Behind the music
About Stems & Twigs Mix by Maelstrom
The “Amen break” is one of music’s most beloved and essential samples, ranking up there with “Funky Drummer” and “Think (About It)” as the most used breaks in hip-hop and electronic music. However, the primary songwriters behind the track – the Winstons’ Richard L. Spencer, who wrote the arrangement for the song and owned the copyright on the track, and drummer Gregory Coleman, who died homeless in 2006 – never received royalties from their indispensable beat. I always wanted to find a way to credit the creators behind the samples I was using in my own productions. It’s easy to do so on a vinyl sleeve (and I did), but the music streaming industry doesn’t care, and makes it almost impossible to share informations about a record and how it was produced, apart from the main artist’s name. Most of us know that there’s more to a record than just a singer, a rapper, or a techno producer. Music is inherently collaborative. Music is the fabric of communities. Music is made of shared moments, connections, and interactions. The Stems & Twigs Mix is an experiment in collaborative creative processes, using smart contracts to ensure that all creators are credited and get a fair share of the sale, based on how much they’ve contributed Following the Ensemble Mix (the first ever techno DJ set minted as an NFT back in March 2022 on sound.xyz), I decided to push forward by putting together a mix based, not on finished songs, but on stems (individual instrumental tracks). After announcing the idea on Twitter, I received around 550 different stems, uploaded on a shared folder : drum loops, basslines, vocals, guitars, synthesizers, sfx, or even modular and generative experiments. Each stem file’s name needed to include a twitter handle and an ETH wallet address I spent the next week assembling these components into a 25 minutes piece of music where almost every sound has been sourced from this collective sample pool. From the 550 stems originally received, 46 have been used in the mix (I only included 4 of my own stems). The final mix will be sold on sound.xyz as an NFT with multiple editions. Each producer will receive a percentage of the NFT sale, based on how many of his stems have been used (1 stem = 1%), with 50% of the sale going to the stem producers, and 50% to myself for building the mix and designing the concept. What’s interesting is that, even if 92% of the building blocks I used were produced by other musicians, the mix sounds a lot like a typical Maelstrom DJ set. But the process still pushed me into unexpected territories, where I had to find ways to include elements that I thought were essential, but didn’t sound at all like something I would have recorded myself. The result is truly a collaborative one, a dialogue between different voices, coming from specific places around the globe and different cultures, but sharing the same desire for a better future than the one that is currently being pushed down our throats by the music industry. ♡ Thanks to all the musicians who trusted me with their music for this project : Space Dimension Controller, Løyd, Studio Nouveau, Bergsonist, Amnix, ASAM, Birmingham Drive, 0xJitzu, Mark de Clive-Lowe, FRQ NCY, Emir Deniz, Helsmoortel, Drizzle, Serboy, GovernmentFun, Drüggy гледачи, Random Brothers, Pol Mira ♡ @tiraquon - @LoydMusicBE - @studionouveau_ - @bergsonist - @Amnix_music - @0x_ym0r0n - @BirminghamDriv1 - @0xJitzu - @MdCL - @FRQ_NCY - @ednzarts - @ClubHelsmoortel - @dreamboyfeel - @serboynft - @governmentfun - @nc_jbla - @Druggy_xy - @danistharandy - @polmiramusic
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