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WRONG NOTES: a blog of ear reverence

Wrong Notes collects posts on music, art, culture and fun stuff. Also included: news about the Ear Reverends.

Grey Green Red White Blue Black Pink Albums

The Grey Album, DJ Danger Mouse's remix of Jay-Z's vocals from his The Black Album with instrumentation from the Beatles' The White Album, is a great example of creative transformation of previous works. Its concept and execution feel to me like a digital-jazz, and I think it would be great if works created in this manner were given room to flourish, rather than suppressed by copyright restrictions.

Lawrence Lessig has good commentary about the copyright situation in his The Black and White about Grey Tuesday. The Grey Tuesday is an organized protest around which many people are hosting The Grey Album online in spite of legal threats. The EFF also has a good analysis in their Grey Tuesday: A Quick Overview of the Legal Terrain.

All this protesting got me thinking that one way musicians could contribute more substantially to this protest would be to produce and release even more works based on remixes of these albums. Here are some ideas:

The Grey and the Blue Album: mix The Grey Album with Joni Mitchell's Blue.

Since the Beatle's 1962-1966 is also known as the Red Album, this is an easy one: The Red, White, and Blue Album: mix the Beatle's Red and White Albums with Mitchell's Blue.

I am sure, at this point, you get the idea. And, it turns out, there are a lot of other albums out there with color names. Just searching around, I found: The Yellow Album, The Pink Album, The Green Album (John Williams) and Green Album (Weezer), an Orange Album or two, and even The Silver Album.

Anyway, I can imagine a whole genre of copyright law protest music focused on color-named-albums remix inspirations. Hey, like Stravinsky suggested*, embrace some constraints and be creative within them. The results will probably at least be novel, which I think offers an essential component to the environment from which new art springs.

Update (3/31): Glad to see that people are continuing to play with this: check out Black on Black which mixes Jay-Z with Metallica's Black Album.

* also found the quote from Stravinsky:

The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.


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