It's easy to take Madison's guitar-strumming, kazoo-blowing king of naive folk music for granted. After all, Art Paul's been performing his strange ditties about cats, his Christian beliefs, life on Mars and a hundred other subjects big and small down on State Street since before most current members of the UW student body were born. Over the years, he's received encouragement and exposure from both local rock acts and the novelty-addicted radio DJ Dr. Demento (indeed, Demento regular Luke Ski assembled this project). But that attention has done little to swell Schlosser's dome. He remains a reliable Madison character, and when he disappears from local streets, the demotic portion of the city's cultural scene will be poorer for it.
The remixers on this encyclopedic 27-track reimagining of Art Paul's simple tunes revel in their subject's innocent oddness and punch up his bare-bones original arrangements with gusto. Standout tracks include DJ Particle's static-laced collage of "What's on the Radio," the G Wildens' heroic hard-rock setting for "Hey Let's Talk," and Positive Attitude's appropriately warped electro treatment of "Love and Friendship." Even the frantic, sliced-and-diced hardcore that Michael "That Guy" Hill juxtaposes against the sweet chorus of "My Cat Was Taking a Bath" celebrates Art Paul's weird, entirely unselfconscious approach to songwriting.
Is Art Paul destined to become the next indie club phenom? Maybe. But even if he doesn't, The Remix Project makes a fine bookend to the MAMA-winning tribute to him that came out in 2006.