••• At times, I was under the impression that the quest for the perfect melody, inventive harmonies, crafted development and orchestration had become cliché; and I felt sad that a song once revered for the treasures within could get outrageous success only when a cover was to reduce it to just the chorus line repeated over and over.

••• But why in the world complain, when the original work was given a second life and, moreover, tribute was being paid, for the cover did only demonstrate the value, the performance and the inventiveness of the original work, compared to the cut and paste process that became ubiquitous. My initial mixed feelings regarding the transaction that allowed Massive Attack to use music I wrote, performed and produced, "Mambo", as the backbone of their "Daydreaming", soon turned into selfish pride somehow, when I realised, as years went by, that I had been one of the key influences over a band of undisputable mythical status today. To sum it up, the original creators could be keen on giving up on their moral rights, when tribute was paid to their creation via what could be, to their view, the anihilation and the perversion of its very essence. Additional income, added to de facto acknowledging of their pioneering status, could easily make the decision. Not to say that this never happened before the days of hip-hop and sampling. But to stress that they made it all the more blatant, regular and acceptable, all at the same time.

••• And I could easily go on and on over the recycling of recorded music, wherever I look at:

• The gigantic income the recorded industry made in re-releasing its catalog with the advent of CD, that it was eager to renew with the advent of unfolding digital enhancements such as SACD, Audio-DVD and others, with a tag price never on the decline;

• Or the "remix" phenomenon that took the world like a storm, to promote, in its own terms, the re-ingurgitating of the same, only with different spices.

••• But then again, who are we to be looking down on such phenomenon, that granted us extra income and rewards ?

••• I am not just indulging in self-criticism for the sake of it, nor performing some kind of coming out on how reactionary I could be proved, with aging. My point is, long before the internet caught us by surprise, artists, producers, publishers, we all contributed to the shaping of today's internet user's mentality, based on how we looked at each other's creations, at our own creations, and how we adamantly treated them, for decades the world over. My goal is to assert that 'free' internet art never was an ex-nihilo self-generated movement. It is to find the source of such phenomenon at the crossroads of an ethical and a technological events; the former, deriving from our own behaviour in regard to our own art; the latter, from the click of the almighty mouse, which could instantly trigger an exact 'copy' without actually moving the 'original', leading to the whole of our vocabulary to be redefined. To those who already had trouble understanding the ethical difference between a cover and a sample, how could we ever explain that free downloading could amount to genuine stealing ? My aim is to have us confess that, through the cultural cannibalism we've seemed to be not just approving, but defending and promoting even, we contributed, one way or another, conciously or unconciously, to the devaluation of our own art.

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Sun, Jan 3, 2010

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