Several months ago, after I had sent a friend a copy of the new Consolidated record, I got an email message from him. He said listening to it had given him an idea. Consolidated did such a great job of integrating audio bits and pieces from the news, comments by people at their shows, etc. Somebody, he thought, should do this sort of danceable hip-hop political commentary/newsmagazine on a regular basis... say a tape a month.
That same day, the EBN video arrived in the mail. Here, instantly delivered to my doorstep, was the very thing he was talking about. But, EBN did him one better, they have created a whole new form of "scratching" video samples. It's hip-hop cum head-hop, brain candy whipped up from the raw confections offered by commercial TV and network news, topped with bits of audio/video "jimmies." I don't think they have any plans for monthly releases, but who knows... these guys are on a roll!
Emergency Broadcast Video
23 East 4th
New York, NY 10003
$17.00 (7-song video album)
(Available at Tower Records and other music and video stores)
graphic: Wired Magazine
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Emergency Broadcast Network:
[from an interview in bOING bOING #11 by Gareth Branwyn]
bb: How did EBN get started?
EBN: We got started back in 1986, myself [Josh Pearson] and Gardner Post [now joined by Ron O'Donnel -ed]. We collaborated at first under the name Pearsonpost Industries and we were involved in multimedia exhibitions incorporating video, music and kinetic sculpture. Gradually we got more and more into the musical aspects. We became fascinated with sampled material, the sampling technologies, and the possibilities they made available to us. We also began to take note of the information acceleration in our culture, the sheer volume and the diverse forms of information presentation. Everything that's being beamed around the world and into our homes... and into outer space!
bb: That's right... aliens are monitoring our transmissions even as we speak!
EBN: We began to watch closely how television presents a condensed and exaggerated reflection of our culture. We wanted to take that signal and exaggerate and enhance it even further. We began to work solely off of television, sampling television.
bb: I'm really awed by the hyper-aesthetic quality of your work. You take that information feed, which is already a montage, and you make other montages on top of that which forms such a potent commentary on the source material. And, of course, the irony is, your work then becomes part of yet another media montage which gets beamed back into the videodrome. When I saw you all in concert, I got so high on that media overload. It was like an epiphany experience for a media cynic like myself. You all presented the same kind of commentary that runs in my head when I watch TV. I get so fucking angry at it all, but I'm laughing hysterically at the same time. It's a complex set of mixed emotions. It's what Arthur Kroker calls Panic Culture, the simultaneous experience of ecstasy and dread.
bb: How do you all describe what you do?
EBN: We call it video sampling.
bb: Even that doesn't do it justice. I guess the thing I find unique about your work is the seamless coupling of the sounds and the images. I've never seen anything that tight. Also the stroboscopic and trance effects are very cool. How do you get access to all your source material?
EBN: We have a subscription to basic cable. That's it! [laughter]
bb: But, how do you "catch" what you want? Do you just nab it when you see it, or do you just run tapes all day and then sift out what you need?
EBN: We just watch lots of TV and record what looks interesting.