Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mash-Up for the Masses

In an interactive feature titled, The Recombinant DNA of the Mash-Up, the New York Times offers a neat summary of the last hundred years of audio collage.

It reminded me how current technology now allows even the least musical of us to enjoy the feeling of making music, exactly because neither triggering nor even beat matching samples requires any dexterity or talent (given the right software).

Of course, there are varying degrees of electronic artistry, but many programs find popularity precisely because anyone can begin combining samples and 'making music' without any training whatsoever.

But what I find interesting, is that even with such immediate magic at our disposal, many would still prefer it if someone else chose the loops and pushed the buttons.

Sidestepping the notion of DJ as musical curator, why is that?

Maybe it's like choosing a designated driver? Most people can drive, but once you and your friends decide that you're going to spend the night mainlining one pure pop hook after another, fueled by a potent mix of rap and rhythms, it's simply more prudent to let someone else get behind the wheel –or laptop– and do the actual driving, and generally direct all the madness for the entire evening so that everyone else can safely reach peak ecstasy as they bump and crash and spin around the floor, and into each other, searching through movement and spirit for the joy that comes with surrendering oneself to a collective sonic singularity.

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