Wax Audio – Mashopolos III – Mashups for the People (2012)

Depending on which way you want to look at things, I’ve either got no album, one album, or a whole bunch of albums to talk about today, although “mentioning” might be a better word, because I don’t want to clutter this post with too many words. Wax Audio is the name of a project undertaken by an Australian named Tom, who has a very special way of enjoying and making music – with a producer’s ear and from a producer’s mixing desk.

The result is simultaneously amusing (ok, it’s downright hilarious at times, I’ll admit) and genuinely intriguing, and sometimes just mind blowing. It will become instantly obvious while you listen that these are not so much songs, as the hybrid offspring of melodies you might very well know and love, ushered into the world via some truly remarkable feats of musical midwifery, bridging genre gaps, decades and any other impediments that might occur to the normal listener. How lucky that the man behind Wax Audio is not a normal listener.

Mash-ups are pretty common on YouTube, but not at this level. As a technique of producing music, the sampling of different bits from different songs and the blending into something new is basically the bedrock of all DJ-ing, from hip-hop to dub-step, but where you normally hear the equivalent of micro-surgery, Wax Audio’s creations are more like the odd, chillingly alien and surprisingly endearing creature from the movie Splice – beings created from the ground up, musical genetics tampered with and grown into these new, amazing songs. Metallica meets Herbie Hancock, Queen meets Tori Amos, Europe meets Nirvana. Seriously. And the results are wonderful!

Copyright laws being what they are, he’s not allowed to make money from these projects, which makes their continuing release a true labor of love. The entire album is available for free download on the Wax Audio website, but I’ll also embed it here, along with my two favorite tracks from it. There are also two more mash-up albums available on the website, along with a bunch of other material, and an original album made from samples recorded during a trip through nine Asian countries (yet another free download). In any case, I think these projects are well worth exploring, because they’re one of the more literal and more powerful examples why “there’s more to hearing than meets the ear” (although I’m not sure how Robert Fripp would react to my using his aphorism in this context). I hope you chuckle, gasp in amazement, and return for more. I sure have!

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