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Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 3 of 7


Above: The Amen Break documentary by Nate Harrison, included in the resource selections below.

List of online resources and music selection for week 3 of Hip-Hop to Dubstep, taught during the summer of 2013 at The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be releasing brief notes based on my class lectures in the near future. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse this link: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/. My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

View:
Part 1
Part 2

Week 3
June 17 – 21, 2013
Dub/Disco/Hip-Hop

Music selection and relevant links:

The Joy of Disco – The Joy of Disco:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zQpMnU6N4o

Amen Break Documentary (by Nate Harrison):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac
The Winstons – Amen Brother:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxZuq57_bYM

Scratch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj1r6u8zLPo&feature=player_embedded

TB-303 Documentary – Bassline Baseline (2005)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLQwwtjtiY4

The hip hop years part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhrSlOa2bsA
The hip hop years part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qjs771lWnE
The hip hop years part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_46ig2V74I

Copyright Criminals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIoR3PYpduo

 

Music Selection from Jamaica, Dancehall:

Yellowman – King Yellowman (Full Album) 1984
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i11zpqkmupg
Yellowman Reggae Sunsplash 1982
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko46_aXW_94

Mr Loverman- Shabba Ranks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcWif3u4A0A
House Call (Your Body Can’t LieTo Me), featuring Maxi Priest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtAGWWC9y4

Elephant Man – Willie Bounce
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r038-tDd8eI

Elephant Man & Wyclef Jean – FIVE-O
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nNiBgS4bZ0

YouTube Selection of Dancehall:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH_0_
pijbZY&list=RD02IwtAGWWC9y4

 

Music Selection from UK, Northern Soul:

Frank Wilson – “Do I Love You” (Arguably once the rarest record ever)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwvpeYiQwss

The O’Jays – I Love Music (1975)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_1s2UFc_z8

R Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp62EBeSZUc

Love On A Mountain Top – Robert Knight
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96eiVUoWzB8

Bobby Freeman – “C’mon And Swim”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l2agUPZ7lc

The four tops – I can’t help myself – Live HQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXavZYeXEc0

Gloria Jones – “Tainted Love” (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKUjI_CbIY0
(Not northen soul, but a cover of “Tainted Love,” 1984 sequential mashup with “Where did our Love Go?” by Soft Cell, New Wave version):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srtuQU20QXA

 

Music Selection from U.S., Disco (before mid-seventies, soul music influenced by the Motown sound):

Viva Tirado Live – El Chicano (1970) 1971 performance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxmwPkqkCnk
(
See Kid Frost below under rap for a sample used in a rap song)

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band “Love Land” (1970)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ0yX05h3IQ

The Friends of Distinction – “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” (1970)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnEbZjOhUQU

Manu Dibango – “Soul Makossa” (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2jYjUiulMQ

Kook and the Gang – “Jungle Boogie” (1974)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHGOO73Gxg4

MFSB TSOP The Sound Of Philadelphia (1974)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3nPLfG9gZY

Van McCoy – “The Hustle” (1975)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj23_nDFSfE

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (mighty real)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG2ixYJ79iE

James Brown – The Original Disco Man DISCO (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHQJDbeT1lM

Village People – “In the Navy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InBXu-iY7cw

Village People – “Just a gigolo”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FvVcagZln0

Donna Summer ” Love To Love You Baby ”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6iTciIqLxM
Donna Summer I Feel Love [Extended Dance Edit] (1977)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljxm3NsnVI0
Donna Summer – I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Megamix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1km3Fbeo0w

Le Freak – Chic (1978)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbzooE7jtiE
“Le Freak (House/Funk Deep Remix)”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9e1REw6WFY
Chic Megamix – in memory of Bernard Edwards (mixed in the tradition of the old days with two turntables)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMlhtKw_Sds

More, More More – Andrea True Connection
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlJGrIyt-X8

Bee Gees – “Staying Alive” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_izvAbhExY

Bee Gees Megamix (Straight on two turntables, as it would be done at the club)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxZckhvwsoM

 

Music Selection from U.S. (Electro-funk/techno-funk, or simply… “funk” as it was called and known to DJs playing it.)

Three key tracks that informed funk in the eighties:
Babe Ruth’s “The Mexican,” James Brown’s “The Payback”, and The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache”

“The Mexican” (break played by Mancuso and DJs in the Bronx, happens at 3:35 – 445)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YhRkAF1tXM
Incredible Bongo Band – “Apache” (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnsc_U4sJ8Q
“Apache” is actually a cover originally recorded by The Shadows in 1969:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoN6AKPGkBo
James Brown, “The Payback” (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IST6qRfVqwY
James Brown’s drummer, Clyde Stubblefield is arguably the most sampled drummer in history:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOS18vi7WLc

Unity by James Brown & Afrika Bambaataa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6hE5OmpKyc
Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Soinc Force -“Planet Rock”
(extended mix, 1982)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XPmOpLVZPI

Afrika Bambaataa, “Looking for the Perfect Beat”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RJlYzBhLg4

Twilight 22 – “Electric Kingdom”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RJlYzBhLg4

Al Naafiysh “The Soul” Side A:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbvDORZ0HlU
Side B:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i46sF1PcqL8
It’s about time Remix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hLUjEO2ZCs

Cybotron “Clear”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGqiBFqWCTU
“Clear” Frankie Bones (founder of House music) Remix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkrk5Gzo_2A

Herbie Hancock, “Rock it”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHhD4PD75zY
Live version (inspired many DJs including Mix Master Mike to become DJs–becaue of Grandmaster DSTs performance)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN5ltss0NMA
See Mike Scratching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DLED7krHwU

Much of early electro-funk borrowed (sampled freely) or were heavily influenced by the music of Kraftwerk (Germany). Two songs that were heavily sampled are:
Kraftwerk – “Numbers”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YPiCeLwh5o
Kraftwerk – “Transeurope Express”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBGNlTPgQII

Newcleus was clearly influenced by the sound coming out of Germany. “Push the Button makes this quite evident.” Also note that while Newcleus were very much experimenting with electro-funk, they also would rap, as you will notice one of their most successful songs is included under the rap section below.

Newcleus – “Push the Button” (extended mix) (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67zWw4UfHWE
Newcleus – “Push the Button” (with vocal intro)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vatk9sF7qyI

The P Crew – “Nasty Rock” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5rbZ-RQbIg

Midnight Star – “Freakazoid” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRo426va26I

 

Music Selection from U.S., Hip Hop (Rap):

Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five – “The Message” (1982)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4o8TeqKhgY

The Egyptian Lover “Egypt Egypt” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjFs9CPGhts

The Egyptian Lover “I Need a Freak” (1983)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4Cd9wGHtr0

Newcleus – “Jam on It” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEmg5GaAHbk

Whodini – “Friends” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tECCvdWEweA
Whodini – “Five Minutes of Funk”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pskKw8sPtQk
Whodini – “Five Minutes of Funk” (Instrumental)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y5pj1IoJ7Q

Ice T – “Reckless” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POydN8X1GSY
Ice T – “Reckless” (extended mix)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdnPn8QTDIU

Dr. Dre and the Wrecking Crew (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT9O-pUGsVM

World Famous Supreme Team (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHMVkqCKknc
Malcolm Mclaren, “World Famous” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq_dDiLZl38
Malcom Maclaren, “Hobo Scratch” (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_mHENbpmHk

UTFO – “Roxanne Roxanne”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KpngczmD7Q

Roxanne Shante “Roxanne’s Revenge”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVy2LHKFG18

Run DMC – King of Rock (1985)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXzWlPL_TKw
Run DMC – Sucker MCs (1984)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXVFNs0piP8

Beastie Boys – License to Ill (1986)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7M7d8u40I4&list=PL07ABD2EB68C1C470

NWA, “Something 2 dance 2” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=794JyvaTHqQ
NWA, “Straight Out of Compton” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MrQtOoQRpc

Public Enemy – “Don’t Believe the Hype” (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vQaVIoEjOM
Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PaoLy7PHwk

Queen Latiffah and Monie Love – “Ladies First” (1989)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLB5bUNAesc

Monie Love “Monie in the Middle” (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxHLYjz_oEs

Kid Frost – La Raza (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ8AS300WH4
(See disco section for the original song “Viva Tirado” by El Chicano to hear the source of melody and percussion samples)

 

Music Selection from U.S., Hip Hop (Turntablism):

Grandmaster Flash, Adventures on the Wheels of Steel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXNzMVLqIHg
Grandmaster Flash Ibiza 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwvkRx0eV68
Grandmaster Flash live, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue2BVDCF9Vg

DJ Shadow, “Midnight in a Perfect World”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmzHRGoKca0

DJ Crush, Kemuri
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVjgRlto8PI

Invisible Skratch Picklz Live
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ3N6XADe9I

DJ Qbert, 2012 DMC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS0rl7IGHwA
DJ Qbert & Mix Master Mike 2012 DMC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7pVbJClzuc

Kid Koala (Jazz improvization, date unknown)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbFIGFv4GLQ

Beat Junkies 1998
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29TIvv5uIVE

Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 2 of 7

Above: Skatalites Authentic, included in music selections below.

List of online resources and music selection for week 2 of Hip-Hop to Dubstep, taught during the summer of 2013 at The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be releasing brief notes based on my class lectures in the near future. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse this link: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/. My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

View:  Part 1

Week 2
June 10-14, 2013
Dub Music/Hip-Hop

Music selection and relevant links:

Links used to contextualize why everything is not a remix, but why the concept of remixing has become popular to discuss recycling of material in forms beyond music:

Everything is a Remix, Part 1
http://vimeo.com/14912890
Everything is a Remix, Part 2
http://vimeo.com/19447662

 

Historical resources:

History of Jamaican Music Pt 1
(Discusses ska and rock steady)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4J4P6ozT0g
BBC Reggae The Story of Jamaican Music Programme 2 Rebel Music
(Discusses reggae and briefly dub)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvycRljrAH4
BBC Reggae The Story of Jamaican Music Programme 3 As Raw As Ever
(Internationalization of Jamaican music)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnBCnX_Hctk

Dub Stories (full documentary): View the first half. The second half of the documentary is about Dub in France :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Eet-sm8Yw

Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Motown Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkd1c4T5HiE
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Motown Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe9NGrEJQEE
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Otis Redding Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXGallmBcTA
Deep Soul The Up Rising Of Otis Redding Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jFXR6o639g

 

Music Selection from Jamaica, 1960s:

Ska:

Ernest Ranglin, “Liquidation”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ_iZ9iBYBM

Skatalites – Ska Authentic (Album, 1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4kH8PvwDyM&list=
PL0A7039D867DDDA2A

Skatalites – Simmer down (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9HyXc4e7Qc
Youtube’s Music Selection of Skatalites and Ska:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwPLeczyhKg&list=RD02O9HyXc4e7Qc

Rock Steady:

John Holt & The Paragons – “I’ve Got To Get Away” (1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRDILYQqUkM
YouTube’s Music Selection of The Paragons:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECwMLVUt67c&list=
PL22729AAD8001A0B9

The Melodians – “You Don’t Need Me” (1968)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHe3owGT7iw

Studio 1 recordings:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fCJEmh0G1g&list=RD02uHe3owGT7iw

Reggae (See England)

Dub (mainly 1970s):

Lee Perry and King Jammy – “Rude Boy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y87id6TGopc

King Tubby & Augustus Pablo – “Ruler Fi Dub”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIhaL04aJpI&noredirect=1
YouTube’s Music Selection of King Tubby:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvYSYOKFCbk&list=RD025iQxCG1c39I

YouTube Music Selection of Mad Professor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU75iSYyphY&list=RD02ctnz-GciFQ0

 

Music Selection from England, 1960s/70s:

Reggae (recordings took place in England, or were made popular internationally through England, with close ties to Jamaica):

Jimmy Cliff, “The Harder They Come”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGE4dnrPPZQ
Jimmy Cliff & others, YouTube’s Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18EAqHx2lMk&list=RD02ixBo3niO_Do

Bob Marley – Catch a Fire (First Album, 1973):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDadSKdegBo&list=PL9BDE49614C503F66
YouTube Music Selection of Bob Marley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us7hfASz0g4&list=RD026QC_ZMWTxJU

Bob & Marcia – “Young, Gifted and Black”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubDVUQon5BE
Bob & Marcia – “Really Together”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi6LDdBdvzo

 

Music Selection from the United States, 1960s-70s:

The Supremes “Baby Love” (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23UkIkwy5ZM

Marvin Gaye – “Easy Living” (1964)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzyeHRQdTHQ
YouTube Music Selection of Marvin Gaye:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARWFDoADlqk&list=RD02SzyeHRQdTHQ

James Brown – “The Payback” (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IST6qRfVqwY

Motown Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTe06PrXwo4&list=RD02–jWPzNNdN4

 

(Looking ahead to week 3)
How concepts of Dub and the selector & MC/Deejay were popularly introduced in pop music:

Chic – “Good Times” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g6bUe5MDRo

Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diiL9bqvalo

Hip-Hop to Dubstep: International Music Styles and the Remix, Part 1 of 7


Above: “Rehab” by the Jolly Boys, Mento cover of Amy WineHouse’s composition (listed below as part of music selection)

This summer I am teaching an onlline class on the history of remix in music since the 1960s for The New School’s  Media Studies, Department of Communication. I will be making available the music selections for each week in a total of 7 entries. I will be releasing brief notes based on my lectures in the near future, for now I am sharing the online resources and music selection.  The first week’s list of resources is below, following the description of the class. If interested in looking at the actual class webpage with all the weekly selections at once, feel free to peruse it: http://navasse.net/NS/NCOM3039A/ . My notes will not be available on the class webpage, only on each corresponding entry here on Remix Theory. Please note that links may become broken. If and when this happens, the best thing to do is to search for the source by name. And do let me know if anything is broken and I will look into it.

Course Description
This course is a theoretical and historical survey of popular music influenced by or part of the remix tradition in hip-hop and electronica. Emphasis is placed on the shaping of culture by media and vice-versa. Remixes are compositions that reconfigure a pre-existing music recording, often to make it more danceable. As simple as the definition sounds, it carries a complex set of cultural variables that include issues of class, gender, and ethnicity. Listening exercises and analysis of recorded music is complemented by readings that provide understanding of the historical context and theoretical underpinning of remix practices. Our survey begins with popular music in the United States in the early 1950s, including Blues, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and early funk. In the 1960s, this music was appropriated in the Caribbean and gave birth to new styles, Calypso, Ska, Reggae, and Dub. Then it came full circle back to the United States with the development of hip-hop music. The rise of the international styles called trip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, and dubstep and the parallel history of techno and house music and styles in-between are then considered, in order to arrive at a theoretical understanding of the complexity of contemporary music and the extent to which it has been defined by the principles of sampling and remix.

———–

Week 1
June 3, – 7, 2013
Pre-history/Critical Context
1900 – 1960s

Music selection and relevant links:

Jamaican Music style before the ’60s:

Mento Music:
http://www.mentomusic.com/WhatIsMento.htm
http://worldmusic.about.com/od/genres/p/Mento.htm
Selection of Mento Music:
http://www.mentomusic.com/buy.htm

Brief Video on Mento Music:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NWpJZ0t48k

Jamaican Folk Dances Explained:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvktJry98nY

Hil and Gully Rider:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCpTkfYVHpQ

Contemporary Mento Band, The Jolly Boys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDzzlNX-h7Q

Versioning Mento:
Amy Winhouse’s “Rehab” Mento Version by The Jolly Boys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOwl-bMfIkc
Winehouse’s “Rebhab”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc

Jamaican Journey – from mento to dubstep:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlkf-F803bI

 

Selection of Music from the United States that influenced Jamaican Culture:

Charles Brown – “Rockin’ Blues”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flr6S-orNr8
YouTube’s Charles Brown Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGtu2gMRIPU&list=RD02T77Ubj6EGlE

Louis Jordan, “Let the Good Times Roll”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCWUvI7yKtQ
YouTube’s Louise Jordan Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCWUvI7yKtQ&list=RD021NAUeL0D4SI

Big Joe Turner – “Shake, Rattle & Roll”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Feq_Nt3nM
YouTube’s Big Joe Turner’s Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJsod7Lgn8E&list=RD02bMcfKSeVKDA

Nat King Cole, “Nature Boy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq0XJCJ1Srw
YouTube’s Nat King Cole’s Music Selection:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QRiG_WEzTQ&list=RD02J1glriB54oE

Peggy Lee, “Fever” (1958)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGb5IweiYG8

Abbie Mitchell, “Summertime” (1935)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0g12TrSnIE

Billie Holiday, “Summertime” (1936)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc-_8LdKTDA

Miles Davis, “Summertime” (1958)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQtAWKQ_M7w

 

Versioning “Fever” and “Summertime:”

Susan Cadogan, “Fever”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1jvw005Pt0

Ska version of “Summertime” by The Rude Boys (2000)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV4W6JqUJpI

Reggae version of “Summertime” by B. B. Seaton (1973)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RAMm_VmOjA

 

Versioning  in Jungle/Drum ‘n’ Bass:

“Sweetest Taboo” by Sade:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcPc18SG6uA
“Sweetest Taboo” by Sweet Corner:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6glc6egYdg

Beatles, “Come Together”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axb2sHpGwHQ
MC Olive, “Come Together”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVkPYGZnLks

The Framework of Culture: Remix in Music, Art, and Literature, by Eduardo Navas

Image: The four diagrams of The Framework of Culture. Each is discussed below.

Note: This text was commissioned for the exhibition Reuse Aloud, taking place at the NewBridge Project Space, Newcastle, England; and broadcasting 24 hours a day on basic.fm throughout March, 2013. Many thanks to the curators Will Strong and Rosanna Skett for commissioning the text.  A recorded version is also part of the exhibition.

An earlier version of this text was presented as my keynote speech for Remixed Media Festival in NYC.  In that occassion I only focused on literature. The version for Reuse Aloud was revised to include art and music as well. My thanks to Tom Tenney, director of the NYC festival for giving me the opportunity to test my ideas in front of a very receptive audience.

This text can also be downloaded as a PDF, which is friendlier for print, or for reading on tablets: NavasFrameNC_Web

Introduction

We live in a time when the self-awareness of recycling of material and immaterial things is almost taken for granted. I state almost because, as the following analysis demonstrates, the potential of recycling as a creative act in what we refer to as remix is in constant friction with cultural production. Consequently, the purpose of this essay is to demonstrate the importance of remix as a practice worthy of proper recognition exactly because of its ability to challenge the mainstream’s ambivalent acceptance of aesthetic and critical production that relies on strategies of appropriation, recycling, and recontextualization of material.

Proper recognition is only worthy when it is an attestation of a particular achievement, which can only come about through struggle. Arguably a type of struggle that is certainly recognized and even celebrated quite often, (which admittedly makes for romantic narratives) is the basic human struggle: the will to live. We can think of struggle here as a term spanning across all types of activities, from war to natural disasters—many which are now commonly shared all over the world.

But to begin with a more basic premise, struggle in its most abstract form can simply consist of reflecting on the pain of self-awareness; of having the burden of knowing that we just exist and, for the most part, will do anything to make sure that we will exist for as long as possible. Many of us are willing to find ways to extend our lives before we take our last breath. Others, admittedly, will struggle to leave this world as soon as possible; thus, it may be suicide the subject of struggle in such cases. But this brief reflection on struggle as a humanistic preoccupation is mentioned because we diligently have extended it to everything we produce. It is an important ingredient in what we may call progress.  As romantic as it may sound, human beings have the tendency to struggle in order to be better; whatever that means. And as we have grown as a complex global society, we have been able to extend our struggle on to and through media.

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Dead spin: Panasonic discontinues Technics analog turntables

TOKYO (TR) – Fans of analog music were dealt another blow when consumer electronics company Panasonic announced earlier this month that it would be discontinuing the audio products within its Technics brand, most notably the legendary line of analog turntables.

On October 20, the company said that it was winding down production of the Technics SL-1200MK6 analog turntable, the SH-EX1200 analog audio mixer and the RP-DH1200 and RP-DJ1200 stereo headphones due to challenges in the marketplace.

“Panasonic decided to end production mainly due to a decline in demand for these analog products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analog components necessary to sustain production,” the company said in statement issued to The Tokyo Reporter.

Last year, Japan’s last remaining vinyl pressing plant, owned by the production company Toyo Kasei, produced around 400,000 discs from its multifloor factory in Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward, a far cry from the industry’s peak of 70 million four decades ago.

Panasonic said that sales of analog decks today represent roughly 5 percent of the figure from ten years ago. At present the company has no plans for putting analog turntables back on the market.

Read complete story at The Tokyo Reporter

The Vocoder: From Speech-Scrambling To Robot Rock

Note: The following is an interview about a book that’s coming out on the history of the vocoder.  Quite interesting.  My only observation is that the interviewer casually links early Hip Hop with pop culture and this is missed by the interviewee. Historians know that early Hip Hop was also an avant-garde movement, though with different preocupations of previous groups who may have deliberately linked themselves with the nineteenth century concept. Still worth the listen/reading.

Orignally aired/published: May 13, 2010

If you’ve listened to pop music in the past 40 years, you’ve probably heard more than a few songs with a robotic sound. That’s thanks to the vocoder, a device invented by Bell Labs, the research division of AT&T. Though the vocoder has found its way into music, the machine was never intended for that function. Rather, it was developed to decrease the cost of long-distance calls and has taken on numerous other uses since.

Music journalist Dave Tompkins has written a book about the vocoder and its unlikely history. It’s called How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop.

Tompkins says the machine played a significant role in World War II. After the U.S. government discovered that Winston Churchill’s conversations with Franklin D. Roosevelt were being intercepted and deciphered by the Germans, it decided to invest in speech-encoding technology. So the National Defense Research Committee commissioned Bell Labs in 1942 to develop a machine — and Bell Labs delivered.

The vocoder wasn’t without its flaws. Intelligibility of speech sometimes proved a problem, but Tompkins says pitch control was a bigger concern.

“They didn’t mind world leaders sounding like robots, just as long as they didn’t sound like chipmunks,” he says. “Eisenhower did not want to sound like a chipmunk.”

Read or listen to the complete interview at NPR

PRESS RELEASE: Richie Hawtin and Derivative Launch Plastikman Live Visual Contest

Image source: http://www.derivative.ca/Plastikman/

Note: I don’t normally post competition opportunities, but the following call is worth noting because it exposes a shift in remix culture:  the DJ and VJ hybrid.  Besides, I admit to being a Plastikman fan.

Derivative is pleased to announce the next-gen of their collaboration with techno-futurist Richie Hawtin who is unleashing PLASTIKMAN LIVE 2010 a much-anticipated series of live shows produced in collaboration with Minus & Derivative to launch at this year’s Timewarp festival on March 27th, 2010.

The influential Plastikman performance at MUTEK 2004 was visually driven by Derivative’s powerful software tool TouchDesigner enabling Richie to orchestrate sound and visual compositions generatively and in real time; the technology altering the course of how electronic music could be performed and experienced live.

Image source: http://www.derivativeinc.com/Events/15-Plastikman/

That was then. With the current generation of TouchDesigner 077 completely reengineered, the team has built an information-rich bridge between Richie’s Ableton Live rig and Derivative’s TouchDesigner. Derivative will release the TouchDesigner-Live Bridge to its users this year. Hawtin’s visual artist Ali Demirel has been working closely with Derivative’s Jarrett Smith and Markus Heckmann in LA and Toronto to create the content and a custom performing interface for the shows.

Another Hawtin/Minus/Derivative collaboration invites the community to create their own visuals to original Plastikman tracks using TouchDesigner. Hawtin and Derivative have packaged and made available for download a complete toolset that includes a purpose-built TouchDesigner synth and 4 Plastikman tracks enabling participants with full support to produce visuals in the same real-time generative environment as the show’s. Winning entries are to be incorporated into the live events.

Dedicated to advancing the way we make art and visualize information and ideas, Derivative has produced live visuals and interactive art projects for an exemplary roster of international superstars that include Prada, Herzog & de Meuron and Rush. They have also developed major theme park attractions globally. In a unique alliance with raster-noton now entering its second year Derivative designed and built an expandable framework for multi-screen live performances under the guidance of label founders carsten nicolai (alva noto) and olaf bender (byetone). The collaboration resulted in a series of shows last year at Club Transmediale, Sonar, MUTEK, OFFF, and Ars Electronica that were received as precedent-setting.

TouchDesigner is the most complete authoring tool for building interactive 3D art, visualizations, prototypes and user interfaces. Its open, broad and highly-visual procedural architecture boosts and expands discovery, creativity and productivity.

TouchDesigner FTE (Free Thinking Environment) and its counterpart TouchDesigner Pro puts a free development environment with an extremely rich feature set into the hands of artists, animators, educators and “everyone else”. “TouchDesigner is our vision of what is possible in tomorrow’s software tools for building interactive applications and exploring data, imagery and sound”, Derivative founder and CEO Greg Hermanovic states. “It exploits what is possible in today’s computing technology and is positioned to grow with the foreseeable advancements in computer, graphics and mobile technologies.”

Nick vs. Nic at Transitio MX, by Eduardo Navas

A performative confrontation between hardware and software.  Nick Collins vs. Nick Collins: hardware vs. Software, Old School vs. New School.  One of the hightlights of the concert series organized as part of “Bifurcaciones Sonoras” (Aural Bifurcations) for Transitio MX 03.

I was able to attend most concerts that took place nightly at Fonoteca, during Transitio MX, except for the last night of Thursday the 8th.  While there were many highlights, one that I found worth sharing on my blog is the performance of Nick vs. Nic.  A playful sound hacking performance by Nick Collins (USA) vs. Nick Collins (England).  The younger Collins (English) improvised in code, while the more seasoned Collins proved why he is one of the pioneers in circuit bending.  The sound was appropriately distributed and mixed on left and right sides of the stage, allowing the audience to evaluate how software and hardware hacking can be complementary, thus creating a performative mashup:  a meeting between the old school and the new school of experimental sound could not be better.

The Aesthetics of Representation in Circuit Bending, by Eduardo Navas

Detail of Szkieve’s circuit bending performance at Montevideo, Uruguay, July 28, 2006.
Image source: http://www.hushush.com

Note: This text was specifically written as a contribution to ReFunct 09‘s Symposium taking place at ISEA 09.

One might wonder what is the concrete definition of “circuit bending.”  In a way, the name does not completely connect with the actual activity of appropriating sound from pre-existing sources, ranging from electronic toys to hacked radios, or even half-broken generators. When I first heard the term, I thought it referred to strict manipulation of electronic signals.  This possible definition hints at a certain purity in sound with specific electronic technology; yet, in 2009 circuit bending is quite the opposite, even if in the beginning it may have had a leaning towards hacking electronic gadgets of all types.  At the moment, it is a hybrid practice that appropriates any type of sound, freshly recorded or pre-recorded; re-recorded or significantly manipulated; even erased or retraced–or captured live from the environment in which a performance is taking place to be bent immediately, on the fly.

My most memorable performance of circuit bending took place in Uruguay, on July 28, 2006.  I attended a soundtoys event organized by Brian Mackern, one of the first net-artists from the southern cone, active since at least the mid-nineties. Mackern more recently has become a major supporter of sound performances of all types.   The performance took place at the French Alliance of Montevideo, where I saw Mackern and a number of other sound artists perform on customized software interfaces.  A couple of performers used Max MSP and Jitter, while Mackern presented a series of visual platforms built in Flash that remixed well-known movie clips from Hitchcock and Tarkovsky.

I saw a connection with the aesthetic of sound manipulation often found in circuit bending in these performances; yet, it was the performance of Szkieve (Dimitri della Faille), a Belgian-Canadian Sociologist that left a lingering impression on me.  He is obsessed with collecting toys that produce noise in any shape or form with the purpose to use them in circuit bending performances.  In fact, that afternoon, before the performance, I was invited by both Mackern and Szkieve to join them on a walk in downtown Montevideo.  At the time I knew that Szkieve performed with toys, but did not know exactly how he developed his sets.

That evening Szkieve used a green plastic fish toy which he had bought from a street vendor during our walk.  He pulled and released a string from the fish, which then emitted an expected fish-like sound that Szkieve slowly distorted into an echoish abstract noise, somewhat reminiscent of dub.  Szkieve then combined the loop with the distorted sample of a toy train that moved on a circular track.  The pitch of the train’s motion was drastically lowered several notes, turning it into a cacophonous massive bass sound that directly contradicted the petiteness of the actual train.  Szkieve also mixed loops from various electronic devices through a mixer.  If the audience had not experienced the visual development of the performance, the sound could easily have been mistaken for just another experimental electronic mix, carefully developed in a music studio–rather than from toys found at any corner store.

Szkieve’s performance is a good example of how the key to creativity is not so much the ability to produce sound from scratch, or have an advanced skill in performance, but actually to be able to conceptualize the potential of material that may already have a function, or holds particular cultural value.  In this sense, circuit bending is a unique link between individuals who believe that all production should be developed and manipulated from scratch, and individuals who are primarily invested in acts of sampling and recombining material, as commonly understood in Remix.  Circuit bending exposes how in the end it is not important if something is performed live or looped, or is a mix of the two, but rather whether or not what is performed challenges the audience’s perception of the source material.  This is true not just for sound and noise performers, but artists in all fields.

I must admit that I often view circuit bending primarily as a performance based medium.  My case in point is  Szkieve’s performance, in which the sound may not be as interesting on its own but in conjunction with its visual development.

However, Circuit bending is becoming more diverse. In 2009 it is closely linked to physical computing and all types of art installations.  What is promising about circuit bending is that it can be a medium, as well as a tool: it can include software and hardware, or exclude either one, as long as its only requisite is met: that perception be bent.  Most importantly, like Remix, circuit bending can also be an aesthetic, to be cited in literary terms:

The snare of a wet red elastic nylon wire licking the bass-line of grey wooden-nails bound with the blind screams of a last name never to be famous and always worth mentioning; the beat of gracefully scratched hair longer than the history of the will, pushing the finger that struggles to penetrate its own castration; the speed of trust on the Internet, showing off its color as it begins to understand its dependence on truth…

The series of workshops and symposium at ReFunct 09, taking place at ISEA, in Ireland, are likely to push circuit bending’s definition, perhaps to the point that people like myself will no longer desire a live performance, but simply aspire to think beyond representation as we know it.

944 Nightlife Issue, KCRW DJ’s Featured, by Eduardo Navas

Image: 944.com

I’m currently in Los Angeles.  Just picked up a copy of 944, a magazine about fashion, entertainment and lifestyle.  The August issue features “the nightlife.”  Like most lifestyle magazines these days, it consists of short snippets about trendsetters or “pioneers.”  One cannot help but notice a quote stating that DJ’s can make as much as 35,000 for a three hour set.  The magazine truly hypes up the life on the ones and twos.

Regardless of such statements, as I  grew up in Los Angeles, I was quite happy to see that 944 acknowledged real talent.  Above are some of the DJ’s that have shaped my views on music beyond the mainstream.  Trinidad’s Chocolate City may well be a historical gem of a radio show, which any music historian specialized in radio would have to note; he has a vast knowledge of R & B and Soul and has taken great care to bring back B-sides that even serious record diggers have missed.  The same for Jason Bentley, who was around even before Garth with his radio show, Metropolis.  Bentley was one of the first DJ’s to mix electronic music live on the radio.

The entire magazine can be browsed in a well designed flash interface: http://proofcenter.944.com/flipbook/?locale=4

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