Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling
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Sampling and remixing are now common in art, music and new media. Assessing their aesthetic qualities by focusing on technical advances in 1970s and 80s music, and later in art and media, the author argues that 'Remix' punches above its deemed cultural weight.
inadvertently forgot to bring up the vocal track in the mix, so that all that could be heard over the studio monitors was the instrumental track. […] When he [Redwood] played the disc in the dancehall it caused a sensation, and immediately Ruddy cut his own versions—initially called ‘instrumentals.’[…] He also got guitarist Lynn Taitt to play on many of them, thus consolidating their exclusivity.13 To further shed light on the development of dub, and complicate the conundrum of who actually
be criticized for generalizing Remix as a type of cultural binder after reading this book, this may appear to be the case because aesthetics cannot be contained; like a virus, it spreads and informs culture. And so, whether we want to call the aesthetics of remix anything else, this does not change the fact that we live in a culture that is very self-aware of the recycling of material and immaterial things. xii Introduction: Remix and Noise E. Navas, Remix Theory © Springer-Verlag/Wien 2012
the other hand, implies a different experience that requires a deliberate commitment to a social activity. Often the material one expects to hear live is compositions of which one already bought recordings, or at least heard previously on the radio; thus the live performance is linked to some form of reproduction, defined by repetition. For these reasons I argue that repetition and representation have a contentious relationship in contemporary culture and play a key role in modernism,
simulacrum and spectacle. Applying Attali’s theory of noise to Remix exposes how and why Remix is able to move with ease across media and culture, both formally and conceptually. For this reason, my investigation of Remix in art, music, and media is not primarily concerned with productions or objects popularly considered remixes, such as music remixes or video mashups; instead the popular understanding of remix is taken as the point of departure to look at works and activities that clearly use
share with their community. That night in Berlin, the DJ, as author, was having a clear relationship with his audience, his readers. It was the audience that completed the work. This tendency becomes evident throughout this chapter. To this effect, it is the discourse of authorship that is considered in the next sections in relation to principles of sampling as defined in chapter one, a development that clearly informs not only Remix but also other areas of culture, particularly the visual