Vicki Bennett, under the People Like Us moniker, returns from several collaborations for her first solo album in several years. Stranded in the United States for an extended period after the Icelandic volcano eruption blocked her British homeland's airspace, Bennett derived thematic material of displacement, travel, and a longing forelsewhere, from the natural disaster that caused her own predicament. Volcanically marooned in Baltimore and NYC, Bennett utilized some of her "free" time to work on the album and even gained audio contributions from fellow experimental musicians Jason Willett (of Half Japanese) and M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) via her extended stay.
"Welcome Abroad is the soundtrack to a dream - overlaying a cabaret with the circus, a music hall with the radio, a nightclub with the movies. Finely tuned sounds from the collective unconscious, fitted together with care and clarity and skill, producing a hallucinatory landscape that shifts and slides, shimmering with each new sample. Julie Andrews duets with Jim Morrison? Damn." -Steinski
Taking a glance at just a few tracks from Welcome Abroad, songs from The Beatles, Ennio Morricone, Danny Kaye, Bob Dylan, Rod McKuen, Elton John, Gene Pitney, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Julie London, and Queen are all amalgamated. While recent mashup culture often centers on the instant gratification of seamlessly juxtaposing hooks, People Like Us tracks transform the source material into collages that are equal parts dissonance and pleasure, making artful commentaries on our culture and Bennett's own existential amusement within such a wondrous world.
Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been an influential figure in the field of audiovisual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives. Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio shows that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. These collages mix, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio.
People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use, and have made work using footage from the Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archive, and A/V Geeks. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. People Like Us have previously shown work at Tate Modern, Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Centre and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show 'DO or DIY' on WFMU has had over three quarters of a million hits since 2003. The People Like Us back catalog is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.