Monday, July 19, 2010

RIAA Presents "USA," a "Mix-Album" in 10 Parts

"USA" is a four-hour-long "mix-album," conveniently divided into 10 separate mixes. The history, geography, culture, and politics of the United States is all fair game for RIAA's musical collages, incisive observations, and cheap jokes.

The nation of The United States of America is a big subject, and I don't pretend to be offering anything close to a comprehensive overview of the country - this is a musical project. That is, an experiment in mixing and mashing any audio related to the U.S. There is material here that will seem controversial to some, but I'm not using "USA" as a soapbox. This isn't political satire, really, because that implies a point of view that the composer is trying to push, and I think of this more as a portrait. A surreal, fun-house mirror portrait perhaps, but nonetheless, I just wanted to let everyone speak for themselves.

By "mix-album," I mean a collection of mixes
rather than a collection of songs. The mixes' length range from 15 - 30 minutes; the final mix is 47 minutes. Tho the mixes can stand alone, they are meant to be played in sequence. Many mashups are just "A + B." This album uses roughly 335 different sources, and that's a conservative estimate.

Disk 1: Part 1 (The America Dream), Part 2 (The Battle of Las Vegas), Part 3 (The Home Sweet Home Suite)

Disk 2: Part 4 (Part Four's Called 'War'), Part 5 (Dark City), Part 6 (p2p)

Disk 3: Part 7 (Revolutions), Part 8 (Worker's Weekend), Part 9 (It's A Mighty Rocky Road)

Disk 4: Part 10 (Take Me To The Mardi Gras - An American Mosaic)

Torrent available HERE!

UPDATE 8-3-10: "USA: The Singles" - 19 radio-friendly pop song-sized excerpts from "USA"

Part 1
(The America Dream) Let us Overture, sort of. Features: The JFK Singers, Martin Luther King, radio scanning, Bruce Springsteen, Run-DMC, 2 Live Crew, Iggy Pop, Johnny Rebel, Michael Jackson, Bomb The Bass, Patti Smith, Jeru the Damaja, Donna Summer, film: “Perversion For Profit,” Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Bill Cosby, 808 State, Jack Webb, various preachers and radio hosts. [A somewhat different version of this first appeared on WFMU's "Do or DIY with People Like Us," July 3, 2008]

Part 2 (The Battle of Las Vegas) A showdown between America's 2 most powerful forces: freedom! Making it's stand in anything-goes Vegas, and, in the other corner... Puritanism! Fighters of the "dork side"; Who will win?! Features: A Tribe Called Quest, The Gun Club, Hunter S. Thompson, Elvis, Murs & Slug, The Village People, Neil Young, Wayne Newton, Westboro Baptist Choir, Devo, Ice Cube, Frank Sinatra, "Trading Spouses" tv show, Mercyful Fate, Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, Hal Lindsey, Bobby Darin, film: "10.5 Apocalypse", Brian Eno & David Byrne,
Limewax, Public Enemy, Talking Heads [A very different version of this first appeared on WFMU's "Do or DIY with People Like Us," July 3, 2008
Part 3 (Home Sweet Home Suite) Immigration to the New World, Western Expansion, the suburban dream...and the Cold War. Features: the film "My Own Private Idaho," Mason Adams, "Henry and Mom," and other home recordings, Wee Willie, Esther Lee, the Musical Betts, Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, John Williams & The Boston Pops, American Quartet, New Christie Minstrels, Joseph Byrd, US Air Force Band, ELO, The Village People, Will Smith, Griz Green, John Barbour, the Revolting Cocks, from the "Standard Oil: Our Nation's Heritage" series, folk musicians from an album called "Authentic USA", Black Flag, the Gun Club, the Buzzcocks, Esquivel, the Descendents, Nelson Riddle, 2pac, "DuBarry Makeup Routine," Gaynor and Dorothy Maddox, Beastie Boys, John Wayne, Tom Hartman, Ennio Morricone, newsreel/news reports, the Monkees, Civil Defense Dept., The Eurythmics, Barry McGuire, Marilyn Manson. [Portions of this mix first appeared as "Happy Heart of Home" on the 2009 various-artists on-line collection "Cafe del Mash," and as the song "Sweet Dreams of Destruction," released as in internet single in 2007.]

Part 4 (Part Four's Called 'War'), features:
Civil Defense Dept., The German Shepherds, Boris Karloff, Hal Lindsey, Victor Lundberg, Los Del Rio, Fear, Edwin Starr, US Army, David Bowie, Jack Henry, Monty Python, from the "Standard Oil: Our Nation's Heritage" series, USA Air Force, Jimmy Carrol, someone reading from the Bible, Public Enemy, The Stooges, U.S. Marines, Jack Nitzsche

Part 5 (Dark City): The black experience, from slavery to the present day; city life; and intersections of the two. 'Cause it's all about money...Featuring: Floyd McClellan, Stanley Wilson, Body Count, The MC5, NWA,
Zazu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, Stevie Wonder, Fear, Dickie Goodman, "Dialect of the Black American," Jimmy Castor Bunch, someone else reading from the Bible,The O'Jays, Shirley Temple, Britney Spears, KRS-ONE, Beastie Boys, Arthur Collins, Byron G. Harlan, Al Trace, Hard Fi, The Undisputed Truth, Led Zeppelin (ripping off Muddy Waters), Bessie Jones, The Last Poets, Spanky and Our Gang, Eric B & Rakim, Elvis, Afrika Bambatta, Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Paul Simon, NPR stories, Arthur Lymon, film: "Capitalism," Bob Thompson, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Barret Strong, EPMD

Part 6 (p2p) "p2p" = "peer-to-peer" = "power to the people" Featuring:
John Williams & The Boston Pops, the Soup Dragons, film: "The Wild Angels," NWA, The Doors, from the "Standard Oil: Our Nation's Heritage" series, Boris Karloff, "The Altered Nixon Tape," Rodd Keith, Doc Severinson, Cilvaringz, DJ Foundation/Sonny & Cher, Ray Kroc, Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, Prairie Fire, Moody Boyz, NPR stories, They Might Be Giants, "Your Living Constitution," Ralph Nader, Ayers-Mitchell, Fred Schneider, B 52s, Green Day, Spike Jones, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Mr Rogers, radio preachers, Electronic Concept Orchestra, "Elvira's Theme," Vic Mizzy, Creed Taylor, "Where Was God on Sept. 11?" audio book, Barry Manilow, The Clash, Mojo Nixon, Tom Waits, Hilton Sutton, Keith & Rusty McNeil, Immortal Technique, "Ragtime," Art of Noise, MC Hawking, Edward Meeker.

Part 7 (Revolutions) From the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, the Sexual Revolution, the Counter-Culture Revolution, to...Dance Dance Revolution. We're revolting. Featuring the film "Design For Dreaming," Esquivel, Mark Farina, Martin Denny, Desi Arnez, Gnawledge, Talking Heads, X, "Bess Rothman's Charm With Cents,"
folk musicians from an album called "Authentic USA", Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ray Charles, Brooks and Dunn, Dean Martin, "Moulin Rouge theme," Portishead, "The Christopher Recordings on Sex Education," "I Love Little Pussy," from the "Standard Oil: Our Nation's Heritage" series, Toby Keith, Fred Phelps, Joseph Byrd, The Village People, Jimi Hendrix, Dianna Ross, Air, radio documentaries, William Shatner, Prodigy, Sly & the Family Stone, The MC5, "Don't Know Much About History" audio book, Chic, Tom Jones, David Peel & The Lower East Side, Black Sabbath's manager and rioting fans.

Part 8 (Worker's Weekend)
An 18-minute visit to someplace like Minneapolis on a Saturday night in, say, 1953: midget wrestling, bowling, bingo, ventriloquism, tiki bars, freak shows, going to the polka dance, and, eventually, finding true love. Features Groucho Marx, "Take Me Out To The Ball Game," Fatboy Slim, the Guckenheimer Sauerkraut Band, Kobe Bryant & Tyra Banks, Shriners (not a band), The Tom Tom Club, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, The Boston Typewriter Orchestra, "The Charleston," The Germs, Yma Sumac, Lemon Jelly, Ernest Borgnine, bits of Whitney Houston and Phil Collins, Tony Bennett, Wilco, factory sound fx, and lots of scratchy old thrift-store records. [A slightly different version of this first appeared on the syndicated "Friendly Persuasion" radio show in June 2010.]

Part 9 (It's A Might Rocky Road) You're a grown-up now - you decide to drive cross-country, and look for America...Featuring: "Ross' 21st Birthday" (home recording,) Tartaglia, Simon & Garfunkel, Kraftwerk, NPR news stories, Ronald McDonald, the Johnny Mann Singers,
Mike Bozzoli, Das Racist, Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, AC/DC, Harry Partch, Run-DMC, documentary audio of singing hobos, Allman Brothers.

Part 10 (Take Me To The Mardi Gras - An American Mosaic) Features: "Jurassic Soundscapes," Miles Davis, Paul Simon, Blondie, Kiowa war dance, Cal Tjader,
folk musicians from an album called "Authentic USA", James Brown, Doobie Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Tom Jones, The Ramones, the Audio 2, the Meat Puppets, Beau Jacques, Johnny Cash, Dennis Kamakahi, Buckwheat Zydeco, Anthony Braxton, radio ad, Dick Dale, "Negro Prison songs," Billie Lee Riley, The Silhouettes, Carl Perkins, Geto Boyz, Gershwin, The Dixie Cups, Bo Diddley tribute: The Smiths, Carl Kassel, The Strangeloves, Bow Wow Wow, David Bowie, The Pretenders, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, Guns 'n' Roses, U2; Scott Joplin, Snap, "gandy dancers," Slayer, 13th Floor Elevators, Anti-Pop Consortium, Arthur Lyman/Richard Rodgers, Billie Holiday, Samuel Barber, Vera Hall, The Fall, Mavis Staples, B52s, George Carlin, Bad Religion, Buffalo Springfield, Paul Whiteman and His Ambassador Orchestra, The Byrds, YouTube audio, and...George W. Bush.
All parts feature: misc. sound effects; and beats from drum machines, Fatboy Slim's "Skip To My Loops,"
"Beats, Breaks, Raw Drums" by Tortoise drummers Bitney, Herndon, and McEntire, and "OM:10 a Decade of Future Music," and probably other sources I've forgotten or overlooked. I'm sure the above list isn't complete.

A thousand thankyous to: all the artists whose works I've sampled, Mrs Fab,
gybo, Voicedude, DJ Cougar, WFMU, Ken Freedman, People Like Us, Li'l Bro Paul Fab, Otis Fodder, contributors to the 365 Days Project, music blogs I downloaded stuff from e.g.: A Basement of Curiosities, Way-Out Junk, Beware of the Blog, crudcrud (and there were probably others), whichever friend of mine came up with the idea for the "Luck Be A Lady" parody, Spacebrother Greg, the NPR news archives, YouTube,, and the libraries, thrift-stores and used record shops of Los Angeles.

I started this a few years ago using Sony Acid Pro v.4, and ended it using v.7. Also used: SoundForge, Adobe Audition, Hammerhead.


  1. Not through it all yet, but very clearly a masterpiece! Thanks so much for the effort. I've been a music lover for decades--seen Bernstein conduct, Ella scat, Miles blow, as well as every genre and subgenre of rock/soul/funk and (and a few select others) now seem to be taking the mashup into the realm of a true musical art form.

  2. Thanks Izzy, damn, can I quote you on that? ;)

    Art: I'm working on other download options as we speak. I'm a bit busy right now, but will try to get a torrent up soon. Thanks!

  3. Wow, a mashup concept album of the very kind I've been gearing up to start making. Very impressive!

    Don't know if I'll agree with whatever political views are contained herein but just taking one look at this thing and hearing part of the first track, someone of any political stripe will have to appreciate the creativity here. I'm subscribing to your blog fo schizzle.

    I hear Rush Limbaugh's confession of his painkiller addiction on the first track LOL. Politics LOL they're everywhere you can't avoid talking about 'em, like when you said, "and that's a conservative estimate."

    I myself am into making mashup concept albums, check out my Fort Minor vs Super Nintendo piece, "Chrono Tied"

  4. Hey Nerd42, I'm not making any personal political statements - I'm letting everyone else make THEIR statements, if you know what I mean.

    If you want to make a similar mashup concept album, I'm all for it. There's no shortage of material.

  5. Vote RIAA the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame

  6. This is an amazing work. I have recommended it to everyone I know. Thank you for making this available.