Various Artists, curated by Vicki Bennett / People Like Us

People Like Us on UbuWeb

Smiling Through My Teeth

  1. Spike Jones - William Tell Overture - 3:15
  2. Raymond Scott - Girl At The Typewriter - 2:55
  3. Paul Lowry - I Got Rhythm - 2:17
  4. Leif Elggren and Thomas Liljenberg - 9-11 - Desperation Is The Mother Of Laughter - 2:54
  5. Dave Soldier and Komar & Melamid - The Most Unwanted Song (edit) - 1:55
  6. Ground Zero - China White - 1:03
  7. John Oswald - Pocket - 3:23
  8. Nurse With Wound - You Walrus Hurt The One You Love (edit) - 1:04
  9. Rudolf's Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock - Eel Dog Rap Mix (edit) - 2:15
  10. Nihilist Spasm Band - It's Not My Fault (edit) - 0:28
  11. Freddy McGuire, Don Joyce & Wobbly - Dark Days Bright Nights - 3:55
  12. Vomit Lunchs - Total Pointless Guidance Mix (Stock, Hausen & Walkman) - 4:03
  13. Gorse - Interlude - 0:08
  14. Rank Sinatra - Take On Me - 3:42
  15. MC Hellshit and DJ Carhouse - Motha Fuck Mitsubishi - 0:52
  16. DJ Brokenwindow - Kit Clayton vs Roscoe P Coltrane - 2:56
  17. Christian Marclay - Maria Callas - 3:04
  18. Viennese Seven Singing Sisters - William Tell Overture - 2:35
  19. M A Numminen, Tommi Parko, Pekka Kujanpaa - Eleita Kolmelle Royhailijalle - 2:00
  20. Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device - Berlin, Germany, 270104 (edit) - 3:19
  21. Adachi Tomomi - Lippp - 1:35
  22. Bill Morrison - Single Breath Blow - 1:03
  23. Zatumba - Natchung - 0:51
  24. Nihilist Spasm Band - Going Too Far (edit) - 1:12
  25. People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz - Air Hostess - 7:22
  26. Christian Bok - Ubu Hubbub - 0:44
  27. Gwilly Edmondez - Cock! - 1:14
  28. Spaz - Spaz - 1:48
  29. Dave Soldier and Komar & Melamid - The Most Unwanted Song (edit) - 1:34
  30. Xper Xr - Ride On Time - 4:24
  31. Dave Soldier & Richard Lair - Thai Elephant Orchestra Perform Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony 1st Mvt - 8:49
  32. Nurse With Wound - You Walrus Hurt The One You Love (edit) - 0:08


Various Artists - Smiling Through My Teeth - curated by Vicki Bennett [2008] Sonic Arts Network Smiling Through My Teeth

It is relatively unusual to find humour in sound art, even less has been written on the subject. The avant-garde can be a dry and humourless area (and is therefore perceived as such), both in writing and practice. It is not unusual for writers and audience alike to dismiss anything to the contrary; the catch is humour sometimes isn't taken seriously, although the reality is a practitioner has to be extremely serious and accomplished in order to carry off a good piece of humorous work.

Humour and music are commonly perceived as an unlikely pair. But the removal of this expression from the pleasure and appreciation of creative art is impossible. Inflections of wit can be found in the most unlikely places, from John Cage's 4'33' (using silence in the way Tony Hancock used dead radio air to implicate his own boredom) through the parody of Erik Satie and Charles Ives, the metric disruptions and misquotations of John Oswald or Stock, Hausen and Walkman, and the mixing of genres by Ground Zero's Revolutionary Pekinese Opera. The more popular end of sound manipulation is also inflected with avant-garde playfulness, for instance Carl Stalling's cartoon music, the cut up manipulations of Spike Jones, the chaos and disorder of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the ruination of the classics by Portsmouth Sinfonia.

If the receiver isn't intimidated by the sort of extreme surreal humour presently found in TV and radio production, there isn't a reason why they cannot open up to the same categories of humour apparent within the work of, for instance, Runzelstirn and Gurzelstock, Otomo Yoshihide or the Nihilist Spasm Band. This isn't to say that they would necessarily listen to this art form in the same way as pop music, but it is possible to shift the barriers between "popular" and "obscure." Humour transcends the confines of language and metaphor, opening the receiver's mind to new ways of experiencing art, and a comprehension of something that may previously have been obscured.

It is interesting when my work succeeds in a humorous context, then I research and discover that it fits into all of kinds of psychological categories of humour and music that I didn't know existed. It is true that one doesn't need to know anything about art or cultural history to be able to make good art, but it enriches the context in which one is working, and is very inspiring to take the time to look into this history and try to also apply it to the art of one's contemporaries.

Having considered all this, I'll throw it all away and just say that I love the music and sounds found on this CD, for the pure energy and enthusiasm found within, and may sparks fly when you press play.

Vicki Bennett, People Like Us 2008

This UbuWeb Resource was prepared by Kelly McGilvery.