"It's easy and maybe even cool to say "to hell with copyright." But of course, things aren't really that simple. What exactly is the difference between someone using your performance on their own CD without your permission and making a load of money, and GROUND ZERO sampling a revolution-era Pekinese opera to make a CD that DOESN'T make money? It burns me that a Japanese television network rotting in money can use my music without my knowing it, and I still don't get a cent out of it. But as long as a TV network is paying JASRAC (the one and only copyright organization in Japan) I'm told it's not illegal. So am I allowed to sample that TV channel without paying a cent, and make a CD from it? And then, what happens when that CD is sampled yet again by Stock, Hausen and Walkman?
The two main reasons for the existence of copyright are this. When a work is created by someone, there is ownership in that work. And, if such ownership exists, there is the question of how to justifiably turn that into money. My problem is about the fact that not all forms of creativity can be accredited to a single entity. And if I'm correct, what about copyright?
In the general flow of things, which do not consist of mere solitary products bobbing along but of things sampled and re-sampled, how can anybody say for sure who created what? The first question needs to be directed to the idea that an artistic work is born from a single entity's creativity. And so forth and so on. So rather than to go on talking about it, the idea is to go ahead and do it.
So it comes to this. GROUND ZERO samples the musical performance of a Korean national treasure, Kim Suk Chul. Any artistic purist should fly into a rage right there. His superhuman playing is without question a product of his own creativity, but it could also be that he is in fact a vessel for the voices of gods or ancestors. So GROUND ZERO takes and samples this brilliant music sacred enough to blow away any puny ideas about copyright. Then we will have this remixed by a number of unique sampling artists and place the two versions on a "chopping board" of consumption and sampling. Call it public sampling if you will. It's up to you how you cook with it. Mke it techno or enka or anything you like. What we want to see is not style or perfection but something beyond that (that is, if there is such a thing). The jumble of criticisms and questions that may emerge should outbalance today's definition of copyright together with its messy problems and questions of creativity. Go ahead and butcher this with your own hands. We can talk later". Otomo Yoshihide
Otomo Yoshihide: turntables and guitar
Sachiko Matsubara: sampler
Yumiko Tanaka: futozao-shamisen
Masahiro Uemura: drums
Yasuhiro Yoshigaki: drums
Naruyoshi Kikuchi: soprano saxophone
Mitsuru Nasuno: electric bass
Uchihashi Kazuhisa: electric guitar, effects
Sampling guest: Kim Suk Chul (hojok)