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.