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Category: Music

A Brief Ramble on Plunderphonics

Plunderphonic was coined in the 1980's, in an essay by composer John Oswald, called "Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative." While plunderphonics is not a new concept it often encapsulates newer genres, like Vaporwave.
Most, if not all, Vaporwave is some sort of plunderphonic, because the core of most Vaporwave is some sort of borrowed sample/s.

Machintosh Plus - Floral ShoppeBlank Banshee - 0

I was introduced to Plunderphonics probably way before I even knew it, but formally introduced to the term this year when I took a delve into the artist Macroblank.
Macroblank is...Pretty controversial, even for a a Plunderphonic artist. 
As of recent, his Bandcamp was removed and his collection was wiped.
People's main gripe with him is that, outside of his old Bandcamp bio which stated "everything is plundered", he never made it clear that the tracks posted were not his. It is rumored that he even went so far as to delete comments on Youtube stating that. Ontop of all of that, Macroblank released PHYSICAL COPIES of these unstated plundered tracks (I actually own a special variant press of one of my favourite albums of his (Original variant and special variant posted below)).

My personal opinion on Plunderphonic makers such as Macroblank is pretty neutral. I agree that the comment deleting is fairly morally dubious, but I disagree with the statement many people make saying, "His music is just slowed down tracks."
There are a few songs that sound like a pre-existing track slowed, but it is very obvious that most of his tracks are distorted in way that make them appealing as a new music experience.
It's the kind of editing where I may not entirely enjoy the source material, but instead the altered track.
I agree that artists in this genre need to give more credit where it is due, especially if they are going to be making physical releases. But it is also the listeners responsibility when they are actively knowledged in their consumption of Plunderphonics, that they understand there is no 100% copyright free track that they are listening to. Therefore, it is their discretion on whether they spend their money on the artist or not.


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