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Negativland Presents Over the Edge, Vol. 8: Sex Dirt

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Album Review

Originally broadcast on Berkeley, CA, KPFA (where Negativland has been broadcasting free-form radio since 1981) in July 1995, Sex Dirt finds Negativland in funny, funky form. One would never expect this gang of media radicals to trade in overt "ca-ca pee-pee" humor, but they come close on this album, and it's genuinely fun to hear, to paraphrase Q-Tip, the collages that they bust on the topic of lust. This was the final third of a series of July 1995 broadcasts on, respectively: "Sex," "Dirt," and "Sex Dirt." In that, it is closer to Negativland's more topic focused (though non-live) releases such as Dispepsi or Helter Stupid. From the opening salvo of a mother explaining to her daughter that she has a penis and boys have a vagina ("A Special Opening") to Negativland member the Weatherman, in his nasally voice, urging the listener to take off their pants and shake 'em to a funked-up bass 'n' synth hip-hop number titled "Shake Your Pants #2," this is material from the band at which even the casual listener can guffaw and into which the dedicated follower of culture jamming can dig deep. And it incorporates more traditional live instrumentation than some Negativland releases, but that doesn't make it any less subversive than their other mixes in this series. In its barrage of samples, found sounds, and sonic juxtapositions, Negativland skewers gender and domination/submission, and, particularly, just how silly and puritanical the commodification of sex has become in the hands of the media. And they, er, pull this all off without resorting to full-on porn samples and overt, cheap titillation. Never less than a wild ride, Negativland dishes the sonic dirt on the dirty deed in reliably mad professor style.


Formed: 1979 in Berkeley, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Some will always say that practical jokers should expect retribution at some point. Others may note that within any joke there is some human truth. Still others will just want to enjoy the jokes as jokes and nothing more. Three differing statements, all valid truths when applied to one of America's most curious, clever, and inventive bands in the last 20 years of the 20th century and beyond, Negativland. Though named after a track by cult Krautrock band Neu!, who also inadvertently provided the moniker...
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Negativland Presents Over the Edge, Vol. 8: Sex Dirt, Negativland
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