The technology-driven era in which we live has redefined everything from the way people perform their rountine activities to their sources of entertainment. But is it possible that technology has even transformed music, one of the most ancient and prevailing sources of entertainment there is? Gregg Gillis, the music producer more famously known as Girl Talk, embraces this new era of technology by making a laptop his instrument of choice.
Gillis doesn’t like to be referred to as a disc jockey, since by definition, a disc jockey simply selects and plays recorded music. Gillis recycles snippets of familiar songs in order to create completely new ones. He used 373 samples from various artists on his new album “All Day.” But he didn’t encounter any legal trouble because the samples posed no direct competition to their sources.
Although it often feels like technology trumps creativity, Gillis’ music is evidence that technology is in fact supplying people with a conduit to channel their creative ideas. Without the technology of his MacBook, it’s unlikely Gillis would ever have been able to complete his vision of mixing and mashing up the music of artists from entirely different genres and times to create a sound that’s like candy to the ears.
Many people seem hesitant to accept the changing face of music. But many seem to welcome it, too. Girl Talk shows, for instance, tend to sell out almost instantly. On Saturday, Jan. 8, Gillis performed a sold-out show at Expo Five in Louisville, Ky. It was a two-hour dance party with a backdrop of awe-inspiring light effects. Gillis’ audio-visual creation has allowed concertgoers to experience GirlTalk as opposed to just listen to him.
Gillis lost himself in his MacBook, trying to figure out the perfect way to end the show. He chose to mix John Lennon’s “Imagine” with UGK’s “One Day,” a song about the unpredictable nature of life. By means of his computer, Gillis was able to create something beautiful and thought-provoking that brought tears to the eyes of virtually all his fans, uniting them in synchronicity. The Girl Talk concert was proof that technology can not only unite different kinds of music to create harmony, but also unite different kinds of people to do the same.
(Written Jan. 19, 2011)