Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Today is Grey Tuesday. It's also Fat Tuesday. Beth and I made some wonderful red beans and rice and I grilled cajun chicken.

I wish I knew how to turn my site grey. I would in support of Grey Tuesday. Squint your eyes and pretend it's grey, ok?

I think this could be a relatively significant event. As a musician that owns several samplers, and enjoys sampling, I certainly see the joys that can be had from taking a piece of music and 'flipping the script' so to speak, and putting your own spin on it.

And DJ Dangermouse has certainly done it in an imaginative and artful way. It's a very good album. I don't really like Jay-Z, and it's made me like Jay-Z. That being said, for me, the true joy of sampling is taking a sound and deconstructing it and reconstructing it to the point where the listener doesn't know where the sound came from. At least, if I'm sampling from vinyl. If I'm just sampling my friend Jason banging on his drums, that's another story. But this is all quibling. He knew he wouldn't get the sample clearances he needed, so he went ahead and did it anyway. That takes cojones. He's like an art pirate.

Of course, DJ Dangermouse couldn't unrecognizably alter the samples, as that would go against his "Black+White=Grey" album concept.

I don't think openly sampling (ie, not changing the samples to where they're unrecognizable) an artist without their permission is necessarily bad, as long as you at least acknowledge where the sample comes from. You'd have to argue that DJ Dangermouse did that in spades here. I love bootleg remixes. They're a good thing. I've done a few myself. The only time that I think something like that would be wrong is if you pulled a Vanilla Ice and claimed that the sample was your own work, without acknowledging where it came from.

I see this album as a giant comment on the fossilization of both the hip-hop and rock genres, and as a kind of indictment of the state of race relations in our country today. It would be nice if we lived in a world where Jay-Z could hang out with Paul McCartney and Ringo (I'll excuse the dead Beatles) and make an album.

But that's just not going to happen.

Then again, maybe I'm reading too much into it.

If I had a concept album that I would love to see happen, a sort of giant what if they worked together sort of thing, it would have to be Jimi Hendrix working with Miles Davis, produced by Lee Scratch Perry. With Zakir Hussain on tablas, and Ananda Shankar on Moog and Sitar.

Hey, you might say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.


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