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Using Social Media To Soundtrack Social Unrest

Kutiman’s new track is a departure for the mashup artist, but no less enjoyable for it.
September 21, 2011, 5:01pm

Were the Mayans right? Are we living in the end of days? It certainly feels that way with the whole world seemingly imploding with natural disaster and social upheaval. But, you know, it probably felt like that back in the French revolution when heads were being chopped off, too. And nothing adds fuel to the creative fire like the sounds of society crumbling—especially for music, which has always had its ear to the ground and a particular knack for being able to comment on what’s going on, soundtracking generations of discontent. It can be seen today with rap music in the Middle East, providing a platform for the revolutionaries to renounce their fear of the regimes that oppressed them.

Which is where Kutiman‘s new mashup song, This is Real Democracy, comes in. The track is his first foray into the arena of socially aware music, giving us lots of shots of crowds getting angry, politicians waffling on about how they’re going to tackle those angry crowds, and general visuals of social unrest all set atop a backdrop of clashing guitars, drums and audio commentary. It’s a departure for Kutiman in both content and style, using footage from TV stations as well as the found footage on YouTube, and mixing it with sounds of the demonstrators.

Power to the people.