[iDC] Remix Reader

Eduardo Navas eduardo at navasse.net
Sun Apr 16 17:55:12 EDT 2006

Hello everyone, 
Hello Paul,

Glad to read your comments.  A quick note: I am currently developing a
systematic and historical definition of the Remix.  The intro I sent did not
mention the roots in Jamaica, you¹re absolutely right, Paul.  However, I do
go into detail of the history you mention once in the actual body of the
text.  Also, I should explain that I connect eventually connect the
development of the remix on to new media practices, always keeping in mind
the political implications of such activity as, both, act of resistance and
celebration of consumer and somewhere inbetween by some practitioners, who
take alternative approaches that don¹t quite fit into premade avant-garde
positions.  But more on this in due time.  Not that I am not ready to talk
about it, but I just need to fully finish the argument before I introduce it
to people.  I mainly wanted to send the blurb to let people know where the
politics behind the remix begin, at least in the U.S.

And thanks for the texts!  Thanks for sharing.



On 4/16/06 12:20 PM, "Paul D. Miller" <anansi1 at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Hey people - it's a pleasure to see some of the threads on the list.
> The main issue is:
> 1) You have to think about different kinds of literacy. I think Lev Manovich
> would be totally illiterate of youth culture's global fascination with
> hybridity and convergent media - I'm saying that as a friend. I did music for
> his "Soft Cinema" project, and we've had discussions about this. Alot of the
> digital theory scene simply cannot process divergent forms of sound art, and
> digital media. They can deal with Japan, China, and India, but Jamaica, Africa
> and, ahem, African-Americans, are a no-go zone for theories of digital media
> and sound art. I've never been quite sure why that is, but, yeah, it's there.
> The curators in the artworld have no idea about how to deal with this, and the
> digital media scene in terms of the real practice of multi-culturalism, needs
> some serious work as well.
> In Eduardo's piece, for example, starts with RZA, but doesn't engage the real
> practical relationships of the Caribbean (especially producers in Jamaica)
> whose practice of "versioning" directly anticipates hip-hop, or for that
> matter the idea of call and response blues from the turn of the last century.
> There are so many other places to start - Bollywood's ability to absorb the
> complex vocabulary of Hollywood film, Egyptian cinema, West African film
> makers like Sembene Ousmane... It's all about collage based composition. I'd
> say Brian Eno and David Byrne's "My Life in The Bush of ghosts" is probably
> alot more creative than alot of the hip-hop you hear today, and in fact, it's
> been sampled alot, but then again, so has Fela. RZA took that kind of
> hybridity, and made a brand out of it... But then again, so did King Tubby.
> Anyway:
> If you are open, there's plenty of interesting material out there.
> A very very very brief primer for those interested in "remix" culture:
> Valentine de St. Point "Manifesto of Lust" - 1915
> Luigi Russolo - The Art of Noise - 1915
> Theodore Adorno - The form of the Phonograph
> Norman Mailer's "The White Negro" - 1957
> Amiri Baraka - Blues People: Negro Music in White America, 1963
> Alfred Appel - Jazz Modernism  - 2003
> Eduoard Glissant - Poetics of Relation, 1997
> Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop, 2005
> and of course, my book "Rhythm Science" that came out on MIT Press a little
> while ago.
> www.rhythmscience.com
> Stevem Shaviro has an excellent on-line teaching resource about sampling as
> well:
> http://www.dhalgren.com/Classes/Sound.html
> ==============================================================================
> ==
> These are the liner notes to a Box Set CD I've done with Trojan Records.
> Trojan Records is a legendary record label started by Arthur "Duke" Reid in
> Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1960's. It's archive encompasses some of the
> most renowned Jamaican artists in history, and the box set I've compiled for
> Trojan Records is a slice of material from their catalog. It's a double CD
> with outtakes and extremely rare versions of Jamaican material from the last
> 40 years.
> Paul aka Dj Spooky
> Heel up, Wheel up, come back, rewind: Trojan Records
> by Paul D. Miller
> When Trojan Records asked me to do a "selections" from their archive, one of
> the first things that went through my mind was how do you mix music that
> changed the world? It's been about fifty years since Jamaica has become an
> independent country, and it seems like the music that comes from this tiny
> island in the Caribbean is having more of an impact than ever.
> Trojan Records' founder, Arthur "Duke" Reid, used to drive the Trojan brand of
> trucks around Kingston with huge speakers blasting his innovative collection
> of Jamaican music, leading to the urban legend of how the name of the
> soundsystem cum record label developed. "Duke" was a former policeman, and it
> comes as no surprise that the "ruff and rude" sounds of the Kingston
> underground were the staple of his sound.
> The metaphor of the Trojan truck, mapped onto the Greek legend of the Trojan
> house, is as fitting as any fiction. Trojan Ltd. was a car company that made
> sturdy trucks that were to become the staple of the colonial market export of
> cars. The people of Troy, a great city in ancient Greece, were a royal line
> founded by Zeus and Electra, and if the myths of the past are to be kept in
> mind when we think of Jamaica, you can see the update: Like the Trojan horse,
> these stealth units, soundsystems, were able to be in plain sight while
> changing the cultural operating system of the entire world. Soundsystems were
> portable discos, mobile platforms for different styles. They were the
> preferred method of spreading a style because they were nomadic in a way that
> the monumental clubs of the U.S. and U.K. couldn't dream of. From the vantage
> point of the 21st century, they can only be viewed as the predecessor of the
> iPod.
> Portability, quickness, stealth copies of hit songs, "versions"Š All of this
> leads us to the idea of remix culture and "mash-ups" that are the digital
> world's inheritance from the analog media of the soundsystem. With the
> material that I selected for this compilation, I wanted to avoid the obvious
> songs of Jamaican history, and focus on the more esoteric materials that
> collectors and producers could relate to. For example, when the Prodigy
> sampled Max Romeo and The Upsetters' 1976 "I Chase The Devil (Lucifer)," I
> thought it would be a good start to think about how the same sample popped up
> on Kayne West's production of Jay Z's hit "Lucifer." I think you'll relate to
> the out-take version I included in the compilation of Lee "Scratch" Perry's
> version, "Disco Devil." Sounds like piracy? Well can you imagine the world
> without Bob Marley? He used to screen records as a clerk for the Coxsone
> soundsystem. He'd literally sift through the sounds of the current day to tell
> Coxsone which records to copy! This was invaluable for his development as a
> recording artist and performer.
> The "re-mix" was happening in Jamaica to keep the best songs fresh with the
> newest sounds for decades before the idea hit the U.S. With Perry and his
> staple of singers like Susan Cadogan (a former librarian!), you can hear the
> heat of a Kingston night in songs like her hit, "Fever," and her 1974 smash
> single "Hurt So Good," a cover version of Millie Jackson's song by the same
> name. Since copyright law in Jamaica was never tight everything was a copy of
> something else. You can think of the whole culture as a shareware update, a
> software source for the rest of the world to upload. And if you stretch your
> ears, you can see the future of digital music in the drum machine riddim of
> "Sleng Teng" - a rhythm made at King Jammy's on a Casio MT-40 home keyboard.
> Jamaica created its own economy in sound with the relentless bass pressure of
> an island where music, and access to the right styles and sounds could make or
> break your career. The pressure to find the right rhythms created a hothouse
> of innovation. Just think: reggae is the expression of a nation under immense
> pressure - from IMF loans, from colonialism's aftereffects, the falling price
> of bauxite and its relationship to a Third World economy based solely on
> natural products like sugar cane and bananas.
> Before hip-hop was global, the Jamaican scene had somehow, on the down-low,
> followed the idea of diaspora. Today with artists like Matisyahu in Brooklyn
> doing Hasidic Jewish versions of reggae, to stuff like Japan's "Ranking Taxi"
> to the myriad sounds coming out of Brazil, India, Tunisia, Germany and France,
> the tradition of pastiche and bricolage continues. You get the idea. The logic
> of diaspora - of taking music from a region and spreading it across the world
> - is reggae's core essence, and when I put this mix together, I wanted to go
> from my downtown NYC to London and Kingston, to parts of the world I'd
> forgotten and the most distant places of my record collection.
> I used to go to Jamaica every summer when I was a kid, and some of my earliest
> memories - visiting relatives and friends, cousins and uncles and aunts - was
> of my mother and sister reminding me of the links between the island and
> America. My Mom used to even used to write for Jamaica's equivalent of the New
> York Times, Kingston's "Daily Gleaner!" I want you to feel history when you
> listen to this mix and think about how sampling, making new music from old,
> came from the idea of versioning. Think about the soundsystem battles of Duke
> Reid, Sir Coxsone and Prince Buster as a forerunner to MC and DJ battles in
> hip-hop. Tthink about Kool Herc's soundsystem as a stepping stone for "Planet
> Rock." Just think about how strange the world would be if we didn't have this
> music of the islands. It just makes you remember that this whole planet is
> just an island too.
> This mix is a combination of the old, the new, and the in between. That's kind
> of the point: DJ culture in the 21st century is as much about the soundsystem
> as the playlist. The iPod revolution has brought us back to the era of the
> "single" in the form of a downloadable media file. It's a return to the era
> when we were kids in the ancient late 1980's, when vinyl still ruled the
> dancehalls, and the soundsystems of NYC, Kingston, and London were all about
> underground flava. At a certain point in time, and at a certain place - a
> phrase: architecture is nothing but frozen music. What happens when we reverse
> engineer the process? Form becomes flux, solids melt into ideas, concepts,
> blueprints, codes and contexts. I wanted to make a mix that reflected that:
> old and new. If there's one thing that reggae has told us, it's all about that
> pressure drop!
> Enjoy!!!
> Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid NYC 2006
> CD 1
> 1. Disco Devil by Lee "Scratch" Perry
> 2. Lama Lava by Augustus Pablo
> 3. 007 Shanty Town  by Desmond Dekker
> 4. Funky, Funky Reggae by Dave & Ansel Collins
> 5. Shades Of Hudson by Dennis Alcapone & Kieth Hudson
> 6. Come Together by The Israelites
> 7. Old Fashion Way by Ken Booth and Kieth Hudson
> 8. Rain by Bruce Ruffin
> 9. Your Ace From Outer Space by U-Roy
> 10. Sweet Like Candy by Winston Williams
> 11. The Rooster by Tommy McCook & His Band
> 12. The Trial Of Pama Dice by Lloyd/Dice/Mum
> 13. Fever       by Susan Cadogan
> 14. Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip
> 15. Morning Sun by Al Barry & The Cimarons
> 16. Save Me by Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths
> 17. Rudy A Message To You by Dandy Livingstone
> 18. James Bond by The Selecter
> 19. Rough Rider (Live) by The Special Beat
> 20. Ghost Town (Live) by The Specials
> 21. Mirror In The Bathroom (Live) by The Special Beat
> 22. The Russians Are Coming (Take Five) by Val Bennett
> CD 2:
> 1. Entertainer by Charlie Chaplin taken from Dancehall Explosion-20 Killa D
> 2.The Great Musical Battle by Derrick Morgan
> 3. Reform Institute by Gregory Isaac's All Stars
> 4. Popcorn by The Upsetters
> 5. Brother Noah by The Shadows
> 6. King Tubby's Explosion Dub by King Tubby
> 7. Dynamic Fashion Way by U-Roy
> 8. A Yah We Deh by Barrington Levy
> 9. Peter Tosh "Here Comes the Judge" - taken from "Trojan Legend Box Set"
> 10. Dave Barker "Lock Jaw"
> 11. Dillinger - "Flat Foot Hustling" - taken from "Trojan Legend Box Set
> 12.  Lee "Scratch" Perry - the Upsetters - "Chapter 2: French Connection"
> 13. Hot Sauce (Aka The Agro Man Is Back) by Dave & Ansel Collins
>  14. A Version I can Feel With Love by Tommy McCook
> 15. Brain Mark by Jackie Mitoo
> 16. Pop A Version by Dennis Alcapone
> 17. Ethiopian Kingdom by Prince Rowland Downer and Count Ossie Band
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