After Watching This Video, Can Anyone Say That Remix Isn't An Act Of A Musician?

from the live-mashup dept

One thing we hear all the time from folks who dislike remixes or mashups aren't "real" music is that a computer isn't a real "instrument." However, when I see and hear artists like Girl Talk, Kutiman and Pogo, I can't see how anyone with any ounce of intellectual honesty can claim that these are not true musicians in every sense of the word. And yet, people still argue that they're not, saying that sitting at a computer cutting up sounds isn't the same thing as playing a real "instrument." But... I point out that if someone is sitting at an electronic keyboard and pressing the keys, all they're really doing is playing a sound created by someone else. Is that really all that different than mashing up sounds played by someone else? What if you take things a step further and program clips of other songs into a keyboard and have someone play it?

Step on up, Madeon. While it's not a keyboard directly but (perhaps more impressively) a Novation Launchpad, this 17-year-old recently released this incredible video of him mashing up 39 of his favorite songs into one song... live. I defy anyone to claim that what he's doing here is anything less than a musician playing a keyboard or guitar:
Just like a musician, he's using an instrument and the sounds that it makes to create something new and wonderful.


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    Jay (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    And like the "rogue pirate" I am, I am going to search for a download of this, costing the recording industry millions of dollars since they won't hire the guy to make music for them.

    This guy did an awesome job.

    Oh, and just so there's no mistaking it:

    Fair use > Copyright

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    ugh

    I wont argue thats not an artform, but I will argue that its terrible.

    Like all art, remixes are subject to personal taste. I personally cannot stand gibberish like this video.

     

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    John Doe, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Art is in the eye of the beer holder...

    ...or is that beauty?

     

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    Patrick (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    That is quite impressive.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Le sigh

    I know a few professional musicians that gnash their teeth when something like this comes up. If he's not playing a gorram instrument, he's not a musician. And they'll be happy to tell you what constitutes an 'instrument.'

    More power to the guy who is making sounds pleasing to my ear.

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

      Re: Le sigh

      If he's not playing a gorram instrument, he's not a musician.

      Absolutely agree (with your statement.) If this is not music, and he is not an artist because he didn't play a gorram instrument, then anyone who uses autotune is not a musician either. Unless you are playing a traditional musical instrument (something that wasn't invented/discovered since the 50's,) then you aren't a musician. Since I play the trumpet/coronet/flugelhorn, I qualify...but the rappers don't...sorry rappers. See how dumb this slides down the hill. Anyone who makes music, whether I personally like it or not, is by definition a musician, even rappers.

      I hate autotune, but I have heard some really good autotune songs. And I would never have the audacity to say that those who use autotune aren't musicians, but my bias is showing because personally, I like Kutiman more than most of the major owned musicians right now.

       

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        Greevar (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

        Re: Re: Le sigh

        Autotune can make some great music if you have the skill, unlike those that use it to fix their vocals because they can't sing and let people think they can. If you're good with autotune and shit with singing, just embrace it. As long as your music is good, it doesn't matter what your real voice sounds like.

         

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        Anonymous Leiderhosen, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:52pm

        Re: Re: Le sigh

        REAL men play the krumhorn, you panty-waisted, hare-lipped, fart-winded poseur! You have the embrasure of a baby sucking his mommy's teat. Run back to France and your simpering high-heeled king and leave the REAL horn playing to men in leiderhosen!

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Le sigh

          REAL men play the krumhorn, you panty-waisted, hare-lipped, fart-winded poseur! You have the embrasure of a baby sucking his mommy's teat. Run back to France and your simpering high-heeled king and leave the REAL horn playing to men in leiderhosen!

          :-)

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Here let me try.

    Yeah I'm sure it takes TONS of talent to steal content from a bunch of different bands and throw it together.

    How'd I do?

     

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      Nathan F (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      So.. George Acosta, Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk are no talent hacks huh? Cause what this kid is doing is a more modern version of spinning vinyl records like these three helped make pouplar.

       

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        David Liu (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, I guess it's my turn:

        Whoosh!

         

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        Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

        remix

        Wrong question. You're really asking if collage is art, and I would answer, 'it depends how small the bits'. Is this kid a musician? No, he's a programmer, which doesn't mean he's unskilled, just that he doesn't play an instrument; he's performing a set of punch-ins and edits in real time that could just as easily have been programmed.(no different than dropping a needle, though a turntable CAN be an instrument-ask DJ Skribble) A musician is someone who can improvise, in a given key and tempo on a given theme, in a given style, and do so with emotional expression and without loading a bunch of sampled phrases into a buffer. This ain't that.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      Dear AC,

      I hereby let you know that you failed miserably. Your post smells of unfortunate feeble trollism and you didn't even manage to *say* the sentence in question. You just simply *wrote* it anyone can do that.

      "Remix isn't an act of musician."

      See, it is not that hard.

      Best regards,
      AC

      p.s. I shall mention that after actually listening to the actual video I have to disagree with my own statement in quotes above. Such is the sorry life of a troll in its basement.

       

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      Zot-Sindi, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

      Re:

      Pretty good, you actually had a couple people fall for it.

       

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      Howard the Duck, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:21pm

      Re:

      --A
      -AAA
      AAAAA
      --A
      --A
      --A

      Did not watch the Remix video

       

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    The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Wow, that's really impressive, considering the timing has to be spot on.

    And whoever said remixes are dead is lying.

     

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      Just Tom, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Actually, if you look at his songnotes on Youtube you will see what software and hardware he used to make the music. There is an option called quantization (in FL Studio) that makes sure the notes or samples are played at the closest timing element identified by the user and used in the song (16th notes or 32nd notes). This makes it easier for the remixer to get the "song" to sound good when they are playing it. Quantization is kind of like Autotune except that it "autosynchs" your music to play with the beat when you hit the buttons.

      I'm actually going through Propellerheads' Reason to learn how to do some of this and tie it all together with samples and synths. And to all the "purists" out there who claim this isn't music, they're just musical pedants who can't appreciate a newer form of musical creation/expression (there will be others besides this so enjoy it). I applaud this fellow musician on his works. Just go to Youtube and look at his other works. Even Deadmau5 approves so he must be doing something right.

      Oh yeah Mike, good pick of music too!

       

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:09pm

    Remixing IS creativity.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: remixing is art. I cannot fathom the thought processes of the commenters that show up just to deride works like this as "unimagnative" or point out the remixer's supposed "lack of creativity."

    If you can’t see past the obvious addition of the components and enjoy the whole as its own being, then I truly feel for you. You must have no joy in your life. Everything that could be appreciated as something of its own has been broken down and compartmentalized into nothing more than a parts list for product.

    If it is your belief that no talent lies in the remixer then why would you check out the culinary talents of various chefs? In the end, they’re just making small variations on meat and vegetables. They might be able to coax out flavors and textures you haven’t had before, but most of the work is still being done by the animal or vegetable itself.

     

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      Zot-Sindi, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

      Re: Remixing IS creativity.

      Or color schemes of any kind, it's still the same old colors, just remixed again.

      Or clothes, or toys, or electronics... Or PEOPLE.... Or anything else ever in the whole ever of evers. All remixed.

      Dog/cat breeds? All small variations on a core theme. Ditto for every other breed of animal, including humans. Also plants.

      Gems? All variations on rocks, damn mother nature is so unoriginal.



      I have concluded people who whine about remixing and "originality" (Besides the fact they are hypocrites) are just looking for something to whine about or one of those trendy weirdoes I see more and more of these days who but into the "originality" fad-fetish thing.

       

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        Zot-Sindi, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re: Remixing IS creativity.

        buy** not but lol

        I'll never understand the constant obsession with originality.

         

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          Zot-Sindi, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Remixing IS creativity.

          Oh yeah, I forgot to mention..... Since remixes are often the only place you can find those source materials mixed together/whatever the outcome is they are somewhat original. You know, kind of like yellow & blue making green, without those source colors being mixed together you can't have green. Yet the outcome is something else entirely.

          I need to write an article/comic on it one of these days..

           

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    HiggsLight (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Get on the Madeon Train!

    Jesus. Everyone and their mother is posting this Madeon video...I mean, it's awesome...but it's everywhere.

    As someone who's spent a good deal of time over the past 10+ years musiking in front of a computer I can tell you unequivocally that Madeon's mashup not only took a ton of time to make, but that it was a lot less fun to make then what "real musicians" do. It's hours and hours of tedious prep work before one can even begin the "fun" parts.

    I can't imagine how many hours of cutting, pitching, and combining samples he had to go through before he was even able to make 15 secs that sounded good. Those first 15 secs are always the hardest but I still feel for the guy who has the discipline to stare at waveforms like that and not go insane. Imagine having to build a guitar every time you wanted to jam. It's like that.

    Anyone who thinks work like this isn't done by a musician may be right but for the wrong reasons. This kind of work is both advanced audio engineering and musicianship plus style and taste. Few people have even two of those things even if they have the gear...and that's why Madeon's so fly.

    He's got it all.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

      Re: Get on the Madeon Train!

      "It's hours and hours of tedious prep work before one can even begin the "fun" parts. "

      I could imagine it would be the same if you had to hand build your guitar or piano before you got to play it.

       

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        Manabi (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re: Get on the Madeon Train!

        Or more realistically, if you include all the years of work and practice most musicians have to put in to become good at their instruments you have a direct comparison possible. Being a good musician is hard work for most people, no matter how talented. It's just the public only really sees the fun part -- the actual performance -- and not all the practice.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re: Get on the Madeon Train!

        I actually prefer the guitar building to playing guitar. Unfortunately, playing is much cheaper.

         

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    Steven (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    I always thought the original argument was dead wrong anyway given that most (all?) "professional" music these days is made by recording each small piece several times and putting the best pieces together for the final product.

    Doing a remix live just finishes cremating the body of that old and tired myth.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

    One thing we hear all the time from folks who dislike remixes or mashups aren't "real" music is that a computer isn't a real "instrument."

    I don't see how you can expect to tackle someone else's arguments without at least mentioning their last name.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Pretty sure that when the electric guitar came out, a lot of hipster thought it wasn't a real instrument either.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      i've hated hipsters since before it was cool!

       

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

      Re:

      I had an internal debate over whether a theremin was a real instrument or not. In the end I figure it has music coming out of it, it's an instrument.

       

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      Gwiz (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

      Re:

      Pretty sure that when the electric guitar came out, a lot of hipster thought it wasn't a real instrument either.

      It probably goes back further than that. I can picture cavemen sitting around banging rocks together rhythmically and laughing at Grog with his new fangled skin covered hollow log drum.

       

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      Huph, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      Pretty sure that when the electric guitar came out, a lot of hipster thought it wasn't a real instrument either.


      Well hell yeah they did. Just ask Bob Dylan about it. He was booed offstage for "going electric".

       

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        Bill W (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Well hell yeah they did. Just ask Bob Dylan about it. He was booed offstage for "going electric". [citation needed]

        But, this kid is good and what he is doing is music. And I'm an old codger [67]

        I defy anyone who says it isn't to make something that sounds as good using the instruments he used.

         

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      Anonymous Les Paul, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:47pm

      Re:

      You're right. Look up some info about Les Paul and the furor and controversy that swirled around his "devil instrument" sometime. It's highly interesting and amusing.

      On a side note, I am a musician, having both recording (at an MCI/Neve console)experience (including credits on some seminal recordings and being a genuine certified recording engineer) and an electronic musician making music from electronics and sampling tape before the term "ambient" was e're coined.

      Unless you are a retro-head and using some form of FM modulated square-wave/additive synth, you'd find it very hard to buy a modern keyboard that does not depend on samples for its "instrument sounds."

      Those samples are made by professional musicians, most often moonlighting classical instrument players playing a single note on, say, a 200-yr-old violin, over and over at various pitches, speeds, harmonic bowing and tremelo. A compilation of those notes/sounds are then mixed in various configurations to make the samples in various "resolutions" for almost all modern keyboards, and definitely for all DAWs.

      So... according to a copytard, those classicalists are being "ripped off" because someone's "using their sound"?
      [and to head Mr 'Tard off at the pass (third pass, low bandwidth attenuation)yes, those musicians are paid for their time and sound generation but it is still someone else playing the initial instrument, or what we at the console call "audio source"]

      That's someone who doesn't know the first thing about music production, recording studios, keyboards, sampling, sound mixing, audio or music/acoustic theory and is talking out of their Opinion Hole. ie, some suit Producer.

       

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        Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "you'd find it very hard to buy a modern keyboard that does not depend on samples for its instrument sounds"

        Moog, DSI and Nord would like to have a word with you.

        Analog and analog modelling digital synths have been pretty much taking over from romplers over the past few years. Workstation 'boards from Korg, Roland and Yamaha are still pretty sample dependent, but they're not anywhere near as prevalent as they were 5 years ago.

        There are a ton of elaborately sampled instruments available as VSTis for modern DAWs, but that number pales in comparison to the quantity of pure software based synthesis plugins on the market.

         

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    jackn, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    I defy anyone to claim that what he's doing here is anything less than a musician playing a keyboard or guitar

    Musically, he is doing less than a piano or guitar player would be doing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    I played a CD therefore I'm a musician!

    I opened this web page therefore I'm a writer.

    No one can really say what art is, anything placed in any spot can be considered art.

    Using the music that someone else played is not the work of an musician but of an artist.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

      Re: I played a CD therefore I'm a musician!

      Wait, there's a difference now???!?!?!!!

      I must hang myself in shame, for I am a Philistine.

       

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        Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re: I played a CD therefore I'm a musician!

        Yes. There is also a difference between a painter and a sculptor.The difference is in the tools and the medium. A phonograph is not an instrument unless you play it like one. Same goes for samplers, they're instruments, if you play them as instruments, but you can also program them so that the music comes out when you press a button. George Jetson presses buttons, this does not make him a musician, though he may be an artist, clear?

         

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      The Incoherent One (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

      Re: I played a CD therefore I'm a musician!

      a musical artist........? I thought they were kinda the same thing.

       

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    Adam, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    The confusion is that some commenters are defining music as playing an instrument. An instrument can make music in the right hands. So can this kid.

     

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    A., Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    No different than playing rock band or guitar hero. No respect from me. learn to play an instrument.

     

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      rooben (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

      Re:

      Except where he got the original songs, chopped them up into bits, assigned each bit to a key, then created a new song based onthose bits.

      So, yes, like rock band, if you are a harmonix engineer.

       

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      Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

      Re:

      I look forward to seeing you demonstrate your thesis. Please post the YouTube link here when you're done uploading.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      No different than playing covers. No respect from me. Learn to play 100% original music.

       

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      Anonymous Purist, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:19pm

      Re:

      Here, here! I applaud you sir! I imagine you are a Purist like myself, and would never Deign nor Stoop to play such an Abomination as an ELECTRIC guitar! Why, not only is it not a Real Instrument, using dangerous and deadly Electricity to imitate the sound of a Real Guitar, but it is furthermore Polluted and Unclean by passing that devil-signal through an Amplifier, which, as any right-thinking member of the public knows, is Dangerous To The Auditory Meatus, introduces Impure and Carnal Tonalities and makes one's Nether Regions Stir in Unseemly Ways.

      Yes, only Catgut over Pure, Natural Aged Wood, fastened together with Only Horse-Hoof Glues using no Metal Tools at all and allowed to Season to at least 3 Years is the Only True Instrument.

      I certainly Hope you are not a Radicalist and Besmirch Yourself by Fingering your Instrument in the Infernal Locrian Mode (diablo en musica)!

       

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    Jesse (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    DIY Instrument

    Not only did he make his own music, he made his own instrument. He chose all of the notes, and laid them out in a way that would be playable. How many pianists or guitarists can say the same?

     

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      Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

      Re: DIY Instrument

      All of us, when it comes to the guitar. There are at least four ways to produce any note, chord or sequence thereof, on a guitar, and usually two or three on bass, or most any other four-stringed instrument. (and some of us develop custom tunings) Most woodwinds have alternate fingerings for many of the notes, and a kit drummer can lay out his kit however he likes, though there are general standards for such. (most kit drummers have their own favorite tunings, too) In fact, keyboardists and tuned percussionists are pretty much the only musicians who have all their notes laid out in front of them in neat rows.

       

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    Huph, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Synths /= electronic keyboards

    But... I point out that if someone is sitting at an electronic keyboard and pressing the keys, all they're really doing is playing a sound created by someone else.

    Not quite true. If by electronic keyboard you mean "synthesizer", that's not true. A "real" synthesizer makes sounds on the spot based on electric signals and stacking sine waves. In the same way that an 80s Gameboy actually physically produces the sounds you hear (every sound in 16-bit and beyond is a pre-recorded sample being triggered). This is why you see Gameboy-playing chiptune artists, but not DS-playing chiptune artists; the original GB was unique in that it actually produces sounds rather than playing samples.

    A synth player spends years developing their own soundbanks. They are definitely not playing someone else's sounds.

    Now, if you're referring to Kurzweil-style pianos, then yes, those are just glorified samplers. And if you're talking about a keyboard hooked up to a computer, that's MIDI, and that is a person triggering "someone else's" sounds, although they could also be the person behind the triggered samples.

     

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      Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Synths /= electronic keyboards

      Your knowledge of musical instruments is unfortunately flawed. I can't be arsed pointing out every erroneous statement you make regarding synth technology, but there are many.

      See: Analog synthesis, digital synthesis, resynthesis, modelling, SID, VSTi, OSC, etc. etc.

      I'm not going to call you a moron, although you really do deserve it.

       

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        Huph, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:11pm

        Re: Re: Synths /= electronic keyboards

        Alright, I don't feel like having another futureproducers war. I just wanted to point out that not all synthesizers are playing samples. Particularly, analog synths. Softsynths are a different story.

         

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        Anonymous Soundman, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:33pm

        Re: Re: Synths /= electronic keyboards

        ah, I did not see your reply before posting my own; it would have saved some electronic pixels. You, sir, I would like to jam with :)

         

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:47pm

      Re: Synths /= electronic keyboards

      So what about the Mellotron that the Beatles used? Which was basically just playing a bunch of tape loops? Were the Beatles playing “someone else’s sounds” or not?

       

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      Anonymous Soundman, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:31pm

      Re: Synths /= electronic keyboards

      er... I understand you are trying to illustrate a point for a general public, but please, if you get into such technical details, distinguish what kind of synthesis you mean; additive, subtractive, FM, PCM or the rest of the methods of electronic "synthesizing" of sound, including pure sine tone generation as opposed to mixed-audio when you speak of "synthesizers." Next you'll be confusing people with ring modulators!

      and, btw, most modern DAWs and "synths" are cheerfully able to load professional sound envelopes from classic synths like the Korg, Prophet, Jupiter, Juno and etc. They sell them cheap at Guitar Center.

       

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    Huph, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    This stuff kind of pisses me off, not because I have a problem with sampling, it's just that now all these technorati are talking about "new sounds" and "art" when the truth is this stuff has been done for years. I think the ultimate example of this style is exemplified by this:

    http://bit.ly/qhEJ3C

    This is called "Product Placement" and is performed by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist on 4 turntables. I feel obliged to point out that this mix is done live, no computers, solely using 45rpm records. There's no time stretching, or quantization, these guys are just that frickin' good at scratching records and building new songs. In some cases, you'll think you're hearing a hip hop classic instrumental, but what's really happening is that they've found all the source material on 45, and are recreating those classic jams.

    And if you want to look at where this approach begins, look into DJ Steinski and Double Dee who invented the sample-crazed style ~1983 with with their classic, "Lesson 1: The Payoff Mix".

     

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      Anonymous Sounder, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:40pm

      Re:

      er, actually, using "sampled" sound on wax, tape and vinyl predates all that 80s stuff by, oh... 70 years or more, give or take. Look up "assemblage" or "musique concrete" sometime. Or Negativeland, Orchid Spangiforia or The White Noise for some classic 70-80s remix.

      In the late 70s I used to do performances using 20-50 cheap portable cassette players each playing a loop (made by gluing toothpicks inside to keep tension on the loop) and live mixing through several panels. The art of it was
      1. Remembering which player had which loop on which channel on which board
      2. Timing
      3. Praying to the gods a loop didn't run off the capstan
      4. Praying to the gods a loop didn't break
      5. Praying the toothpicks held

      and yeah, it was pretty technical, difficult and entertaining.

       

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    Greevar (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Jealousy is a stinky colonge.

    Anybody who says that isn't art is just pissed that they didn't think of it first.

     

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    Raybone (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    There IS a difference.

    I've been a professional (touring, studio, composition) musician, audio engineer and producer since 1989. I have a studio full of gear with just about every analog and electronic instrument you can think of, including many different controllers and grooveboxes. I grew up playing horns, guitar, bass, drums and piano. I love Kutiman (who by the way, is a real musician with skills on guitar and keys)and absolutely believe remixing is an art.


    However..too many here are getting it twisted. There is absolutely no comparison with rhythmically pressing buttons vs. learning the nuance, technique, and gain the muscle memory to play a guitar well. It takes much more skill, time and devotion to develop your diaphragm and build an embouchure to play a horn.


    What Madeon is doing is cool, takes time, talent and a good ear. It takes work that is very similar to what many audio engineers do to prep the audio clips and gear. However, it is not even on the same plane as a John Coletrane improvisation or a Yo Yo Ma solo. I mention this not to invalidate remixing as an art, but only to point out that some art takes MUCH more skill and dedication.

    I've played in orchestras and Jazz bands, toured in improvisational fusion bands, and promoted and performed electronically-based gigs using originally programmed beats and playing my MC 505 rhythmically very similar to the video above.

    Of them all, gaining the required understanding of music theory and mastery of my instruments to improvise (compose on the spot) solos and grooves definitely took the most time,dedication and effort. To figure out cool beatboxes and computer programs like Propellerhead's Reason and Ableton's Live and trigger the samples with a controller doesn't require years of study and muscle memory.

    That being said, here is an artist, like myself, who combines the best of both worlds..enjoy ;D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq-BPomrsxo&feature=related

     

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      Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

      Re: There IS a difference.

      There's a solid evolutionary link between what this dude is doing and musique concrete. He uses his controller like a real-time splicing block.

       

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      Greevar (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

      Re: There IS a difference.

      "It takes work that is very similar to what many audio engineers do to prep the audio clips and gear."

      What? This example took artistic thought to put together. Do you honestly think somebody with no musical aptitude could do that? It's not just pushing buttons and the machine makes the music. It takes real creative effort transform a bunch of unrelated clips of audio into a new work that doesn't resemble the source in the least. I could go outside to a busy street with a mic and recorder to sample every sound I possibly could. I guarantee you that somebody could remix those samples into a proper piece of music, without using a single conventional instrument.

      "To figure out cool beatboxes and computer programs like Propellerhead's Reason and Ableton's Live and trigger the samples with a controller doesn't require years of study and muscle memory."

      I call bullshit on this. If you believe what you're saying, I can't believe that you really understand your art as well as you presume. "Muscle memory", as you call it, is your brain adapting learned patterns into long term memory so that you don't have to use conscious thought to do recall it. You gain the same set of cognitive skills arranging and triggering samples of audio into a new piece of music. Music theory is a tool, not a requirement, to make good music. It's good to have in your toolbox, but not having it doesn't make you a bad or non-musician.

      This is typical group think of the old generation vs. the newcomers. They do something different and disruptive that changes the whole landscape. It may even change it for the old guard that makes them uncomfortable and that pisses off the established group that has been running the show, but it's not your place to judge the way others do music unworthy just because it doesn't fit what you believe to the "right way". If you don't like what the new guys are doing, then quit crying about it and make better art. You're not going to win by denouncing them and saying they're not "real" musicians. You'll just drive more attention their way.

      You're just jealous because you feel that somebody is taking the spotlight away from you by doing something that's completely different than conventional music production. It's the same attitude that content corporations have in that they don't want competition. Technology has opened a new door to creating art that's more accessible and it puts conventional opinion to question. You're afraid that they're going to compete with you and they might even replace you. That's not their fault. If you're worried that people might take them seriously, it's you whom needs to step up their game.

      It always boils down to competition. Nobody wants to have to earn their place when they can just block others from competing.

       

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        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re: There IS a difference.

        "I could go outside to a busy street with a mic and recorder to sample every sound I possibly could. I guarantee you that somebody could remix those samples into a proper piece of music, without using a single conventional instrument."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_In_Sound_from_Way_Out!_%28Perrey_and_Kingsley_album %29

         

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        Raybone (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re: There IS a difference.

        wow Greevar..did you carefully read my post? Strawmen everywhere in your response. Lets take a look...


        "What? This example took artistic thought to put together."

        I never said it didn't. In fact I validated that I believe remixing IS art. Also..so is Audio Engineering...

        "Do you honestly think somebody with no musical aptitude could do that? It's not just pushing buttons and the machine makes the music."


        I never said any of what you are arguing against..

        "
        Music theory is a tool, not a requirement, to make good music. It's good to have in your toolbox, but not having it doesn't make you a bad or non-musician."

        I agree..wholeheartedly..why do you argue? I never said anything at all disparaging about Madeon's skills, musicality, or talent. Another Strawman..

        ""Muscle memory", as you call it, is your brain adapting learned patterns into long term memory so that you don't have to use conscious thought to do recall it.

        again I agree..however, the muscle memory needed to master a stringed instrument takes much more effort to accomplish versus what is being shown in the video. To argue otherwise is either being intellectually dishonest, or shows a huge lack of understanding of what it takes to play and instrument versus a controller.


        " but it's not your place to judge the way others do music unworthy "

        I never did..strawman..

        "If you don't like what the new guys are doing"

        another strawman..actually I consider myself one of those 'new guys'

        "denouncing them and saying they're not "real" musicians"

        again..I never said that

        "You're just jealous"

        No I am constantly inspired by new stuff...

        nice ad hominem btw..

        Greevar, why attack me like this? did you even read my post?
        Ive been reading TD for almost 4years now..usually your posts are better, friend.
        to Clarfy:

        I do remixes and electronic music myself in addition to all the other stuff..
        I was trying to give those who are not as well versed in music and sampling, etc the benefit of my perspective as an artist and producer who has learned analog instruments, uses controllers, programs beats, improvises and composes music of all styles...every day..for many years. I know what it takes to learn an instrument. I know what it takes to learn software and controllers; to manipulate sound waves, etc..
        I am NOT disparaging any of these skills and talents..
        My only point was that there IS a difference in the learning curves and amount of skill it takes. My personal experiences with my own study as well as that of the hundreds of fellow musicians I know doing both styles tell me this.

         

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          Greevar (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: There IS a difference.

          Well, maybe what you said and what I thought you said are different, but that is my take-away from it. It sounded to me that you were denouncing them. It really did sound to me that you were saying, "I'm a professional artist and this doesn't compare to what I do." If that was not your point than I'm sorry for misunderstanding. It's really hot and humid here, so maybe I'm just quick to temper?

          That said, there may be differing learning curves between conventional instruments and new technology, but that doesn't mean one is any less valid or less intensive, cognitively, than the other. It may be "easier" to create music using computers and audio software than just playing and recording live sound. But realize that you're basically saying "It takes more skill to light a fire by rubbing sticks than to use a flint and steel." Both get similar results, but one of them does take out the tedious grunt-work. If your goal is to cook a meal, then how you light the fire is inconsequential to the desired result. Just as if your goal is to create brand new music, does it really matter if it's built from pieces of other songs?

          But I am the kind of guy that anxiously awaits a new revision of software every iteration. I don't like things to stay the same forever.

           

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            Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

            Cognitive Intensity

            "That said, there may be differing learning curves between conventional instruments and new technology, but that doesn't mean one is any less valid or less intensive, cognitively, than the other. It may be "easier" to create music using computers and audio software than just playing and recording live sound. But realize that you're basically saying "It takes more skill to light a fire by rubbing sticks than to use a flint and steel."

            Not at all. Certainly, rubbing sticks together is a more complex and subtle skill set, but the use of flint and steel does not result in a better and more satisfying fire.

            Perhaps a better analogy might be cake mix, as opposed to water, sugar, eggs, flour and baking soda. A chef can improvise and react to different situations and requirements, "Oh, we're at elevation and someone has a nut allergy, I'll need a hotter fire, and I can substitute legumes". Madeon's skill set might not be suitable to the occasion, if he's asked to jam with other artists, to read and react to their 'moves' in realtime-THAT requires a whole 'nother level of cognitive intensity, capisce?

             

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              Greevar (profile), Jul 21st, 2011 @ 6:41am

              Re: Cognitive Intensity

              "Certainly, rubbing sticks together is a more complex and subtle skill set, but the use of flint and steel does not result in a better and more satisfying fire."

              My point, you just made it.

               

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        Anonymous Engineer, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:46pm

        Re: Re: There IS a difference.

        *sniffsniff* you see how they treat us? Oh, THEY'RE the great ARTISTS, and we are lowly Technician, merely trained monkeys with no ear nor talent. It takes absolutely NO "muscle memory" to splay your fingers across a 32-48 track console, moving hands to exactly the right position to pump or dump separate tracks using individual fingers...

        It takes no talent at all to translate "make my sound fatty, you know, with lotsa sash in the butt, all those squonky string squeaks like Tony Levin" into something actually resembing an audio signal. Nope, just a glorified monkey button pusher here.

        And if you leave your camera lying around the studio and I take a picture of myself with it, you better not claim copyright or I will sue.

         

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

      Re: There IS a difference.

      I do see your point. But basically, that point can be boiled down to "Madeon is no John Coltrane."

      Well, fair enough - but then, sample-based music is a relatively young art form. Jazz needed some time to ferment before it produced anyone comparable to Mozart - but it did, in time. As you demonstrate with squarepusher, it's all happening, it's all coming together - is there a DJ whose talent has reached the heights of history's musica greats? That's a topic music lovers could debate for hours, and it would be a lot of fun. Perhaps it's fair to say "no, not quite" - I'm not entirely sure. But I have no doubt there will be.

      In any case, the far more important point is the one we agree on, which is that it all counts as art and all these musicians should definitely be allowed to express themselves in this way without being labelled "unoriginal"

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Is this "musician" able to write his music on staff paper? Does he read printed music? Does he know what key his mash-up is in?

    Probably not.

    If my TV is acting up and the problem goes away when I bang my hand on the side of it, does that make me an electrician?

     

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      Raybone (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      hmm.. y'know Jimi Hendrix couldn't read or write music and is considered by most fellow musicians(even ones with music theory skills)as a genius. Eric Clapton said he wanted to quit after seeing Jimi play live. Conclusion? The understanding of music theory, while it can be very helpful, is not required to be a historic, game-changing musical giant.

       

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      freak (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

      Re:

      Eh, I would go exactly the other direction and say that he probably can visualize the entire wave-shape of the piece, having modified each part/key/note/sample to fit in with each other, and to synchronize them to 16th/32nd/whatever beats so that he could use quantization. And many other things necessary to use the tools that he used.


      Separately, you have to have through knowledge of the written communication of music to understand it? Man, there were a lot of musicians who weren't musicians by your standard.

      Actually, Paul McCartney couldn't read sheet music when he wrote a new tune for Golden Slumbers, and at that point had written many other songs besides.

       

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      Anonymous Tech, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 9:53pm

      Re:

      Probably. I mean he probably knows more about his samples' timbre and frequency and harmonics than you do.

      "Quick! What's the harmonic envelope of an oboe playing c3?"

      "Tempered or non-tempered?"

      AAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

       

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    BongoBern (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Madeon

    I think it is a kind of musicianship. It's a terrific video! I've never learned how to play a keyboard but computers allow me to compose music. While it's true I'd be a hell of a lot better if I had piano training, I still have 2 regional Emmy nominations under my belt. Learning the technology is not unlike learning an instrument. I have an NI Maschine that Madeon has now given me a kick in the ass to learn to program!

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    "The counters of the music stores are loaded with this virulent poison which in the form of a malarious epidemic, is finding its way into the homes and brains of the youth to such an extent as to arouse one's suspicions of their sanity."

    "...unmusical rot."

    "...make every effort to suppress and [to] discourage the playing and the publishing of such musical trash."

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200035811/default.html

     

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    Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:24pm

    I spent Friday night playing drums in a rehearsal studio with a self taught guitarist, a bassist and reeds player who are both fly-shit reading graduates of the local jazz program, and a controllerist who was 'just a guy in skinny jeans with Ableton, a Macbook and a grid controller'. It was controller dude's first time playing anywhere outside of his bedroom; the rest of us had *decades* of studio and live experience. The music was improv fusion.

    Controller dude played like he belonged in the room with us. Does that make him a 'musician', or the rest of us 'non musicians'?

     

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      Raybone (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      that sounds like an awesome session..
      and yes a controllerist is a musician..and he was improvising with you by reacting, supporting and hopefully complimenting the rest

       

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        Kaden (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

        Re: Re:

        It was absolutely 'one of those nights'. There was a strong hint of Mr. Bungle in the air (bari in the house... waddayagonnado?), with an Indian vibe whenever the clarinet, Ebow and Wavedrum tablas started happening.

        Controller dude was a wild man... aleatoric sequences, marimba solos, slovak radio samples... he'd snag bass riffs from the start of a jam, tweeze 'em up and have them ready to loop by the time the verse came around again. Really *really* skilled musician, and it was his first time in an ensemble situation.

         

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      Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      Pretty much where I draw the line; a musician can react to other musicians in real time, in a way that makes musical sense. That doesn't make programmers, sample-stabbers and engineers any lesser artists, it's simply a different skill. I don't see evidence of that skill in the above referenced video; doesn't mean Madeon doesn't have it.

       

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    Pjerky (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    Wow, talent much? While the style isn't my personal taste there is no denying the skill and talent that went into making this, especially in real-time. The blending was that of a professional and the pace was that of a practiced musician. He is just using a different instrument.

     

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    Pjerky (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    Wow, talent much? While the style isn't my personal taste there is no denying the skill and talent that went into making this, especially in real-time. The blending was that of a professional and the pace was that of a practiced musician. He is just using a different instrument.

     

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    Mr Big Content, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    He Could Be Sued For The Parts Where He Takes His Hands Off The Keyboard

    Definitely blatant copying going on in those moments, nothing creative there.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Jul 19th, 2011 @ 11:52pm

    one word AWESOME

     

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    JJ, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:57am

    Wouldn't plant my flag on this hill.

    I'm a musician (traditional), and while I appreciate re-mixes and don't look down on them, I wouldn't plant my flag on this particular hill.

    Here's the reason: in most re-mixing like this there's no **wrong** button to press. That is, the samples are all already in/shifted to the same key and stretched to the same beat. You'd have to go out of your way to make it sound dissonant or "bad".

    You could point out (as an earlier comment did) that there is an enormous amount of "prep time" in selecting and preparing the samples, and there might be an interesting debate in there on how artistic vs. how mechanical that process is, but you seem to be in awe of the act of pressing buttons and making a cool song, and honestly that's not hard to do.

    It's basically like the incredibox website - you can re-arrange pre-chosen sound snippets that are going to sound pretty good no matter what.

    Let me be clear, there are some remixes that I would argue strongly are every bit as creative as any traditional piece of music, but this specific clip demonstrates a skill set that is quite different from playing a traditional instrument.

     

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    REM(RND) (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Who is an art?

    Based on several comments it would appear that there is some arguement over two things: that the operator is a musician and that the remix is considered art.

    Mirriam-Webster's online dictionary says that a musician is a composer, conductor, or performer of music. That is, one who plays or makes music. So, is the operator (nice neutral term) composing music? Well, taking bits of 39 different works and mashing them together would be considered composing as he had to orchetrate the series of the bits. Is he conducting it? Certainly looked like it to me when his fingers were snapping the time/rythym. Is he performing music? By the act of touching something and having tonal sounds result yes, he is.

    So, he's a musician. And I'm okay with that. I am NOT okay with groups of singers calling themselves a BAND. Bands play instruments, or at least most of them do. If all you do is sing, you're a chior or vocalist. And if you don't sing, by which I mean a reasonable degree of variance from the monotonal rapping...

    Anyway, back on track now...

    Is a remix considered art, Fair Use, and what have you? Well, everytime I look at these articles about remixing I am -forced- to look towards 'Weird Al' Yankovic. A man who has made an amazing career out of remixing and parodies for 35 years. While he does these parodies and remixes of famous songs into polkas he does ask the musician's permission -as a courtesy- even though he doesn't have to thanks to Fair Use. I'm sure that many out there would have little trouble agreeing that his works are already art and almost a poster boy for Fair Use. Here's a guy who takes the same words, the same sounds, or some combination of the two, and speeds it up to a polka beat, rewrites the words, and has made a decent living at it in addition to live tours, concerts, merchandise, online mp3 sales, etc.

    And there I go digressing again...

    So, is a remix considered art? I've always considered art something to be looked at and music something to be heard. But I would have to say that blending bits and pieces of previously done works, no matter how much or little of the work is used, and turning them into a completely different work is completely valid. Is it Fair Use? Again, I would say it depends on how much of it you use and how different it is from the original. If you take an entire movie and redo the last 5 minutes of it, you don't have a strong Fair Use case just because you wanted Voldemort to win or something.

    Now is it considered art even if I don't like it? Well, as it happens, I -do- like it even if you don't. However, art has been historically all about likes and dislikes. Art is about creating emotion through you and expressing the emotion of the artist. The musician has managed to create emotions within me as I hear his works, I have read your emotions in your words that the musician has created with you, the work in question has managed to cause a controversial and point-raising debate bewteeen opposing sides. Thusly I would have to consider the piece in question not only music, but art as well.

     

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      Prisoner 201, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Who is an art?

      "Mirriam-Webster's online dictionary says that a musician is a composer, conductor, or performer of music. That is, one who plays or makes music. So, is the operator (nice neutral term) composing music? Well, taking bits of 39 different works and mashing them together would be considered composing as he had to orchetrate the series of the bits. Is he conducting it? Certainly looked like it to me when his fingers were snapping the time/rythym. Is he performing music? By the act of touching something and having tonal sounds result yes, he is.

      So, he's a musician."


      This!

      Some people need to rein in their egos a bit...

       

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    REM(RND) (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    Who is an art?

    Based on several comments it would appear that there is some arguement over two things: that the operator is a musician and that the remix is considered art.

    Mirriam-Webster's online dictionary says that a musician is a composer, conductor, or performer of music. That is, one who plays or makes music. So, is the operator (nice neutral term) composing music? Well, taking bits of 39 different works and mashing them together would be considered composing as he had to orchetrate the series of the bits. Is he conducting it? Certainly looked like it to me when his fingers were snapping the time/rythym. Is he performing music? By the act of touching something and having tonal sounds result yes, he is.

    So, he's a musician. And I'm okay with that. I am NOT okay with groups of singers calling themselves a BAND. Bands play instruments, or at least most of them do. If all you do is sing, you're a chior or vocalist. And if you don't sing, by which I mean a reasonable degree of variance from the monotonal rapping...

    Anyway, back on track now...

    Is a remix considered art, Fair Use, and what have you? Well, everytime I look at these articles about remixing I am -forced- to look towards 'Weird Al' Yankovic. A man who has made an amazing career out of remixing and parodies for 35 years. While he does these parodies and remixes of famous songs into polkas he does ask the musician's permission -as a courtesy- even though he doesn't have to thanks to Fair Use. I'm sure that many out there would have little trouble agreeing that his works are already art and almost a poster boy for Fair Use. Here's a guy who takes the same words, the same sounds, or some combination of the two, and speeds it up to a polka beat, rewrites the words, and has made a decent living at it in addition to live tours, concerts, merchandise, online mp3 sales, etc.

    And there I go digressing again...

    So, is a remix considered art? I've always considered art something to be looked at and music something to be heard. But I would have to say that blending bits and pieces of previously done works, no matter how much or little of the work is used, and turning them into a completely different work is completely valid. Is it Fair Use? Again, I would say it depends on how much of it you use and how different it is from the original. If you take an entire movie and redo the last 5 minutes of it, you don't have a strong Fair Use case just because you wanted Voldemort to win or something.

    Now is it considered art even if I don't like it? Well, as it happens, I -do- like it even if you don't. However, art has been historically all about likes and dislikes. Art is about creating emotion through you and expressing the emotion of the artist. The musician has managed to create emotions within me as I hear his works, I have read your emotions in your words that the musician has created with you, the work in question has managed to cause a controversial and point-raising debate bewteeen opposing sides. Thusly I would have to consider the piece in question not only music, but art as well.

     

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    REM(RND) (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    Damn double post

    One of these days I'll figure out how to delete my double posts.

     

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    Jeon, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:20am

    Does it take talent and a musical ear for this, absolutely. Is it art? Sure, after planning for weeks and getting the button-mashing down perfectly, kinda like when that guy recorded a song on his hands and got it in one take.

    I'm still not in the belief that nascar is a sport either. Yes, it takes talent and hard work, just as in seeing my wife's o-face.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      I'm still not in the belief that nascar is a sport either. Yes, it takes talent and hard work, just as in seeing my wife's o-face.

      It's a competition requiring physical skill and (despite what some believe) fitness. What is your definition of a sport?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Talk about creating a bad pair of choices.

    Nobody denies the effort required to do this sort of thing. Nobody denies that the effect could be considered "artistic" by some.

    However, it fails on the basis that it works from the performances of others.

    Now, if he has clearance from all of people involved to use those clips, then more power to him. But without clearance, he is still just really taking what is not rightfully his, and claiming it as part of his own work.

    Trying to create a choice between "artist and not artistic" as a way of justifying piracy and ignoring copyright just isn't a fair question. It's slanted, because many of us would choose both answers: It's somewhat artistic, but somewhat against the law.

    Trying to force people to choose between the two is misleading and somewhat dishonest.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      You're right that "is this art or copyright infringement?" is a false dichotomy. It's both. However, that is a complete strawman, as it is not the question Mike asked.

      In addition:

      - he didn't take anything away from anyone
      - he's not "claiming" it as part of his own work, it now actually is part of his work

       

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        Mojo Bone, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, the question Mike asked is, (paraphrasing) "Is this guy a musician?" My answer is that he's a (collage) artist, and he may also be a musician, but I see no evidence of such in the referenced clip.

        As to the unasked question of whether his use of copyrighted material is 'transformative' enough to avoid a lawsuit, I'd say "probably", but I'm not a lawyer.

         

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          Prisoner 201, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Quoting REM(RND):

          "Mirriam-Webster's online dictionary says that a musician is a composer, conductor, or performer of music. That is, one who plays or makes music. So, is the operator (nice neutral term) composing music? Well, taking bits of 39 different works and mashing them together would be considered composing as he had to orchetrate the series of the bits. Is he conducting it? Certainly looked like it to me when his fingers were snapping the time/rythym. Is he performing music? By the act of touching something and having tonal sounds result yes, he is.

          So, he's a musician."

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 3:41am

    He's a musician if 'he' says he is and it's art if 'I' am moved by it.

    Everything else is irrelevant.

     

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    alison Brodsky, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 3:03am

    amazing

    amazing. its just simply amazing

     

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    demunn (profile), Aug 11th, 2011 @ 9:04pm

    Oh the pretense

    For all of you who play an "instrument" knocking this kid, please post your YouTube video with 3M hits.

    He obviously had a song in his head and could have created it by humming or la-la ing the whole tune. Fact of the matter is he brought a song to life with what he could find and it sounds great.

    You could make the same argument about sampling for the Art of Noise and if any of you self-proclaimed musicians think you could keep up with Anne Dudley or Trevor Horn in regards to musical skill, then it's time for dose of Lithium because the grandiosity is starting to seep out.

    There are plenty of crap remixes as there are also plenty (if not more) volumes of crap "music" by so called "real musicians" playing instruments.

     

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    patrick john, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:08pm

    INSTRUMENTAL

    nyc

     

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    identicon
    patrick john, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:08pm

    INSTRUMENTAL

    nyc

     

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