“History in the making,” Jay-Z calls out a few bars into Beyoncé’s debut solo single “Crazy in Love.”
The recent assemblage finds Queen Bey splitting screen time with The Beatles, as DJ Cummerbund weaves “Crazy in Love” together with “Come Together.”
The video is as much fun as the seamless audio, with a hammy cameo from Ringo Starr, courtesy of the 1981 comedy Caveman, and Yoko Ono and James Brown doing some heavy lifting.
John Lennon’s take as Brown fires up his Sex Machine is priceless. It really feels as if these unlikely collaborators were active, rather than passive contributors.
Here’s a peek into how DJ Cummerbund arranged the audio clips.
Asked in a 2020 interview with Digital Journal about the source of his inspiration, he responded:
I’m not sure if you can call it inspiration exactly, but I have a neurological condition that causes me to hear and feel melodies and frequencies where most cannot (in the wind, the soil, celestial bodies, etc.) This ultimately causes me to constantly hear songs on top of other songs to the point of extreme frustration and the only way to subdue that is to actually create what I’m hearing in my head. It’s almost therapeutic for me, and I was even told I could die if I don’t continue to create my works. It’s definitely like a curse sometimes but can also be a blessing as my music seems to bring a great deal of joy to millions of people.
An undersung element of these crowd pleasing remixes is how skillfully DJ Cummerbund ties things together by recording supplemental vocals and instrumentals.
Ozzy Osbourne fronts “Earth, Wind and Ozzys,” which marries his 1980 solo hit “Crazy Train” with Earth Wind & Fire’s evergreen “September” so successfully, it’s a let down to remember that a gorgeous, harmonized “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train” is an invented, not sampled disco chorus.
The combinations the DJ comes up with can’t help but force a fresh perspective on artists who would never in a million years have shared a stage or fanbase.
When a title like “Me and Coolio Down by the Schoolyard” pops into your head, it arrives as a self-thrown gauntlet. You can’t not see it through to fruition.
The lo-fi joys of double dutch and playground hoops from the original Julio video present a plausible vision of a “place where (Coolio’s) kids can play outside without livin’ in fear of a drive-by.”
This being a DJ Cummerbund production, baseball Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle and football coach John Madden, who were on hand for Julio, have to make room for his ever present muse, the late wrestling superstar Randy “Macho Man” Savage.
DJ Cummerbund is willing to consider requests, particularly if you do a bit of homework to ensure that your chosen songs’ keys match up and their BPMs inhabit the same realm.
In recent weeks, DJ Cummerbund has been opening for the B-52s during their residency at the Venetian.
– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.