Night Ripper

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Night Ripper
An image featuring the words "Night Ripper" written in yellow lettering and the outline of a ghost. In the background, the words "Girl Talk" are repeated several times.
Studio album by Girl Talk
Released May 9, 2006 (2006-05-09)
Genre Mashup
Length 42:05
Label Illegal Art
Producer Gregg Gillis
Girl Talk chronology
Stop Cleveland Hate
(2004)
Night Ripper
(2006)
Bone Hard Zaggin'
(2006)

Night Ripper is the third studio album by American musician Girl Talk, released on May 9, 2006 by Illegal Art. The album, composed almost entirely of samples taken from other artists' music, falls under the mashup genre. It also features minor amounts of original instrumentation recorded by Girl Talk himself. He constructed Night Ripper whilst working as a biomedical engineer, dividing time between both of his occupations. The album was originally produced as one seamless piece of music before subsequently being broken into individual tracks.

The album was produced by Girl Talk in seven to eight months and mastered by Jonathan Schenke. Illegal Art initially released Night Ripper as a digital download on their website, later making the album available on other sites and shipping the album to select record stores due to strong demand. None of the samples used on the album were cleared prior to release, causing several online retailers to pull the album from their listings. Night Ripper was later re-released for download on the Illegal Art website through a new "pay what you want" pricing system.

Night Ripper received generally positive reviews from critics, who commended Girl Talk's choice of samples and his efficiency at layering them together to create new tracks. It appeared in numerous publications' year-end lists of the best albums of 2006. The album has been described as Girl Talk's breakthrough album, helping boost his reputation and leading several artists to commission him for remix work.

Background and production[edit]

A Caucasian man wearing a tie performs music using a laptop. Several people dance around him.
Girl Talk performing in 2006

The second studio album by Girl Talk (born Gregg Gillis), Unstoppable, marked a shift away from the glitch style of his debut Secret Diary.[1] While still retaining the sample-based nature of Secret Diary, Unstoppable focused more on beatwork as well as structuring and layering samples into full tracks.[2] The album's stylistic change was brought about by Girl Talk's experiences performing live, which influenced him to "make the music more accessible and push the party vibe."[2] Following the release of Unstoppable, he spent an additional two years touring before beginning work on his third studio album.[2]

Described by Girl Talk as "a record that reflects [his] own personal music tastes," Night Ripper features over 300 samples of other artists' songs, spanning several decades and genres.[3][4] Commenting on the process of choosing samples to use, he explained: "I'll just hear something on the radio or at a party and go ahead and sample it off a CD or record or download it. I sample loops and breaks and vocal clips all the time. So I've been cataloguing samples for years, I have this massive library. Songs come out everyday [sic] so it's never ending."[5]

A 27-second clip from the album's opening track "Once Again", in which Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)" is mixed with The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony".[6]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The entirety of Night Ripper was produced using a WAV digital audio editor, with Girl Talk manipulating samples by chopping, layering and transitioning them.[5] He also recorded original synthesizer and keyboard instrumentation for certain tracks.[7] The album was created by Girl Talk as one long piece of music, which he subsequently split into individual tracks.[7] He was also working as a biomedical engineer at the time, obliging him to divide his time between his day job and his music career, including production of the album.[2][8] It took seven to eight months for Girl Talk to complete work on the album.[9] Subsequent audio mastering was done by Jonathan Schenke.[10]

Release[edit]

Illegal Art released Night Ripper on May 9, 2006 as a digital download on their website.[3] Strong demand prompted the label to produce physical CD and LP copies of the album for shipping to select record stores,[3] as well as make it available for purchase on several online retailers.[11] Illegal Art did not clear any of the samples used on Night Ripper, leading to several problems in the album's distribution and release.[12] At least one CD manufacturing plant refused to press the album,[13] and the head of another plant asked Girl Talk and his label to justify the use of two specifically chosen samples.[5] Online music stores eMusic and iTunes both pulled Night Ripper from sale due to sample clearance concerns.[2][14] Anticipating lawsuits, Illegal Art prepared a defense citing the fair use trademark law as a legal backbone for the album's use of samples.[11] The label also went over the possibility of a royalty system, but ultimately scrapped it when they decided that it would only weaken their fair use argument.[12] When asked about the possibility of suing Girl Talk and Illegal Art, however, one major-label executive stated his belief that filing a lawsuit against a minor independent label – especially for an album which, at that point, had barely sold 10,000 copies – would only bring bad publicity.[15] Ultimately, no lawsuits materialized in wake of the album's success, which Girl Talk described as "liberating."[16]

The album's positive reception boosted Girl Talk's popularity and reputation, and Night Ripper has been described as his breakthrough album.[17] Following the album's release, American musician Beck asked Girl Talk to open for him at a concert in London.[9] Blender also invited him to perform at their MTV Video Music Awards after-party.[9] Several artists commissioned Girl Talk to produce remixes of their tracks, including Beck, Good Charlotte, Grizzly Bear and Peter Bjorn and John.[9] Night Ripper has sold over 20,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[6]
The A.V. Club A−[18]
Robert Christgau A−[19]
Exclaim! favorable[20]
NME 5/10[21]
Pitchfork Media 8.4/10[22]
PopMatters 7/10[23]
Stylus Magazine B–[24]
Tiny Mix Tapes 5/5 stars[25]
Uncut 4/5 stars[26]

Night Ripper was generally well-received by contemporary music critics.[27] In a rave review, Cam Lindsay of Exclaim! praised the album's "extraordinary" cohesion and wrote: "Gillis is a rigorous craftsman, and his assembling skill is near perfect down to the second, introducing the next song at the most opportune moment."[20] Pitchfork Media's Sean Fennessey also responded favorably, commending the "pure precision" of Girl Talk's sampling and naming the album as the "soundtrack of the summer" for 2006.[22] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called Night Ripper "the best mash-up album since 2002's The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever" and compared Girl Talk to prominent samplers DJ Shadow and The Avalanches, "only with obvious samples rather than obscure ones".[19]

While stating that the album's reliance on samples of popular music makes it "lose its appeal after a few spins", Marisa Brown of Allmusic wrote that Girl Talk's "ability to draw from a myriad of musical sources" allows Night Ripper to "appeal to anyone who's heard the radio... in the past few years."[6] Similarly, Nate Dorr of PopMatters remarked that the album "holds undeniable appeal, both for sample trainspotters and music geeks... as well as, more importantly perhaps, for the much broader cross-section of listeners who just want to put on a consistently catchy, entertaining record."[23]

Dan Silver of NME said that while the "sheer scope" of Girl Talk's sampling sets him apart from other mash-up artists, Night Ripper "begins to feel much less than the sum of its samples," ultimately describing it as "not so much a work of art, then, as the basis for a 21st century parlour game."[21] Cameron Macdonald of Stylus Magazine dismissed the album as "nothing more than a DJ mix with escapist fun so thick that it is unlikely that listeners will pause the record after every minute to discuss how Gillis battles tentacles of the corporate record industry's squid."[24] While writing that the album "isn't exactly high art", Noel Murray of The A.V. Club described Night Ripper as "one of the most purely fun albums to come along since The Go! Team's debut" and advised readers to obtain the record "before it gets sued out of existence."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Night Ripper was included in several publications' year-end best album lists.[28]

Girl Talk received a Rave Award from Wired in 2007 for his work on the album.[29]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk).

  1. "Once Again" – 2:40
  2. "That's My DJ" – 2:08
  3. "Hold Up" – 2:50
  4. "Too Deep" – 2:29
  5. "Smash Your Head" – 3:01
  6. "Minute by Minute" – 3:12
  7. "Ask About Me" – 2:26
  8. "Summer Smoke" – 2:17
  9. "Friday Night" – 3:12
  10. "Hand Clap" – 1:53
  11. "Give and Go" – 2:53
  12. "Bounce That" – 3:23
  13. "Warm It Up" – 2:15
  14. "Double Pump" – 1:45
  15. "Overtime" – 2:15
  16. "Peak Out" – 3:20

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Night Ripper adapted from album notes.[10]

In addition, 164 artists sampled on Night Ripper are thanked in the liner notes of the album.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Girl Talk". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Eyl, Eryc (October 4, 2007). "Ripper Offer". The Pitch (Kansas City). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Monrgomery, James (August 2, 2006). "Waiting For A Ying Yang Twins/ ABBA Collabo? Girl Talk Has Your Record". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Klinge, Steve (January 19, 2007). "Mashing it up with Girl Talk Worlds merge at the hands of the 'Night Ripper' creator.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Dombal, Ryan (August 30, 2006). "Interviews: Girl Talk". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Brown, Marisa. "Night Ripper – Girl Talk". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Girl Talk/Gregg Gillis On New Album, Music Industry". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.). July 29, 2008. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ Bilton, Nick (February 28, 2011). "One on One: Girl Talk, Computer Musician". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d Mervis, Scott (December 21, 2006). "Q&A with Girl Talk". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Night Ripper (back cover). Girl Talk. Illegal Art. 2006. IA113. 
  11. ^ a b Anderson, Kyle (October 2006). "The Monster Mash-Up". Spin (New York): 32. ISSN 08863032. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Ayers, Michael D. (June 14, 2008). "White Noise". Billboard (New York): 29. ISSN 00062510. Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ Otterbein, Holly (September 4, 2007). "Interview: Girl Talk's Greg Gillis". The Temple News (Philadelphia). Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ McLeod & DiCola 2011, p. 183.
  15. ^ Kot 2009, p. 166.
  16. ^ Newton, Matthew (September 22, 2008). "The Inquisition: Girl Talk". Spin (New York). Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ Kosner, Anthony Wing (October 7, 2012). "Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis On Copyright, Curation and Making Mashups Rhyme". Forbes (New York). Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Murray, Noel (July 5, 2006). "Girl Talk / Nino Moschella". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Girl Talk". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Lindsay, Cam (September 2006). "Girl Talk − Night Ripper". Exclaim! (Toronto). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Silver, Dan (February 21, 2008). "NME Album Reviews − Girl Talk: Night Ripper". NME (London). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Fennessey, Sean (July 17, 2006). "Girl Talk: Night Ripper". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Dorr, Nate (June 21, 2006). "Girl Talk: Night Ripper". PopMatters. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Macdonald, Cameron (June 5, 2006). "Girl Talk – Night Ripper – Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  25. ^ Tamec. "Girl Talk − Night Ripper". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Girl Talk: Night Ripper". Uncut (London): 87. July 2006. 
  27. ^ Ayers, Michael D. (June 6, 2008). "Girl Talk Prepares To Unleash 'Animals'". Billboard (New York). Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  28. ^ Modell, Josh (March 12, 2007). "Random Rules: Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  29. ^ Watercutter, Angela (April 24, 2007). "The 2007 Rave Awards". Wired (San Francisco). Retrieved April 23, 2013. 
  30. ^ Night Ripper (liner notes). Girl Talk. Illegal Art. 2006. IA113. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]