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Re: Plunderphonic (was "disrespecting softwares")

Title: Re: Plunderphonic (was "disrespecting softwares")
At 12:50 PM -0700 5/2/01, rich wrote:

the last time around we did this, i got a link to a disc which i've enjoyed, and now i get to check out John Oswald. any links to his stuff? 

Actually, you've already provided the URL to order the new Plunderphonic set !


You can download the entire orginal Plunderphonic CD as mp3 files from


or at

or as WAV or mp3 files from the official Plunderphonics site


in this day of incredibly easy digital repurposing (sp?), the whole 'collage' thing, to me, has less sting...  would a Raushenburg or a Jasper Johns have the same impact if they were done post-Photoshop? the sheer amount of time and dedication to obtain and repurpose those images was part of what that art was.

A very good point. Even in the late 1970s, when Laurie Anderson was bringing performance collage to the masses, it was still a pretty exciting and somewhat mysterious thing.

Perhaps a central issue is the importance of novelty in creating artistic impact.  Some "effects" make a strong impression primarily  because they  are unexpected or unexplainable. They don't even have to all that well done if they haven't previously been done at all (cf. Georges Méliès's 1902 film, "A Trip to the Moon").

Someone pioneers an effect and it creates a sensation.  Then others figure out how to do it and to improve upon it and it becomes a fad. Finally it becomes so pervasive that it becomes part of the common practice. It may even create a backlash and go out of fashion, though in the best of cases it will be taken up by the truly creative and refined as a subtle and sophisticated gesture.

Take morphing for example.  As far as I know the first use of a visual morph effect in a major film was in the Ron Howard film "Willow" (1988), where it was used for one brief transformation sequence. The technique was further developed at ILM to portray the essential shapeshifting power of the bad Terminator in "Terminator 2" and it was used as a snappy effect in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" video. After that it ran rampant. However, there was one cinematic morph that impressed me in "What Lies Beneath," where Michele Pfeiffer is undergoing spiritual possession by the ghost of her husband's ex-lover and for just a moment her face transforms into that of the other woman. Wham!  Blink and you'll miss it, but that one instant made it worth sitting through the rest of the film.

So I'd say the same thing goes for musical collage. It may have lost its ability to shock, but if it's done well it still has power.

Eno and Byrne's "my life in the bush of ghosts" feels the same way.

An excellent example. From what I hear they pinched the idea from Jon Hassell.


Richard Zvonar, PhD   
(818) 788-2202