New Music Forever!

“At the end of the day, it’s all about reprocessing the world around you, and this will happen no matter how hard entertainment conglomerates and an old generation of artists tries to control these processes.  We’re in a delirium of saturation. We’re never going to remember anything exactly the way it happened.  Memories become ever more fragmented and subjective.  Do you want to have a bored delirium or a more exciting one?  The archive fever of open system architectures returns us, as I noted earlier, to the era of live jazz sessions, where everyone had access to the same songs, but where they flipped things until they made their own statement.  These days everyone and their mother is Dj-ing, so you don’t want to just send a basic loop. You’ve got to give people a sense of total context and environment, which means you’ve got to be a lot more creative and really open up some new space with your material.  It’s a lesson learned, because even in the delirium of the archive, part of the creative act is to actually make new stuff.  Even a slight shift in frequency pitch or mild sonic flourish changes the original elements you bounce off of.  Endlessly reconfigurable and customizable, sampling is dematerialized sculpture.” (29)


After reading this paragraph, I found that DJ Spooky hits on a few ideas in a short and to the point fashion.  His succinct answers left me more curious than fulfilled and really awakened a curiosity in me. In the first sentence he says, “it’s all about reprocessing the world around you, and this will happen no matter how hard entertainment conglomerates and an old generation of artists tries to control these processes.”  This was the first thing that drew my attention and instantly I had a flashback to the remix movie we watched the first week that whole-heartedly embraced this concept.  This quote to me shows the power to seek more and dig deeper into an unlimited database of creativity and potential that is music and sound, but that fact that he uses the word “reprocessing” made me question whether the potential truly was unlimited.  Reprocessing to me means to make new of something that already existed and in my mind I feel it holds a limiting connotation.  Why not just continue to make new?  Why can’t one expand the realm of creativity to tap into something that hasn’t already been made?

These questions lead me to do some research.  I learned that Itunes store holds over 28 million songs, carries over 45 million different songs, and the gracenote database contains over 130 million songs.  That is a lot of music, but this only led me to more questions.  Is the possibility of new music truly becoming limited? Is there an end to the combination of sounds to make a song?  The answers I found were affirmative.

The number of combinations of sounds in a five-minute song was finite but at the same time so unbelievable huge that it just as well might have been infinite.  Using the number of melodies that could actually be distinguishable from each other the number was toned down, but again this number was extremely large at roughly 79 billion.  This number being much larger than all the songs every created leads me to conclude that we will new run out of new music, but why do so many sounds tend to sound the same?  I learned that the human brain tends to incline towards certain patterns of sounds more than others simply because they are more pleasurable to us.  While this may be true, I enjoy DJ Scooby’s mentality of building “a sense of total context and environment,” being “a lot more creative, and really opening up some new space with your material.”  I feel as if more artists today could do this and think in this fashion there would be a lot greater range of music than our typical mainstream sounds that seem to all sound similar and get way over played.  Artists need to expand their horizons because like Scooby says, “part of the creative act is to actually make new stuff.”  Overall, the reassurance of continuing to have new music in the future is appealing, but we as artists need to start tapping into a new way of thought and expression like Scooby (or maybe not because I don’t think he uses the appealing patterns I’m inclined to enjoy).


Question:  What aspect of music makes it most pleasurable?  Do the lyrics play a large part or is it simply the melodies?


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