Tim Ross is well known in Triangle music circles, as a percussionist in Joby’s Opinion in the ’90s, as WXYC station manager and DJ Twombly to the masses at places like The Federal and Hell, and as a former music scribe for Spectator. Thanks to the wonders of digital sleight-of-hand and the constant, pulsing capillaries of blogs on the Web, he recently entered the world of the mash-up and politically-minded media.
Using vocal bits of the infamous comments between Enron traders and sampling an old ’90s dance cut by the group Snap!, “(I’ve Got) The Power,” he fused together “Enron’s Got the Power,” posted it on his blog, www.tubafrenzy.org/weblog, and went on about his business. Cut-ups of profanity-laced comments by Enron employees, including the “burn baby burn” refrain, peppered throughout the beats and the female vocal in the song belting out a soulful “I’ve got the power!” rock this piece along at a feverish pace. The nature of what some called the “truth remix” keeps it potently humorous and revealing. Ross later heard it had started circulating on the Web at a rapid pace, via exposure on the popular site BoingBoing.net. In three days, it had been downloaded over 5,000 times; after three weeks, downloads were well over 10,000.
Then an online editor at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee contacted Ross. The DCCC, according to their Web site, “serves as the official national Democratic campaign committee charged with recruiting, assisting, funding, and electing Democrats to the U. S. House of Representatives.” The group wanted to use Ross’ audio track in a video piece they were assembling on President Bush, Tom Delay, Enron and the California energy crisis, one made ever more relevant with the indictments regarding Delay’s sketchy fundraising work in Texas. You can now view the video here: www.dccc.org/fights/Enron+Video.htm. Ross says, “I’m really fascinated by the way things spread so quickly and so widely within the blogosphere. Of course, the humorous irony here is that way more people heard that mash-up than ever heard any musical project I’d ever been involved in. It had the benefit of being a timely gimmick, though.” Ross notes how the video edit adds its own giggle factor: “I really like how they censored the Enron traders’ uses of the f-word with cash register ‘ka-ching’ sounds!” x