Mashing it up with Girl Talk Worlds merge at the hands of the "Night Ripper" creator.

Posted: January 19, 2007

By day, Gregg Gillis is a biomedical engineer in Pittsburgh.

By night, he's Girl Talk, creator of Night Ripper, the sample-dense mash-up mix that was one of last year's most fun albums. He's also an in-demand remixer and DJ. Tonight, he plays a sold-out show at Johnny Brenda's.

Whereas typical mash-ups layer two or three songs together, juxtaposing the Strokes and Christina Aguilera, for instance, Gillis lists 167 artists sampled among Night Ripper's 16 short tracks. "Warm It Up," for example, includes bits of Elastica, Ciara, the Black-Eyed Peas, Annie, Kansas, Boyz II Men, Kelis, Smokey Robinson, and MARRS. And probably much more (obsessives have been cataloging the samples on Wikipedia).

"I'm kind of attention-deficit when it comes to music, as you can probably tell from the album," Gillis says on the phone on his way home from work early this week. "To me, this is just a collection of my favorite party songs."

Night Ripper is full of hooks from '70s classic rock (Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, Chicago), riffs from '90s modern rock (Pixies, Breeders, Nirvana), and choruses from current hip-hop (Kanye West, Ludacris, Lil Wayne), and Gillis turns them into his own independent creations. The goal is nonstop party music: Everything gets recontextualized, but nothing gets treated ironically.

"The most interesting juxtapositions are with stuff from different worlds, like the soft-rock stuff with gangsta rap," he says. "For the most part, there's not a whole lot of underlying meaning that you have to search for, you know, in the lyrics of Biggie Smalls' "Juicy" with "Tiny Dancer" or anything like that. It's not supposed to be subversive of the music. It's just supposed to be fun music."

Girl Talk, with Plastic Little and Dan Deacon, at 9 tonight at Johnny Brenda's, Frankford and Girard Avenues. Sold out. Phone: 267-765-5210.

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