by Mitch Myers
Heres one for all those rebellious sorts who have a healthy appetite for avant-garde/conceptual protest. Negativland hails from San Francisco and is probably better known for getting sued by U2 than it is for its many editions of subversive sonic collages. On The ABCs of Anarchism Negativland joins forces with those pop-punk agitators from England, Chumbawumba. While containing only 20 minutes of sound, this recording is chock-full of wholly unauthorized sound bites designed as sociopolitical commentary. The albums samples include the Spice Girls, the "Theme From M*A*S*H," Cookie Monster bytes, earnest insurgent political discourse, James Brown, the Sex Pistols and a host of other recognizable elements of popular culture.
With a great deal of original music provided by Chum-bawumba, Negativland juxtaposes the image of the Teletubbies against corporate evil, environmental pollution, ineffectual legal action and human greed. Using a good degree of sophisticated sound manipulation, the primer encourages distrust of our high-profile entertainers as well as our very own government. Weaving realistic concerns together with tuneful musicianship, selected aural artifacts and irreverent rhetoric, this collaboration could easily be dissected and discussed by a roomful of cultural historians. While intimating that violent revolution may be the only worthwhile solution, Negativland and Chumbawumba have created a profoundly entertaining piece of product. Consider this before you purchase more of the mindless junk that you usually indulge in.