Be the Remix

On page 25, DJ Spooky says: “Sampling is a new way of doing something that’s been with us for a long time: creating with found objects. The rotation gets thick. The constraints get thin. The mix breaks free of the old associations. New contexts form from old.”

DJ Spooky uses very grand language in a fairly easy-to-read way. But that quote on page 25 was one of the only moments where he flat-out says that something IS something else. Sampling IS. So he must be pretty sure about that, right? He is a DJ, and sampling lets him be a DJ. Without sampling, DJ Spooky wouldn’t exist. Sampling allows the “changing same” to exist. Without sampling, we would most definitely be stuck “looking backwards to 12-tone music and Wagner.”

One of the lines from page 16 stuck with me: “At this point, I can’t think of a sound I haven’t heard or that I couldn’t make.” I find this both sad and progressive. That’s like me saying “I can’t think of a story/plot/character I haven’t read.” But, is it true? Is it true that it’s all already been done, and we’re just remixing it to experience it in a different way? To that end, are we all just trying to do something different with the same materials and resources? In a way, I guess we are. At least DJ Spooky thinks so.

“Rhythm science creates parallel soundscapes because it’s music that says “there could be another way.” Rhythm science makes possible a music of permutation that tries to convey a sense of how conceptual art, contemporary technology, and timeless idealism might function together today.” Pg 20

So this is rhythm science. This is what DJ Spooky is trying to get us on board with. It’s not just sounds and music—it’s everything. It’s art and technology and ideas and words and feelings all expressed through sound. Spooky writes with a sense that he (we) are responsible for this. That this is the future and without us to mobilize it, then we will be stuck. We will continue doing the “same” without “changing,” which is actually horrifying. D Spooky is trying to persuade, to inform, and to empower us with this book.

Do you think it’s easier to remix on accident rather than on purpose?



One thought on “Be the Remix

  1. It’s funny that I used the same word in my post – empower. I found it really interesting the way you questioned sampling, because it was quite confusing to me ! It’s hard to keep up with his claims sometimes.

    – Lauren

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