Techno Godfather Kevin Saunderson Gives Away Classic Track And Italian Rip-Off

Techno Godfather Kevin Saunderson knows what to do when somebody rips off your music and sells it as their own.

Release the original and the rip off version as free downloads.

Here’s the story, in Saunderson’s own words:

I recorded ‘The Sound’ back in 1987 and released it on my own KMS Records label. It was a massive hit at New York’s Paradise Garage and in Chicago and of course Detroit.

The reason I have decided to give this track away for free is because of a situation that recently developed involving the unauthorized sampling of ‘The Sound’ by Italian producers Giacomo Godi & Emiliano Nencioni (Supernova) in their release ‘Beat Me Back’ on Nirvana Recordings. It came to my attention that they are licensing and selling, with considerable success, this track which is nothing more than a continuous loop of the main hook from ‘The Sound’.

For me to hear ‘Supernova’ taking an extended loop of ‘The Sound’ and claiming that this is their own original composition and production is both dishonest and disrespectful. My first thought was that they were perhaps naïve, but as they have apparently been recording together since 2002 this seems unlikely. In any event this is completely unacceptable, we cannot continue to let this kind of wholesale rip off go unchallenged and tolerate ‘artists’ who completely sample recordings, add nothing of their own and then release the results as their own work.

I have a huge affection for sampling, it’s how some of the most inspiring and ground breaking tracks of our times were created. We’ve pretty much all sampled records at some time, and cleared the sample so we can use it on our releases, but it is just not cool to take someone else’s music, create a big old loop of it and then put your name on it and try to have success entirely off the back of another artist’s efforts. This really has got to stop.

For this reason, I have uploaded the Godi/Nencioni version of ‘The Sound’ to Soundcloud so that you all can download this for free if you so wish. These producers and their record label should not be profiting from my back catalogue… this is not their track to sell.”

Italian rip-off version embedded above. Download the original here (.zip).

25 thoughts on “Techno Godfather Kevin Saunderson Gives Away Classic Track And Italian Rip-Off

  1. Actually i think he's overreacting.
    What's the difference between sampling a one bar loop from an old techno song and sampling a one bar loop from an old soul record? why is sampling supposed to be allowed only for certain genres of music?
    This is really interesting. Somehow it seems as if everybody agrees that electronic music should be considered like a work of the "creative genius" – untouchable etc. His words sound totally pathetic to me. But maybe i'm the only one here.

  2. I believe he is justified in his reaction if this statement is indeed correct.

    "……..claiming that this is their own original composition and production"

    To add insult to injurt they didn't even do something creative with the sample. It sounds almost like the same song. They have just proven that they are lazy regardless of whether you believe they are in the wrong or not.

    If you are going to sample someones work there are simple rules that for a group that has been around since 2002 should be well aware of.

  3. They have literally done nothing but loop the main hook. There is no added effort, personality, or creativity. Nothing which adds to the original to make a new and interesting piece of work. It's not so much a remix as the sort of re-edit I'd expect a DJ to create live with the simple application of looping functionality and/or cue points.

    All art is theft, etc, but this is amazingly lazy, incredibly disrespectful and disingenuous when the original source has not been given even the smallest amount of visible credit. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, personally, but I support your right to have your own opinion.

    At least Andy Warhol had a statement about the artistic establishment's constrained definition of art to complement his Campbell's soup can. Nor did he expect each gallery visitor to pay £1.73 to look at it.

  4. Actually i think he's overreacting.
    What's the difference between sampling a one bar loop from an old techno song and sampling a one bar loop from an old soul record? why is sampling supposed to be allowed only for certain genres of music?
    This is really interesting. Somehow it seems as if everybody agrees that electronic music should be considered like a work of the "creative genius" – untouchable etc. His words sound totally pathetic to me. But maybe i'm the only one here.

  5. i agree with you. if it is from 1987, the track definitely is ground breaking. However it is also extremely repetitive and far from original. there is no real distinctive beat pattern, melody progression or smart timing going on. To be honest, neither track should be protected by copyright law, completely generic stuff..factory emx-1 stuff

  6. Good play on Saunderson's part.

    I have to disagree with those that say that Saunderson's track isn't original. Saunderson helped create the techno genre and he didn't do it by copying somebody else's track and looping it.

    The remix works for me, too, but the producers should have called it a remix instead of stealing it and selling the work as their own.

  7. At first I read the article and was "How dare those guys do this!", then I downloaded and listened to both tracks.
    After listening, I can say the new track is definitely influenced by the first track, unsure if it's really a sampled sped up version of the original or a replayed-redone part. The original riff is hardly difficult to play, so I can't say for sure. This kind of thing is so common in electronic music though.
    I didn't even know the original artist, and a riff like that is so easy to make. I could easily have made a song and used a similar or almost exact riff and not even realized it.
    It's not quite as bad as "Robot Rock", where that entire main riff is just a resampled record loop played over and over, though i do love that song lol.

  8. Wait a minute, though, are you seriously suggesting that copyright (for all it's failings) should only be applied according to how "generic" some arbitrary person thinks a piece of content is, and whether an item of technology released decades later comes with a factory pattern emulating it?

    Really?

  9. @Fearmonkey Funny thing is, all of Human After All is like that. DP just became bloody lazy.

    Incidentally I work hard to make a lot of my own sounds or – on occasion – heavily multilayered sounds based on some tweaked presets I like, as well as my own sounds. I'm sure these Italian wankers are going to make some dough out of their track, because it'll inevitably work in clubs, but it makes me pretty sick to think that this happens and those that work hard on their own sounds – as Kevin does too – sometimes have to put up with this.

  10. Copyright is a lie. Say i have a 606, 808, or 909: and make a rhythm, (apparently following some 'standard' in 4/4. What's the difference if someone else does the same thing. Easy enough on these limited machines. If both beats are recorded and put out, is the first one legal, the second not, even if the second person never even heard the first? And why not if i play a scale in the key of C? Or a blues scale. I mean, there's how many millions of songs and only 12 notes. Argue it all you want, but there's a million reasons why copyright makes no sense, and very little why it does. Apart from lawyers getting paid.

  11. sampling its a tool and as a tool you have to do what you have to do with it to get results…

    a handsaw cut wood and also meat, bones and are excellent musical instruments too

  12. If you think these machines or scales are so limited that outright plagiarism is inevitable then I can't help be think that you sadly lack either experience, creative imagination or personalised production techniques. 20 years later and I'm still discovering new forms of unique sonic expression with the 606 and 808, mixer and effects. Otherwise, what you're arguing is that the first purchaser of an instrument makes all subsequent users redundant (note that I fully support the concept of bespoke, customised, one-off gear).

    Certainly the entire copyright system is flawed but that's a separate argument to outright copying someone else's creative output and claiming it as original without the slightest hint of respectful credit. Just a small shout out in the liner notes (er, MP3 comments) would have likely avoided this entire fiasco. Lawyers are not the issue here and have not been mentioned at all, just the expectation of common communal social courtesy.

  13. Or: If you turn up at someone's generously open invite party and take a bunch of booze from the fridge to sell at your own event, don't be surprised if the host calls you out as being rude and selfish.

  14. Supernova ripped off The Sound, it's very simple… they took the heart of the song and added another track!!!

    Santonio

Leave a Reply