I had the privilege of sitting in a class, while the teacher taught the class about remix culture. Where it comes from, historical references, etc. It was a surreal experience to have my memories taught to a class, that I’m sitting in. My brain immediately turned toward music, and then out of some weird knee-jerk reaction, I turned against me first instinct. I started thinking of a 3d piece that fit the requirements of the project, without fully discarding my musical attachment. I was drawn to the idea of bringing the sampling tradition in hip-hop into a physical world. I played around with the idea of dissecting a sample-based song to determine the percentage each sample was of the song’s whole. I would then cut out pie shapes from the records that the samples came from, in the corresponding percentage of a whole record. The next part of the project was to find a song.
This became a project changer, as the records from most sample-based songs have become expensive due to their collectibility. As a solution to this problem, I realized that my first instinct would make for a more original work, and help push me to make music. Using records I have laying around that I wouldn’t be sad about cutting up, I sampled selections from 3 records.
The records that were sampled were chosen at random from my yard sale collection. They were all in poor condition, scratched, dusty, stored for decades without dust covers. I made no effort to repair the sound. I wanted it crunchy. I recorded the parts I was interested in, and laid them out in Audition. Conveniently this is how I started making music in the first place, back in 2002. I used to use Cool Edit Pro, which was later bought by Adobe, and then called Audition. It felt natural to use it for this kind of work.
For the arrangement of the song, I allowed the elements of the some to simply present themselves, without any effects, and only minor EQ’ing. I kept the arrangement simple, until the finish of the 1st part. The 2nd part introduces the use of timestretching and stereo field manipulation to pull the sound apart into the listening space. I do not normalize my tracks, as I love a dynamic range of volume. The whole some serves to set up the 3 part. This is where I take each sample and stretch it excessively to create an entirely new feel, while maintaining a subtle connection to the rest of the song.
The secondary intent of the work is to take the mood from slow and lighthearted, to a more aggressively introspective one.
Critique for this was a bit more complicated that I initially thought. I was caught in the idea of making, more so than how it would be received. Although, I did think that music would be tough to crit, as many social factions define themselves using music more than any other cultural aspect. It quickly dawned on me that it was being presented where all other projects were visually driven. At least half of the critique was on the visual presentation of the music, ie. how the speakers sat on the table, the table itself, and the fact that I chose to set the records sampled upright between the speakers. One crit even included commentary on the style of the album covers.
From this I took away a couple things. Next time, I’ll use a couple pedestals, and turn off the lights, to focus the attention on the aural display. The other take away is on generational, and genre considerations; it can’t be pandered to, and cannot be avoided. If I’m going to make music, it is to be for myself, without compromise. And there will be people that wont like it.