Nearly-autistic levels of music nerdery, once a product of a consumption-threatened life spent breathing in dank record bin air, has become ridiculously accessible in recent years. You can apparently just find anything ever recorded within a couple minutes of looking. (News flash!) But now, beyond insane libraries of music available to stream at a key stroke, and coinciding biographical information for everyone who ever recorded on a 4-track, the new WhoSampled iPhone app goes so far as to scan your music library, pick out the samples and give you links to the original materials. Which is a pretty mind-blowing way to get continually handed a stockpile of cool, old music. But it potentially ends forever the kind-of-fun game of “What is that?” that came with the rise of sampling as a production technique, obliterating even the need to Google (although their database, now at about 150,000 entries def. has some room to grow before it becomes a true catch-all).
Here’s a glimpse at Daft Punk’s entry, identifying sample sources like Bill Joel, Prince, Barry Manilow, and Black Sabbath. Kanye’s is like ten pages longer. There are exhaustive wiki sites out there that have been specializing in this stuff for years, but even those labors of love are too labor-intensive to browse, I guess?
But on the other hand, and this might be a direct product of growing up at a time when the development of sampling felt really novel, but didn’t tracking down the obscure samples for the songs you loved always seem slightly disappointing at the end? Like learning how a magic trick worked or something? Something like MIA’s “Sunshowers” is suddenly way less impressive in the face of its not-so-different disco source material. In terms of pop music, mystery is our friend, isn’t it? And the exhaustively revealing nature of the Internet is doing its best to ruin that, correct?
What about you guys, are you excited by the continually limitless nature of the information we get on our devices, or starting to get bored by it? Is there is officially no mystery left in anything? Is the future slightly depressing?