Citizen DJ is the brainchild of Brian Foo, a 2020 Innovator-in-Residence Program at the U.S. Library of Congress. The goal of the project is simple: to provide free audio and video samples to encourage creativity through remixing. Or, in Foo's words:
Cultivate the creation of new and transformative music using free-to-use audio and video materials from the Library.
Connect the general public with culturally significant, underutilized, and free-to-use audio and video collections available from the Library.
Engage communities, such as secondary school students and amateur musicians, that may have a strong relationship with hip hop music, but little to no existing relationship with the Library or the Library’s materials.
Provide the general public (in particular, those with little to no formal research training) with the tools and resources to navigate the United States copyright system in the context of sample-based music creation.
Contribute to human-computer interaction research and best practices for search and discovery of large audio and video collections.
As for why, specifically, to take a DJ/hip-hop approach to this kind of project?
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Today, collage-based hip hop as it existed in the golden age is largely a lost (or at best, a prohibitively expensive) artform.
I believe if there was a simple way to discover and access free-to-use audio and video material for music making, a new generation of hip hop artists and producers can maximize their creativity, invent new sounds, and connect listeners to materials, cultures, and sonic history that might otherwise be hidden from public ears.
The Smithsonian Institution has just released 2.8 million images (2D and 3D) into the public domain via a new Smithsonian Open Access online platform where anyone can browse and download high-res files. And then reuse them! Or remix them! For whatever! For free! From Smithsonian:
Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts.
And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting...
Spanning the arts and humanities to science and engineering, the release compiles artifacts, specimens and datasets from an array of fields onto a single online platform. Noteworthy additions include portraits of Pocahontas and Ida B. Wells, images of Muhammad Ali’s boxing headgear and Amelia Earhart’s record-shattering Lockheed Vega 5B, along with thousands of 3-D models that range in size from a petite Eulaema bee just a couple centimeters in length to the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant, estimated at about 29 light-years across.
Smithsonian Open Access
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Artist Zachary Knoles created a wonderful series of illustrations that pay tribute to video games by imagining them as pulp novel covers, with the game writers' names in the by-line slots (a very nice touch indeed!). (via Gameraboy)
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Barcelona-based Eclectic Method is most known for his remix songs that are based on pop culture (previously).
Now he's trying something new, an experiment that's a little risky. He writes:
Here's a video remix made from samples no longer than 0.5 seconds from 107 different artists. Madonna won her court case over the use of a 0.23 second horn stab in "Vogue". Sabrina Setlur won her courtcase for unauthorized use of 2 seconds of Kraftwerk. So I have been wondering how long is too long when it comes to sampling. This video remix is to test out the algorithm. Will YouTube's copyright ID system take offence at Taylor Swifts voice appearing for 0.14 seconds and her face occupying 18% of the screen... Who knows?
If you're seeing the video, congrats, it hasn't been shut down yet. Read the rest
Seth Kaufman sends his video for "Godot the Musical," saying: "It is, I venture, the funkiest promotional book video ever made. The script appears in my new book Metaphysical Graffiti: Rock 'n' Roll & the Meaning of Life. So I decided to shoot it as a video. It recasts Vladimir and Estragon as hype-men waiting for 'The Master G' to come and rap."
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Oneboredjeu slams together Modest Mouse's "Float On" with Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" to great effect.
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Shockingly good work by Banjo Guy Ollie.
Hey Folks. Here's a cover of the Knight Rider theme for a change from video game music covers. I want to do more series too in the future, so expect more like these, like Magnum PI ...AirWolf , A Team... yeah tons more
It's usually classic game tunes that get banjoed up by Ollie: OutRun (demonstrating that Splashwave is a superior composition to Magical Sound Shower), Speedball 2, Golden Axe, and Monkey Island.
Here's his cover of Bomb the Bass's Megablast (as remixed for the Amiga game Xenon 2, itself being hip-hop cover of John Carpenter's theme from Assault on Precinct 13)
Previously: Alternate version of the Knight Rider theme tune Read the rest
Jeff Gates writes, "Back in 2010, when I started to take old propaganda posters and remix them with new text and imagery about the sad state of American political discourse, Boing Boing was the first to publicize the work.
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Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.
It's a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you're using your own property in the privacy of your own home.
But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.
The latest round of these hearings took place in April, and of course, EFF was there, with some really cool petitions (as dramatized by the science fiction writers Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow [ahem]), along with many of our friends and allies, all making their own pleas for sanity in copyright law.
We commemorated the occasion with a collection of short video conversations between me and our pals. Read the rest
If I had a hit pop song that was fresh off a Grammy win, I would follow Portugal. The Man's lead and do all the things.
First, I'd want to perform on Ellen like they just did. But that's not big enough, I'd also want to bring the USC Marching Band onstage with me, like they did Thursday.
Then, just because I could, I would get "Weird Al" Yankovic to performing a rousing remix of my Grammy-winning song, like they just did with "Feel it Still."
Then I'd continue touring with my new album, like they are with "Woodstock." 'Cause: "Go big or go home."
(COS) Read the rest
UK animator Cyriak Harris celebrated getting 1M YouTube subscribers by livestreaming this trippy Mega Dance Party Mix. It's a 20-minute long retrospective remix of some of his past music and videos.
No, you're not hallucinating. It just feels like it.
Thanks, Heathervescent! Read the rest
Mixing '80s heavy metal hair band RATT with Motown artist Marvin Gaye just shouldn't work, but somehow it does. This mashup by YouTuber
Bill McClintock is called "I Heard it Round and Round the Grapevine" and sets Gaye's 1968 soul classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" with the hard-rocking track from RATT's 1984 single "Round and Round." It works, I'm telling you.
In case you forgot, here's what the two songs sound like separately (I nearly forget RATT's music video starred Milton Berle):
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Based in Barcelona, DJ and music producer Eclectic Method has pulled in the Star Wars universe once again for his newest remix, "Han Solo Song."
With the Han Solo movie on the horizon and The Last Jedi in the rear view mirror I thought it was time to remix everyone's favorite space rogue pirate smuggler war hero. Han Solo Song is a rhyming remix through the 4 movies of Han so far. Rhymed mostly by Han himself with a Han Solo solo on laser blaster. This is my 10th Star Wars Remix.
You can check out all 10 of those remixes here. Read the rest
Earworm alert: Remix maestro melodysheep (previously) just released "Phone Home," a "happy little E.T. song to brighten your day." It did. Read the rest
Washington-based remix master John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, describes his latest tribute song and video as a "magical musical adventure through the land of Oz." It's called "Oh my!" and it uses vocals and footage from the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz
The song's mp3 is here.
Previously: Bruce Lee remix Read the rest
Every three years, the US Copyright Office has to ask America about all the ways in which Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which bans bypassing DRM, even for legitimate reasons) interferes with our lives, and then it grants limited exemptions based on the results. Read the rest
Eclectic Method teamed up with ill.Gates to create a catchy remix saluting the 1995 anime classic, Ghost In The Shell. Read the rest