••• I had long been among those who saw, in dismay, the great invention that digital sampling was, for the realm of sounds unheard before it was to offer and promote, turn instead into a 'godsend' tool for some, to 'create' by 'using' music written, arranged, rehearsed, performed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by others beforehand. Vinyl records became 'raw' materials, 'interesting' pieces of primitive art only retrieved from the dust to finally meet the genius who was to make them blossom, totally oblivious of the army of creators who were involved in their production at the first place, totally oblivious of what those works meant to the people who initially received them. As inventive as it ever was and still remains, hip-hop music was born in the ashes of a dream I used to share with others, pioneers of the technology. Little did I understand that, from the days of its invention, digital sampling bore the germs of its own fate within.

••• Who in the world did I really think I was, in criticizing those new creators, when I could - and I did - use string, horn, vocal, drum, percussion samples, not seeking to invent sounds unheard before, but simply to emulate them ? Sure enough, these sounds were simple 'abstract' recordings, that did not articulate in a melody or a rhythm. I never ever used drum loops in any of my personal creations. But, in using pre-recorded sounds, as 'elementary' as they were, yet not specifically performed in the goal of being sampled one day, I was initiating the very act of appropriating someone else's performance, diverting from the primary goal of its initial recording; I was appropriating the capture of someone else's sensitivity, someone else's art. An act that was to turn into outright cannibalism - I mean it - pure cannibalism, each and every time full bars of orchestrated and mixed music was to be used in another music afterwards.

••• No one ever thought some extract of a Hitchcock movie could ever be 'used' as the backbone of a David Lynch movie. But in music, that was not only feasible, but it became the norm and, moreover, the only way one could be perceived as 'current' and survive. We, as 'sampled' musicians, could even make extra income out of it: one could judge the value of a recording studio, large or small, by its CD-Rom library. This deeply changed music production ever since, making any other use of digital sampling (other than within keyboard factories) quite marginal. Yet, as 'legal' as the transaction ever was in acquiring those 'sounds', from elementary to full bar loads, one thing remained constant: there was predation on a creation by another creation, 'physical' feeding of the latter onto the former, as opposed to the act of covering (which 'only' predates on an 'idea'). This was true yesterday, and remains true each time it is performed, regardless of the legality, the talent and inventiveness been applied in the process.

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Sun, Jan 3, 2010

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