Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Original Mash-up

I was going through the garage this week and came upon my box of 45s,* which collection includes some classics, including work by the duo known as Buchanan and Goodman. Growing up I listened to them constantly, having cadged them from my dad, who got them when he was a kid, I guess..

Buchanan and Goodman were the first mash-up artists, taking bits and pieces of various pop songs and splicing them together into larger pieces -- their most famous being "The Flyer Saucer," recorded in 1956. Their samples were, in many cases, my first exposure to some of these classic songs (and I was confused for years by the fake attributions given in the mash-up).

Click here for an mp3 of The Flying Saucer uploaded for your listening pleasure. It's interesting to note (especially to us Creative Commons folks) that Goodman wound up in court for infringement of copyright -- that is, he didn't get anyone's permission for his sampling. The lawsuits were later settled out of court when the judge ruled that the records were parodies, and were original creations in and among themselves (Gray Album, anyone?).

*A 45 is a type of record -- an analogue sound recording medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed modulated spiral groove starting near the periphery and ending near the center of the disc. "45" indicates it is spun at 45 revolutions per minute. They really exist.


The Misanthrope said...

I wonder if anyone knows about 78s? Forty-fives were the new thing when I came about.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but this is sound collage not mashup and not even necessarily the first one. There were others playing with sound collage during the same period.

B2 said...

A semantic difference, IMHO -- sampling existing works to create new pieces that owe something but not everything to their sources is what convergence is all about (and of which mash-ups are a part), and the current sort of sampling/mixing/sound collage (or what have you) has its roots in much older, forgotten works. Certainly, others may have mashed stuff together before Buchanan and Goodman, but their work brought to public notice a new form of aural entertainment, unique and different, that was built on the shoulders of giants and had a view of much more to come.