Sampling and editing – a lazy imitation or an ode to brilliance?
From time to time when listening to a new tune, we’ll hear a hook, beat or lyric that we recognise. Yet while most of us get a tiny sense of self-fulfilment and gratification, on the occasion I’m left feeling a tad deflated. And for a while I wasn’t sure why.
Don’t get me wrong, the self-indulgent feeling of acknowledgment is ever-present in all of us when we spot a sample; we hear it, know it, and can explain (more exclaim) where that artist has dug deep to find that sultry splash or snare to complete a drum beat, and we’re wildly aware of a plummeting bass line had been plucked from. We hear it, we love it, we dance more.
Often when we know a sampled original version, we revel in the fact that another artist cares then shares a similar discography to ours and, again, we love it. The “ah, he likes the same shit I like” elates us and makes us think we too could have an iTunes full of Bandcamp beasts and that one day, we might be able to make an edit of our own. And screech into our WKD’s a lot louder when we a tune we know’s embedded in a bass-heavy banger as we actually know the lyrics.
Then there’s the fact that the sampled tune might arise past thoughts and feelings that take us back to a time, much like Sam’s poignant post about on Apparat’s take on Moby’s Pale Horses. For me, Moby reminds me of my introduction to melodic, downtempo EDM/IDM. And when a DJ drops such a hook, the nostalgic nod takes us to a deeper memory. Pill or no pill, it’s pretty fucking powerful.
Yet once again, sometimes i’ll hear a tune that i’ve heard before and it downright ruins my mood. So why is that?
I’ve thought long and hard about it and I think to i’ve come to a conclusion – the perception of originality.
Particularly nowadays with the rise of nu-disco, we’re seeing the same Seventies dance floor fillers sampled and rehashed to make new tunes that adhere to controller compliant BPMs and tunes more often that not take a hook and build a tune around it. But sometimes there is a fine line between taking muse and taking the piss.
Case and point example, Blackstreets’ No Diggity (sorry). How many Millennial’s have grown up thinking that the low, baritone hum was originally penned by the American duo? No it wasn’t, and if you’re surprised to read this as all you had to educate yourself on music was MTV or The Box, you’re forgiven. Here’s the original, albeit an acoustic version, by Bill Withers. And for the record, anyone who puts No Diggity on a shared work or party playlist over Bill Wither’s should be banned from the aux cable indefinitely.
Now that feeling of disappointment – even distaste – for literal con artists passing other’s brilliance off as their own, here untaken by boyband, Blackstreet. That’s that feeling of annoyance I mentioned before. You’re perspective of an artist can be shattered in moments. They’re fakes, and how did you not know it before?
I’ve asked myself, and now I’ll ask you – how is this different to taking an inspiration and sharing their creative brilliance by giving their tune longevity or a new lease of life?
I think it sits in the order that you find a the original and the remake. Find the edit first and you’re disappointed when you hear the original. You thought they were brilliant but realise they’re living on the laurels of others. Yet hear a sample after the original and your happy. The thing is, sometimes it’s hard to spot a sample when the lines are blurred as such.
The other week I stumbled across a new tune by Berliner producer Billy Caso, his take on the 1973 prog rock hit No Quarter by Led Zeppelin. Now I’m no stranger to Mothership and was led to listen to the London rockers by pretty much every bloke I met as a lad, but I’ve never heard this tune before.
Yet when I heard this Billy Caso Flying edit, I loved it instantly. I hadn’t heard the original, yet when I did, I couldn’t care a less which version was first. Both are quality, but apt on different occasions. You can download using the link below from his Bandcamp page for a modest price.
Whether it’s Caso’s production, where he’s added a constant metronome of deep percussion to the already atmospheric and chilled tune, or the effortless fusion of psychedelic rock and deep house, it’s a definitely one I’ll be dropping into mixes over the coming months.
Might it be one of those rare examples where an edit outshines an original? Which do you prefer?
Leave a comment in the section below to educate us on your edits.