Remix into Music

Recently Stephen Colbert interviewed remix advocate Lawrence Lessig. In a fit of pique, he announced that “copyright was forever” and commented that he would be “litigious” if the interview was remixed with “some great dance beat.”

But since we are the YouTube Generation, of course multiple people remixed the interview with some great dance beat. What’s interesting here though is that most of the remixes involve looping short snippets of dialogue over and over.

As hip-hop artists know, if you loop a short phrase enough, you are one your way to a quasi-lyric. This was also noted on a NPR podcast which I’ve lost track of, but I think the remix here really shows how little looping is required to generate a rhythmic feeling.

There’s been recent speculation on how music and language relate to each other, and clips like these do make a case that music is some sort of auditory cheesecake (to quote Steven Pinker). In other words, music is borrowing phonological aspects of language (pitch, rhythm), then “kicking them up a notch”.

I don’t think it’s the full story of music, but then again visual arts are also a little mysterious to the neo-Darwinist. Still I’m glad I have both my screensaver and my iTunes to brighten my day.

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