Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Full Ashtray

My remix project, titled "A Full Ashtray," expanded as it went, one burnt-out cigarette at a time, you might say.  The original spark came from dramatic readings of Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" by Morgan Freeman and myself.  Separate dramatic readings, of course. (But that would be awesome.  I'm not actually certain who had the idea first.)  My first inclination for this project was to do a reading of "Closer" by The Chainsmokers, but I decided that I wanted a more complex and time-consuming project.  I decided to use the whole EP on which "Closer" resides: Collage.  When I saw the EP's name, I thought it was fate.  Later, I decided to do a mash-up of the Collage EP with Xenia's EP Artemisa.  Xenia is an indie pop/jazz singer who competed on the first season of The Voice.  I thought that her songs had a lot of running threads in them, and they do, but they actually don't have as many threads running through their refrains.  But wait.  When you put the Xenia refrains up against the Chainsmoker refrains, threads suddenly appear.  What is going on?  I'm still not quite sure.  Both artists have an indie pop sort of core, though Xenia is influenced by jazz and The Chainsmokers is influenced by EDM.  The two EP's I've used have a lot of similar content, if different poetic structures.  I guess it's an indie thing.

This project has three parts.  The first part is a simple Word document with the lyrics of my mash-up.  You can find it here.  The second part is a dramatic dialogue interpreting my mash-up.  Kiri McCoy helped me out by playing the female character. She performed the Xenia parts. You can find that video here.  The third part is a sung interpretation of my mash-up.  I tried to stay true to how the song-pieces were originally performed, but I linked the full remix loosely.  It should be fairly easy to hear when I switched songs since the Xenia parts are so much slower and jazzier.  You can find the sung video here.  My goals were to create entertaining remixes that examine music, specifically indie pop music, more closely.  The dramatic dialogue I shot may have ended up a bit too Shakespearean, but I think it gives a glimpse into a different sense of emotion resonating from the songs.  Especially with the Chainsmokers' songs, emotion has been stripped away to allow for more fun and musicality to seep in; I wanted to let the emotion show through in dramatic form.  With my video, I give a less-modified depiction of my mash-up.  It should be relatively similar to a cut-and-paste video of song clips.  My voice doesn't sound all too similar to the voices from the songs, but the tunes and emotional bases are similar.  I think the remix works pretty well in this way.  It should sound pretty cool, if I did a good job with it.  The point of this assignment, I think, was to create a remix that steals from someone else, but with such theft being eventually justified by some artistic reinvigoration of the appropriated parts.  I feel that my remixes have done just this by shining a different sort of light on the stolen lyrics and tunes.  They have been reenvisioned in a new way, and they are serving a function that may've never been thought of by their original artists.

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