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"the paradigm shift"

MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 12:52 AM
So Victor gave a pretty interesting interview with Spinmeister, and I thought this was an insightful observation….

“Musically there seems to have been a shift this year to more one-man-band produced re-interpretation and less sample-based remixes. The previous remixes seemed edgier, more modern and subjectively speaking, more interesting. Here’s an example: Trifonic puts out an album of the kind of really edgy, cool, modern eclectic pop they became famous for on ccMixter. Last month they posted the studio tracks and a cappellas from their new album “Emergence” back into the Commons but the community remixes that come from their material are straight ahead, mainstream style. This is a weird 180 from how things used to work. until now we would get straight pop, R&B and rap vocals and then take them to this strange remix place, but with Trifonic we have a case where the original samples are coming from this outside, edgy place and the community pulls it back into a more mainstream style. I don’t know what to make of that.”

This is a pretty interesting perspective from someone who’s been around since the beginning, and obviously has arguably listened to more stuff here than anyone else. at least from my perspective, and I’ve been around a long time too, I’ve always approached it more from the way Victor describes as the more recent trend, mostly since my background is as a songwriter and so it seems logical for me to approach ccmixter from an arrangement-first perspective and view ccmixter from the “band-in-a-box” approach. And I make no apologies. :) I’ve certainly tried my hand at freestyle mixes, and ccmixter has given me incredible opportunities to work outside my “comfort zone” in genres i would never otherwise try. I think ccmixter has seen a variety of artists with different styles come and go, and that “attrition” is part of why the overall perception has changed, although i’m not sure I’d personally agree that it was better the way it was, it’s just that different artists made up the core community, but it is a dynamic community. At least for me, I’m not sure the “paradigm shift” Victor refers to is so much a chronological, darwin sort of evolution of the mixter to become more commercialized and mainstream as much as a reflection of the background of the wide variety of artists that participate. I also think it’s the freestyle, avant-garde folks like gurdonark that keeps ccmixter pushing the envelope of what is possible, not only in terms of online distribution but collaboration of artists and opening eyes to new music. Anyways, I thought it was a good interview and that point kind of hit home for me and I felt it might be worthy of a larger discussion if anyone cares. What do you think?
permalink   Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 9:31 AM
fwiw I hope folks don’t take this out of context of the larger discussion spin and I were having. People who know me realize I would prefer if the music on the site was 100% 70s porno soundtrack 100% of the time… ;)

The new ‘trend’ or whatever it is has done wonders for the site on many levels including quality and popularity. Probably some kind of pendulum thing.
permalink   duckett Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 7:33 PM
I’ll admit my initial reaction to that interview segment was “unsurprised, yet slightly annoyed”- but when I stopped to think about it a minute, I realized you weren’t speaking as an admin with an axe to grind, but as a person with their own preferences, who has happened to be around since the beginning.

To me, it simply comes down to whether the remix succeeds in where it’s trying to go, no matter what style it is, or how it’s been made. My only real prejudice is against people who never review other remixes, never write anything in the description box, or come to the site with an arrogant attitude straight off.
Fortunately, people like that generally don’t stick around long, or are easily ignored.

I’ve been grateful to get my ears opened a little wider by all the various stuff that’s here; and bit by bit, I’ve been trying to incorporate both what I’ve learned technically, and what I’ve found inspiring, into the tracks I submit. I tend to focus on one area at a time for a bit, then explore other facets or possibilities. With all the differences in genre, intent, software, hardware, or recording, mixing, and mastering techniques- it’s a never-ending learning process, and one that’s been worth every minute.

As long as this stays a place where remixers and contributors of all stripes can gather for friendly and intelligent musical interaction, it’s no skin off my back if there’s only a few of my tracks that float your boat ;-)

? …Hey, what those people doing behind me with that duct tape? Hey, this reply’s not THAT long! WAIT A MIN-
permalink   fourstones Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 8:10 PM
If duckett were still here I would thank him for giving me the space to have personal artistic observations in a context off the site. ;) [EDIT actually I mean that sincerely, I really do appreciate it…]

I certainly didn’t mean to annoy anyone. Sorry about that. Typical for situations like that I was mainly talking to and about me. Out loud.

permalink   radiotimes Wed, May 28, 2008 @ 6:05 PM
I think you’re mistaken it was only a Duckett tape!!!:)

A C90 I believe!!
MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 7:58 PM
I was in no way trying to pass judgement on your judgement (opinion) Victor. I actually pretty much know what you like (70’s porn funk…like you said). And I pretty much like what you like, I’d bet we have similar tastes for the most part. If anything, I think it was a particularly revealing moment when you brought that point up. Duckett, I think you bring up some good points as well. At least for me personally, I’d like to see the community as a whole have a wider variety of meaningful discussions related to what we do here. It seems to be the one thing that is really missing from ccmixter (at least in my opinion). I feel like most of the discussion here revolves around the reviews, and many times there’s not much discussion really involved there. This is in no way a criticism of anyone, it’s just me saying i’d like more please. How do we get the forums more active in terms of relevant dialogue? What i’m trying to do is engage people in a broader discussion about the community instead of myself, or my latest remix, or the latest remixfight (which is coming up soon in less than a week by the way….) :)

There is so much talent to be shared in this community. I’d just like to see greater discussion on the forum about topics that we can all relate to. So I’m tossing the proverbial first pebble here and VS, don’t feel like i’m stoning you by excerpting your thoughts and opinion. So now that I’ve said my piece, I’ll try to go and leave some meaningful and engaging reviews. :)
permalink   fourstones Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 8:18 PM
no, no, we’re totally cool - I had just re-read the excerpt here out of context and I got worried what others might walk way with.

I’m actually very curious how folks see things and looking forward to any discussion and especially: being challenged for my pov - I would love that.
permalink   Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 9:47 PM
Yeah I like 70’s porn too, Though I find it grainy because most of it was shot on film. Then came the 80’s and the age of Betacam ……… Wait, what….Oh 70s porn FUNK. Oh never mind. : )

Seriously though. I would love more dialog. I used to try to start conversations here but I gave up a long time ago because I was often ignored. Now I just lurk. Cuz lurking is cool!
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Tue, May 27, 2008 @ 10:04 PM
well, at least i got a response, even if i didn’t get your opinion on the subject!

it’s a start…. :)
permalink   Wed, May 28, 2008 @ 11:05 AM
great topic - I was really hoping a discussion would ensue when VS raised the topic in the interview.

Here are a few observations / musings from my perspective:

* ccMixter can be and is many things to many people
— collaboration between singers, song writers, poets, composers, instrumentalists, arrangers, producers, turntablists
— some sort of long distance, time-shifted sequential jam session
— mashup heaven (mix and match different sources into a new work)
— arrangers/producers of varying skill levels flexing their muscles, experimenting, learning the classic crafts of studio production
— vocalists, instrumentalists, recordists, learning how to record themselves in increasingly better quality

None of the above are about classic “remixing” in the sense of taking most of the parts from a single production and mixing and/or fx’ing that up with only a limited number of new musical elements. The word “mixter” fits very well, but it’s not only a mixter for samples, but also a mixter for people with different musical desires, talents, skills, backgrounds.

* I think we are only witnessing and participating the beginning of something, that’s not entirely clear yet where it will be headed (good!) VS keeps pounding in new features to make it easier to work in more different ways - this has already and will continue to spawn new kinds of things. New technology and artistic evolution have always been deeply intertwined.

* Many of our traditional musicians are just beginning to “get” the new and unique creative potential of remixing - and some of our more avantgarde explorers of the sonic edge are just beginning to “get” polish in arrangement and production. And there are those of us who are really just beginning both of those journeys (/self looks in mirror).

Bottom line: I’m glad to be along for this amazing ride with many amazing fellow travelers, and let’s make sure we keep pushing envelopes on all fronts.

And what I heard VS say (maybe between the lines) is: let’s keep challenging ourselves, not only technically and as a community, but also artistically.
permalink   radiotimes Wed, May 28, 2008 @ 5:49 PM
I am one of the mixers who tends to pick a sample pella and then usually add everything else. But behind this I do listen to other samples and occasionally use them in the mix but I get many more ideas from just listening to the samples.

A simple bass line or drum beat sample can lead me into all sorts of creativity which before I may not have considered.

To this end CCM is a great stimulator of the mind so whilst on the surface my mixes are not in the general sense a true remix they still in many cases use the ideas of others to produce the work.

When I first started remixing I looked upon it as cheating and taking the easy way out but my eyes were opened to the complexity that a good mix can offer by many of the great interpretations people have put up on this site.

As VS said mixing is an art in its own right and I can now see that.

So whilst CCM may be changing I think its for the better but I agree it is still important to hold onto and use the foundation of re sampling and remixing it was built on
permalink   Thu, May 29, 2008 @ 1:15 PM
I was listening today to the Calendar Girl remixes on her new CD, which, by the way, is a great album. I was so impressed by the
work I heard there by my fellow mixters, that I went to my profile and added to my self-promo: “the least musical of the mixters”.

I’ve been here since the February after the mixter began, and, in general, I’d agree that the board has evolved in many ways since it began. I do think that a few more mainstream mixes have arisen in recent times. As anyone who knows me knows, I don’t/won’t/can’t often do mainstream mixes (I’m much less a remixer than a person who uses samples in music). I also am one of those people who likes things a bit “avant”. But make no mistake, these more “mainstream” mixes have been a huge positive
addition to the board.

I get dismissive of people who are dismissive about things being “mainstream”, even if I make that mistake myself sometimes. “Mainstream” mixter music, at its best, is what used to be fun about mainstream music in general. When, for example, a soul homage is put up on mixter, it’s not some covers band tribute song—it’s a song that longs to live and breathe (and sometimes pornify) a beloved sound. People like Victor and Loveshadow take my breath away, because they can be so very versatile, but both rely on their “feel” for the music rather than just putting together a perfect set of loops, beats, and original instruments. I wish I could do the kind of loop-and-instrument driven smoothness that MC Jack in the Box or Teru or cdk or shockshadow can do, or the orchestrations that Old Dog can do, or the eclectic mix of pure fun that Duckett can do.
I’m simply awed that Kaer Trouz
improves so much from mix to mix, as if this was a place to really find her voice. For me, the “old mixter” and the “new mixter” are not a change or reversal, so much as a dramatic expansion of what mixter is and can be. On the other hand, my favorite mixter mix is the “brilliant daze” remix from Pat Chilla, which is more from the “old days”.

I do not see mixter as a website only or a social community only, although increasingly it is becoming an amazing mp3 player resource.

I see mixter as part of a dialogue about a sharing culture, and what
Creative Commons can mean.

My own ambitions, truth be told, are not to make professional mainstream work, but to assist in the birthing of what I call a new form of “parlor music”, in which we are all participants and sharers in a new way of generating music culture.

I thought Victor’s interview was very good. I know from doing an interview here or there, and, indeed, we all know from weblog posting, that the problem with saying any darn thing is that there’s some sense that if one read it too carefully one could offend someone. This tends to make my weblog posts extremely long, as I try to minimize this.

The bottom line is that yes, mixter features work that is arguably less edgy—but in general, mixter work is much more broadly-based, much more interesting, and much more fun as time goes on.

I do worry, once in a while, that
I hear great remixes that could be
the long lost beloved B side of Theme from Shaft, only with cool softsynths, while my current upcoming remix-in-progress is 14 samples accompanying something that sounds like a marching band trapped in a wurlitzer factory. But overall, I think that’s the eclectic fun we have here, and I’m glad we’re all along for the ride.

Mixter has taught me about a lot of musics other than the narrow musics I can make—and that’s a very good thing.

Now if I could just figure out how to write new melodies to a capellas, then I’d get busy on remixing more calendarsongs!
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Thu, May 29, 2008 @ 9:04 PM
Quote: Gurdonark I went to my profile and added to my self-promo: “the least musical of the mixters”.

seriously, and i mean this in the best possible way, don’t sell yourself short here. i’m a great admirer of what you do here, and nobody should feel less for being unconventional. linearity is overrated. you are a big part of what makes this community great so please, don’t change for convention’s sake. :)
permalink   gurdonark Fri, May 30, 2008 @ 2:51 PM
Thanks. That’s very kind of you. I’m at a point now that I’m really darn secure with what I’m doing and who I am. It’s certainly worked well for me, in terms of meeting great people and getting listeners in all kinds of places (you’ll share my amusement—but also my lack of surprise—that my listeners are often from obscure parts of eastern Europe).
I just don’t lose sight of 2 things—1. I’m moving in the direction I wish to be, but it’s a niche place and 2. I don’t confuse what I do with the really great remixing work this board can feature. But you’re right, that doesn’t mean I’m distressed with my music, at all.
permalink   vo1k1 Thu, May 29, 2008 @ 9:32 PM
Quote: GurdonarkMy own ambitions, truth be told, are not to make professional mainstream work, but to assist in the birthing of what I call a new form of “parlor music”, in which we are all participants and sharers in a new way of generating music culture.

I love this idea. For this reply, I was trying to find a reference - an article I read in the LA Times - to post - but I couldn’t find it. It was about a recent NAMM, and how numbers are dramatically increasing for sales related to “recreational music making” while sales for linear music drops. Though the phrase is somewhat obnoxious, I love the idea of a music-creating public.
permalink   gurdonark Fri, May 30, 2008 @ 2:48 PM
Yes! I’ve seen that NAMM article, and also the various polling that music instrument participation is actually increasing. My friend Dave, who records as Cagey House,, got me thinking of this “parlor music” concept in earnest when we did this website interview some time ago. Now it’s a mantra for me—we need not rely on the big labels, we can make music at home!
permalink   vo1k1 Fri, May 30, 2008 @ 5:19 PM
Maybe the music industry is an historical anomaly; remixes are the new electronic folk music; and Ableton Live is the harpsichord of the new millennium :)
permalink   gurdonark Fri, May 30, 2008 @ 8:36 PM
Quote: vo1k1Maybe the music industry is an historical anomaly; remixes are the new electronic folk music; and Ableton Live is the harpsichord of the new millennium :)

All joking aside—what you just said is exactly my theory.