Yoga Girl Rides Again
It gets complicated: Scott Wilson, a Santee blues rocker wrote, recorded, and released “Yoga Girl” in June. Then, in November, a hip-hop song with the same name surfaced. Same name, different song, and it got 450,000 hits on YouTube. David Wittman, of Fog and Smog, was credited as being the author of the second version. Wilson had an epiphany.
“I combined my version of “Yoga Girl” with their version. Mine is blues rock, theirs is hip-hop.” But the beats were a dead match, he says. “It fits over my song without any pitch correction.”
Thus, there is now a third "Yoga Girl" – the Soundcloud remix version, which is the hip-hop, rock, and blues version.
Scott Wilson and the Contradictions are a brick-and-mortar band that play San Diego and LA gigs; they were at Winston’s in November. He says his song was recorded in six different home studios in San Diego, Portland, L.A., and Pennsylvania.
“It was a collaboration done by email and FTP sharing programs.”
Most of it was recorded in Digital Performer but one of the solos was recorded direct through ProTools LE. “So the tools were simple but the process was not. This sort of process is becoming increasingly common but I'm not sure how much of it is going on at an independent level. I'm sure it's becoming extremely commonplace, but it's a recent innovation for making music.”
The finished remix? Seamless. If sounds like they were made to fit together, keep in mind they were not. Wilson says he doesn’t even know David Wittman. “It’s an incredible coincidence.”
They’re not all that new, mashups. In the simplest of descriptions of mashing up, a new “song” is made by bootlegging prerecorded parts of other songs. The artist blends the vocals, say, of one record over the vocal track of another. Today, there is all manner of software to help with the creativity which has led to a new job category: laptop artist.
But club deejays were doing the same thing (albeit in analog with old-school turntables and 12” records,) when they matched beats on records played simultaneously in the dance clubs of the 1980s.
Frank Zappa may have created the first mashup (he didn’t call it that) in the late 1970’s. "Rubber Shirt" on Sheik Yerbouti is a technically magnificent 2:45 exchange between bassist Patrick O’Hearn and drummer Terry Bozzio that is of spurious origin. From Zappa’s liner notes:
The bass part is extracted from a four track master of a performance from Goteborg, Sweden 1974 which I had Patrick O'Hearn overdub on a medium tempo guitar solo track in 4/4. The notes chosen were more or less specified during the overdub session, and so it was not completely an improvised "bass solo." A year and a half later, the bass track was peeled off the Swedish master and transferred to one track of another studio 24 track master for a slow song in 11/4. The result of this experimental re-synchronization… is the piece you are listening to. All of the sensitive, interesting interplay between the bass and drums never actually happened.
As such, Fog and Smog are a part of an emerging movement in pop music referred to as remix culture. Remixers actually want you to chop up and mix and match their music. But getting around copyright issues is another thing entirely. Publishers jealously protect the rights of their songwriters because they live off of one revenue stream, generally: royalties. Remix culture by definition takes an entirely different view of copyright. For example ccMixter, run in San Diego by an ex-MP3 exec named Emily Richards operates within the parameters of Creative Commons, something of an organic open-source approach to the complex issue of license.
“Yoga Girl” was Scott Wilson’s second mashup, as it turns out. “I have a friend in LA who wanted to know how it was done, so I mashed up Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with “The Hand That Feeds” by Nine Inch Nails.” Wilson says he’s working on a video for Yoga Girl right now.
Critics say mashups aren’t really music. Wilson says this: “In this case, it is my music. It’s my tune. I cut the vocals out of my version and inserted the rap where the vocals would go. If record companies had sense, they would think up a way to monetize mashups. A lot of super creative mashups are around, but they are difficult to clear (meaning, rights management) and they don’t ever end up on the radio or for sale.” There is mastery within the form, he thinks.
“The whole hip-hop revolution is an important musical movement.”
Scott Wilson and the Contradictions play the House of Blues in San Diego on February 10.
More like this:
- Unusual instrumentation — May 14, 2020
- Crushing the Eighties — Sept. 12, 2012
- Hey, That's My Song! — Dec. 28, 2011
- Behind the Scenes: Scott Wilson Music Video "Slow Movin' Driver" — Nov. 14, 2011
- Scott Wilson FTP'd His Yoga Girl — June 27, 2011