Musical Quiz: Sample Galore

I know you (all three of you) are eagerly waiting for more heady insights on French society seen through the prism of a dusty ten-volume political theory handbook, but my aspirin ran out mid-sentence and I have been busy doing other things. Things such as getting woken up at 6am by timezone-agnostic Japanese flight attendants calling to ask if I need green tea brought over and wondering why I sound sleepy. So we’ll be taking a break off socio-politico-froggy-bashing and resuming in a few days.

Instead, today is Musical Quiz.

Not any musical quiz: Catch-the-sample musical quiz!

Music producers are lazy bastards. Take my word for it. Modern electronic producers: even more so.

Actually, all genres’ music producers get away doing fuck all, they just do it in a different way:

I don’t think I need to cover R&B and Hip-Hop “producers”. In a way, when listening to some of the excruciatingly bad original Hip-Hop backing tracks made in the 90’s, you tend to be thankful that they finally opted for a more consistent rip-off policy of every instrumental tracks known to man. You just wished sometimes they’d do a bit more than cut a two-minute loop and dub it with lyrics involving large vehicles, precious ore and loose women, that make you wonder why Gil Scott-Heron ever bothered in the first place.

Charted pop music usually doesn’t go for sampling of actual past tracks, they just dip into the same three arpeggios and five bass lines used by all Western musicians since the dawn of times. “Alternative” rock doesn’t always go that length: they turn on their RS7000 to some random default settings, call it a “revolutionary riff” and sing on top (if you have no idea what I’m talking about: imagine it the somewhat higher-end equivalent to recording an album using the “cha-cha-cha” rhythm line pre-packaged into your kid’s $30 electronic synthesizer).

And then there is house music, and it just becomes a wild game of spot-the-disco-sample or the Motown bass line. I mean, I love the stuff, and I’ll rip-off the obscure Salsoul track just as much as the next guy, but it makes you sometimes wonder about the whole point of ending the disco era in the first place. Note that all this applies mostly to the eminently “commercial” subset of the genre, particularly the string of club hits released during the 90’s by the masters of the so-called French Touch. Deep house, techno and others aren’t so much into this (which doesn’t mean they don’t share one bass line for twelve tracks: they are just a tad more subtle about it).

Anyway, not so much to prove my point (because really, Google and the name of any major club hit of the past two decades is all you need for that) as to provide some easy entertainment, I went through my archives in order to offer this small quiz. But rather than giving you the remix, asking for the original (which once again requires nothing more than basic Google skills), I figured I’d present you with the original and see if you can spot the remake. Some are easy, obvious, provided you had a pair of ears during the 90’s, the last few may be harder to spot. Overall, though, I made a point to stick with the mainstream.

In a word: everybody can play!

Game is easy: give a listen down there and post your guesses in the comments. One point goes for name and artist of the original track, and one point for the more recent version (most notorious one, if there are many). Both are a Google query away from each other anyway.

As for the prize, beside basking in the glory of your well-earned musical nerdiness… let’s say coffee’s on me next time you pop by Paris.

Ready, set, go: