Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Remix the remix of the remix of the remix

Right now I'm working on a remix for Remixin.com. It is an iterative remix project with three original 'parents' and three corresponding 'remix trees.' Now we're in the middle of Round 4. The original three works [including two of John Arroyo's tracks and Charles Dodge's "Canons for Larry (123)"] have generated 36 remixes so far, and the current round will presumably create an even larger number of new tracks than the previous ones. The rounds' numbers of remixes are as follows:

(Originals: 3)
Round 1: 7
Round 2: 12
Round 3: 17

In an interview with Dartmouth's paper, the project's creator, Arroyo, cites a kind of musical Darwinism, in which unpopular remixes will get left in the dust while the better ones will continue to birth new mixes. So far, every track has yielded at least one remix, but with the 17 mixes from Round 3, the current round may begin to reveal the beginnings of musical selection. Some remixers may hear a track they don't like and in fact remix it because they could make it better; in this case, the Darwinism theory doesn't hold up. For now, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Borrowing/stealing/quoting/reorchestrating/sampling/remixing/etc. are all nothing new in music. Unfortunately, laws that restrict this type of thing have become stricter and stricter in recent years. In remixin's case, we can enjoy the liberties of Creative Commons' NonCommercial Sampling Plus 1.o license, but when it comes time to release an album, things could get tricky.

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