Girl Talk mixes up the status quo

A—Girl_talk1 Courtesy
A---Girl_talk1Courtesy of Gwazda

Greg Gillis, better known under his stage name Girl Talk, is returning to Salt Lake City with his collection of mash-ups and layered sampling.

Even those who don’t like to dance will have a hard time not tapping a toe or two to the dance-rap-party-assault that is Girl Talk. So if you like Lil’ Wayne, or Outkast, or Lady Gaga, or Phoenix, or the Ramones, or literally, name an artist, then you will be sure to like Girl Talk. The concert is sure to be an all-night dance party.

Girl Talk performed at the Twilight Concert Series in Salt Lake City two years ago, and was one of the highlights of the series.

His music is diverse — mixing everything from Ludacris to Black Sabbath, to ’80s pop, to Jay-Z to Metallica, in an effortless manner. On his last album, “All Day,” Gillis used a total of 372 samples spinning a record that spanned 71 minutes. Girl Talk is able to mix and mash music in a way that is both seamless and eccentric.

The term sampling refers to the way in which an artist uses the work of another as background music, sound recording or instrument in his or her own work. There are many DJs today who do mash-ups and sampling, but Girl Talk is one of the best.

Girl Talk’s music has added to the controversy over current copyright battles, because strictly speaking, nothing in the album is music made by Gillis — it is all samples. However, the way he layers music and mixes in such a diverse way, never staying on any song for more than 20 to 30 seconds, makes a strong case for the originality of Girl Talk.

He makes a believer out of anyone who claims that sampling is an easy rip-off from a true musician. The music is complex and densely layered, and music critics have recognized this.

Girl Talk’s album, “Feed the Animals,” was rated one of the Top 10 albums of 2008 by Time Magazine and Gillis was also the recipient of the Rave Award by Wired Magazine.

Gillis’ talents also translate to the stage. He does not merely hit the play button and watch. He mixes on the stage, always injecting new little bits of samples creating a different experience than his albums.

He is also known to take off almost all of his clothes. No one would guess that Gillis was previously a biomedical engineering student. Two years ago at the Twilight Concert Series, he invited people onto the stage to dance with him, extending the dance party.

Girl Talk is playing at In the Venue on Thursday at 7 p.m.