Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Holm-Hudson, Kevin. "John Oswald's Rubaiyat (Elektrax) and the Politics of Recombinant Do-Re-Mi." Popular Music and Society 20, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 19-36.

Advances in technology in the twentieth century, such as the reproduction and manipulation of sound, have led to controversies regarding intellectual property, copyright law, and even the very definition of the "musical work." Modern sampling techniques allow artists to appropriate pre-existing musical material and then alter its codes of meaning through processes of recontextualization and alteration. This act of generating meaning through the use of existing "musical artifacts" can be highly subversive, as is the case with John Oswald's 1989 CD Plunderphonics and subsequent CD Rubaiyat (Elektrax). For Rubaiyat (Elektrax), commissioned by Electra records for the company's fortieth anniversary, Oswald utilized pre-existing material recorded by Electra artists as raw material that was then altered using various techniques that undermine and change the work's original meaning. Oswald's techniques include recontexualization of familiar material, the restoration of a previously controversial or "banished" text, and encouraging the listener to create similar works at home with available technology.

Works: John Oswald: O Hell (25-28), Vane (28-29), Mother (29-30), Plunderphonics (24-25), Rubaiyat (Elektrax) (25-34).

Sources: John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and Jim Morrison [The Doors]: Hello, I Love You (26-28), When the Music's Over (26-28); Carly Simon: You're So Vain (28-29), You're So Vain as performed by Faster Pussycat (28-29); Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, and Rob Tyner [MC5]: Kick Out the Jams (29-30).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Sarah Florini

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