[The Audiofiles] Art is What You Can Get Away With

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.”

—Jim Jarmusch

It’s said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery – but when it comes to imitating art, do those imitations hold the same intrinsic value?  The video series below is called Everything is a Remix and it’s genius comes from the brain of Kirby Firguson.   I’ve restarted, deleted, rearranged and re-conceptualized this post a thousand times in search of the perfect pairing of words, but it’s hard to come to a head on what in the 21st century is truly considered art and what we should brush off as an amateurish imitation; or, conversely – is it possible to be both?

The fact of the matter is that we are not the sum of original thoughts or novel ideas; we’re the product of rearrangement – down to the genes we inherit from our parents.  Originality can still be reached – but we have to realize that in order to evolve, we first have to master ourselves   The problem with creativity in the 21st century is that more than ever, money becomes a factor in either gaining technology or notoriety; doubly so in the music industry

It’s not exactly news that hip-hop and pop artists have been stealing the beats from producers in the electronic community – but in today’s day and age, communities of both music camps are more connected, and vocal, than ever. Yesterday, it came to light that will.i.am has fraudulently taken the instrumentals off of several top notch EDM tracks and reused them for his own benefit – but whether it’s to accredit him as a remotely talented artist, or to bring in music sales is beyond me (though I’m sure it’s more of the later.)

The tracks in question are ‘Let’s Go‘ featuring Chris Brown, which sounds an awful lot like a drunk college DJs remix of Mat Zo and Arty’s ‘Rebound‘, and ‘Bang Bang‘ – where the drop is literally jacked  from Sandro Silva & Quintino’s ‘Epic.’ The irony of which is both songs came out around the Summer of 2011 – does he just assume that our short term memories are shot to hell?

The fact of the matter is this isn’t the first time it’s happened, nor will it be the last time.  Back in 2011, ironically around the time when both jams in question were released – Avicii and Leona Lewis had a similar feud concerning the track ‘Collide.’ If you want to reach back even further, Hip Hop artists and Rappers have been entertaining this methodology for years with their mixtapes – you know that you’re made it if your beat’s continually being sampled.  A friend of mine put it best this morning: Did the world hate Biggie for producing Juicy?

At the end of the day, this is my main issue:  that the true artistic talent in the world will never be recognized because people in better paid positions will always be there to reap the rewards.  On the flip side, there’s some notoriety in getting your music jacked for Top 40 listening pleasure:  any press is essentially good press, and with the monetary settlement that I’m sure will shortly follow – these artists should be getting a pretty penny for frustrations but some notoriety within the pop music community as well.


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