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Creator and Artist Stories

Music Tuesday: The art of the remix and an African guitar hero

By Sarah Bardeen

Music Community Manager

This week on, we delve into remixes of all shapes and sizes -- from music videos that pilfer vintage footage to create something new and unusual to the now-dominant art form of the music remix. Both take existing material and tweak it -- sometimes until it’s unrecognizable. And, as independent musicians and the people who love them head to New York City this week for CMJ, check back to every day this week to see a video from the artists participating in our Indie Artists Summit. With the launch of our YouTube Merch Store, there's never been a better time to be a musician on YouTube.

Found Footage = Music Video?
Experimental filmmakers have used found footage for many years. But increasingly music video directors are adopting the practice, culling source material from decades of forgotten recordings and making short films for musicians that are by turns amusing, creepy and beautiful. Case in point: Mayer Hawthorne’s recent video for “A Long Time,” which nabs tape from a ‘70s-era Detroit dance television show. Or check out Ratatat’s video for “Drugs,” which repurposes stock Getty footage to unsettling effect. Ambient heroes Boards of Canada even turn to NASA to create their hypnotic video for “Dayvan.”

The 50 Best Remixes
eMusic’s staff take us through some of the greatest remixes of all time this week, sharing everything from dub classics to contemporary hip-hop bangers. The remix is now one of the dominant facts of modern music, and the mixing board and its add-ons are arguably the most important instruments in pop music today. But don’t just take it from us. As eMusic says, “Who invented the remix? Lots of people — and people are still reinventing it all the time. That's the point of remixing: proof that a piece of music is never finished as long as someone can tweak the parts till they shine brighter, move differently, or resemble something else altogether.”

Meet An African Guitar Hero 
At 15 minutes long, today’s featured video is more of a mini-documentary than a music video. Filmmaker Michal Shapiro interviews Banning Eyre, the internationally-renowned co-founder of Afropop and champion of African music. The video begins with personal history, as Eyre talks about his early days studying with Malian guitar masters -- but it quickly moves into stunning footage of one master guitarist: Aboubacar “Badian” Diabate. Diabate’s technique is unparallelled -- he’s able to transmit the delicacy of other African stringed instruments like the kora to his instrument. Prepare to be ravished.