A Recap On Remix Culture

19 11 2012

Our task for this week (week 7 post 2) was to look back on a previously covered topic and write a post which integrates multiple viewpoints. With this in mind I have decided to take another look at remix culture. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, as I have stated in previous posts, it was one of my favourite topics featured in this module, and secondly, after having reread my original post on remix culture, I realise that I didn’t really talk much about any of the counter arguments at all.

On a side note, I have been listening to a lot of different music whist writing these blogs, as I find music of any kind helps me think things through much better than silence. In particular, one band that has been grabbing my attention a lot (especially whilst writing about remix culture) is Gym Class Heroes. It has never really hit me before how much unoriginal material they actually use in their songs. It reminds me a lot of the sampling seen in early hip hop, and perhaps that’s the effect they’re going for, so who am I to judge? This has been making me think about the concept of a remix, and how much material needs to be borrowed in order for something to become a remix. If a band decides to resample a bass line from another song, but changes all the other parts, is this then considered a remix? For me, a remix would be the complete reworking/renewal of an overall idea, not necessarily just the borrowing of one part. If I was remixing a track officially, and had been given the original stems, I know that I wouldn’t only take one part for my remix, I would use as many parts as I felt necessary. I suppose in an unofficial remix, I might only have access to the vocal acapella, but still, I would more than likely use the original tracks chord pattern and potentially try to recreate key melodies/sounds myself, in order to provide a hint towards the original track.

Anyway, moving on… In preparation for this post I decided to read “You Are Not a Switch: Recreativity and the modern dismissal of geniusby Simon Reynolds. One important point that Reynolds makes in his article, something that was also quoted in Sharon‘s post on remix culture, is as follows: “It’s not the fact or the act of theft but what’s done with the stolen thing that counts: the spin added that “makes it new”…. The hallmark, or proof, of genius, in fact, is not merely transmitting or remixing. It’s fashioning something that others will someday want to steal.” I feel that this quote speaks a lot of truth, and I guess this would be an accurate representation of the way in which I would choose to look at something as being remixed. Without that something extra being added during recreation, it is not so much a remix as it is a blatant theft of ideas, and as I have previously stated, creative theft doesn’t sit well with me. Another point that is touched upon in this article and also brought about in Nabeel‘s post on the subject, is how a suggestion of recreation can be used as a means to make an achievement seem less of an achievement. If you can point out that an artists greatest work is merely a reproduction of an other piece of work, then that pretty much ruins any connotations of originality regarding said artist. This isn’t really a fair way to view creativity, as there could be a whole world of difference between the artists work and the original concept, and it’s that change that represents the artists genius.

From this I can confirm that although I believe remix culture does play a huge part in our society, I don’t necessarily agree with all of its morals and practices, in particular its way of belittling the creativity of others and almost using itself as an excuse to be lazy in regards to creativity.

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2 responses

5 01 2013
Sharon George

Indeed, the culture of remix, to date has been existing in some form, either in larger or smaller extents but the art of fashioning something new is what that must be credited to those who possess the ingenuity to design a “new” outcome.

15 01 2013
nmalik89

Reading your work does make sense. It is true about he video and everything has almost been played out and the whole ideas of using something out there and making it yours just seems ridiculous by adding a few tweaks to it here and there. Good post man!

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