Review Summary: Girl Talk wished he was this creative. The quintessential plunderphonics release of 2010; musical perfection.
It's hard to say exactly what Kids and Explosions produces on his debut release; his dense, textural mixes seems to divert from the blatant "sample combo" method of fellow mash-up artists. However calling tracks such as "Winning Is Easy" a genuine song seems to be missing the point. The man behind the moniker, Josh Raskin, is in the business of destroying samples, manipulating them and beating them up to the point where they're still presentable, but stripped of all the context of their original creation. Raskin has no problem with tangling John Cale's emotive performance of the classic "Hallelujah" and degrading it into mere instrumentation, but what vocal performances are kept in their human form sound like echos, making rap verses sound like nostalgic memories over somber pop instrumentation. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of his mash-ups is the constant reminder that he is the producer, leaving no samples safe from his palette of glitch effects and choppy layering. Shit Computer
is not a reflection of society, but rather a parallel universe to modern pop culture, a separate world composed entirely from past events.
A point where Josh Raskin truly outdoes his peers is his approach to the instrumentation of the tracks; instead of using a basic motif to lead through songs, or even sections of songs, he hazily mixes small clips of varied instrumentation and layers them to a near indistinguishable point. His musical compositions are akin to the techniques of The Books, filled with small atonal clips and melodic intertwinements that peak at numerous, isolated moments. While the preemptive goal of pluderphonics musicians often aims for creating what sounds like genuine songs, Raskin's mixes exceed the point of mash-up art and feels like inspired music. While the album wastes little time giving special attention to certain artists, "There Is A Burning Ball of Fire In Outerspace" is a beautiful exception, a sublime duet between the keyboard works of "Untitled 1" and the depressive rapping of Biggie's "Suicidal Thoughts". It comes off as the only song on the album and it's pure musical bliss, a truly miraculous, emotive creation that is one of the easy contenders of song of the year. Shit Computer
sets new standards for mash-up artists, bringing a sound that's been explored by internet artists throughout the years and perfecting it in one solid LP. Josh Raskin's debut will have you spending minimal time on sample guessing, but rather entice the listener with a tour-de-force of fractured sounds and pop samples that have been decimated permanently. This sinks in faster than most feel-good music.