[rumori] The Sample

Nicola Battista [rumori] The Sample
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 21:24:47 +0200 (00904188287,

At 19.20 26/08/98 -0700, Jon wrote:

>Very hard to juggle. Still, this is something. Even given Puff Daddy's
>new lyrics to the Sting tune, the instrumental sample serves an identical
>musical purpose to that which it did in the original composition by the
>Police. Oswald's is clearly an art piece, and the ECC's is closer to

we're not questioning whether or not they're "art" or "low art" and "high art" as previously said. You say Oswald's is clearly an art piece (it is, in my opinion too), but someone else could say it is crap, a bad
manipulation of a bad track etc.

>but if it went to court it could successfully be argued that the
>Alpert music and Chuck D vocals are, although unedited and intact, serving
>an entirely new musical purpose through their juxtaposition. All it would
>take was a really good lawyer. No problems there.

you'd need a *really* good lawyer, mate... :)
The new musical purpose is clear to you and me and any other who are into
experimentation with found-sound and copyright infringments. It couldn't be
clear to someone else that would just consider it the superimposition of
two well recognizable and previously existing tracks.

>>From the seperate positions pro vs. con, this is one of those 'insoluable'
>conflicts. Each party's beliefs are antithetical and every logical step
>taken forward from them therefore just sounds like invented nonsense.

you could be right on this...

>rights of the Creator must be respected!' 'I have a right to create _new_
>art!' etc.

it's a sort of vicious circle...

>At present it's just not humanly possible to officially 'recognize' the
>creators of all those being sampled via money; neither economically for
>the new creators or fairly by the copyright owners of the creators. So
>'they' will do their best to prevent 'us' from distributing or even
>creating this work, and 'we' will keep struggling to create it.

sorry if I tend to speak in boring legalese but it comes from my law
studies ;)
In law we have the concept of "mass crimes" (literal translation from the Italian... not sure about the exact expression for this in legal English).
Anyway: mass crimes are those "small crimes" that are perpetrated by almost everyone or at least by a very large number of people. One of the common
examples here in Italy is abuses related to buildings (people opening or
closing a window in their house or modifying their house in anoy other way
without the necessary bureaucratic stuff) or some forms or people not
paying certain taxes.
Now, if we had to put a criminal law on those, it would be impossible to
persecute all those who "committed" the mass crime; there are millions of them, and the costs to punish them would be too high. So the government
produces a law to "condone" the mass crime, and says: "pay this tax, and we'll forget about the abuse you previously committed" (i.e. the modficiations in your illegally modified building become legal, and so on).

Now sampling is becoming, in a certain sense, a mass crime in the copyright
law area. They will always try to stop us, and we will still keep doing it
at our risk, until something else happens. Maybe there would be a need for
a form of "condone" in this area. The closer thing I could think of is the Fund.

>I think the concept of a Sampling Fund is a bit premature. We need more
>legal battles before the structure for one will even begin to be

well, thanks for saying "premature", its still a lot more optimistic than "impossible". ;)

>On Saturday Night Live, David Duchovny introduces Puff Daddy; the camera
>zooms in to sheet music, top title reading "COME WITH ME", underneath "M &
>L: PUFF DADDY" as the live chamber ensemble intone the opening chords of
>"Kashmir". And there's Jimmy Page, playing along, live on stage, playing
>the chords alone, no space given for a guitar solo. A moment for sampling
>artists everywhere.

hahaha. :)

>Alvin Lu's column went on and on and on about how Puffy's version was a
>true 90's pop masterpiece that stripped the original song to it's musical
>core and removed all the fat. Puffy doesn't do much more than match the
>original sample with funk drum fills, but complaining about it, I just end
>up sounding old. "Every Breath You Take" just don't have the funk or the
>soul that "I'll Be Missing You" has, is what my 16 year old step-step-son
>tells me.

Don't complain. Maybe the newer version really is better than the original,
sometimes. Most of the times not. Hence the cultural function of sampling.
I remember George Clinton telling a funny anecdote in an interview, about
when he had been sampled by De La Soul. A kid has this new De La Soul disc
and is playing it at home. His mother tells him "that's George Clinton!" and finds the original vinyl.
The kid listens to it and is astonished. Then runs to the phone to scream
to his friends: "Hey! Come here! I've got A 15 MINUTES VERSION OF THE NEW DE LA SOUL!!" ;-)

>I remember originally taking it as a bold conceptual statement;
>consciously putting forth the song's text, i.e. the RAP as the sole content
>of what constituted the song, and the 'music' was completely subjugated to
>a smaller role. I still think this 'concept' is a key to much of what is
>revolutionary and exciting about rap;

well, rap was often done recycling breakbeats because people was too poor
to afford real instruments. So no wonder the text was more important. The
beats and musci had to have a certain "funk" or whatever ya call it... but it didnt matter much whether the break was stolen to Chic or James Brown or

Nicola (Dj Batman) Battista