Remix Culture

We live in a remix culture.  Nothing can be just what it is anymore.  Of course it all started with music.  Someone said, “Hey this crappy song might be slightly crappier if we throw an 808 kick drum and some wooshy keyboards on there.  Oh, and make it twice as long!”  Do we really need the extended electro-version of “Hit Me Baby One More Time”?

I had a friend who was really into “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys when it came out.  He listened to nothing but that for two weeks.  Yep, that’s right.  He liked the song, so he hit “play” again.  He didn’t need a 16-minute club mix version that looped Mike Love’s vocals through a warp tunnel of reverb and delay.

But music has always been a remix culture.  Rock n’ roll came from a mix of blues and country music.  Jazz began as a mixture of ragtime and gospel music.  I myself have been known to merge disparate styles of music.  Dixie-Goth anyone?

And everything gets remixed now.  There’s been a proliferation of “fusion” restaurants.  “A fusion of Asian and South American Cuisine”.  Or as my girlfriend says, they couldn’t really get either one right, so they just piled them together.  Egg rolls in Chipotle sauce…. Yum.

Every new website is a mix of other websites.  “Well we’ve got friending capabilities like MySpace, but they can only talk in 140 characters like Twitter, and everyone has to do it naked like Adult Friend Finder.”

But I’ll tell you what I like about remix culture.  Nothing is sacred anymore.  If I want to do a video of a Lady Gaga’s “Papparazzi” mashed up with Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, with the visuals being nothing but pictures of pit bulls chewing the legs off small children, only let people comment on it without using any word over 3 letters, show it on a huge screen in a movie theater where every chair is covered in taffeta and sweet and sour sauce, and live webcast the whole thing to millions of people all over the world who really don’t care… then I am free to do so.  Ok well, the movie theater might be upset about the sweet and sour sauce.

And just for fun… Here’s a song I love to hate.  Modern pop production mixed with westernized Middle Eastern modalities, reverb-y surf guitar, and prostitution.

Phil Johnson

PS…. I’ve remixed a ton of ones and zeros to create 8 beautifully modern MP3s of songs that will make you laugh.  Get them for free at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *