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A Slave to the Rhythm – Part 9

Part 9: The Question of Sampling

 

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The ninth in an occasional series from Rick about his life as a musician – where it all started and what it has come to now

In previous pages I was remembering how I used to take a cassette recorder around with me to record anything of interest. This could include machinery sounds from a factory or building site, snatches of conversation or sounds of the natural world. Cassettes would accrue and my audio library expanded accordingly. Before the invention and manufacture of the Sampler in the 1980s, a few people I knew were already using ‘found’ sounds in their own music. This could include snatches of other people’s music. Once the Sampler was on the market and out there, this trend became commercially rampant in the ensuing years and the inevitable cries of ‘rip off’ could be heard widespread. There were a few high profile court cases involving the richer, or more visible, musicians and record companies. Settlements were arrived at through the legal process. Lower down, more tacit agreements were achieved. Lower down still, you just took your chances.

Some artists are outraged by such ‘referencing’ but some are flattered. Some had their careers re-ignited by someone else’s use of their music. It remains a lively debate. Personally, I try to always avoid the obvious. Though I have never owned a Sampler, I have used extracts of other people’s music over the years. I never use it verbatim or wholesale. I always put it through some creative process of transformation to sculpt it to suit my purposes. It often becomes unrecognisable from its source. It is this process of transformation which, for me, justifies such action.

If I were ever to be sampled by someone else, I hope that I would welcome it as an affirmation of a good idea. I can never imagine that there would ever be any question of financial remuneration.

When Mountains Meet

When Mountains Meet/Jub Milain Pahaar is a music theatre and visual art project that connects Scotland and Pakistan both culturally and geologically. It is inspired by the first hand true story of musician Anne Wood, whose mother is Scottish and her father Pakistani.  

Anne, an old friend of Helen and Rick’s, has drawn together a multi cultural team of performers and artists.  Throughout the pandemic they met over Zoom and, when they could, in person to share music, stories, food, visual arts and responses to landscape.

Rick is part of the musical side of the team which is weaving these threads into a story.  They held some development events last year and hope to create a touring production within the next two years. The planned production will include live acting / storytelling and digital imagery as well as live music.

Scourie landscape, Highlands – with thanks to https://www.scourie.co.uk/

Rick’s early contributions involved an intensive creative week with the whole team in the Highlands of Scotland. Click here to see him playing customised fishing buoys with fellow musician John McGeoch. 

Although ‘When Mountains Meet’ is not yet ready for performance, Rick is working on three or four pieces for an EP that will show some of the different musical directions at work in the piece.

For more information about the whole project, blogs about the stages so far, images and more extracts of music, follow the link to the project website:  www.whenmountainsmeet.com  

​​جب ملیں پہاڑ

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