Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

CEO of Musical Mergers ; Mark Vidler's Mix of a Blondie Song with a Doors Tune Is a Worldwide Hit. Now the DJ Has a Record Deal to Create 'Mash-Ups.'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

CEO of Musical Mergers ; Mark Vidler's Mix of a Blondie Song with a Doors Tune Is a Worldwide Hit. Now the DJ Has a Record Deal to Create 'Mash-Ups.'

Article excerpt

Mark Vidler has a knack for making opposites attract. The British music producer is one of the leading practitioners of the mash-up, an art form in which a disc jockey cuts and pastes songs from very different genres to create unusual hybrids. One of Mr. Vidler's recipes goes like this: Take a dash of Lionel Richie's piano from "Hello," sprinkle in the vocal from The Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger," pour in the melody line of Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives," add a slither of Peggy Lee singing "Fever," and garnish with a pinch of back-up vocals from The Hollies and Led Zeppelin. Now mix ... but ... very carefully....

"People can now put software on their computer and reinterpret their favorite bands in a way that they find is interesting," says Mr. Vidler.

The DJ is poised to take the burgeoning music form mainstream. Until now, mash-ups have largely been an underground phenomenon because of the murky copyright issues involved. But Vidler, who first attracted notice by creating a mash-up of "God Save the Queen" by The Sex Pistols and Madonna's "Ray of Light," has been signed to the EMI label to create a whole album of mash-ups - the first official (and legal) album of its kind. In the interim, he's enjoying great success with one of the tracks that will appear on that record, a mash-up of Blondie's "Rapture" and "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors. Already a hit in the Netherlands, Italy, and Australia, "Rapture Riders" was recently released in the US as a single from Blondie's new "Greatest Hits: Sound and Vision" album.

"It was one of those things I heard in the deepest recesses in my mind while I was in the shower one evening back in 2004," says Vidler by phone from his London studio. "I was just listening to one of the pop stations in the UK and 'Rapture' came on. The funny thing is that I had been dabbling with a few Doors tracks that day as well, and 'Riders on the Storm' just kind of stuck in my head. And it clicked that they were both in the same key."

After the track was posted to Vidler's website (www.gohomeproductions.co.uk) as a free download in 2004, Blondie's webmaster heard the song and sent it to Chris Stein of the band. The Blondie guitarist was thrilled with the unusual alchemy of Jim Morrison's tremulous tales of a doom-laden road trip and Debbie Harry's bubbly rap about, well, a Martian invader with an appetite for cars. Following a few boardroom meetings with the surviving members of The Doors, the track was cleared for release.

A new spin on old records

Mash-ups aren't an entirely new phenomenon - musicians have practiced various forms of sampling from other artists since at least the 1950s - but they've taken off in recent years due to the availability of digital songs and the ease of computer technology. Many established artists have noticed the trend, recognizing that mash-ups can introduce their back catalogs to new listeners. …

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