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Re: Basic intro (OT)

On Fri, 17 Aug 2001 00:55:08 -0400, Tim Nelson <tcn62@ici.net> wrote:

>At 08:40 PM 8/16/01 -0700, you wrote:
>>>but we were talking about using unauthorized eight-measure chunks of 
>>>people's well-known, commercially released music, 
>>No we weren't. We were talking about whether arrangement constituted
>>creativity. Or, at least, that's what *I* was talking about. Context is
>Remember Ice-T and Lynyrd Skynyrd? Whole verses? Your reference to "_my
>own_ work"?

Yes, I do. It was an example of a concept, and discussing the *example*
was never really supposed to be the point. Most of what we're doing here
is hashing out an understanding of what the question "really" is. So
far, it seems our respective positions are (on my end) "context can
provide meaning in and of itself", and (on your end) "sampling too much
of someone else's song is wrong". These aren't quite close enough to one
another to provide much of a conversation; it's more of an argument. 

Not that this is a problem; I like to argue. ;)

>You've been adding variables throughout this whole thread.

You've been *asking* for them. I started out with what looked like a
very simple question, and the *example* turned into the focus. You kept
insisting that the example wasn't enough on which to base a musical
composition, and you're right -- it's not. It's just an example of the
specific concept I was bringing up. That isn't the only thing I ever do.

>It started out as a simple statement. You said:

I'm replacing what I feel is a *very* important part of the statement.

>"This is also reflected in my own work. 

"When I use a sample, it's not
always just "that will sound good here", it's often a deliberate
juxtaposition of opposing concepts -- "

>like the opening verse of Ice-T's
>"Colors" overlaid on the introduction to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home
>Alabama". ..."

That is an EXAMPLE. The main point, and the purpose of the discussion,
was to illustrate *context* containing a meaning apart from the meaning
contained in the samples themselves. It was important to the example
that the samples in question be easily recognisable, too. Otherwise, I
figured I'd be trying to explain for days... hey, wait a minute. :P

>To which I responded:
>"...when you talk about
>lifting entire verses wholesale from other artists' music, to what extent
>can you really say it's your *own* work?"
>Then as we've gone along, suddenly or gradually you're not 'relying' on
>samples (they're just tools in a toolbox), 

Not in the music as a whole. The example is not the sum total of my
work, nor is it the full and complete definition of the concept. It's
ONLY an example, and somehow it turned into the whole conversation. 

>downplaying the prominence you'd initially attributed to the
>samples, unadorned, lengthy and conspicuous 

Like I said, "When I use a sample". Such a qualification more or less
requires that samples would be involved. Furthermore, the length and
conspicuousness of the samples was important IN THIS INSTANCE as a
"deliberate juxtaposition of opposing concepts". 

>but my question was not intended to encompass the
>specifics you hadn't mentioned yet.

But they're not specifics. They're general qualities of my work which
hadn't been discussed because they weren't relevant to the *specific*

>In your original statement, the one to which I've been responding, my
>interpretation was that you emphasised leaving the samples alone as much 

Actually, I merely avoided a discussion of EVERY aspect of the work
because it was irrelevant to the example. The Ice-T vocal had to be
heavily filtered to remove the backbeat and allow Lynyrd Skynyrd to come
through, but then it was far too thin and weak so I thickened it up with
some reverb and added a light bassline. 

>asking how we felt about using material with
>particularly high connotative value gleaned from obscure meaning.

That's not what I asked. I asked whether other people used context as a
tool to add further meaning to their music. 

>I never said the curator couldn't be original, unique, creative or
>revolutionary in how he displays the pieces. 

To be fair, you said outright that he *could*, but that this didn't make
the art his. But what is the art? The individual pieces? The
arrangement? The exhibition? And when the curator is given free reign to
pick whatever pieces he likes for the exhibition, doesn't that begin to
blur the line a little? If I hand you a kumquat, a coconut, and a
banana, and say "put these on that chair", how you arrange them can say
something -- but your options are limited. But if I just tell you to put
three fruits on a chair, your selection of a kumquat, a coconut, and a
banana says something even before you set them down. 

>What I'm saying is that he
>can't legitimately claim them as his *own* work.

At no point in time did I or anyone else claim that when I sampled Ice-T
and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the samples I used suddenly became my property. I
think you'd have to be pretty stupid to try and claim something like
that. But your point has always sounded an awful lot like "if you
sampled someone else, then the song isn't really your work". Sure, the
SAMPLE isn't my work, but the whole *song*?

>>there is
>>the art made by the people I sampled, and the art of putting them all
>>together, and that results in a final work of art.
>That sounds like a collaborative effort to me, although it's missing the
>participatory element; 

When one person collaborates with fifty other people on a three-minute
song, who is the artist? 

The one guy, of course. Everyone else should get a credit, if space
permits, but an ID3 tag is only so big. And when you cram 20 such tracks
together onto a CD, how on earth are you supposed to credit a *thousand*
sources? Is it fair to credit some and not others? Where is the line

Me, I draw the line on "all or none". Too many to credit? No credits.
Otherwise, credit them all, no matter how small or unnoticeable the
sample is. (Especially when it's hard to hear. That makes for a pleasant
game of find-the-sample when people who actually read the liner notes go
"hey, where did he use that?")

>I just think it's difficult to justify
>sampling a whole verse of someone else's song.

I don't think it's difficult to justify sampling a verse. Was the entire
verse necessary for the intended effect? Yes. Was the intended effect
important to the song? Yes. Was the intended effect the same as the
original song's effect? No. Bam, it's *artistically* justified.
(Legally, of course, it's a different matter.) I said something else
with it, and used only what I needed to do so. 

Is the horse dead yet? ;)