixers from around the world to create brand new takes on your favorite Christmas music.

For those not wise in the ways of the mash-up, this phenomenon may have gotten its start way back in the classical days. Composers used to rework other compositions and used the term "variations on a theme by..."

Fast forward to the 1960s. Dickie Goodman was breaking new ground with his break-in records. A gent by the name of John Oswald began experimenting with fusing two pieces of music using tape and scissors. The BBC TV show "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" featured a segment entitled "One Song To The Tune Of Another" that featured crude forms of the mash-up.

In the 1970s, Frank Zappa began picking out basslines and other samples from music into his own. Club and disco DJs began mastering the art of the mix board. A company named Disconet began issuing remixed versions of disco songs not heard on the radio.

Throughout the 1980s, the mash-up was wholly embraced by the underground and were heard in clubs around the world. New wave artists and hip-hop artists began reinventing the mash-up. Negativland, Double Dee and Steinski, and The KLF began issuing illegal music and were all promptly crucified for their efforts.

Then in 1990 came the first breakthrough. A group named DNA reworked the Suzanne Vega song "Tom's Diner" (Doo doo doo doo, doo da-doo doo) and became a huge underground hit.

To her credit, Vega liked the reinterpretation and told her record label (A&M Records) to buy the single and issue it. A year later, "Tom's Album" was released featuring remixes and remakes of "Tom's Diner" by other artists and DJs.

Since then, many artists began to use samples from other songs and remixes of hits have become the norm. However, the fusing of two songs to create a new song was still underground out of fear of reprisal from the music industry.

Ten years later, the mash-up reemerged to stay. The legendary album "As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2" was released in 2001 as well as the remix of Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle" with the sounds of the New York punk band The Strokes entitled "A Stroke of Genie-us".

The mash-up was fully embraced in England where it had a varied amount of names: bastard pop, bootlegs, smash-ups, blends, powermixes, boots, and cut-ups. The mash-up also found a home on the Internet where DJs could quickly issue MP3s of their latest works on their websites. Get Your Bootleg On (or GYBO) became the first community expressly for mash-ups and continues to thrive today.

One site you can visit is of a Boston DJ who has worked with mash-ups for several years. His stage name is DJ BC and he was responsible for the amazing 2005 Christmas compilation entitled "Santastic: Holiday Boots 4 Your Stockings" which I reviewed last year.

Last December, he compiled another collection and released it as "Santastic II: Clausome"! It's still available online! While you're downloading that, here are DJ BC's answers to the questions I've asked everyone whose comp has been reviewed here:

1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?

Started in August 06, probably.

2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comps.

With the help of the gybo community ( and some others, I've compiled a Christmas Mashup album for the past two years - Santastic 1 and Santastic 2. I basically made some mashups myself and asked some of my favorite remixers from around the world to contribute a track or two, then I order the tracks and create a sleeve and website around the album. The result is a raucous and fun Xmash adventure!

3.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?

Reminds me of my childhood, a time when things were clear and there was a sense of the good true and pure in the world. Amen.

4.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comps?

The "Imagine Santa" video got a particularly good response. People get a kick out of hearing the music they know so well recontextualized.

5.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas? - my basic DJ page - My mashups page - my regular mashup night in Boston with Lenlow

6.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?

Check out my other tunes and news at, and come to Mash Ave when you are in Boston!


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - "Jingle Bells" / The Velvet Underground - "Sweet Jane"
Great grouping of sound (with some help from The Beatles & A Charlie Brown Christmas)!

2.) The Carpenters - "Sleigh Ride" / Roots Radic - "Gambling"
Who knew The Carpenters were so shaggy when doing reggae, mon? Brilliant track!

3.) Trans-Siberian Orchestra - "Wizards in Winter" / The Beatles - "Eleanor Rigby" (DIY Acapella) / Michael Jackson - "Beat It" (Loop) / Beastie Boys - "High Plains Drifter" (Loop) / Black Eyed Peas - "Pump It" (Acapella) / Robert Shaw Chorale - "Carol of the Bells" / Boston Pops Orchestra - "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" / Gorillaz - "Feel Good" / Yello - "Oh Yeah"
OH YEAH INDEED! DJ John was the guy behind "The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown"!

4.) Augie Rios - "Donde Esta Santa Claus" / Jacques Your Body - "Les Rhythmes Digitales" / Public Enemy - "Give It Up"
Lenlow has done the impossible - make Augie Rios listenable! I bow to you sir!

5.) Darlene Love - "Winter Wonderland" / Bobby Helms - "Jingle Bell Rock" / Bob & Doug McKenzie - "12 Days of Christmas" / Bill Withers - "Use Me" / Barry White - "I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More Baby" / White Noise Factory - "Can You Feel The Rush" / Cal Tjader - "Samba Do Suenho" / Prodigy - "Everybody In The Place"
You have to listen carefully for Darlene and it doesn't have a Christmas feel throughout... but overall, I liked the change of pace!

6.) Offspring - "Self Esteem" / Tyskarna från Lund - "Achtung X-Mas"
This one kinda misses the mark for me. Maybe it's because I've never heard each song separately.

7.) DJ Kool - "Let Me Clear My Throat" / Hilary Duff - "Sleigh Ride"
DJ Kool totally removed Duff's vocal... EXTRA BONUS POINTS AWARDED! Excellent reworking!

8.) Outkast - "Idlewild Blues" / Bikini Machine - La fille du Pere Noel (Jacques Dutron Cover)
I don't feel the Christmas in this one at all. Pity.

9.) Elvis Presley - "Away In A Manger" / Chubby Checker - "The Twist" / Brian Setzer - "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"
That Brian Setzer sounds like the Rubber Band's version a whole lot! Crafty editing and reworking throughout - "Rockin' around ... in a manger!"

10.) Unknown steel drum band - "Jingle Bells" / The Kol Tikvah 6th Grade Choir, Woodland Hills, CA - "The Dreidl Song"
GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Steel drums by themselves is pretty good, but add the kiddies singing "Dreidl Song" and it becomes mind blowing! One of the best mash-ups on the disc!

11.) Adam Sandler - "The Chanukah Song" / Van Halen - "Jump" / Samples from "Spartacus", "The Godfather", "Star Trek" and "Happy Days"
A mash-up with something for everyone! I never thought I'd hear Sonny Corleone in a Christmas song! GENIUS!

12.) Sarah Silverman - "Give The Jew Girl Toys" / Trio - "Da Da Da"
I didn't think it would work. But it does... and I strangely enjoyed this one! Love the overall sound!

13.) Dean Martin - "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" / Black Sabbath - "Paranoid" / The Crystals - "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Crystals"
GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Pairing Dino with Black Sabbath? I am speechless. Amazing with a capital A!

14.) Greg Lake - "I Believe In Father Christmas" / Tipper - "On A Limb"
WOW! This pairing works well considering I never heard the Tipper and I'm not a fan of the Greg Lake song!

15.) Chuck Berry - "Run Rudolph Run" / Corinne Bailey Rae - "I'd Like To" / Todd Edwards - "My Faith" / Sr. Click - "Después de todo"
I had to listen to this three times to figure out those synthesizer fills are actually Chuck Berry. Gets a thumb down.

16.) The Temptations - "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" / Low 5 - "Sneaker Pimps"
I kinda wish this mash did more. It feels repetitive - no drive whatsoever.

17.) Paul McCartney - "Wonderful Christmastime" / Rhythm Scholar - "Beats, Scratching and Effects" / Samples from "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" (1970) and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964)
This one almost lost me but the appearance of the Burgermeister towards the end tips the scales back! Fun!

18.) Wham - "Last Christmas" (instrumental and original) / Martha & The Vandellas - "Dancing In The Streets" (acapella) / ABBA - "The Winner Takes It All" / Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Take two of these songs together, you'd have a kick ass mash. But all FOUR? WOW!

19.) Michael Jackson - "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" / Spike Jones & His City Slickers with The Bell Sisters - "Socko The Smallest Snowball" / Lou Monte - "Dominic The Christmas Donkey"
Sweet mother of God! Whoever thunk this one up should be congratulated then committed! Intense!

20.) Rockapella - "White Christmas" (acapella) / Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as read by Patrick Stewart
Great pairing of tunes but the beats and mixes in the background make it for me!

21.) John Lennon - "Imagine" / The Jackson 5 - "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" / The Beatles - "Fan Club Christmas message, 1963"
This one brought tears to my eyes - Lennon's "Imagine" has that effect on me. However, I was smiling throughout thanks to the pure voice of little Michael Jackson. Bravo... one of the best Christmas mashes ever.

22.) The Beach Boys - "Sloop John B" (acapella) / The Ronnettes - "Frosty The Snowman" / Drums by Peshay, Dillinja, Adam F and others
Despite the backing of The Ronnettes, too much of "Sloop John B" comes through to rob the Christmas spirit from this one.

This is yet another remarkable comp. I would love to be able to do what these people do with remixing and blending songs together. However, I still have problems figuring out how to plug in a USB port so they are all light years ahead of me.

To all of the DJs - thanks for using your talents to create some extraordinary Christmas music. Many of these will find homes on countless Christmas comps at the end of the year.

DJ BC, thanks for gathering all these awe inspiring mashes and putting them on one CD! Stay tuned folks... we'll be looking at yet ANOTHER DJ BC comp!

UP NEXT: DJ BC - Christmas Songs For Re:Composition



dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, like no disrespect meant, but come on pairin' the King of Cool with Black how obtuse.

CaptainOT said...

Dino - Have you heard it? Follow the links, download it, and listen for yourself. I think Ozzy would be thrilled... not too sure about Dean!