Bring on the EDM

A remix/mash-up can put across political, social, and ideological messages through video, but how have these two tools helped to evolve music? Statlor Waldorf’s Imagine perfectly exemplifies this process.  While the video is political, the practical implications of using completely unrelated sound bits to create a song has inspired a whole new genre. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) uses this old idea of reusing music in a new genre, but adds a newer ability to completely use, remix, and mash-up preexisting recordings easily. This process has only been made more publicly available in the past few decades. With new technology, artists have the ability create multi-million dollar music without touching physical instruments. This genre of music almost exclusively uses mash-ups and remixes to create what often sounds like completely new music. From more pop-focused sub-genres like trance and house to more niche focused styles like dubstep and trap, EDM has gained popularity all over the world with a large and varied audience. This music has evolved from small groups of people remixing in Europe, to the average person being able to pick up a remix program at Walmart. Electric Dance Music perfectly exemplifies both mash-ups and remixes in the music industry.

Take for example “trap” music, which was originally a form of “aggressive” hip-hop which, in 2012, bled into EDM to create a new form of trap. This new sub-genre helped to bring more fans to both trap and other forms of EDM from both sides of the trade. Songs like Scumbag

by Bro Safari which uses samples from Biggie Smalls’ “Suicidal Thoughts” to create an almost completely new piece using only two lines from Biggies’ song(and one gunshot). The original track was a supposed to be a sad and depressing one but has been transformed into music that is supposed to be danced to. This type of music thrives on the ability of the modern musician to take pieces of other songs from the internet and throw them together perfectly to create a new song.

With that said, EDM DJs have been criticized for their recycling of other peoples songs, and even ridiculed. This ridicule stems partially from a belief that not playing an instrument for a song means that the person is not a musician, they are merely someone stealing music from other artist. Some artist, like Daft Punk, seem to be sheltered from this criticism,while other EDM stars seem to always be under scrutiny. (Scrillex in particular)

The use and reuse of others work is not a new idea, it is simply more obvious within this genre due to using a person’s actual voice or music, instead of just the sheet music. As Ferguson points points out in his series Everything’s a Remix, the world runs on building on the ideas of those that have come before you. Granted, music is not exactly as helpful to mankind as building on the jet engine design or slice bread (which was hilariously made illegal for several years), but this style of music inspires a generation of people to go out and be active, even if it’s just to dance.

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16 thoughts on “Bring on the EDM

  1. I thought this was an interesting spin to take on “Everything is a Remix.” This was definitely an idea most of us can relate to and/or understand. While I have my own personal views on music such as EDM I could understand both parties sides. While EDM music is technically bits and pieces of other music, all of the pieces are rearranged in such a way that it’s basically a new concept. These montages/mashups of music are unique in it’s own way. & without the “musician’s” input would not have the same outcome. In the same token, I think EDM’s take on mash-ups is a bit more extreme then most intertextual literatue. Like you stated, it is a lot more obvious when you’re hearing different well-known voices and pieces of music compared to just the musical notes.

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  2. Everything literally is a remix in your blog post. It’s an interesting take to explain the style of music used in the video with Bush in comparison to trap. It also brings up the point that trap music could focus on its own meaning and take lyrics, like Biggie’s, out of context for the purpose of the song. In this way it could add a catchy hook and exploit an entirely different meaning and tone, if the song is made up of keys in a major scale.
    It brings up part four in the manifesto though concerning Daft Punk vs Skrillex: “To build free societies you must limit the control of the past”. In this way, Daft Punk was the innovator of trap (and EDM), but it is time to accept a new wave of artists as well as a variation of styles.
    Overall, good comparison of videos and relating your topic to the reading.

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  3. I find these mash-up videos very interesting but at the same time depicting and sometimes misleading. I think it is cool that people are able to take a video and translate it through audio into something completely different then it originated from. For example, the political video featuring George Bush ‘Imagine.’ This video portrayed something completely different than I had predicted it to. Even though the overall message behind a lot of these mash up videos are usually controversial, the ability to do it in the first place is not easy. I respect the high amount of effort being put forth on putting these remix/mash-up videos together. At the same time, I also feel that taking individual statements and shifting them around to say something completely different is often times unfair. In the end, it seems as if these type of mash up videos receive a high amount of traffic and feedback. Therefore, there is no questioning that they are affective. As discussed in class, everything is indeed a remix and this post does a good job in confirming that.

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    • I completely agree with Gianna. I am not a fan of the mashup videos that make politicians say things that aren’t true or making up stories to make them seem like a bad person. It’s not right. Sadly, these commercials blow up our everyday shows constantly until the race is done. Just like the Bush video, it makes it sound like he saying one thing, even though he is saying something different. I never realized that those commercials were mashups too until I we started watching them in class. I do enjoy other mashup videos. It is creative how people can combine videos and music to make a completely different video.

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  4. I agree when you said, “the use and reuse of other’s work is not a new idea.” Though this may be true, I still enjoy watching remixes like the ones you have attached to your blog post. Most of the time when I hear a remix of a song that contains excerpts from another song that I like, I find the remix to be ten times as enjoyable as the original song (in MOST cases). Mashup videos and songs seem to be made for entertainment, and as long as credit is being given to those worthy, I see nothing wrong with them.

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  5. I don’t think that EDM artists should be scrutinized for their work. Everybody has their talents and for most of us playing and instrument or signing isn’t one of them, but remixing may be the next great thing if you can’t. It would be one thing if one of these artists played a full song written or orchestrated by someone else and called it their own, but that is not what they are doing at all. They are taking bits of information put out into the world and making it their own to make others happy in a way they couldn’t do on their own singing or musical instrument talents.

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  6. Remixes are a great way to express yourself. Everyone expresses themselves one way or the other. Many people do artistic things or blog, they chose to make a political statement using a remix. It’s not like they stole someone else’s music or stole someone else’s idea. Unless I have been told wrong but I believe we have a freedom of speech and this is classified as speech. People need to understand that not all people are going to have the same views as them. It would be ridiculous to argue over something so small in the grand scheme of things.

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  7. Very interesting blog post about the connection between EDM music and video mashups. I never really thought about it but EDM music is like a video mashup it is a bunch of sounds, instruments, and songs being mashed together to create one song… and that song can be a huge success. I also agree with Gianna in that it can be unfair for people to twist your words and ideas around like the creator of the George Bush mashup did. I actually tweeted about that for this class. I said, “It’s kind of scary though, that people can take something and turn it into something completely different #wrtf14”. I don’t know if I would want someone to mashup different things about me, who knows what that would be like!

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  8. This was very interesting and exciting to read for me because I am a huge fan of electronic dance music and its culture. Although DJ’s remix songs that are not technically theirs, they normally ask for permission to do so. I understand it’s not original, but they put their own twist on it, and in the end, the final product is their own. Remixes are a way for DJ’s to release their creative expression. In my opinion, it’s unfair that DJ’s get ridiculed. They became famous solely because of their remixes to original songs. Ultimately, it’s their job to create remixes.

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  9. Mediums like music are so tightly upheld by their audience. Its like hip hop enthusiast will claim a coast and stick tightly to their musicians and hip hop purists just condemn anything new. The evolution of music is necessary and it will end up being on the shoulders of older things. If its growing the culture and growing the genres I wish people could appreciate it more. I have my own biases but overall I can appreciate all of it as some form of art.

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  10. Interesting to tie EDM music with video mashups. It’s interesting how now a days people can take just about anything, including a political video, and change it up. I don’t see a big issue with it, I think it’s awesome how creative our generation is honestly. I may not really enjoy EDM music unless at parties and what not, but I still respect how people like it and can use it. I think it is a form of art by taking two or three things and mashing up everything to create.

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  11. Can I just say – I agree with just about everything stated in the above comments. I thought this was an interesting way to speak about EDM and their music style through what we have learned in class. EDM is in a class of its own for sure and the DJ’s responsible for that type of music are talented to say the least. EDM is all about remixing – I don’t think anything in EDM isn’t a remix. It is creative to watch or listen to DJ’s spin a combination of songs we know to create a whole new abstract beat and sound. It creates a new way of looking at music. Remixing in the must industry has been around for a while now but it is starting to have its whole new level and genre, surrounding the EDM culture. Going off of a comment above, I also agree with the political mash up videos, I hate watching those because I do not enjoy politics but I also think it is awful that they are created to make people of authority come off as awful people. Election Day for example, those commercials are all remixes of one another waiting to be made to make someone else look bad. Creative, yes, politically correct, no.

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  12. I personally liked your blog post because I love the topic of mashups, and I think you incorporated good videos. Although sometimes I think that the original creator of the video doesn’t get enough credit, I still am a fan of remixes. Most of the time, I enjoy music mashups that I hear on the radio or on my computer, and I think it is cool how creative people can be when creating them.

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  13. I’ve personally never been a fan of EDM, but I completely understand how this style of music relates to the idea of mashup videos. In today’s society, we are constantly reinventing things, coming up with new ideas; that’s exactly what a mashup video does. The connection between EDM and mashup videos is a very intelligent idea, because it’s both relevant and insightful. Bringing Ferguson’s “Everything Is A Remix” into this discussion just elevates your point here, because we are building onto previously existing ideas. EDM takes little pieces here and there of different material and mashes it up into a new piece. It’s the perfect way to illustrate the point of a mashup video.

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  14. This was a really interesting concept. Especially because I don’t usually listen to remixed music so I never really took the time to realize that they are so similar in concept to a remix mashup, video style. But I liked the concept. However, I have to say that I don’t particularly enjoy watching remix videos that turn prominent people into fools. I don’t agree with every decision that is made, but I find that too many people seem to forget that the people they are mocking are trying to run a country and that is never an easy feat. On that note, I have to agree with someone else who posted how unfair it was to criticize someone for their talents, whether they be to creat their own music with a guitar or create it with a computer. Just because certain parts of songs are used, it becomes a completely new song with their work.

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  15. I would love to start this by saying how I am a fan of everything is a remix, literally anything is remixed is something I enjoy viewing and listening to.Though it is not always as good as the original, it is something that gives life to something else.
    Futhermore, this blog post was also interesting to hear a new spin on trap music as well. I do not think it is okay for people to be frowned upon for making remixes or using samples or other peoples work because that little bit of sample they use can be used to make something completely different
    This brings me to why I LOVE Kanye West, Kanye West is like the king of sampling others music. While some hate him for it, I love it! If you look back at West’s six albums you’ll see how important this technique is to his product.

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