Friday, April 17, 2009

MC Honky and Emergency Broadcast Network

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One of my favorite albums is MC Honky's I AM THE MESSIAH. It's of the genre that can only be called sound collage; almost everything is samples, woven, or pasted together if you will, into another song. This is very common now, but some pioneers of the genre are MC Honky, and Emergency Broadcast Network, whose album Telecommunication Breakdown is just as worthy. Similar to Negativland, who deserve their own post- famous for mashing U2 and a vulgar Casey Kasem and getting sued over it- they were meta before there was meta.

MC Honky's album uses many spoken world and self-help albums from the '60s and beyond to make hilarious songs that music nerds will love. My favorite is "The Object," which takes a meditation record and puts it to a repetitive beat and harmony. Unfortunately it's not on youtube, but this video of "Sonnet #3: Like a Duck" is, and it's nearly as good. It's the first track of the album.

Another good one is "A Good Day to Be You," which mixes romance and self-improvement into a sort of Barry White song. MC Honky is "widely believed" to be Mark Everett, or "E" from The Eels. You know, the ones who do the "Goddamn right it's a beautiful day, uh huh" song.

Emergency Broadcast Network has its own brand of humor- they began with "We Will Rock You," a video history of the first Gulf War. They used real clips of President George Bush's statements interspersed with war footage and put to their beat. It became an underground bootleg hit, and their album Telecommunication Breakdown came afterward. It's a concept album about how media manipulates us, from making us frightened of street violence when crime is low to making products turn us on.

We Will Rock You, as performed by George Bush and Bill Clinton.

Their songs have a little more range than MC Honky and musically, I like this album better. You've got classic rap like "Shoot the MAC-10," and lazy ambient psychedelia like "Sexual Orientation," and Devo-esque songs like "Electronic Behavior Control System." It's definitely worth tracking down. The original came with a 3.5" floppy disk that had Audio-Video editing software on it, such as it was for the time. One of the more popular tracks was "3:7:8," popping up on mixes and at clubs:


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