Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Hoshowsky, Robert. "Plunderphonics Pioneer." Performing Art and Entertainment in Canada 31, no. 1 (Summer 1997): 12-13.

John Oswald's now infamous works were created through analogue and digital editing and recombining of pre-existing musical material. Oswald adjusted the speed, timbre, pitch, and other aspects of various fragments of music and then combined and layered them to create a type of musical collage. In 1989, he generated a great deal of controversy with the release of his album Plunderphonics, which consisted of exclusively borrowed material. Though Oswald had produced the album at his own expense and was receiving no profit from the endeavor, giving the copies away to libraries, radio stations, and others for free, legal action was taken by Michael Jackson, CBS Records, and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). Oswald was forced to destroy the Plunderphonics master copy and any remaining copies in his possession. Since then, Oswald has produced Rubaiyat for Electra Records' 40th anniversary and the two-CD set Plexure. In Plexure, Oswald plays with the "threshold of recognizability" or the amount of material a listener must hear to identify the original source.

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Sarah Florini

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