Features | Awards

The Jean-Luc Godard Award For Best Self-Conscious Meta-Mixtape

By Calum Marsh | 6 December 2010

Do U Like Night Bus?
(Self-released; 2010)

Do U Like Night Bus? is to the music it mashes up and remixes and chops n’ screws what Tarantino movies are to the films they very self-consciously emulate. This mixtape is clearly the product of somebody who not only loves music but also, perhaps more importantly, loves the very idea of loving music—that is, CFCF strikes me as a self-conscious collector, someone for whom discussing and debating and disseminating music are at least as significant as just actually listening to it. So in much the same way that a Tarantino movie quotes film noir and kung fu but is actually about the act of quoting film noir and kung fu, so too does Do U Like Night Bus quote Aaliyah and DJ Screw while being more fundamentally about the act of quoting same.

This isn’t exactly meta-commentary; this isn’t music explicitly “about” music like you might find on an Art Brut record. It’s more like Do U Like Night Bus? is a mixtape that wants to congratulate its listeners for being music-savvy, for recognizing not just the samples reappropriated but for recognizing the significance of reappropriating these specific samples. Because by recontextualizing, say, an Aaliyah song—in this case, “4 Page Letter“—and by fitting it in between (admittedly fucking awesome) Twin Peaks samples and dark, pulsating stuff that sounds like Burial, CFCF is in effect putting quotes around the sample. Which is to say that by refashioning “4 Page Letter” as a now jarring pop element in its darker, chopped n’ screwed whole, CFCF underscores not the song but the idea of its use here—you almost can’t not think about it, and so in one minor gesture Do U Like Night Bus? seems to step back and reconsider itself. Were the mixtape to veer too far into self-awareness and taste-making self-congratulation it would fall flat, because when stuff like this gets too meta it becomes frustratingly difficult to enjoy the music on a more basic level. But the most satisfying thing about Do U Like Night Bus? is that it wants you to genuinely enjoy the mash-ups and remixes and not just acknowledge them as cool ideas or interesting choices—even though, as the work of a guy who loves to discuss and debate and disseminate cool music, you’re happily encouraged to do that, too.