The impact of technology on contemporary music

Essay by MrSnrubUniversity, Ph.D.B, October 2004

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The impact of technology on contemporary music is profound. Technological advancements in the last century have revolutionised the way we make, market and listen to music. In particular, the invention and evolution of samplers, synthesisers and computer technology has changed the way music is now produced. Versioning (artists remixing other artist's tracks) is a direct result of these new technologies. Junkie XL's remix (2002) of Elvis's 'A little less conversation' is an excellent example of versioning, and how technological advancements can impact contemporary music.

In 2002 the people at Nike got in touch with Tom Holjenberg (Jxl) when they were planning their Soccer World Cup TV ad. The song he chose would have to fit in with the short 30 second Nike had filmed titled 'Hidden Tournament.' The song would have to be 'cool' and since the ad would be played to a global audience during the World Cup, it had to have Universal appeal.

Tom sat down with some people from Nike, and after some brainstorming they decided to use the 1968 Elvis tune, 'A little less conversation.' He chose this tune because it was distinctive and obscure, it was funky and uplifting and had a 'no bullshit' attitude to it.

Holkenborg wanted to keep the original vocals fairly intact yet create more of a '2002' sound.

In an interview, Holkenborg describes the remixing process - 'It was difficult because the track was recorded in mono and its difficult to do a remix with just one track. I had to beef up the sound and add extra programming. I thought the song could be made into a contemporary dance track because it's got quite a modern sound. The drum track at the beginning kicks off the track and makes it almost like a breakbeat track. Sometimes you have...