Tuesday, September 18, 2007

a confession (droplift II)

okay, i admit it. i am the presumptuous bastard who made "droplift II".

like i said yesterday, i'm a member of the snuggles mailing list, where every few months someone will start a new thread asking "when are we going to make droplift II?"

two or three weeks ago, i was checking my email, reading the umpteen-millionth thread about droplift II, and i turned to my girlfriend (also a list member) and said, "someone should just record droplift II, the entire album, and just post it to the list."

she responded, "you're going to have to be that person." we have conversations like that fairly regularly, whenever i have some "clever idea" for a project, and typically i just shrug my shoulders and move on. but this time, the idea was just too good. i resisted, but in the end couldn't keep away.

the problem with the whole "droplift II" concept was that there was never any "there" there. droplift II, as discussed every few months for the past god knows how long, was basically a romantic fantasy, whereby a bunch of obscure musicians who make an obscure style of music would release a compilation and suddenly somehow attract tons of international and media attention. it was a beautiful fantasy, made more seemingly realistic by the fact that snuggles had done it before, but it was a fantasy.

past successful snuggles comps were successful because they had some hook to draw people in. the original droplift had an innovative, edgy new distribution method. FSFS had focused, high-quality political content. dictionaraoke had "the singing dictionary". these were strong ideas that not only motivated us as artists to create and release the music, but also attracted hundreds of thousands of listeners, media interest, and more.

in comparison, what did "droplift II" have? nothing. like rush hour 3, it was just going to be the same old crap, only years later after everyone had forgotten about the first one. it had nothing for us to get excited about, so it never even got off the ground. and even if it had, it had nothing to attract audiences, and so was doomed to be a flop.

any compilation worthy of the media attention we craved would need to have a good hook behind it. and if we ever found another such hook, clearly we would want to give our compilation a name that related to that idea. (this is why we called the last compilation "free speech for sale" rather than calling that droplift II. the name "droplift II" has been floating around since the year 2000.) and i'm not saying anything that hasn't been said onlist multiple times throughout the years, and yet here we were, still talking about droplift II!

it was obvious to me that we would never release a compilation called droplift II. yet, we were actively promoting it as "our next project"! at the top of the droplift site, there is a blurb announcing that "droplift II is coming!" even now, the footer of every snuggles email contains a dead link to a nonexistent droplift II website. for months, we've been promoting an album that would probably never exist.

so i decided to make my own droplift II. i could simultaneously take advantage of the marketing that had already been done, while putting the final nail in the coffin of the name "droplift II". and in so doing, i could jam the jammers. not only that, but unlike the "real" droplift II, this one actually had an idea behind it: it was not truly a compilation, but a parody of a compilation. (i'm sure someone somewhere has released a parody compilation in the past, but i'm personally not aware of a precedent.) the fact that it was not the "real droplift II" became the hook that droplift II lacked.

that night i began work on my own droplift II. i pieced it together largely out of samples i already had lying around, which allowed me to work extremely fast. since it was a parody compilation, to make it more fun and more challenging, i decided to try my best to explore many different styles of plunderphonics, including styles i normally wouldn't play around with. i made sure i had text-based stuff that sounded like the piss or wayne butane as well as really abstract stuff with little decipherable text, and everything in between. in particular i wanted to compose some homages to one of my favorite collage artists, the criminally obscure orchid spangiafora. i even toyed around with the idea of doing parodies of "famous" plunderphonic artists like girl talk or jason forrest, but ultimately didn't because i wanted to finish the record within a few weeks and duplicating their complex styles would've just taken too long.

it was important to release the record anonymously, as that way i could get more honest reactions to the prank (and the record), but i always planned to unmask myself after a couple days or weeks. in fact i left a number of musical clues in the recording about my identity, some of which were fairly blatant. but in the end, if anyone pieced together my identity using the clues, they kept it to themselves. the only person who's identified me did so by tracking down my IP address.

yes, i created a new email account called "droplifter23" to post the initial announcement. and i tried to use an anonymous web proxy to scramble my IP so it wouldn't be obviously coming from me, but i'd never used a web proxy before, and for whatever reason (most likely user error), it didn't work. the email clearly came from my IP address. oops. i then rebooted my cable modem, thinking that i would get a new IP address lease, and while the email would be traceable to my ISP (in indianapolis), at least it wouldn't point directly to my home. but apparently, even that didn't work. let that that be a lesson to you, kids: you're not anonymous when you're online. protecting your privacy is hard work.

so there you have it: droplift II. it was just a big art prank, but then again, so was the original droplift. despite that, i think it stands up as a quality recording. i made it extremely quickly, so it's rougher and has more flaws than it might have, but even still, i like to think that if someone downloaded it without knowing the backstory, they might be fooled into believing it really is a comp rather than a solo release. so go ahead, download it, give it a listen, and enjoy.

update: download droplift II via bittorrent.

5 comments:

arratik said...

i actually did record a track for what could have been droplift ii, but then as soon as i was finished with it the subject was dropped for about three or four months. ah well.

my complements on the scarily accurate tfy-sounding thing.

(i've actually been thinking about reviving that moniker lately)

arratik said...

(and my compliments as well)

glacial23 said...

Pretty brilliant prank. I think it's exactly what needed to be done.

HiP.P said...

liked it

Anonymous said...

KOOL!!
I just sent it to an email address for 'Michael K' (a multiple name which is fixed but those using it arent) who started droplifting their project's books and records into stores circa 96/97...in fact they or he are still doing this...see http://myspace.com/ishotvaleriesolanas for one which is out and about again just now by the Droplift method)
It would be good to see a revival of the project more generally so kudos for doing this...