Recombinant music has been around since the 19th century
September 16, 2002 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Now I know every song that ever sampled "funky drummer"
posted by twitch at 12:22 PM on September 16, 2002

twitch: I'm sure that list hardly scratches the surface, although it's probably fairly accurate for songs that made it into the top 40. It's just too common.. there've got to be dozens of other hip hop, breakbeat, and jungle / drum and bass songs that aren't covered there.
posted by ggruschow at 12:49 PM on September 16, 2002

Well, if recombinant merely means borrowing and elaborating on/with previous material, it has certainly been around since the cantus firmus mass (15th c.) and I would not be surprised that we have evidence that borrowed material was used much earlier. /crank
posted by mblandi at 1:04 PM on September 16, 2002

ggruschow: Yes, it's true that the list is far from comprehensive, and rather biased towards citing hip-hop samples (though the other sections are growing with every update)... but It's the most comprehensive project of its kind on the internet. (Though I'd love to be proven wrong).
posted by cadastral at 1:25 PM on September 16, 2002

Very cool, thanks for the links Cadastral.
posted by dhoyt at 2:55 PM on September 16, 2002

One can argue this is historical precedent and concrete evidence that present-day copyright complexities actually restrict artistic expression, hindering innovation and adversely affecting the growth of music. Imagine if every guitarist in the world had to get explicit written permission from Les Paul before they could play it in a public setting. Why create new challenging music forms if someone will just accuse you of borrowing too much from one influence or another?

But then again, one could argue that without copyright laws, there'd be even more homogenized crap out there. Why create new challenging music forms if you can steal from that which has recently come before? I guess either way, music as an art form loses.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:14 PM on September 16, 2002

Interesting points, ZachsMind, But if the musician's goal is just to "move units," then it doesn't much matter what avenue s/he takes to do so. I say let 'em sample, regardless of the merit of the final product.

The people I respect as musical visionaries couldn't be compelled to produce mediocre output, regardless of the legality or availability of samples.
posted by cadastral at 3:26 PM on September 16, 2002

Well, copyright complexities sure did restrict that site — when I first found it, it had MP3s of most of the best samples and it was basically the coolest site in the world. Without them, meh.
posted by nicwolff at 5:33 PM on September 16, 2002

I'm not sure that it was any RIAA-esque organization that "got to" the site. I'm pretty sure the site's operator didn't want to constantly maintain the mp3s.

I'm sure that this site is off the radar (for the time being, at least) of anyone who would have objection to ten second snippets of drums or horns.
posted by cadastral at 6:19 PM on September 16, 2002

mblandi: Winchester troper
posted by monkey closet at 2:20 AM on September 17, 2002

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