Noncommittal

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The Project:

Here is a link to a locally hosted version of the mashup: Noncommittal.mp3. The piece is also hosted at http://soundcloud.com/jennaz/noncommittal, where I attached an Attribution and Share Alike Creative Commons License to my work.

Motivation:

Our generation is exemplified by noncommittal relationships. It's not that we don't want to have contact with other people, it just that we like remaining in a place where we only have to answer to ourselves, only have to worry about our own happiness and needs. It's not like we actively push people away, but we don't make as much of an effort to reach out and pursue emotional investment with others. We like having friends and expressing our affections for each other but increasingly we don't want to make long-term commitments. We might be called "the future", but we don't like thinking about it. This is especially evident in our romantic encounters. Youth is ephemeral and we don't want to waste it on heavy stuff. Being young is about being irresponsible and stupid. But really, I think we do crave those connections, we are just afraid of them, afraid that we will have to compromise something of ourselves. But we live for the now so being unhappy now doesn't make sense even if it will make us happier in the future. But without these connections, we are left spiraling, floating, and ungrounded. We prefer to keep things ambiguous and casual for fear of alienating our partners but then we just end up alienating ourselves from our true needs and our sanity becomes a casualty.

I would also say that the medium of the mashup fits the content of the piece-- it reflects the noncommittal nature of our generation. We cannot commit to listening to one song, so we put 18 in the span of 5 minutes and can only bear to listen to one for 1 minute and 36 seconds!

Process:

To make my mash-up, I used a program called Ableton Live 8. Though it is not by any means free or open-source, I found that it was a lot easier to produce by using Ableton's incredibleness. Some of the music I used was already in my iTunes library, but much I found on the Internet. There were three main sources for this:

  1. Acapella websites: DJs and mash-up artists often don't use the versions of songs that you hear on the radio to create their music. Instead, they use the acapella and instrumentals, which are recorded separately in the studio and then mixed in production. The internet is a great resource for finding such files.
  2. YouTube: When playing a video on YouTube in Safari, go to Window > Activity, then look at the section describing what is going on on the YouTube page. There will clearly be a file that is bigger than the others which are being processed. Double-click on it. This opens an empty window but also downloads the streaming FLV file. 
    Once the file is downloaded, open VLC Media Player. Use the "Advanced Open File" option in VLC to open the file. Use the "Streaming/Saving" option to save the audio stream as an mp3 file (it won't immediately append) with Raw encapsulation and with a bit rate of 128 kb/s and 2 channels. The resulting file can then be used like any other mp3, and in my case played around with in Ableton. I used this method to get both acapellas and instrumentals.
  3. Movies: There are two clips of dialogue from movies in my piece, both of which were captured from Netflix using iShowU. Then, I used GarageBand to make an mp3 file of just the audio that I wanted. GarageBand separates movie frames from the audio track, allowing me me to delete the movie frames and isolate the audio, which can then be exported as an mp3. 

Then I dragged my clips into Ableton and worked my magic. Here is an action screen shot: 

Here is a complete listing of tracks used in the piece with when they enter and exit play. This is similar to the entries that users have made on the Girl Talk albums' Wikipedia pages Discussion sections. (The Wikipedia listings count as original research and thus are not displayed on the actual pages)

0:00 - 0:26 Real McCoy - “Run Away”
0:04 - 0:11 Lady Gaga - "Alejandro"
0:25 - 0:27 Peter Bjorn & John ft. Victoria Bergsman - “Young Folks”
0:27 - 0:59 Ellie Goulding - “Under the Sheets”
0:31 - 1:19 Lady Gaga - “Telephone”
0:47 - 2:03 Ace of Base - “Young and Proud”
1:24 - 3:00 Taio Cruz - “Dynamite”
2:04 - 2:20 Kid Cudi - “Day 'n’ Nite”
2:21 - 2:56 Dialogue from (500) Days of Summer
3:00 - 3:23 Mika"Relax, Take it Easy"
3:00 - 3:48 Cali Swag District - “Teach Me How to Dougie”
3:00 - 3:32 Lady Gaga“Love Game”
3:24 - 3:47 The Game - “One Night”
3:47 - 4:16 Souja Boy Tell ’Em - “Pretty Boy Swag”
3:47 - 4:05 Lil Wayne - “I'm Single”
4:05 - 4:14 Dialogue from About a Boy
4:12 - 4:48 The Naked and Famous - “Young Blood (Chiddy Bang Remix)”
4:16 - 4:42 Incubus - “Privilege”
4:44 - 5:01 Lil Wayne - “I'm Single”


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