View Full Version : Sample-based music was maligned by the right and left and was truly psychedelic

22-05-2018, 05:38 AM
- maligned by the right: because it broke the capitalist model.

- maligned by the left: because it was seen as coercive misappropriation.


- it was the logical flowering of psychedelic music. building music from samples was essentially an invocation of spirits.

-the rhetoric of theft was overplayed because it was largely NAIVE by default. its expunging from hip-hop has gone hand-in-hand with "the new business model".

- it gave us "3 Feet High and Rising" - which will NEVER been heard on Spotify for its [alleged] sins

john eden
22-05-2018, 11:14 AM
Capitalism now seems to have largely adjusted its model to accommodate sampling though (albeit in a castrated and profit driven way). So rich people can sample anyone.

My recollection is that the left was pretty split on the issue of sampling. Some saw all recorded music as a commons to be used for the good of humanity.

Whereas others had an issue with people nicking stuff off people who had already been exploited by the music industry to feather their nests. I think this aspect really depends on context.

john eden
22-05-2018, 11:15 AM
I am waiting for the revival of the sampled american evangelical preacher though. Few things sound as dated right now, so it must almost be time.

Mr. Tea
22-05-2018, 11:29 AM
I am waiting for the revival of the sampled american evangelical preacher though. Few things sound as dated right now, so it must almost be time.

Ha, looking through my music collection, I could probably play a two-hour set consisting only of techno, electro and EBM tunes with preacher samples in them.


I mean, I'm not saying I would - but I could.

Was considering starting a thread a while ago about that whole late 80s/early 90s KLF-JAMs/PWEI/Bomb The Bass scene of UK sample-heavy dance-pop-rock but didn't know if anyone would be particularly interested in it.

22-05-2018, 03:22 PM
I don't recall ever reading a Left argument against sampling.

In the Eighties it was always written up as a cheeky punky larceny (indeed McLaren circa "Buffalo Gals" helped to frame it that way, joining the dots) - the streets making its own use for things etc etc

But you certainly could make a cogent Left case against it (e.g. what happened to Gregory Coleman with Amen is expropriation pure and simple... dying homeless and broke as a legion build careers on his handiwork). Perhaps even make a Marxist surplus value / capitalism as vampirism type analogy.

Is it psychedelic?

Certainly can be

But then there's Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby"

john eden
22-05-2018, 03:36 PM
I think the appropriation argument came in during the noughties. This was partly because of the rise of the term anyway (mainly in the US left), but also because of the gradual gentrification of dance music.

Sampling a Prince Alla vocal snippet and not paying him is not great when you live in your parents mansion in Surrey whilst he is living in a wooden shack in Jamaica.

22-05-2018, 04:02 PM
I remeber lamenting about sample-based music (mostly the dance variety) from indie-type of guys and some clearly-left-identifying punks (the Crass-types). The first group said sample-based-music wasn't "real" music, DJ-producer-types aren't real musicians bc they don't play intstruments etc. The punk types considered dance-music as some sort of expansion of disco which they considered "capitalist" pleasure numbing-the-consciousness type of thing.

john eden
22-05-2018, 04:29 PM
Yeah around 1988 the punk squat parties in St Albans where I lived had smiley faces on them crossed out like on "don't do this" road signs.

This would all change quite quickly though. Indie clubs would play stuff like Weatherall's MBV remixes and the punks would find techno at free festivals.

Anyway I digress.

The vogue for modular synths these days seems quite boring compared to the possibilities of sampling.

Remember the "STEAL IT" cover story in the NME? It's all here:


Mr. Tea
22-05-2018, 04:36 PM
Relevant (and a great tune):


22-05-2018, 06:16 PM
This reminds me of the Irvine Welsh novel Glue. The superstar DJ's dad is a socialist trade union rep and diehard Elvis fan. He says something along the lines of "Call that music. they can't play any instruments- all they do is steal a sample from real musicians then sell it back to consumers that have already paid for the original song anyway. Thatchers bloody children, right enough."

If I remember right the character changes his tune later on when his son persuades him to go to a house rave on pills, when it all starts to make sense.