Re: remix?

Subject: Re: remix?
From: Ross Bencina (
Date: Fri Jul 16 1999 - 01:54:52 EDT

Larry Austin wrote:

>Ross Bencina wrote:
>> I'm not sure traditional "Tape Music" is particularly suited to the remix
>> paradigm - it might end up sounding like Malcolm McLaren's 'Mozart remix'
>> album 'Waltz Darling'... :)
>Besides Dhomont's "Frankenstein Symphony", there's Stockhausen's
>"Hymnen", as well as many others. No "beat" though in either. And,
>while not re-mixes of other musics, there's Cage's series of "mixes" of
>recorded sounds: "Williams Mix" (1952); "Fontana Mix" (1958); and
>"Rozart Mix" (1963).

I wasn't suggesting there were no precedents, or that you couldn't apply the
same or similar processes to ea materials - but that it would be untennable
to create a dance music remix of say, F.Dhomonts "Novars," wheras it may be
suitable for sampling. The re-use of previously contextualised musical
materials within the "academic" musics to deconstruct, or re-construct webs
of [extra]musical meaning is more akin to applications of "sampling" in
popular musics (eg. The Jams (KLF) "1987 What the F**k is going on?") than
it is to the idea of a dance music "remix."

The dance music remix dosn't usually require a large shift of listening
conciousness between original and "remix." On "Waltz Darling," McClaren
re-arranges well known Mozart Waltzes utilising crossfades and layerings of
orchestra and synthetic pop music, merging the musical structures of the old
and the new. I would consider McLaren's work a "re-mix" in the dance music
sense of the word, and not just sampling. However, "Waltz Darling"
introduces an element of socio-cultrual dialogue which is not usually the
domain of the "remix" which is why you would never have heard it at a
disco - it remains an oddity. I suspect "Novars - Chemical Brothers Remix"
would meet the same end.

A dance music remix [by definition] attempts to stay true to musical essence
of the original - the elements that are generic to the dance genre
(particular rhythmic and formal patterns/structures/processes) do not
constitute this "essence" and hence are open to variation (within bounds) as
the remixer feels fit.

The dance music remix is an embodyment of musical variation, often practiced
by multiple composers. The concrete materials (sequences, mix elements,
master multitrack tapes etc.) are shared with the remixer(s). In both
electroacoustic music and dance music there is a pool of generic,
interchangeable elements (materials, objects) that are held as property of
the collective consiousness. The pools are not the same, and in ea there is
perhaps an attempt to articulate something about or beyond the musical form
or its structure, whereas in dance music there is mainly the manipulation of
the form and materials - these and other differences influence attitudes and
practices when it comes to creating new versions, remixes or variations of
existing works.

>Interesting to observe that we keep re-inventing (sic) musical means
>and coining new words and/or coining new meanings for old words
>without at least acknowledging the original usage...or is that being

Perhaps it is a difference between the academic and the folk.



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