Mar 31, 2011

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It’s all in the (Re)Mix

Most of what I know about remix and mashup culture comes from the many remixes and music mashups that I’ve found on or because of my daily stalking of occasional visits to Popjustice.com. For mashups, I really like Titus Jones and DJ Masa. For remixes, I really like OLM Remix (now 2nd Adventure).

I’ve had ideas for mashups, but since I didn’t have the technology (or if I did, I didn’t know I did or how to use it) I’ve never made any. My most recent one (that I feel like sharing) is a mix of Lady Gaga’s “Born This way”, Glee’s version of “Express Yourself”, P!nk’s “God Is A DJ”, and Kelly Rowland’s “When Love Take’s Over”. I think there are mixes of “Born This Way” and “Express Yourself” on YouTube, and I heard talk that “Born This Way” sounds like “When Love Takes Over” and “God Is A DJ,” but I’m unsure if there has been a mix of all three. If there hasn’t, please make one. If you need inspiration, I know how it should sound. If there is, I guess we’re on the same wavelength. Very cool. Please let me listen to it ASAP. 🙂

In general, I don’t think a remix or mashup is an “assault on originality” if you bring something new to the table when you use it. When looking at music, yeah, I get a little ticked when someone speeds up a song and calls it a “remix.” True, it’s a new mix of the song, but what else did you bring to the table. Although I do know of quite a few songs that I like listening to them sped up because they sound better. A remix should reinterpret the song (or work) to some degree. I mean, for many techno remixes, you basically just add a dance track, but you know the best ones are the ones that take a way out there dance sample and completely change the song.

Is the art of remix and mashup a “new” art? I don’t think so. I think the act of using something created by one person and using it for your own (or making it your own by using it in a way that is different from what it was intended to be) has always been around. With the rise of Web 2.0, it’s just made the act of getting the materials and making a mashup more accessible and more easier to be found/shared.

I never really considered that remixes or mashups can be used for educational purposes, per say, and I’m still a little confused about the article. On the topic of if you can be taught, I think the art of remix/mashup can be explained and given an example of, however the first and probably many times you attempt to make one. You learn more from the experience of doing it than having someone say “this is how you do it.”

After reading these articles (by Melanie McBride and Brian Lamb), especially Melanie McBride’s, I was wondering if it would be an interesting experiment (or assignment) to have a number of individuals all create original works and then swap them or put them in a pool where everyone must then draw from the original works in the pool to create their own remix or mashup. It doesn’t answer the copyright problem, but it might allow for students to do something perhaps more satisfying or what they want than working with what they may not like that’s free in the archives.

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