East Sussex DJ and multimedia artist Vicki Bennett has performed and composed under the name People Like Us since 1991. Much like her friends and occasional collaborators Negativland, Bennett's works mix music, dialogue, and found sounds from old vinyl into expressive, amusing compositions. Her approach has had several interesting names applied to it, including "culture-jamming" and "plunderphonics," but none are as intriguing as the work itself.
Starting with her first album, 1992's Another Kind of Humor Another Kind of Murder, which was a joint effort with Abraxas, Bennett's works have combined humor, menace, and kitsch into experimental yet accessible sound collages. Her contributions to international experimental music festivals and radio shows and collaborations with Negativland, the Jet Black Hair People, and MusikTerrorist are critically acclaimed, as are albums like 1996's Jumble Massive and the following year's Hate People Like You, which were co-released by the Soleilmoon and Staalplaat labels. The 1999 remix album Hate People Like Us featured many of Bennett's collaborators reworking her collages, and her seventh album, The Thermos Explorer, came out in 2000. Bennett was busy throughout that decade, releasing two albums in 2002 alone. Recyclopaedia Britannica took aim at U.K. culture, while A Fistful of Knuckles used Westerns as its creative springboard.
That year, Bennett recorded Wide Open Spaces, which also included Wobbly's Jon Leidecker and Matmos' Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, in the San Francisco Art Institute's lecture hall. The album was released by Tigerbeat6 in 2003, the same year People Like Us began the acclaimed sound art radio show Do or DIY on WFMU. In 2006, Bennett was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. Bennett released Perpetuum Mobile, the first of several collaborations with sound artist/songwriter Ergo Phizmiz, in 2007. Music for the Fire, another collaboration with Wobbly, was issued by Illegal Art in 2010. Welcome Abroad, released in 2011, was inspired by Bennett's extended stay in New York and Baltimore in 2010 thanks to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, which shut down airspace over Europe for weeks. The Keystone Cut Ups, a DVD produced in collaboration with Phizmiz, was released in 2012. Bennett's mashup-heavy Don't Think Right, It's All Twice appeared on the Cutting Hedge label in 2013.
2017 marked the 25th anniversary of Bennett's first album. To celebrate, the Discrepant label began issuing a series of PLU vinyl releases, beginning with Abridged Too Far. Originally a 2004 digital release, the album included pieces recorded for John Peel's show as well as WFMU. ~ Heather Phares