The NYT’s profile of Girl Talk is a good read, even if the world doesn’t really need another Greg Gillis (Girl Talk) profile. But there are some anecdotes that are worthy of a pull-quote, like this one:
What you see before the show and at the after-party is not the stage persona, Girl Talk, but Gregg Gillis, a former biomedical engineer whose musical roots are not in party music but in the obscure corners of avant-garde noise. One of the projects he helped develop in his scientist days, he told me, was a means of stimulating peoples’ inner ears to help them sleep. In science, he used many of the same skills — researching and compiling data, cataloging it, recombining it — that he now uses to make his music. You could say there’s a certain Andy Kaufman element to what Gillis does: the meticulous sampler transforming himself into the manic performer.
Breeze through the profile but stay for the audio feature they put together to accompany it: musical mash-ups from the last 104 years. Mostly just excerpts, unfortunately, but the good news is you can find almost all of the full tracks on YouTube.
Something I wished the article tackled was how sophisticated mashups have become over the last half decade, largely on the back of Girl Talk, but now Girl Talk’s sound has become almost antiquated — as if all he does is crank the ADD radio dial up to 11 (I know that’s not all he does to create his tune and it’s much, much more complicated, however the songs themselves aren’t repurposing music to create new songs, it’s just scatalogically moving between them).