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Re: Basic intro (OT)

On Wed, 15 Aug 2001 19:45:08 -0400, Tim Nelson <tcn62@ici.net> wrote:

>At 11:21 AM 8/15/01 -0700, you wrote:
>>All your examples have displayed a fundamental prejudice: you think
>>sample-based music by definition consists *exclusively* of "play this,
>>then play that".
>Is that what you think I think? I don't think that's what I think, at 
>I don't think so. :-P 

Touche. I hate it when people try to tell me what I think, and bitch
about it for days whenever it happens. Please accept my apologies; I
*should* have said "evidently" or "apparently", at the very least. 

>What I
>was objecting to is the ever-growing trend of reliance upon lengthy,
>blatant, instantly recognizable chunks of well-known material with little
>or no original musical input. 

But isn't the selection and juxtaposition of those chunks *potentially*
original musical input? Look at Pink Floyd -- the order of the songs on
each album is profoundly important to the work as a whole, and has
definite musical value. I'll be the first to agree that there's a great
deal of no-talent music being made today in EVERY genre, but isn't that
directly related to the fact that there's a great deal more music being
made today in the first place?

>>Your examples trivialise my work/art/product
>No, my examples were not directed at YOUR music; as I said, I haven't 
>YOUR music and am not in a position to comment on it. 

They were, however, directed at an entire arena of musical effort in
which I categorise myself. I don't think I'm THAT much of an exception.
I rarely hear *any* music that would fit your examples.

>My examples trivialise the work/art/product of those who rely on 
>extensive, obvious sampling WITHOUT bringing anything original to it. 

But you've already stated that you don't feel rearranging the samples
constitutes originality. Granted, hitting "randomise" in ReCycle or
something similar isn't originality, but manually placing each component
in a specific place to match an overall vision ought to be.

Visual artists recognise altered context as originality. Remember the
"Piss Christ"? A photographer dropped a crucifix into a urine specimen
and took a picture. Critics were astounded. Christians were offended.
Viewers flocked to the exhibition to see it. If it was *just* a crucifix
or *just* a urine specimen, nobody would have cared. How is music any

>How's THAT for an esoteric contextual implication? ;)

Pretty damn good. In a recent comic strip I drew, one of the characters
asserts that Bavarians always wear pink and brown uniforms, which drew
some confused email. It seems only about a half dozen people in the
world can identify pink and brown as the company standard colors of
Dunkin' Donuts, in which case they might have thought this was funny. I
left a lot of people on the curb with that.

>>I'd like to take exception to the implication that all sample-based
>>music is parody, and neither honest nor original. I won't further
>>belabor that point, but your thinking seems a bit constipated here.
>If I'd said *all* sample-based music was parody, I'd have to agree with
>your disgnosis. But that's not at all what I said.

That's true. You just made a statement *about* parody, which we weren't
expressly discussing, thereby implying that you felt we were discussing
it. You also made a comparison with "honest, original" composition,
thereby implying a difference.

>>the *bottom* three are the ones that have garnered the
>>highest download counts from the general public! While musicians
>>constantly whine about how sample-based music isn't "really" music,
>>people certainly seem to like listening to it.
>Ah, popularity... The Backstreet Boys have sure sold a heap of CDs over 
>past couple of years. 

As far as I'm concerned, there's one overriding concern for "is it
music", and that is "does it sound good?" -- which is an entirely
separate question from whether I *like* it. Not that it matters, since I
*do* like the Backstreet Boys, no matter how many fag jokes I make at
their expense. ;)

Let's actually consider the Backstreet Boys. Everyone hates them for
some reason. Why? They sing well, they dance well, the lyrics are
well-written if not innovative, the music is well-performed if not
groundbreaking, and the production value of each track is nothing short
of incredible. The only real argument I've heard against them is that
they aren't "real" artists or musicians. But somewhere in the
background, there IS a real artist and musician, so does it really
*matter* if he was out there on stage? Do I *have* to break new ground
and alter the face of music to be considered a musician? 

Some people don't make music out of noble goals like "artistic merit".
They just want to be *heard*. And, of course, other people just want to
make money (or achieve some other tangible return). And just like
movies, these three different goals can't generally be measured on the
same scale. You have the money makers, who are whores. You have the
popularity hounds, who are sluts. And you have the artistic merit
people, who are chaste. Each group wants to judge the others on its own
terms: amount of sales, number of fans, abstract notions of "art".

>My thinking must be constipated,
>though, because everyone knows album sales are directly proportional to
>artistic merit.

Such sarcasm! When, of course, the *reality* is that album sales are
INVERSELY proportional to artistic merit... right?

>>It was the natural endpoint of the vocal. Nobody would think twice if I
>>sampled eight measures of a drum beat or a melody.
>EIGHT MEASURES of melody? Sure they would! That's the central gist of what
>got this whole thread started in the first place! Eight measures of 
>to me at least, constitutes a fairly complete musical statement

...commonly referred to as a "phrase". Even if every phrase I use has
been used before, the resulting statement of the entire work is still