Appropriation and Remix Culture in our Technological Times

This article reminded me of Joana Så’s influenced style of John Cage’s “the wonderful widow of 18 springs”. Joana Sa made a full length movie of her performing with a piano, THROUGH THIS LOOKING-GLASS, the same way John Cage did; using the piano as a percussion instrument. Though she uses the same idea that Cage did, she does so in a different expressive way; Even if they use the same idea, it is its own unique rendition. Many artists have taken John Cage’s ideas and done their own version, such as BBCs’ 4’33, Joana Sa’s multiple Cage covers, Tetsuo Kogawa’s radio pieces, and the countless youtube and vimeo John Cage covers out there.

I also think that it is kind of freaky how he humorously predicted the use of software to track down samples. Last semester a girl told the class how a video she had got flagged for copyright against a Michael Jackson song, when in fact she did not even use a song, it was an original composition.

Also, why make a sampler when it is illegal and dangerous to sample up to an extent? Its kind of like ‘why make bongs when its illegal to smoke pot?’ or even ‘why make cars go up to 70 when that’s the average speed limit in highways?’ ‘why provide the technology to rip music out from cds ?’ copyright sux

In “Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative” John Oswald disguises the technologies that are changing the way we see piracy. As I read this essay I couldn’t help but think of the fact that this essay was written in 1985. In 85 I was a young child and totally obsessed groups like Eric B & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy. The hip-hop music of that time was heavily sample driven music and now from this class I realize what has caused the death of the music I loved as a child. If I start to think of some of the best albums of that time (Bestie Boys “Paul’s Boutique”) I know that albums like that will never made again because I would be too expensive to get all the rights for the samples. I also see that the main difference now is that they stopped going after the artist for a cut of their new art form and started going after their fans.

This essay makes me sad because the optimism that Oswald has that laws will change with the growth of technology.But here we are over twenty years latter and it has not happened. It has only escalated to turning ordinary every day people into criminals for downloading or sharing the music that they love. I agree with Oswald that music is pounded into or heads without our consent yet, if we happen to take it in and use it we are wrong. I also agree with the idea that someone owning a sequence of note is just ridiculous.

On a completely different note I just say a mash-up on the Oscars. I will try to find it and post it on the blog.


documentary about the copyright issues in early hip hop. Watch the full film on hulu:

Biz Markie, De La Soul, and NWA were all part of important copyright/sampeling cases that set legal precedent and changed the sound of hip hop – Public Enemy responds:

Hey  y’all it’s Brad here to tell you about a band from Australia called The Avalanches. They released an album way back in 2000 called Since I Left You, which was comprised of obscure and weird vinyl record samples.

I think the album as a whole is really good, the songs you should listen to first, however, are the title track and ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’


Frontier Psychiatrist

Since I Left You

For this album, since they grabbed from 3500 really really obscure records of all kinds (Audiobooks, Speeches, Sound Effects, Soundtracks, etc.) it was not a big deal in 2000, when they were prepping the album for release. Not a lot of artists worked entirely with samples. It was never intended for a wide release, so they didn’t bother to clear any samples at all. So they released it, and it was very well received at the time, winning four ARIA Music Awards (whatever those are- thanks wikipedia) and was well reviewed (Heads up it’s a p4k link). I think you would all like it. It’s real good. (Good +)

Other exciting news: since the release of Since I Left You, The Avalanches have been busily working in secret on another album. It’s been over eleven years now, with little update on the progress of this album. However, through posts on their site they’ve said that they’re clearing samples for a new album.

Clearing samples? I don’t know how I feel about that. It seems like such an unnecessary step to take for a band like The Avalanches. With the copyright/remix climate like it is now, with artists like Girl Talk and other mashups completely just taking popular samples and doing what they want with them, what’s the point of licensing a couple thousand obscure samples? Just an interesting thought, it seems like a strange step to take (I also just want to hear the album sooner but hey I’m not them)

But really, this band is the shit, you should check out those videos cause they rule. Buy the album or steal it or whatever haha. GOOD LUCK.