Plunderphonics Essay Definition


Varèse                   Zappa            Oswald


details soon about this recent series of concerts in Vancouver Canada featuring the compositions of Edgard Varèse, Frank Zappa and a new work by John Oswald for supersized sinfonietta.



a quarter century later


a note about this image


Hallowe'en 2016 (27th anniversary of its original release on the original PLUNDERPHONIC CD)

Back then all copies were distributed for free— but by Xmas the major record companies,

in holiday spirits, threatened legal action to prevent any further gift-giving.
Now, over a quarter century later, on this bizarrely festive date, the first official music video from that notorious album is released ('dropped' sounds too thoughtless and depressing). A recent injunction from Sony (France) concerning another Fony track, leads us to encourage ripping / downloading / archiving this video immediately, because nothing is always…


Stunning, possibly seizure inducing plunderphonics —Richard Gehr

currently available on youTube

and Vimeo


                                           —Get it while you can— 


                                                                about the making of the DAB soundtrack                                                 

DAB video stills







polaris music heritage prize


(September 2016) For the 2nd year a jury has proposed a shortlist selection of the the most 'influential and important' Canadian music albums of all time (or at least since 1965) which now includes the notorious 1989 plunderphonic CD (follow the link and click the "U" to find downloads).

update: the plunderphonic CD didn't win.





transitive axis Live



During a very busy month (May 2015) in Bologna at the AngelicA Festival there was a plunderphotonics etc. video night (following an excellent Christian Marclay video evening), an orchestral night, and the world premiere of Transitive Axis Live featuring transcriber/conductor Domenico Caliri and a hand-picked nonet of crackerjack musicians performing this very complex and accurate 900 bar transcription.

Domenico Caliri conducts the Transitive Axis Live! band


Then in November John Oswald reconvened in Vignola (a town near Bologna) with Calari and producer Massimo Simonini to edit and mix the Transitive Axis Live shows for a publishable recording (a release date will be announced when Oswald finally finishes the mix).






new neighbourhoods



To the right are links for Fony's presence on Facebook and Twitter.

The facebook page has an interesting timeline history (in-progress)of recordings released.

The first twitters announce the 25th anniversary of the initial release of the first plunderphonic compact disc on Hallowe'en in 1989.



paused on the threshold

New videos are being uploaded to the excellent plunderphonics site over at youtube.

    |watch the video|    

(October 2014) Several of these videos and 8 dances with oswaldian soundtracks were presented with choreographer Holly Small in a variety-packed half-hour in Vancouver on a SmallStage



a third plunderphonic disc


Due to dumbing-down of newer CD players, particularly in computerized devices, some of which won't play the tunes disc, we are adding a bonus alternate of it in physical 69plunderphonics96 sets.


John Oswald's memo about the bonus disc 




Grayfolded on vinyl


 (August 2014) IMPORTANT RECORDS releases a 3LP triple gatefold revised set —  info & ordering


watch the GRAYFOLDED trailer    


I'd love to turn

is the title of a new orchestral composition by John Oswald (part of his Rascali Klepitoire) commissioned by the BBC premiered on May the 10th 2014 as part of the Tectonics Festival in Glasgow Scotland, directed by conductor Ilan Volkov.

The piece revisits the late Sixties through the music of György Ligeti, Terry Riley, and The Beatles.

The premiere performance was recorded for radio broadcast, and can be heard worldwide (only for the week of May 24-31,2014) on the BBC : search for the programme Hear and Now|here|. After the initial broadcast week, the concert will still be accessible as a podcast, but only in the UK.

Anyway, hear the beginning of I'd Love to Turn |here|



a well-prepared piano


Back in the early '90's John Oswald, sometimes with Christopher Butterfield, produced a very few recordings using exclusively, or in part, an ambisonic microphone. There were two piano discs produced, studies in what Oswald has described as the instrument's 'big acoustic footprint'. Now, after a quarter of a century a 3rd piano disc has been released by Arraymusic

|hear here|

It's Henry Kucharzyk's playing John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes on a prepared piano. The recordings were done onstage at the Premiere Dance Theatre in Toronto during the day prior to an concert presentation (and recording) that evening. John Abram writes 'It's one of the best recordings I've ever heard.'

|hear another track|

The cover drawing is a never-realized giant Cage memorial by Claus Oldenburg.




new plunderphonics video channel

that's Dally Proton on the left, beside Igor Stravinsky (a.k.a. Tsar Rosy Viking)


|Click Here for the PLUNDERPHONICS channel |


We've finally put some plunderphonic videos up on the ubiquitous youTube, initially in response to recent interest in how Dolly Parton sounds slowed down. |Click Here for some of the back story|


|Click Here to see Dolly do Jolene both ways|





the 9 symphonies of Beethoven…

in 30 minutes


The Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt, Germany have commissioned John Oswald to compose a major chamber orchestra composition. b9 is a condensation of the six to seven hours of music that comprise the nine completed symphonies of Ludwig Van Beethoven. It is in the Rascali Klepitoire. The Ensemble premiered the piece January 29th 2011, with Harmut Keil conducting.


|listen to b9 except |



In 2013 the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with Ilan Volkov conducting, performed the first half of the full orchestra revision of b9.




Plexure on vinyl...

Garth Brownsteen image by John Oswald (ca.1992)

FONY released Oswald's Plexure on vinyl on October 24th to coincide with celebrations at

the X AVANT Festival in Toronto to mark the 25th Anniversary of plunderphonics.


prePlexure features two new mixes of Oswald's 1993 composition, which was originally commissioned by John Zorn for release on compact disc on his AVANT label.

|Click here to view fony prePlexure Release Sheet... |

The two new mixes are "prePlex" and "PlexureConcentrate".


|Click Here to listen to an excerpt of prePlex .... |

Order prePlexure vinyl on-line at:  CDBaby  or electroCD



Michael Jackson Vowels

This soundfile is a layer peeled from the final section of the composition DAB, performed by Michael Jackson and composed by John Oswald back in 1989. The sonic content consists of the all the vowels Mr Jackson sang in the recording Bad. Click the green Play button below to hear it.The entire track DAB attributed to the anagramatic Alien Chasm Jock can be found here: | apple | or here: | amazon | and elsewhere.



As part of the group art show Appropos at the Edward Day Gallery 952 Queen Street West (at Shaw) Toronto from July 3rd to July 27th 2008, a selection of enlarged prints of plunderphonic album cover art, rare items from the '80's and '90's, is being exhibited. Currently only half of the covers are on display so please ask the staff at the gallery to show you the rest. Copies of the very rare 1988 Plunderphonics 12" vinyl EP will also be available for sale, with proceeds going to the making and donation of a chronophotic plasma image to Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.


A Time to Hear for Here

                                Street view of the ROM Crystal  +  A Time To Hear for Here fissure
John Oswald's A Time to Hear for Here is a five-story high circadian mobile in sound that can in an unpredictable interval transform from a whisper in Mecca to a storm in Moncton. Distributed over dozens of loudspeakers and throughout each unique day are thousands of never ending combinations of sonic signifiers and musical moments in six-dimensional aural-architechtural time/space. Located in the new space-age wing of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, one of the largest natural and cultural history museums in North America, the exhibit is freely accessible daily, near the main entrance. | Click Here to view a video Overview of A Time To Hear For Here| | Download a daily schedule in pdf format for A Time To Hear for Here| Several times a day, most of the system is employed to play one of several versions of Qui, which features up to 29 voices singing together in different languages. Qui was one subject of a recent cover story profile in Musicworks Magazine, but a short selective history of the piece in relation to some of its antecedents, by Anne Bourne, was edited out. You can read it here .

|Click Here to view The making of Qui - a short video |


please note that, as of 2014, although it is still working and the 35 channel sound system is still installed, the ROM quite often has something other than A time to hear for here running in the space — and the 35-channel sound system is not being used.


pre prePlexure ...


In the Fall of 2009 Oswald designed a very-limited edition of what would the following year become the vinyl LP prePlexure. Each 2-sided disc was indivitually cut on absolutely clear plexiglas by Moritz Illner of the Duophonic Lab in Munich. These were packaged in clear multilayered sleeves, each one numbered with a unique individual signature for each, with signatures by Cher, David Bowie, Olivia Newton and other '80's pop stars.





on Burroughs and Burrows...

from Tate Talks ( January, 2005:
"From Marcel Duchamp's 'Erratum Musical' (1913) which spliced together dictionary definitions of the word 'imprimer' with a score composed from notes pulled out of a hat, via William Burroughs's and Brion Gysin's 'cut-up' technique used to allow new meanings to 'leak in' by re-cutting existing texts, to John Oswald's releases which mixed and altered several musical sources, the history of the 20th century avant-garde can be read as the history of appropriation." - Lina Dzuverovic
John Oswald replies:
"Nice to see these connections mentioned in the same sentence. In the early '70's I spent an inordinate amount of time constructing some miniature tape pieces, which I call 'Burrows', based on texts as read by Bill Burroughs. My first attempt at audio publishing, in 1975, was not vinyl or cassette but a set of 10 of these Burrows on reel-to-reel.


Many of the Burrows pieces have an odd characteristic - they are reversible compositions, incorporating things like acoustic palindromes (when you play Bill Burroughs saying "I GOT" backwards it still, amazingly sounds like "I GOT"). I realize now I could have made cassette tapes which you could flip over at any point and hear the piece backwards, but at the time I was technically quite literal, and I dubbed full-track (one mono track that is the full width of the tape) reel-to-reel tapes, and edited leader between the pieces (this is the reel-to-reel form of indexing) which, when played on any reel-to-reel playback machine in either direction would give the desired results, as long as it was played at the right speed. There was also a bonus tape loop that came in the box. I made a few of these dubs but I never managed to sell one and I don't remember giving any away, so as a publishing venture it was a bust." A different sounding sequence of the Burrows pieces with a couple of other bits added has just been published on CD as SFU 40 1965-2005 by Cambridge Street Records.

|More Info about SFU 40 1965-2005|


space horns

Oswald and Marshall Allen
On Friday September 9th Oswald performed with fellow alto-saxist Marshall Allen from Sun Ra's Arkestra. Oswald has often stated that Allen has been his primary influence on the sax since the '60's, but this is the first time they ever played together, in a special wind quartet for this Space Music occasion, with trombonists Doug Tielli and Scott Thomson.                                                                                        •

breath-taking Rite of Spring ...

Then, for the opening concert of the New Forms Festival, on Thursday September 15th at the Western Front Lodge in Vancouver, for his first-ever solo piano recital, Oswald presented two sets of his Rascali Klepitoire compositions for Disklavier (an acoustic robot piano), mostly transformations of Bach, including the precise transcriptions he and Ernest Cholakis have made of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations, and special live cameos by Christopher Butterfield singing Glenn Gould. As an encore Oswald played spRite, a complete version of Igor Stravinsky's piano transcription for Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) but performed at very fast tempi. As a result it is not always an accurate performance, as it tests the mechanical limits of the piano, but this seems to make it all the more exciting. Click green Play button below to hear Oswald's superfast Rite of Spring live performance :

| Read more Oswald's acoustic robot piano... |


                                                                          |video of latest rendition of spRite|




Jackoscan was created in 2001 as a soundtrack to compliment Janéad O'Jakriel. It's source is a statement broadcast worldwide by Michael Jackson in 1993. This recitation is used exclusively as the basis for the 22 minute Jackosan.


| Click here to play >>> JACKOSCAN  |


The Jacko in John Oswald's chronophotic plasma image Sketches for Jacko Lantern (which he calls 'an electron drawing') is indeed the famous singer, notorious romantic, and face shifter, currently on trial by the American justice system, but already either condemned or sanctified by everyone else. He is represented in Oswald's ever-changing image by his teen and recent visages, combined with his similarly altered and now-almost-equally-disparaged sister, as well as several other iconic faces which may have served as models for the transformation. This hydra construct is mounted on a similarly amorphous body combines photographed, painted and sculpted-marble elements, including references to the iconography of the impaled Saint Sebastian, Michelangelo's David as well as his Dying Slave, and the Venus deMilo. The precursor to Jacko Lantern is Janéad O'Jakriel, another chronophotic which was created for a plasma screen, and first shown at the Hayward Gallery in London England as part of Sonic Boom in 2001. Janéad consists of a gradual transformation of a 1932 photo of a nude man by George Platt-Lynes into a remarkably similar pose by Janet Jackson for a 1993 publicity photo, combined with a filigree of the features of various British rock stars. But the Janet/Michael resemblances, their transformational appearances, and connections to historic imagery, as well as the graphic quality of Oswald's technique of morphing through varying the transparency of superimposed images, naturally led to further exploration of this hermaphroditic figure. Sketches for Jacko Lantern 2 is an iteration of a work-in-progress. Oswald's use of the the gender-bending aspect of the Jacko image goes back 15 years to the cover of the first plunderphonic CD, which features MJ transformed into a white woman, a picture that Michael thought was really funny.

| see image >>> wikopedia entry on plunderphonics |



Susanna Hood photographed by John Oswald scratching her own voice on a dubplate

Spinvolver brings to the stage aspects of the recorded medium of plunderphonics through a solo performer who utilizes various technology, including telephonics, turntablism, and other audio media assisted by an offstage technical Wizard of Oswald who feeds the performer verbal lines and modular performance cues from a matrix (a growing catalog of performance routines which are usually initiated by a degree of solicited audience response). In effect the performer is a surrogate to the unseen, offstage operator who during the proceedings gradually relinquishes the role of Svengali to allow the performer greater autonomy. The performer is kinetic, vocal, and the entire visual focus - there is no video component.


Spinvolver is part lecture, part opera, part dance jockey set, part cinema for the ears.


This solo dance opera lecture debuted in 2002 in Berlin, toured various capitols of Europe.

Spinvolver is currently about 45 minutes long.

| view a scene from SPINVOLVER [ Paris 2003 ] |





(August 11, 2004 / TORONTO) Oswald's fony label has decided to reissue the critically and popularly acclaimed 2cd Grateful Dead plunderphonic GRAYFOLDED. Out of print since June 2000, the 2004 edition (tenth year anniversary) features exclusive background info and interviews with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Robert Hunter plus 2 "time maps" which chart the source Dark Stars used and a 10,000 word essay by musicologist Rob Bowman. Gary Lambert, editor of the Grateful Dead Almanac said : "The decade-leaping GRAYFOLDED is an astonishingly accurate evocation of that sublime, hallucinatory 'unstuck in time' feeling one gets at a really good Grateful Dead show."


"This double CD, lasting almost two blissful hours, has been rightly acclaimed as the ultimate Dark Star, the one you always hoped the Dead would one day get around to playing."
                                                                            - The London Daily Telegraph


"GRAYFOLDED is literally a hundred or so great nights rolled into one extraordinary, extended high... two Cds' worth of gorgeous sonic orgami."
                                                                      - Rolling Stone, best of the year list

"... An extended time-warped psychedelic jam that is meticulously hallucinatory."
                                                                  - New York Times, top 10 of the year

"Even casual Dead fans will be floored by this astonishing new project. Absolutely brilliant."
                                                                    - Toronto Sun, album of the decade

"On GRAYFOLDED (fony) plunderphonics composer John Oswald's 1995 double disc length 'cover' of The Grateful Dead's most spacebound vehicle plundered and spliced together more than four decades of live Dead versions into one definitive, maximalist version. Oswald created orchestras of timewarped Jerry Garcias loosing waterfalls of of lunar notes and feedback patterns that bled into slow smears of vocals and supernaturally compacted jams. The first - straighter - part, "Transitive Axis", relies mostly on overlap techniques, which permit Oswald to fly in various soundboard recordings and patch particularly zoned solos into huge vertically stacked harmonies. [...] Part two, "Mirror Ashes", is considerably more dosed, with swarms of time-altered sound effectively working as huge brackets enveloping ever more compacted takes. It's a fantastically psychedelic listen ..."
- The WIRE (#261 November 2005) from "60 cover versions that rattle the state of song"

| Click Here to purchase GRAYFOLDED at   |

| Read More about GRAYFOLDED...|




news item



arc of apparitionswhisperfield

instandstillness (77 minutes, premiered April 18th, 2004 at the Images International Film and Video Festival in Toronto)


(September 1, 2004 / TORONTO) This endless cinematic spectacle features hundreds of Torontonians participating in a literally skin-deep portrayal of a ghostly crowd which goes nowhere and does nothing but is nonetheless always gradually becoming constantly different. Standstill is the third of a series of chronophotic moving stills (Janéad O'Jakriel/Jacko Lantern, the Arc of Apparitions) in which Oswald perfectly blurs the properties and aesthetics of photography, movies, and televisualisation in a counter-Koyaanisqatsi universe.

In 1999 internationally-renowned Canadian composer John Oswald began photographing people. In 2001 he exhibited, in Toronto, Souls, a large photo mural consisting of over 100 of his friends and acquaintances, each photographed individually, gathered into a collaged crowd. In 2002 he began working on Census, amassing a much larger database of strangers and acquaintances for several video-projected images in which the relatively transparency of each individual in relation to the crowd changes very slowly over time. The first manifestation of this is the multifaceted Arc of Apparitions, (starring eighty residents of Ville de Quebec) published on DVD by OHM/Avatar). The revised instandstillnessence will be shown with other works by Oswald continuously at the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto from September 11th (opening 2-5PM) to October 4th. | Open instandstillnessence postcard...   |

| Oswald with 'instandstillnessence' projection...   |

| Installation view at Edward Day Gallery ...   |

| Oswald performing at Edward Day Gallery...   |

| NOW Magazine Review of 'instandstillnessence' ...   |

| PETER GODDARD /TORONTO STAR Review of 'instandstillnessence' ...   |

( February 17, 2005 / TORONTO ) John Oswald has been awarded for "Best solo exhibition in a private gallery" at the Toronto Untitled Art Awards for "instandstillnessence" at the Edward Day Gallery. The award ceremony was held at the Steamwhistle Brewery Roundhouse on Wednesday February 16th, 2005.



Cantaloupe Music releases Oswald Remix

(October 11, 2004 / NEW YORK) Cantaloupe Music has just released Messiah ReMix, a collection of takes on George Frideric Handel's classic oratorio, by contemporary plunderphonicticians, including John Oswald, who created a new piece, Partial, based on the Messiah overture, for this release. Oswald recommends that the best way to hear the album is to play Partial (track 11) first followed by track 1, and so on. Partial was meant to be the first track and Oswald doesn't think it works as well at the end.

| preview track here |



69/96 book set

Stolen from FONY and released by Seeland in 2001


| more info |

| more info |






note : some of the items originally published on this page have been transferred to


Plunderphonics is any music made by taking one or more existing audio recordings and altering them in some way to make a new composition. The term was coined by composer John Oswald in 1985 in his essay Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative. Plunderphonics can be considered a form of sound collage.

Although the concept of plunderphonics is seemingly broad, in practice there are many common themes used in what is normally called plunderphonic music. This includes heavy sampling of educational films of the 1950s, news reports, radio shows, or anything with trained vocal announcers. Oswald's contributions to this genre rarely used these materials, the exception being his rap-like 1975 track "Power."

The process of sampling other sources is found in various genres (notably hip-hop and especially turntablism), but in plunderphonic works the sampled material is often the only sound used. These samples are usually uncleared, and sometimes result in legal action being taken due to copyright infringement. Some plunderphonic artists use their work to protest what they consider to be overly-restrictive copyright laws. Many plunderphonic artists claim their use of other artists' materials falls under the fair use doctrine.

A development of the process is when creative musicians plunder an original track and overlay new material and sounds on top until the original piece is masked and then removed, though often using scales and beat. It is a studio based technique used by such groups as the American experimental band The Residents (who used Beatles tracks) and the UK band The Perrinormal (who have plundered many tracks from classical, folk, rock and jazz but rarely reveal which). Often the new track has little resemblance to the original, making it a derivative work and thus freeing the musician from copyright issues.

Early examples[edit]

Although the term plunderphonics tends to be applied only to music made since Oswald coined it in the 1980s, there are several examples of earlier music made along similar lines. Notably, Dickie Goodman and Bill Buchanan's 1956 single "The Flying Saucer", features Goodman as a radio reporter covering an alien invasion interspersed with samples from various contemporary records. The Residents' "Beyond The Valley Of A Day In The Life" consists of excerpts from Beatles records. Various club DJs in the 1970s re-edited the records they played, and although this often consisted of nothing more than extending the record by adding a chorus or two, this too could be considered a form of plunderphonics. Perhaps the best-known pop example of plunderphonics prior to the 1980s would be a track by The Beatles, "Revolution 9", which contains multiple snatches of recordings from a variety of other sources.[1]

Some classical composers have performed a kind of plunderphonia on written, rather than recorded, music. Perhaps the best known example is the third movement of Luciano Berio's Sinfonia, which is entirely made up from quotes of other composers and writers. Alfred Schnittke and Mauricio Kagel have also made extensive use of earlier composers' works. Earlier composers who often plundered the music of others include Charles Ives (who often quoted folk songs and hymns in his works) and Ferruccio Busoni (a movement from his 1909 pianosuiteAn die Jugend includes a prelude and a fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach played simultaneously). During the '90s Oswald composed many such scores for classical musicians which he classified with the term Rascali Klepitoire.

In France, Jean-Jacques Birgé has been working on "radiophonies" since 1974 (for his film "La nuit du phoque"), capturing radio and editing the samples in real time with the pause button of a radio-cassette. His group Un Drame Musical Instantané recorded "Crimes parfaits" on LP "A travail égal salaire égal" in 1981, explaining the whole process in the piece itself and calling it "social soundscape". He applied the same technique to TV in 1986 on the "Qui vive?" CD and published on the 1998 CD "Machiavel"[2] with Antoine Schmitt, an interactive video scratch using 111 very small loops from his own past LPs.

Plunderphonics (EP)[edit]

Plunderphonics was used as the title of an EP release by John Oswald. Oswald's original use of the word was to indicate a piece which was created from samples of a single artist and no other material. Influenced by William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique, he began making plunderphonic recordings in the 1970s. In 1988 he distributed copies of the Plunderphonics EP to the press and to radio stations. It contained four tracks:[3] "Pretender" featured a single of Dolly Parton singing "The Great Pretender" progressively slowed down on a Lenco Bogen turntable so that she eventually sounds like a man; "Don't" was Elvis Presley's recording of the titular song overlaid with samples from the recording and overdubs by various musicians, including Bob Wiseman, Bill Frisell and Michael Snow; "Spring" was an edited version of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, shuffled around and with different parts played on top of one another; "Pocket" was based on Count Basie's "Corner Pocket," edited so that various parts loop a few times.

Plunderphonic (album)[edit]

In 1989 Oswald released a greatly expanded album version of Plunderphonics with twenty-five tracks.[3] As on the EP, each track used material by just one artist. It reworked material by both popular musicians like The Beatles, and classical works such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. Like the EP, it was never offered for sale. A central idea behind the record was that the fact that all the sounds were "stolen" should be quite blatant. The packaging listed the sources of all the samples used, but authorization for them to be used on the record was neither sought nor given. All undistributed copies of plunderphonic were destroyed[4] after a threat of legal action from the Canadian Recording Industry Association on behalf of several of their clients (notably Michael Jackson, whose song "Bad" had been chopped into tiny pieces and rearranged as "Dab") who alleged copyright abuses. Various press statements by record industry representatives revealed that a particular item of contention was the album cover art which featured a transformed image of Michael Jackson derived from his Bad cover.[5]

Later works[edit]

Oswald was subsequently approached by Phil Lesh to use Grateful Dead material on what became the "Grayfolded" album.[6]

Later works by Oswald, such as Plexure, which lasts just twenty minutes but is claimed to contain around one thousand very short samples of pop music stitched together,[7] are not strictly speaking "plunderphonic" according to Oswald's original conception (he himself used the term megaplundermorphonemiclonic for Plexure), but the term "plunderphonic" is used today in a looser sense to indicate any music completely — or almost completely — made up of samples. Plunderphonics 69/96 is a compilation of Oswald's work, including tracks from the original plunderphonic CD.

It is often assumed that "plunderphonics" is a brand name that Oswald applies exclusively to his recordings[citation needed], but he has stated several times that he considers the term to describe a genre of music, with many exponents.

Works by other artists[edit]

Another important early purveyor of what can be described as plunderphonics were Negativland (See Negativland's "Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2"). While Oswald used easily recognisable and familiar sources, Negativland's sources were sometimes more obscure. 1983's A Big 10-8 Place, for instance, consists of recordings of people talking on the radio. Their next album, Escape From Noise, like most of their later records, also makes extensive use of spoken-word samples, often to make particular political points. Their most famous release, the U2 EP, featured an extended rant from radio DJCasey Kasem and extensively sampled U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", which resulted in a lawsuit being brought by U2's label, Island Records.

Both Oswald and Negativland made their recordings by cutting up magnetic tape (or later using digital technology), but several DJs have also produced plunderphonic works using turntables; in fact, "digging" for samples plays a large part in DJ culture. Christian Marclay is a turntablist who has been using other people's records as the sole source of his music making since the late 1970s. He often treats the records in unusual ways, for example, he has physically cut up a group of records and stuck them together, making both a visual and aural collage. Sometimes several spoken-word or lounge music records bought from thrift stores are mashed together to make a Marclay track, but his More Encores album cuts up tracks by the likes of Maria Callas and Louis Armstrong in a way similar to Oswald's work on Plunderphonics. Marclay's experimental approach has been taken up by the likes of Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta, Otomo Yoshihide, Philip Jeck and Martin Tétreault, although in these artist's works the records used are sometimes heavily disguised and unrecognisable, meaning the results cannot properly be called plunderphonics. Other DJs have worked in a more mainstream style: DJ Shadow (Endtroducing.....), The Avalanches (Since I Left You, Wildflower), DJ Food (Kaleidoscope) and MF Doom have all made albums consisting entirely of material plundered from other records.

The Bran Flakes and People Like Us have both used thrift store records to create their music; the Canadian pop band TAS 1000 did the same with thrift store answering machine tapes. Late 80's house musicians like Coldcut, S'Express, MARRS used cut-up collages to build dance music songs. Kid 606 has created quite a bit of plunderphonic work (most notably "The Action Packed Mentallist Bring You the Fucking Jams"), similarly never seeking permission, although his work is sold commercially. Akufen used more than 2000 plundered sound samples to build his My Way album. Wobbly is also known for his plunderphonic works, most notably "Wild Why", a CD piece compiled from his own recordings of mainstream Hip-Hop radio from the San Francisco Bay Area. In Italy Filippo Paolini (aka Økapi) has published several albums using samples also for post-classical music projects.

Vicki Bennett of People Like Us has extended the plunderphonic ideal to video, creating films to accompany her music by plundering the resources of the Prelinger Archives, the online part of the collection of film archivist Rick Prelinger. Anne McGuire used similar techniques in her 1992 film Strain Andromeda The. With permission, McGuire reversed The Andromeda Strainshot by shot so that everything unfolded in reverse order, although with each scene running in normal time with comprehensible dialogue.

Another approach is to take two very different records and play them simultaneously. An early example of this is the Evolution Control Committee's Whipped Cream Mixes (1994), which laid the vocals from Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause" over Herb Alpert's "Bittersweet Samba". This gave rise to the so-called "bastard pop" or "mash-up" phenomenon where an a cappella version of one song is mixed on top of a purely instrumental version of another song. Soulwax and Richard X have both produced records along these lines.

New possibilities in plunderphonics projects are permitted by Dataflow programming languages, such as Pure Data and Max/Msp, allowing the artist to even release true aleatory works, which will sound differently each time the listener executes the algorithm, an example of this approach is the work of Alea T. - Hot 01-00-09.

There are also several Web-based plunderphonics projects. The Droplift Project created a compilation CD of plunderphonic works which was then "droplifted" into record stores (this involved slipping copies of the record onto the shelves without knowledge of the store owner — a sort of reverse stealing). Dictionaraoke took audio clips from online dictionaries and stitched them together so that they recited the words of various popular songs while instrumental versions of the music (often in MIDI renderings) played along. Pogo is known for rearranging snippets of dialogue and original score from various films and TV shows, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pulp Fiction, to create entirely new songs. Electro house producers, Madeon and Shawn Wasabi are notable for their songs, "Pop Culture" and "Marble Soda", with Pop Culture being composed almost entirely of samples from 39 other songs[8] and Marble Soda being composed of samples from 153 songs.[9]Vaporwave, which largely consists of sampled and slowed down 1980s pop music, has been cited as a subgenre of plunderphonics.[10]


External links[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^Machiavel (free download)
  3. ^ abSanjek, David (1993). The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature. Duke University Press. p. 358. ISBN 0822314126. 
  4. ^Collins, Nick (2009). Introduction to Computer Music. Wiley. p. 66. ISBN 0470714557. 
  5. ^Taking Sampling 50 Times Beyond the Accepted: an interview with John Oswald, Part 2, by Norman Igma. Musicworks # 48
  6. ^Morris, Chris (21 October 1995). "Tape Techie "plunders" Dead "Dark Star"". Billboard. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  7. ^Jones, Andrew (1998). Plunderphonics, 'Pataphysics and Pop Mechanics: An Introduction to Musique Actuelle. SAF Publishing. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0946719152. 
  8. ^Doyez, François-Luc (5 November 2011). "Madeon, l'électro kid". Libération Next (in French). Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  9. ^"Shawn Wasabi Tells Us About His New "Marble Soda" Live Mashup - NEST HQ". NEST HQ. 2015-04-21. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  10. ^Stepanski, Sam (27 August 2015). "The Evolution of Vaporware". RATSmagazine. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 


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