This Record Is Illegal

Donna Summer – This Needs To Be Your Style (2003, Digipak, CD) - Discogs

Donna Summer
This Needs to Be Your Style

First thing you need to know is that this has nothing to do with disco diva Donna Summer, but is instead an identity-theft/media prank on the scale of the Negativland/U2 showdown in the ’90s. The first hint is the cover, which features a grainy black and white photo of what appears to be a satanic ritual but upon closer inspection is actually some dirtball metal band apres-gig, wringing the sweat out of their T-shirts and getting high in their graffiti-scarred dressing room. The second giveaway comes when you press “play” and out comes what can best be described as the aural paroxysms of an epileptic Mac with a bellyful of Kazaa. This black-market release, currently the must-have of the Wire set, is the handiwork of Williamsburg audio guerilla Jason Forrest. Part recombinant point-and-click blip-hop, part mutated monster mash-up, This Needs to Be Your Style is a mesmerizing and often disorienting reminder that songs and sounds get stolen every day and secreted away to the digital chop-shops of Brooklyn and London only to be tossed back into the cyber slipstream in a kind of catch-and-release program. There are enough hot-wired samples here — J. Geils Band, the Pretenders, U2, Supertramp — to get Forrest sued back to the Stone Age. My guess is that when the RIAA goon squad shows up at his downmarket Williamsburg flat with a can of whup-ass, they’re gonna kick down the door and find a guy who looks like Badly Drawn Boy, a lump of Moroccan hash the size of a bowling ball and a Mac iBook with a belt in its mouth. Then, most likely, they’ll pump their shotguns while yelling “Run, boy!” and give him 30 paces to make it look like he was trying to get away before they shoot him in the head.