Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)
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Autobot
KVRian
552 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:47 am

Hi everyone, I'm need to start writing my bachelor thesis and already have a lot of literature and examples but maybe there is more. So do you have tips? The topic of my work is a historical, technological and culture depiction of sampling. Starting with Musique concrète, Music for tape, etc. Instruments like Taperecorder, The Special Purpose Tape Recorder (by Hugh Le Caine), Mellotron, MPC, Ableton Live. I try to examine and show the massive impact on how to make music with Tape, Digital Sampler, DAW as a medium to manipulate sound. Furthermore I shed light on the different approaches of sampling e.g. Field recordings, Sampling in HipHop, etc.

Any suggestions, questions, ideas are welcome
Tia
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

User avatar
Delta Sign
KVRian
524 posts since 22 Jun, 2018

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:00 am

Nice! This sounds very interesting and it sounds like you already put quite a bit of thought into it :tu:
I don't really have anything useful to add, I'm afraid.

Don't overlook the tracker scene, which is often overlooked when it comes to musical history, but I think it was quite important, especially when it comes to sampling.
The whole scene of sharing floppies with a few (very bad) samples and holding short competitions on who makes the best tracks with them etc. had a huge influence on electronic music, in my opinion. That scene is even still very, very active today.

User avatar
Autobot
KVRian
552 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:15 pm

Delta Sign wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:00 am
Nice! This sounds very interesting and it sounds like you already put quite a bit of thought into it :tu:
I don't really have anything useful to add, I'm afraid.

Don't overlook the tracker scene, which is often overlooked when it comes to musical history, but I think it was quite important, especially when it comes to sampling.
The whole scene of sharing floppies with a few (very bad) samples and holding short competitions on who makes the best tracks with them etc. had a huge influence on electronic music, in my opinion. That scene is even still very, very active today.
Thanks for that hint ... I almost forgot this while I did my research :dog: ... I will see if I can grasp it for my ideas ... BTW love your Zebra² post always very insightful ... I'm not as much experienced with Zebra² (my main synth) as I'm confident with audio manipulation :oops:
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

User avatar
Michael L
KVRAF
2430 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:50 pm

Narrow your focus, or your 'thesis' will read like a superficial magazine article. For example, there is an entire documentary (Sample This, 2013) just on the people who used a single sample (the "Apache" break beat). Pick the one area of sampling you like the most and go deep.

DSmolken
KVRian
1411 posts since 20 Sep, 2013 from Poland

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:11 pm

I started typing something, then realized I have no clue about humanities degrees, so whatever I have to tell you probably won't be of any use. But I'll pose a possibly helpful question - is this for a music degree, or something like anthropology? That will probably make a pretty big difference when it comes to expectations, areas of focus etc.

User avatar
Autobot
KVRian
552 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:33 am

Michael L wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:50 pm
Narrow your focus, or your 'thesis' will read like a superficial magazine article. For example, there is an entire documentary (Sample This, 2013) just on the people who used a single sample (the "Apache" break beat). Pick the one area of sampling you like the most and go deep.
Yeah absolutely right I already try to cook it down ...
DSmolken wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:11 pm
I started typing something, then realized I have no clue about humanities degrees, so whatever I have to tell you probably won't be of any use. But I'll pose a possibly helpful question - is this for a music degree, or something like anthropology? That will probably make a pretty big difference when it comes to expectations, areas of focus etc.
I study ,History of science (knowledge) and technology' so I can do almost anything :hihi: my topic only has to have a historical view and a sense of how technology influenced cultural practice.
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

kingslim
KVRer
12 posts since 14 Mar, 2016

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:04 am

....
Last edited by kingslim on Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
16103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:45 pm

Music was aways culture; 'music was math' is a misconstruction probably of Pythagoras, who is probably mythical anyway.

Western European Culture is simply not Indian Classical Music culture at_all. Western European classical or concert musical culture derives technically from Holy Roman Church practice and 'theory', which in turn is a particular interpretation of Greek music 'theory'. Arabic music 'theory' derives from the same ancient origin; they did something quite different with it and it isn't equal temperament (until people got reductive and went for '24tET'). It isn't harmonic music at all because of the intonation practice. If you bought 'Arabic strings' sample library it should reflect this, to have any point to it.

Indian Classical Music doesn't use harmony at all either. So there is certainly overlap when we have a 12-tone basis (albeit when there are more than 12, the seemingly de facto 12 does not reduce to the same thing. The Harmonium does, however.).

"Copy/paste" is seriously reductive. So, proof of concept now: which 7? How does all the difference in musical culture blur into this reduction? Through the strength of that verbiage? When does jazz, just because it uses 12tET and tertial harmony, fade into this status as copy of Western European classical (or however it's supposed to disappear here), and how does that work? Does it also copy/paste African music because 'blues'? Is blues a copy/paste of African something something? Things are dynamic and even in flux. Changes occur. Over time and in a culture, one supposes.

Winstontaneous
KVRian
1433 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:03 pm

Be sure to check out DJ Spooky's books to make sure you're not covering territory that's already been explored.
OLOKUN - Survival Kit - now on iTunes, CDBaby, and Spotify

Videos: The Beat | Crossing to Safety

nathanj
KVRist
158 posts since 23 Mar, 2013

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:20 pm

Are you familiar with the work of Jonathan Sterne? If not,you should def. check him out. Check out the article “Media or Instruments? Yes.” Offscreen 11:8-9 (Aug/Sept 2007).

Found on this page: https://sterneworks.org/text/ - unfortunately the link on this page doesn't work so you'll need to find the article through your school library account.

Like Michael L said, your topic is way too broad. Choose one point of history you find interesting, contextualise it and explain its significance today. It's good to study the practice of how technology influenced culture but remember that technology doesn't just appear out of nowhere, it is a direct result of the culture that produced it. It's the synergy of technology and culture(s) that's interesting.

kingslim
KVRer
12 posts since 14 Mar, 2016

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:55 am

...
Last edited by kingslim on Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
1554 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:26 am

nathanj wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:20 pm
Are you familiar with the work of Jonathan Sterne? If not,you should def. check him out. Check out the articgle “Media or Instruments? Yes.” Offscreen 11:8-9 (Aug/Sept 2007).

Found on this page: https://sterneworks.org/text/ - unfortunately the link on this page doesn't work so you'll need to find the article through your school library account.
Here is a working link:
https://offscreen.com/pdf/sterne_instruments.pdf

enroe
KVRian
849 posts since 19 Mar, 2008 from germany

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:03 pm

Autobot wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:47 am
The topic of my work is a historical, technological and culture depiction of sampling.
There are 2 different topics:

1. The instrument "sampler".
2. The process of "sampling as such".

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Topic (1) starts with the Ensonique Mirage Sampler in 1985. This was the
first affordable sampler. The advantage of such a "sampler" is: You can
play any acoustic instrument on a keyboard - a giant step in music creation
and music production.

Topic (2) started largely with the first digital machines in the nineties. Any
part of music can just be recorded and used in a new musical context.
This "recording" created a new production-genre where sample-loopers
and trackers fabricated songs from fragments of sounds and from
parts of already existing songs.
free mp3s + info: andy-enroe.de songs + weird stuff: enroe.de

User avatar
jancivil
KVRAF
16103 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:19 pm

there was an Ensoniq Mirage where I lived when it first came out. It sampled, it had an audio in. I would make field recordings on my Walkman Pro and input that to the Mirage. It was a challenge to edit until software came out for the 128k MacIntosh; even so it was still about describing loop points and such in hexadecimal. But while I recognize you qualified statement 2 w. 'largely', anybody with a Mirage could sample. It was an 8-bit sample, mind.

I would not define <sampling> as stealing bits off of records, in other words. While that is a cultural touchstone in certain ways.

Functional
KVRist
430 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Bachelor thesis about the cultural practice of audio sampling

Post Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:14 pm

I find that to write about this subject is kind of hard task if you don't want to just rehash what was already written about it even in Cambridge University alone, let alone in localized dialects in IRCAM for example.

Anyway, for my two cents, I'll give you a quick rundown on one of the figures that I consider probably most important for contemporary sampling: Burial.

Burial is pretty huge name in contemporary music when it comes to sampling. Although absolutely everyone disagrees with me when I say this, but I would personally consider him to have a bigger impact on the sound of contemporary electronic music than even Aphex Twin himself. I feel like his music spoke much more to lot of us, younger bedroom producers.

What he likes to do? He often uses samples from videogames. His percussions are almost always samples from videogames, arranged in a singletrack audio editor that doesn't even have a grid. And on top of that, he likes to sample musical passages from videogames. Most famous example of this is his song Archangel, where he samples an interesting bit from Metal Gear Solid 2: https://www.whosampled.com/sample/27042 ... iltration/

In addition to that, he has also sampled Melissa Dawson Higgins interview and sort of arranged her words into vocals for his song, Come Down To Us. And at the end of Rival Dealer (from the same album, also called Rival Dealer), he sampled Lana Wachowskis speech at the Human Rights Campaign awards. Which honestly probably has had some impact on people who haven't been previously concerned about trans issues but love Burial.

There's also an interesting article about him sampling Melissa Dawson Higgins. Because eventually people discovered that and, well, so did she: https://pitchfork.com/news/57936-nasa-s ... dealer-ep/

Then there's also the fact that he likes to use raveish samples (for example, about 2:25 in his song, Rough Sleeper), which probably have a lot to do with the decaying rave scene of UK. Which saddens lot of the youth as we were born bit too late for the golden age of raves, now there's just boring clubs with boring music.

As a last bit, I'm also a fan of the game series Dark Souls. He had to apologize to his fans (and reveal his identity) before release of Dark Souls 2. He apologized because he needed to play that game and he wouldn't have much time to produce any music while doing that. But more interestingly, his records that appeared afterwards ("Kindred" and "Truant/Rough Sleeper" in particular) actually invoke the atmosphere of Dark Souls perfectly. I don't know what it exactly is. He used some samples from those games (1 & 2), but it doesn't really explain it. While normally people just describe those games as being excruciatingly difficult, that's just a facade. At their heart, they're games where you're going to have to tread carefully in an unwelcoming world and where your character grows not because they got better gear but rather because the player becomes better. It's not as much about being "hard" as it is about having the patience when you're facing struggles.

So yeah, talking about culture of contemporary sampling, I think one shouldn't miss Burial. Why? Because you go ahead and find me bedroom producers who weren't influenced by him. They must exist surely, but they're seldom & scarce.

And perhaps one of the reasons why his story is interesting is because he doesn't really have any experience with music theory nor music instruments. Sampling was what enabled him to do what he does, even though some of his songs are very questionable (for example, the main element in his song "Temple Sleeper" is an arpeggio that's from "Into The Machine" by Solar Quest, there's not much in my eyes to justify to call it anything more than a remix). However I consider him as a curiosity rather than an example of this. I mean, the guy also manages to make his music in a single track audio editor; this isn't something that most of us are capable of at all, no matter how hard we tried.

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