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Overcoming the fear of...SAMPLING!


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Being serious, I really don't know where to draw the line with sampling. I am aware that when coding I am using code libraries that were coded in by other people, and I use them freely, but it doesn't feel really the same when it comes to music and musical ideas. I don't mind even sampling as a sonic texture or a waveform. Personally though, when it's when it becomes the smallest unit of music or a rhythm from someone else that I stop. Kinda like that point in development when a fetus that has developed far in vitro enough that it can't be aborted.

Edited by Entorwellian
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I totally understand the view of entorwellian and I think it's a good feeling to have because it pushes you to be better and not get lazy. I had a period where I was super strict on not using samples (ready for use samples that are unaltered that is, not sampling in general) and it pushed me to experiment a lot more with from scratch stuff.

 

All that said, nowadays I don't really care. I've made enough from scratch sounds and enough different combinations of techniques that if I use a sample in a track and I feel the track needs to be that way I will let it stay. I always strive to make from scratch but it totally depends on how I arrive at a certain track and so on, and nowadays I like to have a lot of fun and just do whatever. I feel if the main idea of the track isn't communicated in any individual sample, or the combination of the samples by default (as in, the rhythm, the melody, the mood), then it becomes a new original thing that is mine. 

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Being serious, I really don't know where to draw the line with sampling. I am aware that when coding I am using code libraries that were coded in by other people, and I use them freely, but it doesn't feel really the same when it comes to music and musical ideas. I don't mind even sampling as a sonic texture or a waveform. Personally though, when it's when it becomes the smallest unit of music or a rhythm from someone else that I stop. Kinda like that point in development when a fetus that has developed far in vitro enough that it can't be aborted.

 

I have gone through the same sort of thinking, and while it does come back every now and then, I also remind me of this genius quote:

 

 

 

I thought using loops was cheating, so I programmed my own using samples. I then thought using samples was cheating, so I recorded real drums. I then thought that programming it was cheating, so I learned to play drums for real. I then thought using bought drums was cheating, so I learned to make my own. I then thought using premade skins was cheating, so I killed a goat and skinned it. I then thought that that was cheating too, so I grew my own goat from a baby goat. I also think that is cheating, but I’m not sure where to go from here. I haven’t made any music lately, what with the goat farming and all.

 

Basically I think I now have more or less settled to a conclusion: making new and interesting music is the most important thing for me, so it does not matter if I sample or program or whatever. Whether or not a sample is too much "stealing" or "too much" somehow, that will be determined during the course of the work, not by some grand general rule - I mean it's not a horrible crime to sample some 808 bass drum in a techno track. All I know is that I will strive to make music that I felt needed to be made (in terms of originality and emotion). Even if I invent civilization, hand craft all my tools and program all my synths in a cave, it won't help if the result is bland and unoriginal.

 

Of course my caveat is that normally my sampling is just recording loops of my own synths or sometimes snatching "lyrics" from online text to speech engines. I still think that if you go ahead and heavily sample an Aphex Twin track and make it into something better, in my book this is morally a-ok.

 

I think my epiphany came from seeing that video where a guy makes Prodigy's Voodoo People from scratch in Live. Before that I never questioned the fact that the song was 100% made by Prodigy, samples and whatnot. However maybe if I had heard all those source recordings before, I would have noticed that it's "just" a sample? In the end it does not matter to me, I think the song became even better after I found out what's actually in there.

 

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I think my epiphany came from seeing that video where a guy makes Prodigy's Voodoo People from scratch in Live. Before that I never questioned the fact that the song was 100% made by Prodigy, samples and whatnot. However maybe if I had heard all those source recordings before, I would have noticed that it's "just" a sample? In the end it does not matter to me, I think the song became even better after I found out what's actually in there.

 

Yeah I've been watching these videos and coming to a similar conclusion.. in fact, they inspired me to start working on my own music that takes bits and pieces from other tracks (though, much smaller and mostly unidentifiable) to make my own music. I played a whole set of minimal tech/footwork stuff earlier in the year, almost entirely made with samples from 80s pop songs..

 

https://weeklybeats.com/0f/music/mvrs-excerpt

 

That's really only scratching the surface though; I've found that grabbing some micro samples of melodies from other songs and then transposing them like normal synth sequences can get some results that I wouldn't even think of coming up with myself.. and then most of the time nobody can tell what the original sample was.

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This actually reminds me, I made one album almost completely sample-based from AKFW single cycle waveforms, text to speech and some shakuhachi sample pack I found online.

 

It's even two albums it seems!

https://trenthawkins.bandcamp.com/album/3

https://trenthawkins.bandcamp.com/album/t2helaev

 

There's pretty much nothing that screams "hey look at me I am samples" so consider this just a shameless self plug.

 

My MicroX is also full of recorded sample waveforms for all I know.

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Adore sampling. I kind of feel as thought it's often a starting point for many of my tracks in some way.

 

Warping and pitching etc in Live creates amazing results pretty consistently in my experience.

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I have gone through the same sort of thinking, and while it does come back every now and then, I also remind me of this genius quote:

 

(Etc.)

 

I love this whole post, thawkins. I think you hit the nail on the head.
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My only fear is sampling a clip and immediately getting CAD'd by a record label.

If it's under a second or less, you probably could sneak one in.

 

There's so much music out there with uncleared samples on it. If you look at early albums by the likes of The Orb and FSOL, some of the more obvious samples are mentioned on the sleeve, or the original writers are given songwriting credits, but those records are about 80% samples and most of them go uncredited, despite being released on major labels. Electronic music since the '80s has been full of uncleared samples, and will continue to be.

but collages are not paintings and are not valued as such.

 

This reeks of 'high art' vs. 'low art'. As long as it sounds / looks good and has been created with honesty and creativity, nothing else matters.

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lol the Teledildonix release from earlier this year has tons of uncleared samples, even full sections and in one case an entire song just sped up with breakbeats over the top.. and still hasn't been flagged on bandcamp or youtube.. but Routenote flagged it, preventing it from being put on spotify

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but Routenote flagged it, preventing it from being put on spotify

 

RouteNote are a fucking nightmare. They blocked one of my albums because it utilises digital distortion on two tracks (apparently it could cause damage to listeners' ears), and repeatedly required confirmation of where I'd downloaded speech samples from every time I tried to add something with my own spoken word sections on it.

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