Sound Unbound- Sampling Music and Culture

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Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Edited by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

The basic tenet of this book is . . .

Technology enables creativity, community, art, and love. Crippling it to save someone’s outmoded business-model is a crime against humanity.

Sampling is perhaps one of the least understood concepts about modern music, and, in particular, hip-hop. But believe it or not, some very respected musicians have worked with this form and even helped develop it. Artists that you would be surprised to hear about. Artists like The Beatles.

I took tons of notes while reading this collection of essays, articles, and creative pieces. I plan to blog about it over the next few weeks in detail. Suffice it to say, I truly believe that musicians should be allowed to steal, borrow, sample, and take sounds from everywhere to create new works.

Human culture is always derivative, and music perhaps especially so. New art builds on old art. We hear music, process it, reconfigure it, and create something derivative but new – folk melodies become Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies; Roy Acuff’s “Great Speckled Bird” becomes Hank William’s “Wild Side of Life:’ and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” becomes a John Coltrane classic. 

And that passage didn’t mention hip-hop once. This is how music works. Hip-hop might be know for sampling more than any other genre but it didn’t invent the practice. Not by a long shot. Although, we might have perfected it.

This was a great read and I recommend it for serious music scholars, hip-hop DJs, music producers, artists, and fans alike.

My 2015 Reading Log – now almost complete

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