Pop Culture Press Web Exclusive
Escape Mechanism (self-released)
October 28, 1999
You can almost hear the lawyers salivating. Escape Mechanism follow in the long line of audio thieves (Negativland, Plunderphonics) who pilfer sound bites at will, chop and collage 'em into a new ball of yarn, sell the dang thing until the sources get wise and come gunning. Good news for has-been performers Mr. Rogers and Steve Martin: they're back in the limelight, and they can sue the pants off Escape Mechanism. All litigation talk aside, there is the small matter of the record at hand. Escape Mechanism manage to create a 100% recycled audio collage that doesn't grate or get too stale after initial spin (how many times do you play John Oswald? no, really). With the odd exception, most tracks have a soothing ambient feel that play well as sound wallpaper. The spoken bits act like talking heads on a television set left on in the background: creating an ambiance and pricking the ear every now and then. This isn't a brilliant (pretentious) political jab, or a comedic (boorish) laugh riot, but a sneaky vibe record that you just might wind up paying attention to.
- John Sekerka