Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sampling never died

It merely continued to mutate, as the blogger known as Adrift in the Happy Hills reminds us. Was cool to see DJ Danger Mouse's classic The Grey Album mentioned, which reminds me of Grey Tuesday:
DJ Danger Mouse's album, The Grey Album, in which Danger Mouse remixes The Beatles' White Album and Jay Z's Black Album, is damn good. I've downloaded the album via the miracles of mp3 file sharing. It's a remix album that does justice to both the Beatles and Jay Z, while managing to sound like something quite unique. Download some mp3s, groove to some tunes, and help wave a collective middle finger to the suits running today's recording conglomerates: now that's a trifecta!
It's been a while since I last played it (I'll have to dig up the CD onto which the sound files were burned), but let's say that I don't listen to either Jay Z or the Beatles in quite the same way. I'll leave the discussion of how an unabashed jazzer can dig on DJ Danger Mouse, Jay Z, and the Beatles for another day, other than to offer that eclecticism does have its advantages. Here's what Adrift has to say about The Grey Album, and its impact:
Probably more than any other release, the Grey Album by DJ Danger Mouse helped establish the mash-up as an art-form in it's own right. It puts the raps from Jay-Z's Black Album to the music from the Beatle's White Album, stripping the guitar licks and beats to their most fundamental elements and re-working them into original compositions. A relatively small number of copies were independently distributed to stores, until the Beatles lawyers screamed cease and desist (Jay-Z was cool with it and his business partner at the time praised it). In protest, bloggers staged "Grey Tuesday", on which websites across the internet offered the album for download simultaneously.

If a download counted as a sale, the Grey album would have gone platinum several times over. It established Danger Mouse as an important new artist. He went on to produce the Gorillaz album "Demon Days" (an excellent mix of indie rock and hip hop beats...though all the music is original) and the Gnarles Barkley debut, including their runaway hit "Crazy".
Read about the other mash-up artists as well. Even if much of American pop music (and pop culture for that matter) seems to be stuck in retro degeneracy, there are some cats out there who remind us that daring to be different never sounded so good.

Note: the pic was from an old blog post, which linked to Brian Flemming's blog. These days, I'm sure if you check out your own fave peer-to-peer network, you can find the album quite easily. I'm partial to Soulseek, where I've managed to find all sorts of great recordings including more out-of-print jazz, electronic, and minimalist albums than I could even begin to count.

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