Wednesday, April 18, 2007

‘Remix’ and ‘Mashup’

Let’s talk terms. ‘Remix’ and ‘Mashup’ both interest me. But what is the difference. According to the great wiki:

A remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. A remixer uses audio mixing to compose an alternate master of a song, adding or subtracting elements, or simply changing the equalization, dynamics, pitch, tempo, playing time, or almost any other aspect of the various musical components. Usually, a remix will involve substantial changes to the arrangement of a recorded work; lyrics may be added or removed, such alterations are not a necessity. A song may be remixed to give a song that wasn't popular a second chance at radio and club play, or to alter a song to suit a specific music genre or radio format.


Mashup (or mash it up) is a Jamaican Creole term meaning to destroy. In the context of reggae or ska music, it can take on a positive connotation and mean an exceptional performance or event. The term has also been used in hip-hop, especially in cities such as New York that have a high Jamaican population.

Mashup, or bootleg, is a musical genre which, in its purest form, consists of the combination (usually by digital means) of the music from one song with the a cappella from another. Typically, the music and vocals belong to completely different genres. At their best, bastard pop songs strive for musical epiphanies that add up to considerably more than the sum of their parts.

Differences? Remix has cool white connotations of high tech interventions. Mashup is Creole (read black), with a hot edge of violence (to destroy) and also termed ‘bastard pop’. Remix is attributable to ‘a remixer’, whereby the artist as genius lives on within the new technology. Mashup is a process (as is Remix actually) that confuses boundaries while striving for a constellation that is only “considerably more than the sum of their parts” but never a new thing. But remix creates a song with “substantial changes” and “a second [coming??] chance”. Remix exists in the production of commodity culture while mashups subvert the values of that culture. Originality is supposed in the remix while it is erased in the mashup.

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