For a hip-hop fan, listening to ’60s and ’70s soul albums means regularly encountering familiar breaks. When I first heard “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)” by the Chi-Lites, I immediately recognized the horns and drums from Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love.” While I understand that, logically, the breaks in the Beyoncé song are really from the Chi-Lites, I still hear them as “belonging” to Beyoncé’s producer Rich Harrison.In the first of four posts about music composition, Ethan Hein looks at sampling, hiphop, copyright, the moral rights of artists and the idea that breaks only exists once they're used by a producer, starting out from “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” by Pete Rock and CL Smooth.
The Quietus interviews Hank Shocklee on hip-hop production team The Bomb Squad and Public Enemy's legendary sound
I've got a big jazz background and listening to a lot of jazz records I got an understanding of how you can be eclectic, in terms of your musical scales. You could create melodies and rhythms that were atonal. It didn't necessarily have any real tone but the tone would be determined by what you layered on top of it. So, for example, because Chuck has this kind of baritone voice, Chuck becomes the melody, and the track becomes the accompaniment. If you take a Billie Holiday record, and a Public Enemy record, in a way they are very similar. This is where it gets crazy. And Flav, well basically Flav is a tenor. I read a Clive Davis interview. And to me, Clive is one of the greatest producers of all time. And he said something that was cool, he said the artist always has to be the star, and sound like a star. And the beautiful thing about the Public Enemy records is, Chuck and Flavor provide the melody, on all the records.
Is Sampling Tom Petty Like Plagiarizing from Moby-Dick? [SLYT] Mini-documentary on 'sampling' circa 1989.
808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
Richard D. James is someone whose work can probably be considered outsider art. By almost anyone's standards, his work is eccentric, quirky and idiosyncratic. Its flaws (such as tape hiss and clipping) are arguably as charming as its finer points (such as whole worlds of original sounds), and its deviations from the norm are what make it so endearing, otherworldly and engaging. James seems a good subject for a case study due to how little music theory he took for granted, and how much he built his own musical principles from scratch, which is a noble goal for anyone trying to carve their own niche in the musical ecosystem.
Musician Matthew Herbert presents a half hour program for BBC Radio 4 on The Art of the Loop. (Herbert's personal contract for the creation of music.) [more inside]
The Kutiman Orchestra performs "Just a Lady" live. "Just a Lady" was one of seven songs on the masterful found-footage sampling project Thru You (previously, samples and downloads) and was my personal favorite, so I'm very happy to see a live version. [more inside]
Composer/ musician/ artist John Oswald coined the term Plunderphonics in the essay "Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative," (previously) which discussed the efforts to create something new by sampling and distorting audio. Even though Oswald coined the term in '85, he has been working in the style since the late 1960s, and many people have joined in. [more inside]
A nice documentary video of live electronic music sampling and improvisation featuring Matmos with a rat cage.
Copyright Criminals, the 2009 PBS Documentary, discusses the complex artistic and legal history of sampling in music, featuring interviews with both the samplers (Chuck D, De La Soul, Shock G, El-P, DJ Qbert) and the sampled (George Clinton and Clyde Stubblefield). via egotrip
In the mid-1950s, Dickie Goodman was a struggling song writer working with song publisher Bill Buchanan, when the two men came up with the idea of a fake radio program interrupted by a UFO attack (similar to the hoax Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds), except in this case, the aliens spoke the language of rock 'n' roll. The result was Flying Saucer, Parts 1 and 2 on Luniverse Records, the first novelty break-in record and a forerunner to the modern mashup. [more inside]
Kimbra performs Settle Down live at SXSW, looping her voice and singing, following in the live sampling footsteps of Imogen Heap and TuneYards.
Copyright law in micrcosm, or, Why Alan Lomax is a co-author of Jay-Z's "Takeover".
Part 3 of the Everything is a Remix video series has been released, by New York filmmaker Kirby Ferguson. Previously on MeFi. See the entire series on Vimeo: Parts One, Two and Three. (YouTube versions and transcripts inside.) Official Site. [more inside]
Electronic musician Gabe Shultz (fka Fusebox) has created Day Glow Freaks, a free 12-track album comprised entirely of Steely Dan samples. [more inside]
The most curious was on a chariot that carried the most singular music that can be imagined. It held a bear that played the organ; instead of pipes, there were sixteen cat heads each with its body confined; the tails were sticking out and were held to be played as the strings on a piano, if a key was pressed on the keyboard, the corresponding tail would be pulled hard, and it would produce each time a lamentable meow... the cats were arranged properly to produce a succession of notes from the octave… Sixteenth-century Europe, Jingle Cats, and the 2008 Housing Bubble: The Birth of Sampling [more inside]
In the early 1990's, a young Kejuan Muchita put to use a recording from 5 years before he was born. The recording was Herbie Hancock's 1969 song "Jessica". Not ringing a bell? Well perhaps this brief video will help you listen to how it morphed into something just as beautiful, and perhaps more familiar. [more inside]
Give the drummer some? Nuh-uh. PAY the drummer some! Living Legend Tries to Make a Living. I'm talking about the man who gave us the drum solo (at 5:35) that launched a thousand hip hop ships, James Brown's funky heartbeat, Clyde Stubblefield. [previously].
Everything is a Remix Part 2: Movies Mind-blowing cuts of how previous films influenced pretty much all of Hollywood's output today. Previously this series examined music in much the same way.
In the mood for some homebrew remixing? Phoenix has put the complete multitracks to their album Wolfgang Amadeux Phoenix online for your downloading pleasure, for free. [more inside]
Pain Pack — Ze Frank posted a phone number and asked that anyone experiencing emotional pain leave him a message. He received a number of very distraught messages. From those, DJs and musicians created 138 samples for him—and those samples have since been made into songs—and the collaborative process continues.
Who sings the "Since I left you" bit on the Avalanches song? Where does the piano on that Alicia Keys record come from? And how did that Boney M song get stuck in my head? All is revealed at Who Sampled.
The Works of Swede Mason: "Jeremy Clarkson," "Get in the Back of the Van," "Jungle All The Way," "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector," "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *" "Got The Sucka," "The Gobshite, *" "Squashed Thingy," "Spare Me The Madness," and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors deaths "Coffee And Croissants" and "Todd....Dead." [more inside]
Jason Derulo's song "Watcha Say" which debuted at 54th on the Billboard Hot 100 and is currently 5th on the Itunes Top 100 list prominently samples Imogen Heap's song "Hide and Seek" without giving her credit. Sampling in rap music has a long and controversial history.
Pendle Poucher is a UK based composer, sound designer and lover of funny noises who has written, produced and performed soundtracks for every major UK TV station. He has devised large scale public art projects and written chart-topping dance music. However, what I find most interesting, he is also one of relatively few musicians within the UK who owns a dulcitone. Poucher claims that his Dulcitone 1884 is the world's first multi-sampled dulcitone. [more inside]
What does it all mean? In many ways, today's remix culture kicked off in earnest one weekend in 1983 when two ad men (one a recording engineer) spent a weekend in a studio crafting the first pop record made up entirely of samples in the hopes of winning a $100 remix contest. [more inside]
Dionisio González makes photographs of imaginary favelas, Filip Dujardin makes photographs of imaginary buildings.
The Amen Break and the Golden Ratio by mathematics educator and author, Michael S. Schneider. Schneider, having already researched and written about the golden ratio extensively, noticed it right away when hearing the the amen break for the first time (amen break previously on the blue). While some composers have been known to intentionally incorporate fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio into their works, perhaps this is just another one of the many instances of the ratio showing up in nature.
You may have never heard of it, but you've damn near certain heard it. The Mellotron (FortuneCity link) is a keyboard instrument; each of its keys triggers a tape with a pre-recorded instrument on it. It was effectively the world's first sample player. [more inside]
Dreamies. It's 1972, and affable salaryman and good husband Bill Holt quits his good job at 3M to become a musical pioneer from the comfort of his own basement. The resulting album, Dreamies, is notable for its generous and ahead-of-its-time use of sampling/plunderphonics and became a highly sought-after lost classic until its re-release this year. Bill now has his own website, also called Dreamies, where he releases Eye Candy and Politics in liberal doses. Some are hypnotic, some are, for want of a better term, 'relaxing', others are anything but. And all of them are subtly infused with the slightly unsettling taste of Huh?
Can I get an amen? An installation featuring an acetate pressing of a well worded spoken piece about copyright law, creative commons, culture and even advertising from the perspective of the history of the now ubiquitous Amen Break featuring audio samples of songs and artists from the well known to the unusual. Please feel free to use this archive.org mirror of the video indicated on the project description page with the entirety of the audio of the acetate at archive.org. (34MB MP4/Quicktime, majority of video portion consists of various views of the turntable, but the audio is quite good.)
If you liked the Kleptones and other posts about mashups, you might have caught "raiding the 20th century" in early 2004. Well, DJ Food has completely updated it for 2005 and now clocks in at a full 59 minutes of monster mashup mix madness. Download the mp3 here and enjoy the eclectic sonic landscape.
Making music entirely from non-musical things: McDonalds Happy Meals, Henry Kissinger, Bread, Salad Tosser, Fluorescent Lamps, the Bible, Hearts, Dot Matrix Printers, Photocopiers, Volkswagen [possibly nsfw], The Postal Service, Blank Tapes, Eiffel Tower, Deportation Orders [scroll down], Cakes, Cucumbers, Furniture [scroll down to #12], Skin, Roads, Underpasses, Frogs, Vinyl Run-Out Grooves, Radios, Natural Geophysical Phenomena, Carly Simon and other stuff.
Three Notes and Runnin' has decided to protest the recent court decision that cited N.W.A. with illegally sampling a snippet of Funkadelic's Get Off Your Ass and Jam that had been modified to the point of unrecognizability. So in the tradition of online civil disobedience such as Grey Tuesday, Downhill Battle has issued a challenge to sample-based artists to create 30-second remixes that consist of nothing but the disputed 1.5-second Funkadelic sample.
Queen + Hip-Hop Mashups = A Night at the Hip Hopera Better than the Grey Album? Cease and desist in 3, 2, 1...
All samples must now be licenced according to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, including tiny samples that have been modified to the point of being unrecognisable. "We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way." via /dev/null
Raiding the 20th Century. On January 18 XFM Radio broadcast a DJ set by Strictly Kev (working under the pseudo-open moniker DJ Food) called Raiding the 20th Century - A History of the Cut Up. The set is completely comprised of music from the later half of, you guess it, the 20th century and makes for a very entertaining and nostalgic listen. File location details inside. [via VirtualTurntable.biz]
What is sampling? To some, sampling is an art. To others it's a question of permission and legality. With modern technology, movies and tv shows can also become great sources of samples, as seen in the The Top 1035 Sample Sources List.
A hip hop geek's wet dream... I don't know about you, but to find this site made my day. Dozens and dozens of full length songs that your favorite hip hop producers have sampled. If you can convert streaming audio to mp3, the songs are yours!
Recombinant music has been around since the 19th century and now there is an amazing online tool for fans of both the samplers and the sampled.
I hate posting a link from the much-derided Fark, but as a musician myself, actions like this by the music industry really burn me. Basically Limp Bizkit held a "Nationwide Guitar Audition" to find a new guitarist to replace Wes, and (so the main link says) proceeded to rip off the original, uncopyrighted tryouts from hundreds of guitarists. What do you other musicians think of this? Was it really a ploy?
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