INDEPENDENT LENS | Copyright Criminals [documentary]
It's interesting to reflect on the current state of sample based music, which has been fractured in to two camps: one the mainstream artists who can afford to clear samples (Kanye, Jay-Z, etc) and secondly, underground artists who are selling just enough to fly under the radar. Years of these unspoken limitations have landed us in a very precarious spot, causing a trickle down effect on the end product, the music. The grimy sample or soulful loop is somewhat a thing of the past, giving way to music that is either re interpolated or completely played from scratch. These changes can neither be classified as "good" or "bad" but they have definitely restricted the creativity that artists from 25 years ago reveled in, pushing them to constantly grow in new directions. As someone who respects the power in both completely sample based music and this new hybrid of music making, I think it really comes down to thoughtfully utilizing what you have at your finger tips. Hip-hop was built upon innovation, creating something out of nothing.
On a grander scale, I feel uncomfortable with the notion that only those who can afford to clear samples should be able to use them. Of course there is the issue of fair compensation that I also think needs to be addressed, but I'll leave that one for another day.
The three trailers look promising with interviews with Clyde Stubblefield, Chuck D, El-P, Eyedea and Abilities (woopee), and many others. Premieres in January 2010 on your local PBS station. I'll post again when it gets closer to airing.