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Overcoming the fear of...SAMPLING!


Guest hawaii
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Guest hawaii

hah, that's pretty interesting. i never thought about it but yes it must have been very easy for producers to lose track of samples before computers, and you can't scrap a choon just because you forgot where one of the parts came from. even with computers i can see how you might be jamming with a software sampler and resampling everything to a new track and later deleting the sampler. if you didn't have an older version of your project backed up you'd be just as stuffed as anyone else.

 

as for hawaii: pretty sure I already said this ITT but just go for it and worry about it when it becomes a problem. the label and artist will only care if you're making money, and when you're at that point it won't be a big deal to cut the song from your catalogue or investigate clearing it with all the cool $$ you've been making from music. think about all the copyright infringement that happens on a daily basis that they're far more concerned with. it's a drop in the ocean.

 

 

thanks everyone

 

well, I am at a stage where my music have been released and distributed worldwide on vinyl and digital — so, with the last record I sampled off friends tracks and told them. they were cool about it. I am wondering what might happened if I, say, sample people I don't ***personally*** know; should I reach them or the label they are signed to, before releasing my stuff? does it have a "price" to clear samples? if so, dependent on what?

I really don't know. at the same time, if I sample something and make it totally impossible to understand, I wouldn't worry too much. I am talking more about taking synth lines or drum loops which are extremely recognizable

 

looking fwd to yr replies :)))

Edited by hawaii
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there is a good post from RJD2 on his Q&A there, here is a link to the answer- 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=6125176&postcount=32

and the entire QA here -

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/rap-hip-hop-engineering-and-production/561218-q-amp-rjd2-2.html

 

i think i generally agree with his advice here. 

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there is a good post from RJD2 on his Q&A there, here is a link to the answer- 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=6125176&postcount=32

and the entire QA here -

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/rap-hip-hop-engineering-and-production/561218-q-amp-rjd2-2.html

 

i think i generally agree with his advice here. 

 

 

 

 

and the simple economics of it are this: if you are releasing an indie project, bottom line, its easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. and this has to mostly do with the fact that 90% of copyright holders want an advance on sales to sample something. but it just doesnt make sense in this economy.
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Pretty solid advice, to be honest.

 

Usually, I just sample public domain and obscure stuff, or samples from countries where they would really have to go out of their way to find and bill me.

 

I made an album a few years ago that was mainly samples. I even uploaded it to youtube, and no one has said a thing. I even sampled a different youtube video.

 

 

 

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Yeah, totally good advice from RJD2... I think if you're not on a major label, don't worry. If your shit is released indie and it gets super popular, the people who pick it up for wider distro can deal with that shit if they feel like it.

 

In 2011 or w/e that Clams Casino mixtape got huge, but I don't think they ever cleared anything, and there were some big name samples on there (Jetho Tull among others.) The Teklife folks have sampled quite a bit of Billboard top 10 hip-hop shit while it was still hot, and they're fairly in the public eye. OPN released Eccojams for sale, and he's on Warp... that shit is all tracks that would probably cost a fortune to license. I am sure there are tons of other examples...

 

I used to worry about this stuff, and felt weird about sampling, but I have loosened up a lot. I think seeing the brashness of vaporwave people literally re-selling barely altered tracks has helped. I feel like if you can re-contextualize something, and make it useful or interesting, or just expand on an interesting snippet of a track through repetition, then youre doing something worthwhile.

 

I often think of this for some reason:

 

The repeated use of a short sample, taking a catchy part of a song and repeating it over and over, has this addictive quality. Like you're just hitting the dopamine button over and over by repeating the pleasurable sample. I dont think it would work as well if the work was 100% original; it feels unique to sampling, and knowing something is a section of a greater work. There's also a rush of discovery for the listener to discover the sample's origin if they werent already familiar with it.

 

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Guest hawaii

wow, topic is getting interesting!

 

well, If clammy clams and OPN never cleared anything, that's a relief to know; are you sure about it? or guessing?

 

@MESH GEAR FOX — here's the album, the first track and the last one are made with samples which I "cleared" letting my friends / colleagues know I used them: https://differentcircles.bandcamp.com/album/always-yours

I have other tracks which didn't make it to the album cause the samples were pretty obvious and left them in the hard drive :)))

Edited by hawaii
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FWIW, I used to have a publishing deal with a then huge somehow indie label, and the very first question they asked before signing was « do yo have any sample to clear? ». So I’d say that whenever someone else is wanting to invest in your music, that question might surface.

Edited by Nil
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as for hawaii: pretty sure I already said this ITT but just go for it and worry about it when it becomes a problem. the label and artist will only care if you're making money, and when you're at that point it won't be a big deal to cut the song from your catalogue or investigate clearing it with all the cool $$ you've been making from music. think about all the copyright infringement that happens on a daily basis that they're far more concerned with. it's a drop in the ocean.

 

 

Also they'll only care if the artist you sampled is big enough that it might cost them money to leave it uncleared, because modern copyright law isn't about actually protecting the artist, it's about consolidating money and control for the artsists and labels who already have money and control.

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OTOH there actually HAVE been lawsuit threats against vaporwave labels, which is part of the reason there was a noticable shift away from classic, sample-heavy forms of vaporwave over the last few years, at least as far as stuff that might draw outside attention.

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wow, topic is getting interesting!

 

well, If clammy clams and OPN never cleared anything, that's a relief to know; are you sure about it? or guessing?

 

Well, OPN and Clams didn't clear when they put out those examples - I'm uncertain if there was ever sample clearance after the initial release. But I guess that's kind of my point.

 

Also I think I would feel more liberal with my samples if I was releasing a project for free, than if it was going to go to actual distro. So take any advice from me with a grain of salt, as I am unsigned and release freely. I will be making video game music for friends soon, and in that scenario I will probably be more conservative. I think context is probably important. I think for indie labels, some might ask questions and try to follow the clearance process, but there are definitely also labels that have no problems pressing a few hundred records with no questions asked. Some labels seem to play it fast and loose, while others are very business oriented. There's a lot of breakcore records with (likely) uncleared samples, such as whole acapellas laid over the tracks, so I think it helps if the labels are more underground/dj driven than consumer driven...

Much of this is conjecture/observation and I am not an expert

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Guest hawaii

so I am assuming (unless you release stuff for free) would be the label work to clear samples, not the musician/producer?

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so I am assuming (unless you release stuff for free) would be the label work to clear samples, not the musician/producer?

that's always been my understanding. Just be aware that some sample clearance might potentially block the release of a song for official release. Stuff can always be leaked or released as a freebie though...
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I don't mind sampling at all but tend to make a lot of tunes without samples. What I do like doing is sampling a chord I've played though so I can play it back 1 finger stylee lol.

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venetian snares is in an interesting place, I mean for the listener, because there is the obvious history of sampling but now he also has the behemoth modular, and if you hear a ravey sound he has enough modular power making the ravey sound would be quite easy. But we can never know perhaps

 

trying to make sounds that sound like breaks but artificially with synths can be the craziest thought experiment. Traditional Synthesizer Music had so many odd crunchy percussion sounds but like Decembers and You and Shayna had some eerie phantom feeling of a break

Edited by Ragnar
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snares had this sound/bass sound at the end of Horsey Noisers that is the closest thing to a trademark sound of his, appears on Doll Doll Doll or something, and it has the air of some hardcore tekno sample from way back, I said it sounds like baphomet queefing but I think it's a completely original sound

 

https://youtu.be/lBT-9BdhBq0?t=235

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I want to do just seemingly random vocalizations on teh sony voice recorder and like then get crazy with dsp maybe but totally stealth and still is convincing as a real world sound. But then I feel I might record a more unreal sound just because I thought of a more clever weird sound to make, more at the root of 'sounds humans don't actually make'

 

one technique I figured out, take a text to speech program and feed it nonsense, but nonsense that phoentically makes some sense and the text to speech is gonna try to still interpret it. And then you can like switch languages, and then it's stuff that phoentically makes some sense in japanese etc.

Edited by Ragnar
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This is another dilemma that I've been struggling with as well. The act of sampling.

 

I've always felt like samples were the audio equivalent to photographs where you get this flat, two dimensional prefab and synthesis is more like painting where you are having to select paints, colours, strokes, patterns and location. The act of adding someone elses melody and drum loops to your tracks are akin to those painters who use photograph as a base and then paint over top of a transparency and call themselves a painter. There is no skill in it but you can fool a lot of people into thinking that you do have it, and it feels disingenuous at best. I mean you can cut up a photograph and make a collage out of it, but collages are not paintings and are not valued as such.

 

 

 

I've been taking idea's from Andy Farnell's Designing Sound and translating them into Max 7 code, as he advocates creating procedural generated sounds based on the physical, mathematical and psychoacoustic laws are superior to the act of sampling. To create a "virtual 3d" model whose foundation has the sum of all the parts which can be manipulated in real time with realistic variance and spatial properties, while having a sound that is equal to or better than the sample in question. This is obsessive-compulsive disorder levels of detail, like how a ticking clock is not just a "tick tock tick tock" but a series of metal springs, gears and wheels within a metal casing that have a 3d position and are timed in succession to sound like one tick and each litte part has a relative spatial position in the mix. You take all of this into consideration physically, then do the calculations and then finally adjust the physical properties for human hearing. However the amount of work, coding and research you have to do for just *one* sound source is not practically justifiable, either... I can spend a few hours just coding a cricket sounding percussion sound. It's very difficult to find a balance between detailing and abstraction.

Edited by Entorwellian
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But like, I love collages. They are valued as art. There are collages in MoMA. You can also layer original art or painting/drawing with collage for good effect. Similarly, synthesis and sampling are not mutually exclusive. I distain lazy sampling as much as the next snob, but I think your arguement is flawed. There's a difference between simple and lazy as well. This coming from someone who loves ready-mades/Duchamp (which are artistically/financially valued more than many paintings.)

I think having an original idea counts for more than the effort/process put into the work.

For example, I remember netlabel drama where a dubstep artist was butthurt that they wasn't getting as good of reception as a sample-based artist. their arguement was that they synthesized all their drums and sounds from scratch, so it should be more valued... but it was still just generic dubstep. The other artist was experimenting and doing new things.

Edited by ganus
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