Originally published by The Vinyl Factory.
“Sampling a spoken word passage which implies that record contracts are used as a mechanism of oppression and control.”
Directed, written, edited and photographed by Duval Timothy, it also features animations by himself alongside Max Valizideh.
Speaking about ‘Slave’, Timothy shares, “the song explores the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The idea that we live in a world that not only feels the effect of this horrific history but one that takes elements from the slave system and implements them in different ways adapted to our contemporary life.”
“The song samples a spoken-word passage which implies standard record contracts are used as a mechanism of oppression and control, pointing out that these contracts are worded in terms of ‘Slave’ and ‘Master’. In this way, the song criticises a model where record companies coerce artists into handing over or selling ownership of their masters in favour of a model where artists partner with people and companies within the music industry while maintaining ownership and control of the music they created.”
“The song also explores the idea of whether an audio sample should have rights of its own. The “slave” vocal, which was performed by Ibiye Camp was recorded and placed into a digital sampler (ESX24) where they are transformed into an instrument I am able to play. In this situation once created the vocal sample has no agency over what happens to it, it is a slave. In this way, I’m exploring what I see as an inevitable fight for the civil rights of artificial intelligence.”
This video also addresses other musicians who have likened elements of the music industry to slavery, including Prince and Nipsey Hu$$le. “These artists are depicted on the peak of the mountain in the end sequence of the video, which I climb to join them”, continues Timothy. “The story is an adaptation of my own experience in the music industry. In 2019 I bought back my own masters, which was my mountain to climb.”
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