People Like Us & Kenny G – Nothing Special

3 out of 5

Label: Mess Media

Produced by: PLU & Kenny G (?)

Ah, May 2003, and anarchy was in the air. Kenny G – Kenneth Goldsmith – and People Like Us – Vicki Bennett – teamed up for a live, 3-hour show of sound collage, then edited it down for our listening, er, curiosities on the make-your-own-commentary titled Nothing Special.

Focusing on PLU’s output, Bennett tends to swing between things that represent songs, things that lean toward pastiche, and then mash-ups of snippets, and blends weaving all throughout that and more. While there’s no shortage of the typical humor and outright oddness – and then sudden melody – found on any given PLU album also found here, Goldsmith and Bennett, after establishing a weird, but laid-back vibe, seem to take revenge on listeners by going for an onslaught of discordance for several tracks thereafter. It’s… a bit tough, I must say, and borders on annoying at points, especially when you’re not expecting it. Going back over it, you can appreciate the juxtapositions a bit more: very recognizable pop tracks as backing are given pretty noisy found-sound match-ups, destroying the song as much as possible while very lightly maintaining that baseline. Because it’s never uninteresting, it’s certainly listenable, but listened to for pleasure versus as something of an endurance test takes a few spins.

It does get there, though, very much thanks to the bookends, which are more “typical” goofy pleasantries which buffer the aggressive midsection, starting out with a funny vagina-centric ode, and then penultimating in a wildly passionate speech about giving up with, again, radio-fiddled pop tunes carrying it. and ending on the tweaked song mash-up of I’ve Got You.