Music Plagiarism: surrender to Scandinavian recyclings
The latest name in a long series of bedroom artists devoted to making selfproduced mixes and mash-ups, perverting music tracks and their videos, not caring too much about copyright but for pure fun and without the intention of cashing on it, is Norwegian Recycling. Apart from a MySpace page he has a sort of "official website" on Multiply.com and a YouTube page in which he collects his videoclips. If we talk about him, it is because apart from the (enthusiastic) netsurfers, he is starting to draw attention also from the media. Recently, for example, Citybeat, a radio station based in Belfast (Northern Ireland) selected "8 become 1", one of the sonic collages by this Scandinavian 23-years old (he resides in Aalesund, Norway). The most curious fact is that his track has been included in the regular playlists, and gets played even more than certain tracks by major label artists.
A particularly tasteful audio and video mashup is "Ben is Chasing Beautiful Girls", maybe his masterwork, with six songs juxtaposed in an irreverent but also technically and musically unobjectionable way: the main piece of the mix is the black & white Ben E.King of "Stand By Me" alternated to Sean Kingston, and this is pure genius; then you have fragments of Snow Patrol degenerating in a techno riff by Alice Deejay; an incredible kitschy surprise finale (the Coldcut would say "Something heavy, Something stupid") kicks off the images - and soundtrack! - from the opening titles of TV series "Beverly Hills 90210". Jason Priestley's face will disconcert you even more since it is alternated to Faith Evans, while the audio switches to a sonic orgy in which the last echoes of Sean Kingston are submerged by the TV theme and the choruses from "I'll be Missing You" by Puff Daddy (itself a recycling of The Police).
Norwegian Recycling is too young to have lived the era in which Italian group Pink Project successfully paired a couple of hits in their singles. One of these works, "Stand By Every Breath" was a remake, rigorously replayed as a medley, of Ben E.King and The Police. It is nice rediscovering - even if for a coincidence - the seed of that stuff in current music works.
But on second thought, plagiarism has always been a creative force, not only in the music field.
Once a guy had to say these words about a song: "The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others".
For the record, that guy was called Sting and he was talking about the melody in "Every Breath You Take".
Images taken from www.myspace.com/norwegianrecycling. Courtesy of Norwegian Recycling.