Re: remix?

Subject: Re: remix?
From: Ross Bencina (
Date: Fri Jul 16 1999 - 04:25:27 EDT

From: Arun Chandra writes:
>> [rb]:
>> A dance music remix [by definition] attempts to stay true to musical
>> 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)
>> the remixer feels fit.
>This is silly: a definition to stay true to a musical "essence" by
>its constituent parts.

Perhaps a poor choice of words. However, I was trying to delineate between
that which belongs to the genre and that which belongs to the individual
work. Perhaps the division between "remix" and a completely different work
is synthetic? - I don't think so. Purely historical? - perhaps. If a dance
track is remixed, but all that remains of the original is the vocal, what
does this say about the remixers perception of what constitutes the original
track? A large portion of the language of dance music is in the public
domain - beats, sounds, sequences can all be downloaded from the internet,
purchased in a silver box or evoked from software - these are all essential
elements in creating dance music but surely their genericity precludes them
from constituting the individual essence of a musical work - just as the
concept of "transformation" can not be said to define the essence of
Whishart's Vox 5.

>"Remixing" is the PhotoShop of acoustic composition: add a little from
>here, throw in something from there, and then, Dig it!

As Carlos Palombini asked recently: How does this differ from the
composition of a concrete ea work - Ake Parmerud's "Grains of Voices" for
example? You suggest:

>mix in a beat and you have: thoughtless, desireless sound.

A gross generalisation, sometimes absence of thoughts and desires is the

>Hanns Eisler (one of Schoenberg's students who wrote a number of
>12-tone pieces) wrote somewhere that 12-tone music allowed composers
>four new ways to be stupid: you could have stupidity forwards,
>stupidity backwards, stupidity inverted, and stupidity backwards
>Nowdays, the same applies to the "beat" ---

Any compositional technique is open to abuse and misuse - perhaps moreso in
the commercial sector. It is interesting to view commercial music software
in the shadow of its constructionist heritage though. My discourse, misled
or not, was merely intending to illuminate the musical basis of the dance
music remix, not to attach any value judgement to it existence or execution.


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