Sampling, the art of taking a few seconds of an old song, and looping it with while making all together a brand new song. I first discovered what sampling was about when I watch a BBC documentary around 1996 when De la soul were featured sampling a record on a Akai MPC3000. Then, I discovered ATCQ, Massive attack and countless of others. I became fascinated by the whole culture. Record collecting yes but above all what were these mysterious records used by people such as Marley Marl, DJ Shadow or Alex Patterson. The most beautiful thing you learn from it is the tremendous music culture one can gain through listening to those old records like Marlena Shaw and Woman of the ghetto that was released on Blue note. At the time Massive attack released Mezzanine, the Internet existed (in 1998) but it could takes years before you could be able to identify what a particular sample was used. You had to buy the record, and that’s what I did. Take Black Milk for instance. The bassline comes from Manfred Mann’s tribute (1972). I probably discovered it 10 years after Mezzanine’s release. That’s what the true idiosyncracies of sampling were, and still are : bringing obscure bands or songs of the past at the forefront of modern music. David Axelrod is good example of that : he was brought back on the music by being sampled by DJ Shadow.
There are so many good old records. Remember that everything comes from something else. Knowing the musical roots is essential and in this day an age of the age of the Internet there are no excuse for being ignorant and lazy. Everyting is one click away and sites like Whosampled provide comprehensive guidelines for beginners.
Here are my top 5 favorite samples :
- The Chi-Lites – Are You My Woman (1970)
- Banbarra – Shack Up (1975)
- Freddie Hubbard – Little Sunflower (1967)
- Moondog – Bird’s Lament (1969)
- Pekka Pohjola – Sekoilu Seestyy (1974)