Sampling and Remixing

“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 the old.  The script gets flipped.  The languages evolve and learn to speak in new forms, new thoughts. The sound of thought becomes legible again at the edge of the new meanings.  After all, you have to learn a new language.  Take the idea and fold it in on itself.  Think of it as laptop jazz, cybernectic jazz, nu-bop, ILLbient – a nameless, formless, shapeless concept given structure by the rhythms.  And that’s a good start.” (p 25)

I was drawn to this paragraph because it talks about remixing and sampling.  When you sample, the limits decrease.  You break down barriers put up by the government, corporations etc.  “The mix breaks free of the old associations.  New contexts form from the old.”  In this particular sentence, DJ Spooky is explaining that when you remix something, whether it is a song or a particular item in an archive, you can make something new out of it.  It may not be an original thought, but you can put a spin on it and make it into something else.  As evidenced in RIP: A Remix Manifesto, the future builds upon the past.  You accumulate bits of information and ideas throughout your life and compile them into your own personal citizen archive.  You read this information from there, or heard this song from here.  All the little pieces make up who you are today and although you heard them elsewhere, they still combine to make something new and ‘original’ to you in regards to your life.  “Take the idea and fold it in on itself.”  This sentence reminded me of an article I read about hyperspace.  “…take a piece of hyperspace and fold it onto itself like a pocket and use it as a hiding place (anything inside the pocket is apparently almost invisible to sensors and the naked eye).” (Wikipedia)   Although this may not have been exactly what DJ Spooky was trying to explain, it helped me identify more with this paragraph. I believe he was trying to say to take a common thought and almost invert it.  Turn it upside down and tear it apart.  Do this so you can build upon it.  I looked online to see what “ILLbient” meant.  It is a mix “of the hip hop slang term ‘ill’ (a positive expression: bad meaning good) and ‘ambient’” (Wikipedia).    I also researched nu-bop.  It was created by Matthew Shipp. “”Nu Bop” resists categories… Shipp lets all the old walls crumble. There are pieces and fragments of an old world. There are broken bones and lingering chromosomes. Shipp emerges from the end of a century as a wrecker and a creator. His music screams: “No walls!”” (  This excerpt really does encompass what DJ Spooky was trying to say.  In order to be free, the walls need to be broken down first.  Use the past to create and build the future.


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