People Like Us

Under the name “People Like Us,” artist Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution since 1992. Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and collage as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form. Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an “original” or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant. Most of the People Like Us back catalogue has been available for free online since 2002. For many artists, profit and publicity is more likely through free distribution (the gift economy) than independent publishers and distributors, which often struggle with limited resources. Online self-distribution allows an artist to keep their work available, resolving a tension between label production costs and the desire of an artist for work to be available. UbuWeb generously hosts the discography and filmography of People Like Us.

This year marks 30 years for People Like Us, marked by a cover feature in The Wire Magazine (May 2021, a touring of Gone, Gone Beyond, a 360 immersive cinema installation to nyMusikk Oslo, SPILL Festival Ipswich, Attenborough Centre (ACCA) Brighton and London Barbican, and an evening hosted by People Like Us at their favourite venue Cafe OTO.

Featured releases

Originally released in May 2011 when People Like Us aka Vicki Bennett became stranded in the US after the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption closed much of northern Europe’s airspace, Welcome Aboard was reissued by Discrepant in the limboland of 2021. 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.Bennett derived thematic material of displacement, travel, and a longing for elsewhere from the natural disaster that caused her own predicament. Now strangely echoed by the Covid-19 outbreak and the various grounding of planes and stay at home policies worldwide.While the general mashup culture often centres 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. No one could have predicted how relevant this album would have been 10 years later.Volcanoes or Viruses, Welcome Abroad is what happens when you’re stranded due to a freak natural occurrence trapping people all over the world and causing mass plane cancellations.

Welcome Abroad – People Like Us

Previously released on accompanied by “Gone, Gone Beyond”, “The Mirror” is the dreamy soundtrack of an a/v project from collage artist extraordinaire Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us.With ‘’The Mirror’’ Bennett continues her eternal disassembling of popular music by exploring how the narrative of familiar sounds/songs can change dramatically under a new context, with that context always changing, in a never-ending flow.Each song is singular. And each song is a collage of and undefined number of other songs from other artists. It sounds familiar because that has been the modus operandi of People Like Us since the early 1990s. But “The Mirror” plays with the notion of familiar, driving around a collection of famous pop songs/artists, messing around with the memory of the listener and, of course, his unique comprehension of those specific songs applied in a new context.Because of the use of familiar pop sounds, “The Mirror” is often grandiose. Like an epic film only with highs, never letting the listener down or letting him doubt the power of pop. Even, of course, when the coordinates are twisted, mixed, over or underrepresented. Each moment feels like something that could only happen in a parallel universe. Although that may sound naïve, it’s just a lost thought of reaction to the beautiful collages of People Like Us in “The Mirror”. This mirror doesn’t reflect an image of ourselves or an image of pop. But an image on the way memories drift and are being constant rebuilt. An unfinished collage. 

The Mirror – People Like Us

OTO wishes you all a great time over the festive period. To celebrate People Like Us have treated us to this special Holiday Mix. Available for free download. Enjoy! Tracklisting: Matthijs Vlot - HelloLionel Richie on HeliumPeople Like Us and Wobbly - HelloThe Evolution Control Committee - HelloAnimals Within Animals - HelloAE - Tape Cuts HelloKen Nordine - HelloThe Evolution Control Committee - HelloCurd Duca - Cassettedʳᶤᵖ⁻₁₃₃ - ·•● flexButtress O’Kneel - The Britney Spears RecordsButtress O’Kneel - RhapsodyWΔll Flowers - Subliminal RomanceNew Dreams Ltd Initiation Tape - PSR41Limahl - The NeverEnding Story (Indecorum Vaporized)Buttress O’Kneel - NeverendingButtress O’Kneel - Rhapsodybd594 - Bohemian RhapsodyButtress O’Kneel - Martian RhapsodyLes Baxter - Lunar RhapsodyThe Evolution Control Committee - Spandau FiletErgo Phizmiz - Welcome AudioOtomo Yoshihide - TEACGwilly Edmondez - Break Up The PieceRoy Smeck - Waltz Of YesteryearBBC Radiophonic Workshop - Christmas CommercialAelters - Pal-Xmas Cheap GiftDJ BC - Jesu Joy Of Man's DesiringSvein Tuba Johannessen - Oh. What A MealStimmhorn - SchneeGeorge Winston - Skating (Remastered 1996)Unknown - ChariotsAdam Bohman - At HomeVoicedude - Santa Benz Rank Sinatra - Last ChristmasGoulburn Poultry Fanciers Society - Last ChristmasAdam Bohman - At HomeVince Guaraldi - SkatingAntzz - CrimboThe Kleptones - A Night At The Hip Hopera (excerpt)Blood Brothers - Under PressurePeople Like Us & Gwilly Edmondez & Hearty White & Caterina Robertson - BoxesPeople Like Us - ForeverL'Atome - The Air Beneath My MaskLuiz Henrique - Mas Que NadaDirt Bike Boy - Dolce Vita Felicity Glitch MixMatmos - SchwittUrsGwilly Edmondez - Grevious Bodily CharmChristo Graham - Muppet Christ Superstar

Holiday Mix – People Like Us

First released on Mess Media in 2002 on CD, and then reissued on cassette in 2018 on Sucata Tapes, we've combined the digital files of both to bring this to you all on one place. This was compiled as a Best Of People Like Us from pre-2000. Amazing to think it is almost 20 years later that we write this. This represents an earlier life of PLU, some of which carries through to now, some left long behind...“The work of People Like Us rests gingerly between two dangerous positions: on the one hand, the risk of fashioning merely stylish pastiche out of borrowed finery for the sake of self-conscious kitschiness; on the other hand, the risk of making simplistic, heavy handedly “topical” audio-jokes at the expense of one’s raw material to a smug effect. If the lounge creeps uncritically snack on their sonic ingredients and coast on being “groovy”, the cads of pseudo-critique take cheap shots at straw men and call it subversion. Happily, Vicki Bennett has yet to fall down either precipice, but yodels down contentedly from her own Alpine audio-cottage. There, with loving care, she snips and tucks at the lycra jumpsuit until the fit is snug, places every plastic shrub on the Happy Valley Ranch just so, and throws another dance record on the bonfire. Undercutting her own utopian mirages with formal breakdowns and sneaky semantic pranks, Vicki Bennett is One Funny Lady, with a deadly sense of comic timing that puts her in my personal pantheon of edit intensive music makers: -Steinski and Mass Media, Hank Shocklee, Tod Dockstader, Teo Macero, the Hanatarash, John Oswald, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock. Serving her birthday cake with a turd, her gags are always lined with a virulent creep factor. You get the feeling that the vacancy and pointlessness of empty speech is being lampooned and mourned in equal measure. In sticking to this balance of celebration and critique, People Like Us genuinely hates and loves People Like You. The least you can do is head up to the Happy Valley Ranch for a spell and have a listen.” – Drew Daniel (Matmos) 2002 

People Like Us – Recyclopaedia Britannica

Past events