What Exactly Is Original?

People who know me well know that few things infuriate me more than any talk of authenticity - philosophically or otherwise.  My reasons for this regarding philosophy are complex and I have written about them extensively elsewhere - see: The Tyranny of Authenticity: Rebellion & the Question of Right Life published in the Journal for Speculative Philosophy a few years back - yet with regards to issues of making music and DJing my opinions on the matter are utterly baffling.  By which I mean, I have no idea what I think.  I constantly contradict myself, find myself holding paradoxical beliefs with great frequency about the matter, threatening the very axiomatic integrity of the Principle of Non-Contradiction and so on and so forth.  Basically, I find myself waffling back and forth between thinking that it is inevitable that people will be influenced by others, hijacking styles, sounds, mixes, progressions whether intentionally or unintentionally and I ought to let it go - and experiencing a burning desire to freak out and scream Swizz Beatz at people:

What exactly this has to do with the three recent remixes I’m about to post may seem a bit oblique at first, but I hope it will become clear as I proceed.  It is unquestionably the case that much modern electronic dance music is built and structured around older dance classics, whether we’re talking Nadastrom’s usage of Horny by Cajmere to make Save Us, or Duck Sauce’s usage of Gotta Go Home by Boney M. to make Barbra Streisand as two direct examples - disco and older dance classics have served as the sample source and foundation for tons of modern day hits.  For posterity:

To be 100% clear - I am in no way shape or form pointing these usages out as failings.  In both instances, the originals off of which these tracks were based were relatively well known at least within the dance music community.  And in neither case were the artists pressed would they have disavowed the ‘roots’ of their tracks - in fact I’m sure they would have gladly shared them.  I think too many of us, tracks such as these are a manner of paying homage.  Moreover, given my upbringing as a hip-hop fan categorically hating on someone for sampling would be completely hypocritical.  Nevertheless - my concern with burying originals as sample sources stems from hopefully a different site than my concern with being authentic or creative or original.  Rather it comes from the fact that, more often than not, when an artist chooses to sample or edit or re-structure a track to construct something of their own - it is in part because they love the original track.  There is something about the original song which speaks to them, which prompted them to want to do something novel and innovative. 

My question then becomes - insofar as we live in a world where VERY few music consumers are delusional enough to not know anything about sampling and sourcing why NOT share these original tracks with others.  As cliché as it sounds, I like making music and sharing it with others because I like the way the music I love makes me feel - regardless of where that feeling falls on the spectrum of human emotions - and I hope to inspire such emotional responses in others.  If I can manipulate a track a love into something new and exciting, I’m going to pass it along.  And insofar as doing so doesn’t get me into any sort of legal trouble, I’d like to pass on the original as well.  We no longer live in a world of crate-diggers where I have to cover my labels so the next man cannot track down what I have to insure my crates are deeper.  Anything I’ve found, anyone else can find it too.  Why not just pass it along and share the inspiration?  If it comes down to DJing, I’m just going to make sure I think I’m good enough that regardless of who has the track, I can play it better.  And hopefully by passing on the origina track, older artists, obscure artists, forgotten artists can be discovered by a new audience or rediscovered and recontextualized for old fans.

To this end - I present you with three new remixes of mine.  All three of which I had contemplated chopping beyond recognition to make into “Original” productions, instead I decided to leave them with a certain degree of their integrity and present them to you with my own spin on them in a variety of ways.  I’m perpetually stealing ideas from other DJs, from musicians that inspire me, from songs I love.  I feel like the best way for me to be original in this case is to present these songs to you in this manner.

 So here you have a remix of Symarip’s Skinhead Moonstomp - which was originally posted in conjunction with an extensive interview and overview on Generation Bass: The Moombahtonista. Second is a remix of Trouble Funk’s Pump Me Up which was posted in conjunction with another interview and overview on Cool-Breezy. The third is brand new as of today and is a remix of Charles A. Chepkwony Kolu Band’s Yach Busurek. Enjoy the originals and the remixes below.

@2 years ago with 4 notes
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