The Evolution Control Committee, a true pioneer of remix culture (most widely recognized as formative instigators of the mashup music genre), is alive and well as evidenced by its newest release, All Rights Reserved. It’s the ECC’s second album for Negativland‘s Seeland Records, and the first new album in seven years.
With a quarter-century of aural experimentation in the hopper – starting long before the advent of digital audio files and production tools – the craftsmanship of this music is sublime. This is why Girl Talk plays campus clubs and small theaters, while the Evolution Control Committee enjoys an artist residency at Warsaw’s Centre for Contemporary Art: the ECC is old enough to be Girl Talk’s parents.
Having first come to popular attention for nearly getting sued by CBS a dozen years ago over alleged copyright infringement (for sampling the news), All Rights Reserved carries on the creative dismissal of copyright law. It comes packaged (both plastically and aurally) with a clever “Listener License Agreement” which ostensibly prohibits playing the album.
Once you get past that, the ECC’s Trademark G and Assistant Frillypants throw down 16 tracks of crafty sonic artistry (plus a licensing reminder).
Examples of genius include “Pertaining to the Beat,” which threads a radio station jingle from 1980 with choice bits from the infamous J&H Productions Tape, and “Stairway to Britney,” born from the ECC’s live “Wheel of Mashup” performances and sure to give some lawyer buried in the bowel of a major record label minor fits.
All Rights Reserved includes a second disc full of goodies, including a 320 kbps MP3 version of the album (for sharing!); commentary tracks for each cut, a substantial cache of outtakes and “unused” tracks, and – for those who want to manipulate the ECC’s fodder directly – “remixable multi-tracks” for a half-dozen featured songs, some of which include program-specific files (for Sony’s Acid and Ableton Live).