September 16, 2010 | 2:31pm
Most, if not all, people know that Led Zeppelin is an obtusely derivative band. They took popular American blues and folk music and made it their own, without really bothering to give credit where credit was due. The members of Led Zeppelin were, however, simply operating under the standards of the time, when copyright and royalty weren't too well established.
What does this all mean? Enter Kirby Ferguson and his ingeniously crafted Everything Is a Remix
. Ferguson sheds light on the now-popular form of remixing, detailing the early work of Led Zeppelin as an appropriate starting point for his four-part series. Part one is available for your viewing pleasure after the jump.
Everything is a Remix from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.
Sometimes a point that someone is trying to make can be rather obvious -- and that fact isn't entirely up to them. What is, in fact, up to the person trying to make a point is how they go about making that point. That is, can they present this previously agreed upon knowledge in an entertaining way.
The fact that Led Zeppelin used blues and folk music as a backbone for their own music isn't revolutionary by today's standards. Everyone pretty much already knows that about the band -- Kirby Ferguson, included. What Ferguson did, however, was present some thoughtful research in an entertaining manner that sheds light on the rather under-researched realm of remixes.
As well, Ferguson exposes an interesting take on remixes, exposing the fact that it happens a lot more than we think we know. For example, he chronicles the widespread usage of the opening guitar riff from Led Zeppelin's "When the Levees Break," showing how the music pops up in other songs by artists such as The Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, Eminem and -- of course -- Enigma.
Everything Is a Remix is fascinating, if not for its content then its presentation. Like I said, we are all pretty secure in Led Zeppelin's appreciation, if you will, of blues and folk music. What makes Everything Is a Remix good is in how that obvious idea is explained -- in an informative and rather entertaining manner. Hell, I never knew the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" was pretty much lifted from a band called Taurus. Here's hoping Ferguson can continue with his lofty project.