linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


don't believe me? hear the evidence.

the future of music folks have added audio and video links for many of the panels from last week's summit. this means that you now can hear (or watch) for yourself the wonderful conversation between hank shocklee and george clinton (as described here), or the fine panel that followed, or any other discussions that might seem interesting to you.

here are direct links to the shocklee/clinton audio and video.

you can find a full list of panels here.


Anonymous DjA said...

I just recently became familiar with your blog, and I wanted to leave you a message to tell you how much I appreciate and admire it. I wrote a paper on transformative use and sampling for my senior writing class (at Indiana University SE, fall 04) and I wish I had located your blog/work back then, cause it would have been an incredible help. However, I really feel that the paper was lacking on several levels. Your blog/writing allows me to keep up on a topic that I love, and fills in the blanks on a lot of shit that I tried to cover (to no avail).

10:54 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

much thanks. feel free to get in on the conversation if you're ever inspired. this is a topic close to my heart, too, so it will be a recurring one.

10:51 AM  
Blogger rio rocket valledor said...

i'm also blown awy by the analysis on your blog(s). excellent stuff.
i've also posted up some things related to shocklee over on my blog.

one thing i'd like to repeat here though...
One of the hypothetical situations brought up on the panel, that sample costs would have prohibited the creation of albums like Public Enemy’s ‘…Nation of Millions…’, can be a bit too sentimental for my taste. I wouldn’t want to romanticize the economic conditions that surely contributed to the creation of hip-hop (then and now) but I’m sure that total freedom and access to musical instruments, proper performance venues and afterschool programs would have more than likely changed the creative production of the hip-hop generation. The tension between art and the costs associated with it’s production and distribution seem to lead as much to creative thinking as to stifled opportunity.

Obviously this should not be read as an argument for the constraints of poverty as creative impetus… but as an admiration of the art arising IN SPITE OF limited resources.

In other words...I think the multiple societal "constraints" that led kids to rely on 'found sound' as musical elements led to hip-hop composition maybe just as much as the 'freedom to sample'

nah mean?

1:10 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

hey, rio. thanks for the props and the comments. i think you make a good point, and while i don't mean to be too sentimental myself about the whole thing--though, clearly, invoking frank capra gets us pretty close to schmaltzland--i do think it's important to recognize that some undeniably amazing musical works would not get made in today's copyright climate. and that seems like a clear loss to me.

as you say. though, there is much to admire about art that arises in spite of constraints: take, say, dj premier's beats from the last 12 years or so. but i can only imagine what primo might have done without the chilling effects of copyright litigation. sure, he could have ended up a lazy-looper like diddy, but i doubt it.

at any rate, the two things you identify as 'competing theories,' of a sort--'societal constraints' and 'freedom to sample'--seem to me to be quite deeply related, rather than mutually exclusive conditions. at any rate, people were 'sampling' before hip-hop (though not quite in the same way), and there are plenty of hip-hop producers--the bomb squad definitely included--who had "total freedom and access to musical instruments, proper performance venues and afterschool programs" and yet still decided that sampling was the way to go.

regardless of "how it all got started way back when" (since there is still some muddiness in the historical record regarding the actual amount of access to musical instruments and education in the bronx--the politics of abandonment notwithstanding), i think its important simply to realize that sampling is here to stay and, moreover, that it offers a completely unique and very powerful way to create music. thus, by essentially criminalizing the approach, we risk losing quite a bit of cultural vitality. fortunately, in my opinion, the law, as a form of culture, will not stop culture; rather, it will grow in step with it (or at least that's my hope). knomesayin'?

thanks for reading.

6:52 AM  
Blogger rio rocket valledor said...

good point on the specific culture that the bomb squad worked in.
but i think we're in step here. i didn't mean to make the 'constraints' and 'freedoms' sound like separate influences... they are definitely intertwined.

for example... when Shocklee once described his use of a sample from a popular band from Liverpool... he distorted the sample just enough to make it 'unrecognizable' to his engineer. This was a creative decision... but Hank also knew that if it was left 'recognizable' other cultural forces would complicate the distribution of the art. Eventhough sampling wasn't yet deemed 'criminal' Hank had an instinct where the fine line was especially dealing with such a well-known source.

It's great to hear him demand a clear 'rulebook' for sampling because you can hear the wheels turning in his head already... he (or some young kid) WILL find the loopholes and push the envelope of what 'the law will allow.' i think we both have faith in that.

7:49 AM  

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