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Eric Kleptone
Mash-ups, Remix Culture, Bastard Pop, 21st-century audio collage, call it what you want, The Kleptones represent the vanguard of the next wave of music sampling. Copyright laws dictate that their work-to-date cannot be legally released, so, eschewing the traditional routine of illegal releases, The Kleptones nailed their flag to a higher mast, looked to the web-wide community and released their work for free online.

"We figured that, as we only sampled music that we loved, mostly made by people we respected, as the law stands, we have no right to profit from it. In an ideal world we would be able to at least legally give away our work for free, if not sell it and allow all the sampled participants to profit from it, but archaic copyright law and yards of major record label red tape mean this is very unlikely to happen."

The band hit their mark in early 2004 with "Yoshimi Battles The Hip-Hop Robots," which blended the hugely successful Flaming Lips album with rap vocals from hip-hop stars past and present. The acclaim they received encouranged them, and later that year they released what has now become their landmark release, "A Night At The Hip-Hopera." Again using hip-hop vocals, this time The Kleptones mixed them with music supplied by Queen, and peppered the combination with a wide-ranging mix of film and spoken-word samples, poking fun at the current state of the music industry. The album won the band legions of fans, over 300,000 downloads, a flurry of press and blog activity, and a legal threat from Disney, who, through Hollywood Records, owned Queen's catalogue in the USA, to one of their supporters, who was hosting the album on their behalf.

The band entered 2005 by releasing "From Detroit To J.A.," an album-length mix created for James Hyman's "The Rinse" show on XFM in London. Soon after this it was announced they were to be awarded the 2005 Webby Award as "Artists Of The Year" by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), who declared the band to have "achieved new critical heights" and to be "true internet renegades."

For the rest of 2005 the band were quiet, whilst working on new material in their studio in Brighton, England. It took till March 2006 for them to break their silence with a series of online EPs heralding the arrival of their next release -- the double album "24 Hours," their most ambitious release yet. Alongside this came the announcement that the band were to produce the soundtrack for the Creative Commons licenced feature film project A Swarm Of Angels, due for release in 2007.

Alongside their album releases The Kleptones have built up a reputation as laptop DJs deluxe, twisting and warping their album content alongside a range of music stretching from house, hiphop, all kinds of rock, drum'n'bass, and beyond, remixing, looping, and reconstructing as they go. Their long-threatened move into the live arena looks set to happen soon, which should seal their reputation as premier sound-warpers extraordinaire.

  Eric Kleptone