De La Soul’s debut masterpiece 3 Feet High and Rising includes a 12-second sample from the Turtles’ 1969 song, ‘You Showed Me’ in the interlude skit, ‘Transmitting Live From Mars’. Upon hearing the sample in 1991, Mark Volman of the Turtles successfully sued De La Soul for an eye-watering $1.7 million in a case settled outside of court. Speaking to the L.A Times, Volman said, “sampling is just a longer term for theft. Anybody who can honesty say sampling is some sort of creativity has never done anything creative.” Volman is apparently deaf to irony, since ‘You Showed Me’ is actually a cover version of a song written by Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark of the Byrds.
He’s also just plain wrong. The sheer amount of creative music that has been spawned since then is staggering. Even to put the Golden Age of Hip-Hip to one side, we’ve had Plunderphonics, Chopped & Screwed, Breakcore and a more recent fascination with sound collage in the Internet Age. So what do we make of sampling today? Where can it go? Is ‘originality’ important? Does it even exist? This month, we spoke with two contemporary producers and artists working with samples — Dane Law and Natasha Lall — to answer these questions and more.
Legacy Support - Akzidenz [Unreleased]
Velocity - John Oswald [Avant]
United In Dance - Dane Law [Quantum Natives]
What I’ve Done Wrong - 111x [Unreleased]
Cheer Chat Plunderphonics - Natasha Lall [Unreleased]
Straight Outta Compton (MC DSP Mix)- Kid606 [V/Vm Test Records]
Variations For A Door And A Sigh - Pierre Henry [Limelight]