When asked to compare a long list of artists that obviously vary in musical style, the first theme that sticks out is a shared method of musical production. Many of these artists take a major piece of a formerly existing song, whether that is a beat or even the lyrics, and transform it into something new. For example, M.I.A uses the rhythm from “Straight to Hell” in order to form the backbone of her song, “Paper Planes”. Jaan Pehk does the same with Veljo Tormis’s production of “Laulis Isa, Laulis Poega”, and ironically, Tormis composed this opera song based off of a unique Livonian cultural song. Along the same lines, Deep Forest created a trance inducing song from the “Rorogwela” lullaby song. On a sonic level, the original lullaby seems so personal and unique, whereas the remix creates a feeling of detachability described by Feld. The original lullaby becomes so broken up that the main point of concentration becomes the fantasy land one enters upon listening.
After hearing all of these samples, one can’t help but wonder what should be classified as original music. While the tracks are creative in their own right, the previously mentioned tracks all rely on raw, unrefined music composed by their predecessors. Although the original music was most likely influenced by an even further removed source, the lines of derivation seem to never end. While I have come to accept this fact, it is still worrisome in an age where music can be transformed at the click of a button. The music of our most esteemed artists, like Michael Jackson and Hall and Oats, is quickly transferred to those of our contemporaries.
“World Music”, as Feld puts it, would not have been much different had the genre been coined 3rd world music. Although non-Western music was being marketed as exotic, primitive, and traditional, World Music fits a very broad artistic category undeserved of being classified as its own sub-type. On the other hand, global ghettotech has arisen as “a radically synthetic counter to ‘world music’” (Bailey). What enables ghettotech to earn its right as something majorly different from world music is its unique technological creation, along with the culture that surrounds the movement. The social circumstances in many 3rd world cities have created a major class divide, resulting in a “cyberpunk dystopia”. The resulting sound is a rough and rugged, up-beat metallic sound produced from the sequencing of electronic equipment.
The main difference between ghettotech and “World Music”, aside from its sonic qualities, is the way in which it is labeled. The many genres of “World Music” available are so diverse that its categorization as one entity largely discredits the individuals responsible for its creation. But, on the positive side, the listener tends to convey more joy than critical response when addressing a certain musical type. Despite all the implications surrounding the concept of “World Music”, “nu whirled music” reiterates the idea that in our global age of accessibility, one generally fine tunes her reality by channeling in material of interest. With a marketplace more fragmented than ever, perhaps more “World Music” will enable the listener to expand upon one’s musical interests.