Title: Sunset Boulevard
Artist: Studio Noir
Release Date: 2014 Jan 6
Genre: Jazz / Remix
License: CC BY-NC-ND
This, I have to admit, was an intriguing concept to me. Studio Noir has taken a series of recordings that are in the Public Domain and remixed them. But the remixing process hasn’t been done to make trip-hop or downtempo versions of the songs.
Instead, Studio Noir has taken on the job of using this music to provide a background / sense of the deaths of sixteen actresses from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. The way this is accomplished is by taking recordings from the period, and using them as the basis for compositions.
What doesn’t happen in these recordings is major transformations. The artist doesn’t feel a need to make major changes to the original sources: they are period appropriate, and have the moods appropriate to each actresses demise. the only transformations are in layer and looping the original source recordings to fit each of the actresses.
That was immediately a brilliant concept to the way I think of music and the idea of creating derivative works, and re-use of material that is no longer under copyright. And certainly, the artist achieves his goals in producing this recording. It works on all of these levels.
The problem I have is this: with all of this use of public domain source material, and transformation of these works into his vision, why would you license the results under a No Derivatives license? These works are largely based on recordings that are in the public domain, and the transformation on them is not as extensive as many works these days.
Don’t take that the wrong way: I do have a major appreciation for the work that went into creating this release. It took a lot of work to gather the backgrounds on the actresses, and then link them to the musical styles, find the pieces, and create the actual works on this release. I get that.
But given that the basis of the works is materials that are largely in the public domain, it would seem to me a less restrictive license would have been appropriate. Something like a BY-NC-SA, which would keep people from using his work commercially, while allowing anyone who was interested in creating new works, with credit to Stuido Noir.
Okay, end of my rant. I really like this release a lot. It’s an interesting concept, and it plays really well.