COOL THIEVES
Instrumental Mellow Themed Chilling Work

A Sampling of Samplers

Instrumentals (or minimum vocal tracks) utilising sampling from hip-hop/jazzy/funky/ jivey/chilled turntablists.

DISSECTION

Sampling gets a bad rep out in the wide world…a commonly held opinion is that it’s lazy… that's an arguably lazier opinion to arrive at than the actual sampling itself! Luckily Mark Ronson has articulated this much better than I could in a Ted talk on this very topic. I’ve transcribed the key extract below, but I would seriously recommend watching the whole thing here:

“They weren’t sampling these records because they were too lazy to write their own music, they weren’t sampling these records to cash in on the familiarity of the original stuff. To be honest, it was all about sampling really obscure things, apart from a few notable exceptions we know about like Vanilla Ice. They were sampling those records because they heard something in that music that spoke to them and they instantly wanted to inject themselves into the narrative of that music. They heard it, they wanted to be part of it and they all of sudden found themselves with the access to the technology to do so. Not much unlike the way the Delta Blues struck a chord with the Stones and the Beatles and Clapton and they felt the need to co-opt that music with the tools of their day.”

Not only is sampling here to stay, but has in fact shaped the vast majority of music for the last 35 years. If you’re an instrument-purist, then just like Metallica on set for their 1988 video “One” after a lifetime vow to never film a music video, you’re going to have to abandon your outdated beliefs. The only alternative would be to research every song you hear to make sure you’re not letting in any sounds you consider ‘lazy’. The average person, even those familiar with vinyl underestimate the extent to which samples make up the fabric of modern music. While most would guess that hip-hop is sampling heavy, it extends to basically all of pop, RnB, alt rock as well as most kinds of electronic and dance music.

“But I only listen to rock music so all the artists I like are exempt from your criticism”. …well, let’s see, so Jet’s Are you Gonna Be My Girl is just a rework of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. Nirvana’s Come As You Are is just a rework of Killing Joke’s Eighties. Every instrumental in this week’s playlist transforms the source material in far more significant ways than these two examples. The question of originality/laziness gets even trickier. There’s a rough template of sensibilities to every genre based on what came before and adjusted by what's come since. The argument being made is that the creativity of the artist is more important than the tools he or she may use. Taken to the extreme does that mean it's possible for say Thom Yorke to make a Mercury award winning album made only from fart noises? Sure.

A quick example - The song Ghostwriter by RJD2. Below are the only few samples we could find sources for so you can see that having the eye to combine these in the ways they have been is an extremely creative skill. At the least it’s comparable to playing an instrument…and if done to the quality RJD2 have achieved here, I’d argue more impressive.

  • A few seconds from the start of Paul Desmond’s A Taste of Honey
  • Drums from The Delfonic’s Ready of Not
  • The MmmmMMmms from right at the end of Cream’s Outside Woman Blues
  • The Ahhhhs Ahhhhs from Elliot Smith’s I Didn’t Understand
  • Right at the start of Betty Wright’s Secretery provides a drop
  • The artists on this station have raided older and more obscure music, extracted various isolated instrumental sections from different songs, added their own drums/bass/other synths and weaved these together with the needles of their creativity to sow new and interesting sonic tapestries. Despite using samples, they have their own distinct sounds, from Pretty Lights’ bassy overlays to Emancipator’s ethereal soundscapes. From Nujabes’s love of jazz, to Bonobo’s textured intricate strings and Grammatik’s jivey pianos…

    One of our subscribers has a playlist where you can hear the aforementioned Jet and Nirvana songs, along with their source as well as other sampled songs (like Bittersweet Symphony, Glory Box, One More Time and Gold Digger) with their source songs. “Sampled” playlist found here:


Track Listing
THE ROUNDUP

Thanks to Alan Kennedy for an artist contribution to the station and Eduardo Bernal for the “Sampled” playlist.

Any playlist requests, artists/song suggestions or general feedback please get in touch via our new email address:music@therek-list.com

NEXT WEEK: Body Music…

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Playlist Metrics

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Alan Burd July 21, 2020

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