Fat Possum Records

In You See Me Laughin - The Last of the Hill Country the scene that got me thinking most is the part where the film shows Matthew Johnson the label head and Tom Rothrock the famed producer of artist like Beck, Elliot Smith and James Blunt working on a remix of R. L. Burnside song.

At first I thought that this concept initiated by Johnson is an obviously move to commodify R.L.'s music in order to reach a wider audience base. An act that I think contradict with his label's statement of preserving and documenting the Hill Country Blues tradition properly. Initially I thought the remixing project is disrespectful to the original creations of the artists, and I feel like they exploited the carefree attitude of these artists towards their image to the outside world.

Adding Dub bass lines, compressing the drums to get that up to date Hip Hop drum sound...these additions might not compile well with our ideas of what traditional Delta Blues should sound. However, if we think about the beginning scene of the documentary, where it shows Junior Kimbrough's JukeJoint, people having a good time dancing to the music, we can see that all these Blues artist really wanted afterall, might just be simple as making music for people to dance to, something they can do to take other people's blues away. In this vein, Rothrock and Johnson's vision really do nothing more but supplement the meaning of the artist's music.

In conclusion, I learned to respect the creative efforts during the mixing. In fact I realize that there is no use to simply record these music as is, and preserve them like we do for fossil stones in museums. Music should be alive, and if these producers decide to jump outside the box a little bit and did it with integrity, it is definitely worth me listening to.

1 comment:

  1. New media (e.g. Tom Rothrock's remix treatment in the studio) helped keep the music relevant to a younger generation. But, how to watch when the new becomes the old, again.