Thoughts on Mash Ups

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live

Mash-ups? Creativity or Novelty?

Poll ended at Sun Mar 11, 2007 8:21 am

Creativity
4
13%
Novelty
5
16%
A little bit of both
16
52%
Who cares
6
19%
 
Total votes: 31

squareve
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Thoughts on Mash Ups

Post by squareve » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:21 am

I'd like to play devil's advocate for a moment if I could. Being that Live is
a popular tool in the field of mash-ups, I'd like to hear some other Live users
opinions on this new-ish genre.

Let me start the discussion with my own opinion. While I have no problem with
the legal implications of sampling in theory, I feel like mash-ups tend to cheapen
the credibility of the original songs contained within. As a traditionalist (ie, a musician
who plays traditional instruments and composes in a "pop" format) I am opposed
to the idea of someone taking a composition of mine and combining it with someone
else's work. This is not to say I am opposed to my work being sampled, but to actually
setting my vocals or music bed to that of another single composition. I feel like there is
little creativity in doing so beyond the novelty of the act. There are many people out
there who are very good at this but I don't see this as the definition of an artist.

Thoughts, hate, responses?

hambone1
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Post by hambone1 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:33 am

I agree. IMO, it's a novelty that's turned into predictable cheese, not unlike EQ kills, filter sweeps, scratching, etc.

But for those without the talent or capability for true compositional originality (like me!), it's all they can do.
Last edited by hambone1 on Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tone Deft
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Post by Tone Deft » Thu Mar 08, 2007 8:45 am

Less is more in mashups. It will evolve, more good less crap.

Amazing palette to work with, 'blendups' are amazing, 'mashups' are like soggy vegetables soaked in goat piss. Knowing Live I can hear through them, 98% of mashups are crap, 2% wreck my neck. Mixed In Key (google it) and such are great tools that help, and good DJ/pitch practice. It goes back to early hip hop when they could sample (almost) at will and make a smooth beat out of some familiar sample, like De La, but today mashed songs carry the rap. Or vinyl beat juggling on familiar riffs, I love that shit, that's original mashing.

Aren't they just remixes for the masses? You producers have been doing that for years you've just had more mature materials to work with, no?

They're my guilty pleasure to make. :oops:
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

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Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:48 am

Aren't mashups over? So 2003...
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iamnotcool
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Post by iamnotcool » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:06 am

nothing wrong with em, as long as they're done in the properly. A kick loop here, a conga sample there, the vocals from this, and the bassline from that can produce some interesting results. There are always going to be bland mashups with 2 tracks layered with too many DJM effects applied, and there are creative ones that are blended from numerous tracks. Creative talent will shine wherever it's applied.
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squareve
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Post by squareve » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:11 pm

I should clarify. with the term "mash-up" I am referring to 2 songs stuck together or "bastard pop"
as it's known in some circles. Something along the lines of the Grey Album. I agree bits and pieces
from alot of stuff is very cool. The best example of that would be Paul's Boutique from the Beastie Boys.
My position on sampling rights is based alot on the pure genius of sample use on that record.

Tarekith
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Post by Tarekith » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:55 pm

I'm biased, I think it's lame to be honest. I mean, ok if you're doing it live while DJing or something, but to knock one up at home with Live, and then post it looking for props and all.... I don't know, I'm sure there's an amount of skill that goes into picking the two tracks, but other than that I don't see the big deal.

And it does sort of cheapen the original songs IMO.

Flame suit on.

hambone1
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Post by hambone1 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:02 pm

That's what I think is brilliant about Live. It allows those with talent and desire to not only create compelling original material, but to perform it live.

Simply regurgitating someone else's work doesn't do it for me.

hacktheplanet
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Post by hacktheplanet » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:49 pm

The licensing issues boggle the mind.
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pulsoc
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Post by pulsoc » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:15 pm

squareve wrote:I should clarify. with the term "mash-up" I am referring to 2 songs stuck together or "bastard pop"
as it's known in some circles. Something along the lines of the Grey Album. I agree bits and pieces
from alot of stuff is very cool. The best example of that would be Paul's Boutique from the Beastie Boys.
My position on sampling rights is based alot on the pure genius of sample use on that record.
See I would hesitate to call the Grey Album a mashup. Most 'mashups' I hear are more like when Diddy sampled the entire phrase from Every Breath You Take and looped it. The Grey Album is a complete recomposition of found material.

Bassilio
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Post by Bassilio » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:48 pm

Gnarls Biggie

look it up. fun stuff.
"Dewey Defeats Truman"

IanBuzz
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Post by IanBuzz » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:56 pm

I think it can go both ways some mash ups are sick some suck... If a person can take
an OK old song and re do it to make it sound current and bad ass then nice, if not then
they look stupid - it can go both ways

take care,

Ian Buzz

dan aktivix
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 12:15 am

What are we comparing?

Post by dan aktivix » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:25 pm

Hey up,

It kind of depends. Every year we have this big party, and last year was my first where I used ableton to make something to go with the theme - which was the 1920s.

Ableton allowed me to manipulate some 1920's stuff to perfection: being able to tweak timings exactly, whilst adding my own beats over the top. Shameless plug, here's some examples:

http://www.ww3.me.uk/songs/hh_limbo.mp3

This one's got Duke Ellington's Limbo Jazz for a main riff – what a track! - my own beats n shaker in, and then some Jurrasic 5, and a little later some Amon Tobin (about three quarters of the way through...)

This one –

http://www.ww3.me.uk/songs/bb_beebah.mp3

I don’t think you’d hear the track in many places, and it was great to get it playing live. There’s even a bit of Adam F / R Kelly in there!

All of the elements – 1920s and original - can be combined and composed and manipulated creatively: indeed, Ableton's the only computer music program that I feel comes close to allowing the kind of creative flow I get with an instrument.

It's not all original material, but it’s in an original context where it wouldn't usually be heard, arranged originally. And it’s at least as creative as yer standard DJ.

So these were about re-interpreting a sound for a dance audience, and it worked really well on the night. Yup, some of it's obvious, but often you find surprising avenues appear: the original sounds morph into something totally alien to the original. Another example:

http://www.ww3.me.uk/songs/kk_meddled.mp3

That started life as a trumpet sound. Note I also shamelessly stole an Operator sound. Needs must when there's only 12 hours to the gig and you haven't slept!

Or this one, too, where Gershwin wound up into a trancy-track. An original piece, looped, and turned into something else. The original sound – also used on the Flake ad! – is wonderful:

http://www.ww3.me.uk/songs/ll_dreamer.mp3

I've found often that riffs from stuff like this can make dance riffs that are far more organic than anything a synth would produce.

Ableton also allows bizarre combinations that are just fun e.g.:

http://www.ww3.me.uk/songs/walkthiswaymash.mp3

That's got samples from Christ knows how many different tracks - how they sound when you take 1/8 slices of each of them, you can't tell without trying!

Ableton's dead postmodern, man: that's why I like it. It breaks down the barriers between what you make and what others make. Everything's up for grabs. Like anything else, this can be done well or badly. You can also take loops and end up at entirely original places, having worked through layers…

Which is not so different from 'original' artist: nothing exists in a vacuum, nor should it. Songwriters (I include myself in that) have a well of material they dip into that informs what they do, whether we’re aware of it or not.

The parties I make stuff for (this year's theme is space!) remind me of a reeeaaally important thing, that Ableton really allows: music can be fun, and people love it if it is. I love it.

So it depends, I think, on what your aim is.

dan aktivix
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Filter sweeps

Post by dan aktivix » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:48 pm

Allo

Just thought I'd add: the reason filter sweeps get used so much is because they allow a really organic control over the nuance of a sound. Having a go at filter sweeps is a bit like having a go a string bends on a guitar. Yup, everyone's doing it - and with good reason!

djadonis206
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Post by djadonis206 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:20 am

Machinate wrote:Aren't mashups over? So 2003...
I went to a Seattle ableton users group and it was about mash-ups

I sat there and was like is this real, are you serious

never again to return

not to mention the guy giving the presentation kept talking about himself in the 3rd person...mash up
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