Category: Remix Culture

  • Pastoral Scene of the Gallant South

    Content warning: graphic images of racial violence. “Strange Fruit” was written by a longtime English teacher at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Abel Meeropol in 1937 (shown above with his sons Robert and Michael, the biological children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, whom Abel and his wife adopted after the Rosenbergs’ execution). The […]

  • Ridden by the Spirit(s)

    Down South I always went to church . . . those services were rich with music and emotion. I would sit caught up in the music and watch those people who had “got happy” or “got the spirit” jumping around all over the place . . . In the Black [church] . . . the […]

  • The Voices That Have Gone: Blues Ghosts

    The only known photograph of Delta bluesman Charley Patton. Hari Kunzru based his portrait of mid-twentieth-century collectors of early blues recordings on a loosely-knit real-life group of blues enthusiasts — made up almost entirely white men — who called themselves the “Blues Mafia.” The character of Chester Bly in particular was inspired by the legendary […]

  • Selling Cars and Feeling Good

    Pianist, singer, and activist Nina Simone’s 1965 recording of the song “Feeling Good” was used in a fascinating 2018 ad for a Buick model made in Shanghai. The song begins with Simone’s unaccompanied voice, and gradually adds instrumental parts verse by verse, becoming a big-band anthem with a full horn section. The Buick ad uses […]

  • Hauntological Remixing

    DJ Shadow’s 1996 Endtroducing was the first album produced entirely from samples, and, as such, is considered not only a landmark of instrumental hip-hop, but also one of the greatest albums of all time. What do you think makes it great? How does an album made up entirely of samples advance musical creativity and innovation? […]

  • Authenticity, part III: White Tears

    As you know by now, White Tears is the story (among other things!) of Seth, a young, white, college-educated sound engineer, who accidentally records a line from an old blues song while picking up ambient sounds in Washington Square Park. His business partner Carter, the scion of a wealthy family whose riches come from running […]

  • Authenticity, part II: Living Music Inspired by Ghosts

    When you hear a musical recording that’s scratchy and distant, you might naturally assume it’s old: a relic from the early days of sound recording. But what would modern music sound like were it subject to the same limitations that musicians faced in those days? That’s the question posed by The 78 Project, which gives musicians the […]