d e t r i t u s . n e t
dedicated to recycled culture
A Bibiliography of Related information, in analog and digital forms.
Although we here at Detritus.net were the first to think of recombinant art, others have followed in our footsteps over the years, studying or creating work that utilizes various techniques, from detournement to Merz. The detritus files are filled with clippings, quotes, scrawled references, and media of all kinds. Here is an attempt to collate it.
This is a start. This list will be added to and embellished continuously. Have a link or reference to suggest? (add something new, or if you think you can describe something better than how it is done here, write a new blurb and send it in.)
Plunderphonics, Pataphysics, & Pop Stars, Andrew Jones, 1995, Wembley, SAF Publishing.
A nice big chapter on John Oswald, another on Chris Cutler, and other less relevant but still extrememly interesting "difficult listening" artists.
File Under Popular, Chris Cutler, 199?, Autonomedia.
An excellent and highly relevant work, especially the chapter called "Neccesity & Choice in Musical Forms," dealing with the history of music how its been effected by written notation and then recording technology.
Fair Use, Negativland,
An huge volume detailing the entire Negativland/U2/Kasey Casem/SST fiasco. Filled with legal documents, letters, faxes, photos, press releases (both real and hoaxed) and essays, including a large appendix of related writings and legal cases. Highly reccommeded.
Silence, John Cage, 1961, Weslyan University Press.
The book to read if you're interested in experimental music. Cage's work and thought is a superset of what we're talking about here, but it is relevant.
The Invisible Generation, from The Ticket that Exploded, William S. Burroughs
Excellent essay by the master of text cut-ups. This is about tape cut-ups, media manipulation and found sound. Recommended.
Cut and Mix, Dick Hebdige, 1987, New York, Comedia
Concentrates on Carribean music, with lots of discussion of technology and recyling of music ("versioning").
Black Noise, Tricia Rose, 1994, Hanover, NH: Weslyan University Press.
Deals with the history of African-American music and the emergence of rap music. Extensive discussion of rap music's use of sampling, reclaiming culture from corporate ownership,etc.
Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord
The leader of the Situationiste Internationale and great thinker on detournment among
other things. I'm told Debord should be read in the original French.
Simulations, Jean Baudrillard, New York, Semiotext(e).
A classic of postmodernism. All about....well, simulations.
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin
Another classic written long before most of the technology that allows us all to sample and mix, but still with valuable insights.
Oswald, John. 1986, "Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative," Musicworks 34
Oswald's article predates his recording of the same name. A must read for anyone into sampling. Also reprinted in Cassette Mythos, Robin James, ed. New York, Autonomedia, and at the
official plunderphonics web site.
One of the best articles ever on musical appropriation. Particularly interesting is his categorization of different types or degrees of "Importation".
Music Grooves, Charles Keil and Steven Feld, University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Various ethnomusicological essays on popular music and its roots, world music, and commodification of culture. Particularly interesting is Feld's exploration of Murray Schaeffer's concept of "schizophonia", the separation of sounds from their original sources.
The Tuning of the World, Murray Schaeffer, Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.
A study of sound research and acoustic ecology.
Lipstick Traces, Greil Marcus, Harvard University Press, 1989.
Excellent introduction to the history of Lettrism and Situationism, detournement, punk, and the underlying recurrent themes in culture.
Jamming the Media, Gareth Branwyn, 1987.
Title is pretty self-explanatory. Reportedly quite good. There
is a website for the book as well.
Noisy turntabalist and sampler artist from Tokyo, also has band Ground Zero and has collaborated with numerous others including Bob Ostertag, Carl Stone, and Jon Rose.
Pay particular attention to his CD on Extreme, Night Before the Death of the Sampling Virus. His CD with Carl Stone, Monogatari: Amino Argot, is also excellent, being the result of repeated long-distance collaboration, mailing DAT tapes back and forth.
This band is great for many reasons, including that they've run afoul of copyright law at least 2 times. Most recently, the North American version of their latest album, "Tubthumping", had to have its liner notes abridged. In place of the offending sections, which were quotes that couldn'tcouldn't be cleared, is a message to check their website for the original text. This is great that they've made it available via the web. But i'm still furious at U.S. libel lawyers who threatened them. It doesn't feel very good to be a citizen of this country, supposedly so free and open, where i can't read the same album liner notes that someone can in Europe. Ridiculous!
Legends of hiphop, masters of the sampler.
A bizarre band from Los Angeles that layer strange electronic noises over groovy retro samples and a twisted surrealism. Produced by the Dust Brothers, on Nickelbag records.
Downtown New York turntable improviser and collage artist. A turntablist who does not come from the hip-hop tradition but from the avant-garde.
Continually pushes the envelope of sample-based composition to new extremes. Collaborates with a variety of other composers and improvisors such as Otomo Yoshihide, John Zorn, Mike Patton, and Fred Frith.
British band that spawned the genre "trip-hop". Their music is an infusion of vinyl records, djs, film noir, and the use of the recording studio as an instrument. Interestingly enough, they seldom actually sample other artists work, especially in their latest, self-titled release. Instead, they record instruments and put them through a variety of processes and effects so that the recording takes on the character of pre-existing music (case in point- most of their songs contain the sound of crackling hissing records in the background).
Also known as the Timelords, The Jamms (Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu) and most recently, K2. KLF stands for "Kopyright Liberation Front". A British pop-dance band that plays the media like an instrument, they consist of Jim Cauty and Bill Drummond, savvy music-industry manipulators who are masters of the press release and the contrived news event. Their first album, "1987: What the Fuck's Going On?" Was destroyed in a legal settlement with Abba, who's "Dancing Queen" was sampled without clearance. (Now available in our archives.) The KLF are also authors of an excellent book entitled "The Manual: How to Get a #1 Hit the Easy Way," a sarcastic yet strangely Zen look at the pop music establishment.
From the liner notes to his album Endtroducing: "This album reflects a lifetime of vinyl culture. For further research on the evolution of sample-based music, check the innovators:" He goes on to list a huge number of DJs and hip hop producers. Interestingly, the music on the album is obviously not your normal hiphop. It borrows from a lot more than hiphop's usual targets. Even more interesting, as with most pop records that use samples these days, all samples of other music is cited (and presumably, cleared), but the album is also replete with other samples, from films, television, etc. which are not mentioned at all in the notes...
Amon Tobin, Bricollage and Permutation
Tobin uses an amazing barrage of instrumental samples to construct a techno/dance-oriented sound, ranging from extremely mellow, jazzy trip hop to intense rapidfire drum and bass.
Some of the most amazing hip-hop based turntable manipulations ever. This is actually a band of DJs who all scratch and mix together on stage to form amazing "songs". They include Q-bert, Mixmaster Mike, Shortcut, and A-Track. They have a record out on Asphodel called "Clams of Deth".
The self-described "first wholly-detourned film". An old black and white Kung Fu movie overdubbed by French situationists with political and philosophical theory. The sword-wielding Bureacrats get trounced in the end by the powerful kung-fu of the Proletariate. Lots of hilarious self-referential commentary along with tons of allusions to everything from Foucault to Bakunin. Highly recommended.
What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Hilarious film by Woody Allen in which he redubbed the entire soundtrack of a cheesy
Japanese spy thriller. There are funnier movies to see, but the fact that it's probably the first (or only?) relatively mainstream film that employed this technique is noteworthy. Featuring music by The Lovin' Spoonful!
Craig Baldwin's amazing avant-documentary on Negativland's U2 story. Also includes interviews with John Oswald, the Tape-beatles, Barbie Liberation Front, EBN, and others.
Pat's work over the last 20 years or so has featured found and altered footage collaged together with a variety of techniques. A great example of recontextualization of moving images and sounds.
Lowell Darling's longterm project that has taken many forms. It consists of discarded and damaged film footage found in the dumpsters of Hollywood studios. Darling has presented this material in various ways, but most recently he edited some of it together into a film. He also blows up individual frames into large (4' x 4' or so) color prints.
In their own words, a group that does "hypercollage videomusic". I place them in this section because i see them primarily innovating in the video medium. Incredible resyncronized and recontextualized mass media, featuring various celebrities and politicians. Be careful, may produce seizures...
Predictions of Fire, Michael Benson
A documentary about NSK (New Slovenian Arts), a collective that includes the band Laibach and the visual artists IRWIN. NSK appropriates history, ideology, and politics in the service of their pointed aesthetic goals.
A Filmmaker from Baltimore, Colburn uses collaged found footage and animation to create a noisy assaultive barrage on super8 film, commenting on advertisting, consumerism, and more. She also plays in a band called The Dramatics for which she makes handmade collage album covers, and collaborates with Jad Fair of Half Japanese.
An amazing and bizarre film about copyright infringement, circumcision, and Pierre Trudeau. Includes interviews with John Oswald and other artists who have had trouble with copyright law. Highly recommended.
An early master of collage and assemblage. Ernst's reworkings of 19th-century catalog engravings to form totally new images are legendary.
Inventor of Merz, his word for art made from garbage and other found material.
A key proponent of found art, inventor of the term "readymade". See his "L.H.O.O.Q.", a manipulation of the Mona Lisa.
Creator of numerous small box sculptures filled with all sorts of found objects. (There's an exhibit of his works at SFMOMA till june 1998, if you're in the San Francisco area)
Supposedly either Picasso or Braque invented collage, back in 1904 or something.
Creator of numerous mixed media sculptures and paintings that steal liberally from everywhere. A Major retrospective exhibit is currently at the Guggenheim in New York City.
Pop Art innovator, he made silk screens of other people's photographs, sculptures of consumer products, and more.
Koons has repeatedly gotten into legal hot water for his appropriative art. He is best known for his "Banality" show which featured several large sculptures based from pre-existing photographs. The original photographers of 3 of the works sued him successfully, thus ensuring Koons' place in legal and art history.
Among his works are large sculptures made out of many copies of one object, like phone receivers.
Deals with mundane or not so mundane previously existing portraits placed in new contexts. One recent exhibit featured hundreds of anonymous portraits printed onto food with a color cake printing machine.
Takes self-portraits of herself in a variety of cliched situations as a commentary on gender roles, stereotypes, and media.
rtmark helps fund the intelligent sabotage of mass-produced items. While not directly concerned with copyright or appropriation, we suggest their site as possibly resonant in spirit with our own. Check out their list of projects and perhaps they'll fund your next act of cultural recycling.
. The page looks like crap, but I just started it. So far I have 2 versions of radiohead songs, a live remix(I did it with 2 cds and 2 cd players and nothing more) of an ani difranco song and an egghead song. Anyway, I am just looking to exchange links, find out info, etc. I am also involved in setting up the Free Music Archive(http://free-music.com), an archive of freely distributable music around the net.