accents accident accurate addiction airports allusion alphabetizing anti-depressants art autechre Avis BEATS Benjamin binaries biological birds blood bodies boundaries bowflex bowie brainfeeder Brazil breaking addiction bricolage bye Canadians cats celebrity look-alike christianity. metaphysics cigarettes classical music clement greenberg cliche coincidence coldplay collage collective color creeps curating cycles dada daft punk daughters death depression Derrida descartes detroit dictionary discuss feelings disguise drama dreams eating el mundo elephants envelopes erotic ethics everything. explanation fashion fathers fear filters flesh flowers flying lotus food Francis Bacon freak friends fuck games Gertrude Stein ghosts girl cops girl talk goat God graduate school grammar guilt haiku Hegel history homage horror humor hymn hypocrisy ice icons indie rock indie rock is dead internet irony it jay-z jealousy John Manning kitsch kraftwerk language lcd soundsystem letters like lists literally writing love mac man ray Manchester meaning memory men metal milk monks moral schizophrenia names nashville nietzsche noise non-poems nonsense numbers objects of montreal painting Panamanians panties paradox patience personality disorder philosophy piano pills platonic forms poetry lessons prefix professional psychological trauma symptomatic of a broken space-time continuum punk puppy puzzles quotation recognition regret reincarnation remix repetition review riffz RJD2 Russians sacrifice sad sampling sex sisters sketch skull smoking solitude sounds space spelling splitting steel guitar stoicism stoned suicide syllables tag technology THE 80s the creative process the distressed The Field theology thesis time trembling twin ugly update voice voyeurism wolves women worms year of the rabbit

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Total Anatomy of Sampling: Case Study RJD2 "Ghostwriter"


I am obsessed with instrumental hip-hop music for two reasons:

  1. Listening to instrumental hip-hop throughout the day makes it easier to buttress the grand illusion that my life is a movie scored by incredible beat-makers.
  2. More importantly, instrumental hip-hop allows anyone, not just me, to unconsciously survey the history of pop music as a result of IHH's fucking awesome use of samples.
To demonstrate, I have selected a song that everyone likes, RJD2's "Ghostwriter."

First, listen to the original:

Incredible, right? But where did it come from? See if Paul Desmond's "A Taste of Honey" (1964) sounds familiar:

How about those angelic voices? Would you believe they're from Elliot Smith's "I Didn't Understand?" (1998)

And the generally awe-inspiring horn section, which someday I hope to listen to while robbing a bank or something, is taken from Betty's Wright's "Secretary" (1970-something)

And there you have it. I'd recommend Derrida's essay "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" if you are interested in understanding the sort of meaning and method of such musical bricolage.

2 footnotes:

katakresis said...

kelley, I have often wondered about the samples of that RJD2 track, and while my internet here is too slow to listen to the stuff you tracked down, that's pretty damned impressive if you did all that by yourself. when I make hip hop instrumentals, I just cheat and make my own samples. keep doing what you do best - I dig the blog.

kelley said...

thanks dude. The only sample I knew instantaneously was the Elliott Smith - the other two were the result of sleuthing the internet. But still, no one else put them all together before, aye aye?

keep makin those beats -