This guy is a genius. Mashing up incongruous ideas hasn’t exactly been a dormant art form of late; what, between the ridiculous antics of Girl Talk and half of Hype Machine’s playlist getting on board, it’s practically expected. What wasn’t expected though, was some genius deep in the recesses of the interwebs to come up with the fantastic concept of mashing up dance music from today with dance music of back then. It’s disco on disco, beats on beats, and it’s so damn inspired that I can’t believe nobody thought of it sooner. Probably because it’s a really difficult thing to do and nobody has that much time. But you know who has that much time? Some dude who calls himself GonZo, who has officially won my Dude Of The Month award for his 1970s reboot series that is absolutely top notch from start to finish. there are so many redeeming features in what he has done, many of which will form the basis of this post in which I gush over his particularly astute set of ears, but perhaps the best is that he makes some of the most unbelievably annoying chart slayers of the last 12 months completely listenable. Adele, Far East Movement, David Guetta, Taio Cruz, you name it, he’s fixed it. In fact, after finishing this tune, I actually want to listen to Enrique pretending he doesn’t mean to be rude – again. And that, dear friends, never happens.
My only proof of Gonzo’s democratising force on humanity comes from my recent long weekend holiday away with some old bro friends from school, all of whom have varying musical taste which ranges from jazz to awful hip-hop that wouldn’t even get played on a bad New York radio station. All four managed to agree that they loved everything they were hearing, not only the marriage of old and new but also how artfully it was pulled off. Go to any nightclub on Earth before 11pm and there will be some smart-ass DJ trying to do something similar to Gonzo, yet slightly crappier because they’re speeding something up or pitch-bending it too far and the whole thing is collapsing right in front of your ears. What you’ll notice about GonZo is that he’s actually gone to the effort to find a base for this tune that actually fits with the melody and the progression. In fact, in the case of Enrique’s ode to fucking, he’s managed to go one better and select a classic disco number that actually counteracts the melody in a glorious mess of ascending strings. It’s so gay that it’s practically vomiting sparkles, but it’s also kind of wonderful. The bass line and the skanking guitars and the brass actually work off the melody rather than clumping it and anyone who didn’t know thew original would honestly believe that this is what it sounded like. Some light YouTube stalking lets us know that his real name is Kanal Tilhørende Gordongonzola, for those of you playing at home, and he claims to have made this record entirely off his own back. I first got into him when I heard his smooshing of The Wonderland Band with Dave Guetta and I’ve been hooked like Cheech and Chong on the green ever since.
Perhaps the best thing about good mash-up artists (like our friend, Devola, for instance) is that, like rappers who sample, they encourage us to return to source and discover something new. My knowledge of ’70s disco was limited mainly to Average White Band and The Bee Gees, but obviously there’s a whole raft of amazing stuff out there that many of us would probably enjoy had we had it served up to us in such an appropriate fashion. Previously I relied on Jimmy and Hugo from Flight Facilities to educate me in this realm as they’re spectacular crate diggers, but even they had no idea who this guy was (even though many people had thought it was actually them.) Thanks to GonZo’s genre-hopping madness, I’m looking up hits from forty years ago and realising how great they are, opening my ears and my mind. And if it took a bit of a rework of Enrique’s love letter to himself to do that, I can’t actually complain. Besides, Ludacris’ inane verse about absolutely nothing now sounds like a stylistic shift that is possibly of import. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and it stands up twenty times longer than most mash-ups. Get involved, and learn to love cheesy pop music for an exacerbated version of what it always was.
Enrique Iglesias vs High Energy – ‘Tonight I’m F**ing You’ (GonZo ’70s Reboot)