Tuesday, December 18, 2012

United States of Pop

OK, DJ Earworm's unlikely to beat his 2009 United States of Pop in my estimation, but the 2012 mashup is up, and this interview has some nice bits about the difference medium makes; the interviewer describes his work as "a musical equivalent of reading a really good essay about pop music that year," which seems exactly right to me: the juxtaposition of hits works as commentary on the hits and the zeitgeist they reflect.  The other thing that comes out of this interview is a sense of process and progress: the work gets better as it goes, which is why we shouldn't require all remix works to be awesome before they get legal protection: you don't get the best stuff in any form without allowing its practitioners to experiment, learn, and even sometimes fail:
I'm fascinated by pop music, and I'm fascinated by how it relates to culture, and how the little nuances of development in the pop-music landscape reflect often significant cultural developments. I mean, at first it was just an experiment, and then I realized that it could be something more. The first year [my attitude] was like, "Can this be done?" and even the second year I was like, "Well, I might do it again, we'll see if I can get it to work." But by the third year I thought, well, not only do I have to do it, but I realized what it could be. At that point I thought maybe we could be, from the ground up, telling a story that reflects our collective experience, but that also reflects the spirit of the new year, in a way — the passage of time, and renewal, and this idea of us all going through it together. That's when 2009 happened.... I feel like every year I learn a lesson from what I did right and what I did wrong ....
In this interview, he talks further about the ways in which music expresses emotion and conveys meaning, and how his editing choices emphasize particular aspects.  HT GK.

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