Chenard Walcker at the Comfort Stand

Most people trace the roots of the information age back to the first iterations, like the telegraph, telephone, or phonograph (but not the phonophone.) The savvy data mixer, though, knows that the age truly began with the first file casually copied from one digital floppy to another. From the moment society began digitizing everything, from ideas to pictures to music, the information became truly free, free to spread, to grow and, most importantly, to change. Now you could not only record music, but you could chop it, bend it, stretch it, dice it, turn it inside out into countless new iterations to astound and delight. Recording information was no longer just a means of preservation. It became itself an artistic medium.

Part of the importance of free information and fair use is to allow works of art to grow beyond themselves. As demonstrated by THRU-you in the atthecommons manifesto, in the correct hands fascinating, even culturally important new works, or even whole new genres, can be born. And probably no one understands this better than self described cut-and-paste artist Chenard Walcker.

Walcker is a French musician who focuses on producing music through sampling, using new combinations of music snippets and found sounds to engineer strange new melodies. His songs, particularly those found on The Lotus Opus, tent to mix traditional lounge with eclectica, forming a haunting but mellow atmosphere. His music is comparable to the ambient explorations of more mainstream artists like Moby or Aphex Twin, both practiced cut-and-paste-ers in their own right. At the same time, Walcker lends what almost resembles a coherent but twisted sense of madness to his music, an askew viewpoint regarding art and reality that is dutifully reflected at his homepage. Not speaking the French language stymies me somewhat in reviewing the page, but what there is that I can access paints a picture of whimsical self contradiction in the medium of pop, and that serves as an excellent base description of the music, as well.

Walcker’s sound isn’t for everyone, but the practiced hand combines with bold explorations into the unknown that produce not merely songs of a unique nature, but of definite quality as well. Each track will keep the mind guessing, while laying down an overtone of classic grove that combines the modern scene with the hip era seamlessly. And for those looking for good examples of how free use and sampling help redefine and repurpose the potential of art, look no further, for The Lotus Opus shines like a beacon in the dark for such seekers.