Appendix A: Notes on Rebakery & remixing
The project as a process is recursive, renewing itself as it swallows its own tail. Each mix is itself also available (and vulnerable) to further mixes. Today's finished work is offered up as the raw stuff of tomorrow's, creating a microcosm of the greater cultural-digestive feedback loop.
“Culture continues... an original, or deviant, shaping of the tradition received... original enough that it does not invite duplication of itself by others but invites the originality of others in response.”
—James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
It is a cascading series of Musical Offerings, each feeding into the next—an ongoing game of "Yes, And..." in which the source material may be positively reinforced or handled with ironic detachment—but always engaged.
“…It's the norm for remixers to operate with an almost contemptuous disregard for the material they are given; in turn, their clients give the remixers license to deface and dismember.”
—Simon Reynolds, Generation Ecstacy
Rebakery was conceived as a port of the Amish Friendship Bread neo-tradition to creative, derivative work.
“When you give a gift there is momentum, and the weight shifts from body to body.”
“There is an instructive series of gifts in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Hermes invents the first musical instrument, the lyre, and give it to his brother, Apollo, whereupon he is immediately inspired to invent a second musical instrument, the pipes. The implication is that giving the first creation away makes the second one possible. Bestowal creates that empty place into which new energy may flow.”
—Lewis Hyde, The Gift
Mix and remix here are used as shorthands for any piece of music which takes other musical output as a starting point—all that samples, covers, cites, dubs, rebops, steals or develops. The patterns and abstractions linking a derivative work to its source are the stuff of Rebakery.
“The artifacts themselves invite speculation in the form of moves... You develop a style based on emphasizing particular processes, but you also try processes in response to the state of the artifact.”
—Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft
A derivative work is a special creative exercise with one sole constraint—that of reaction. It is a dialog with a document, a dance with the dead.
It may be grown organically from an extracted germ, or it may be a slavish manual reproduction.
That germ may be a concrete sample, rhythmic tattoo, melody or harmonic motif, to be rethreaded with new counterpoints or textures, wrapped in new coats or draped across new spaces.
Or that germ may be developed—in character, inwardly, explored at a finer granularity and permutated over time.
The repurposed elements may be concealed with musical legerdemain, or left out in the bald open of the mix—or they may be conspicuous only in their absence.
The stolen elements may be flatteringly re-presented or they may be parodied and ridiculed as effigies.
The reconstitution may be artisanal or it may be mechanical.
“What is the difference between a stolen coat and a coat that is made from a stolen cow?”
—Louis Andriessen & Elmer Schönberger, The Apollonian Clockwork