From Musique Concrète to Plunderphonics: Recorded Sound as Source Material
This episode of the podcast highlights our ongoing creative fascination with the ability to capture and manipulate sound. As always with human creative work, curiosity and experimentation started as soon as the tools became available: in April 1948, the first commercially available audio tape recorder, the Ampex Model 200, hit the market. Before the end of that year, composers were using it to create recordings that they would cut, splice and edit together in all sorts of interesting and weird ways, to create new pieces of 'sculpted music,' recordings called musique concrète.
As the available tools grew in number and sophistication, this general practice--of altering, editing, adding to music after it has been recorded--grew and multiplied, too. In our journey here, we quickly move from the conceptual to the popular, so you'll listen to the practice jump from experimental composition to the recording studio and audio production, its evolution into remixing and the internet, and arrive at a still-evolving practice aptly described as plunderphonics.
The playlist is really pretty wild for this one (even for us), so to really expand your musical frames-of-reference, be sure to follow up through the links below (or wherever you get your music that you listen to) and explore this peculiar and extraordinary soundscape further.
Playlist for this episode:
- Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux chemins de fer (1948)
- Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry - Symphonie Pour un Homme Seul (1949-50)
- György Ligeti - Artikulation (1958)
- The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
- The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations (Stereo Backing Track, 1966)
- Pink Floyd - Money (1973)
- Björk - Cvalda (2000)
- Brian Eno & David Byrne - Mea Culpa (1981)
- The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMS) - Whitney Joins the JAMs (1987)
- John Oswald - Dab (1989)
- The Evolution Control Committee - Whipped Cream Mixes: Rebel Without A Pause (1994)
- Danger Mouse - 99 Problems (2004)
- Girl Talk - Triple Double (2010)
- Neil Cicierega - Bustin (2015)
- YITT - I Really Like A Hole (2015)
- DJ Earworm - United States of Pop 2015 (50 Shades of Pop) (2015)
- SirFluffy Productions - JayZ vs. The Verve: Brush Your Bittersweet Shoulders Off (2016)