Listen to Enya's "Watermark" cut up, looped, and transformed into stunning new ambient work

Originally published at: Listen to Enya's "Watermark" cut up, looped, and transformed into stunning new ambient work | Boing Boing

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I used to loved Enya.
Now i must be tone deaf because that new re-work just sounds awful.


She did not do this remix… it was Florian T. M. Zeisig…


Stunning? Stunningly BAD. Horrible. Makes me want to stick a hot poker in my ears.
Plus, how is this legal? Did they pay royalties/get permission from Enya?


Sounds like someone is a fan of Basinski.

Do you think Afrika Bambata and Skinny Puppy were fretting over the legalities of sampling back in the day? Or Burroughs and Gison for that matter?

The more recent laws regulating sampling were attempts to stifle independent creativity that wasn’t directly controlled by the recording industry. They failed to do it via moral panics around hip-hop, metal, and punk, so they went after legal technicalities to stifle alternative, non-commercial culture.


This is one of those cats stepping on a keyboard tapes isn’t it?


Sounds great!
Enya gets the Steve Reich treatment.

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Real talk.

As a teen, Enya was a big part of why I’m still here today. Life was not good, and her music got me through it. How much did it matter? As I reached adulthood (and in the days of newsgroups before there was much of a web and you could really do this sort of thing), a whole bunch of us pitched in to send her 100 roses on her birthday. It was my way of thanking an artist (and her partners) for having such a profound impact on my life.

So to call me an “Enya fan” is downplaying it a little. :slight_smile:

However, I’m not a fan of this mashup. You lose the thing that makes Enya so unique - the manual, analog (at the time) layering of voice on music sometimes 100 times to create her works. Cut up “sharply” like this, it loses that etherealness to me and instead sounds much more mechanical.


I felt the same way about Enya as a clinically depressed teen. I first encountered her music on Northern Exposure, Caribbean Blue plays over a powerful scene at the end of the episode “The Final Frontier,” and I cannot watch that scene without getting all verklempt.


While I’m not a fan of Enya I completely respect how she’s managed to sell some hundred million records all while never touring and rarely performing live. That’s pretty damn remarkable.


Me three. I’ve loved listening to Enya and similar music since I was a kid. But because of the general snobbery toward “new age” music among kids and overcompensating adult critics alike, I kept my interest to myself, a choice I thoroughly regret as I was apparently less alone than I thought.

I hope the advent of the modern internet helps today’s outsider kids feel less isolated and that whatever music speaks to them doesn’t have to be a secret shame.


LOL “independent creativity” So that’s what we’re calling stealing someone’s work, cutting it into pieces, then playing said pieces? And making a sound like cats being tortured? OK, w/e.

The idea of “stealing music” is problematic outside of the assumption that music is a commodity that is ‘owned’ and and has more value in an economy rather than a cultural practice.

Of course contempory white musicians have appropriated African American music, Elvis, Stones, Led Zep, John Spencer, Beastie Boys et al, but even so I would think that there were elements of transformation and the political and moral/ethical waters are pretty grey.

The political economist and social theorist Jacques Attali speaks to the history of music as a commodity in the book Noise directly. Worth a read.

Liking the sound of tortured cats is a matter of taste and another discussion.

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I mean… what truly novel is out there, dude… Really? It’s not like there is anyone going out and rehauling the entire history of music to make something entirely new - everything draws from something else. If they make popular music, they are pulling on the history of the recording industry to some degree. If they are doing something in the more rarefied art world, they also have a long history to explore and experiment. Much of the good stuff is just taking ideas that already exist and coming at them from a different direction - and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Anyone who thinks he’s contributing something entirely “novel” to the vast history of music, popular or otherwise, is probably treading on someone else’s ideas and aren’t even aware of it. The cut-up technique has a long history in both the art music world and in the realm of popular music.

Or as Eugene Hutz once said, “let rest originality for sake of passing it around…”

But if you don’t like this, that’s fine. There is a ton of stuff out there to listen to that you might enjoy. Go find that.


Meh. They didn’t take it to the next mutherfukkin level:

I won’t call this terrible because it features Enya, but I won’t be going back to it, either.

Now I need a fix of Enya. The real, one and only Watermark is on my playlist for today.

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Remix culture is more common in some music genres than others. Much of the electronica-now-edm scene runs on it, for example.

I don’t have a problem with the remix existing in any way. I just don’t personally like it.

I’m not qualified to judge it’s legality (IANAL), but I presume it’s something-something-noncommercial so it’s maybe ok on that front, too?


It seems like this is less of a remix and more of a cut-up, though. It’s entirely a different song rather than a different version of the same song.

Maybe. I do know that there was a point where sampling came under legal scrutiny, I think it was with De La Soul sampling The Turtles and that band suing them for it’s use. @noahdjango might know more on that…

But up to that point, few people bothered with clearances for samples. I’d say we’re still up in the air on this issue, and erring on the side of copyright holders (who are often large corporations).


There were a few landmark lawsuits during this time period regarding sampling, but the big one that really changed the landscape for hip hop was this:

Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. - Wikipedia.

(Not sure why it’s not one boxing properly.)

Biz Markie was sued for his song Alone Again by Gilbert O’Sullivan for sampling Alone Again (Naturally). The courts ruled in favor of O’Sullivan. The end result of the suit was that any sample would have to be cleared by the copyright holder who could demand up to 100% in royalties.

This meant albums like the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique that was almost entirely sample focused could never be made again without a huge outlay of cash. (I always found it amazing that the majority of Paul’s Boutique’s samples were cleared and at a pittance too. That will never happen again.)

This did lead to quite a bit of innovation. Dr Dre used samples from artists who were amenable to sampling (like Parliament-Funkadelic) or licensed compositions instead and recreated them in the studio building the groundwork for G-Funk. Others like DJ Shadow just YOLO’ed it and relied on obscure or mangled samples hoping to fly under the radar.