Moore’s ‘American Sound’ an eye-opening challenge for Elgin musician

Elgin-based hip-hop artist Andrew Moore set himself a goal: To play with musical conventions in a way that challenged himself to work within certain constraints. 

“It was a sonic experiment to see what I could make from these old samples I found in the public domain,” Moore said. “I wanted to make some sample-based work, and I also wanted to make something that was commercially viable, and I knew I couldn’t just dig into every copyrighted audio file.” 

Limiting himself to one-minute songs — “I wanted everything to be a quick, complete body of work you could consume in one sitting” — Moore set out to create what became “The American Sound: An Audio Collage,” a five-song collection created entirely of samples he recorded or found in the public domain. “The American Sound” is available for purchase and on most streaming services.

“Most of the stuff I have is 50 to 100 years old,” he explained. “It was either government-created material that never had a copyright or material so old that the copyright expired. And some that never had a copyright to begin with.” 

Within those restrictions, Moore began the five-month process of producing the tracks, which were then whittled down to the five “that tied together the best.” 

One inspiration for the project was a week in 2018 Moore spent in Key West, Florida, for an artist-residency, he said. 

“While I was out there I spent each day recording audio and video with my phone and spent each night creating a song and video with the samples I yielded throughout the day,” he said. “Ever since that week I have been artistically looser, allowing myself to explore different techniques, styles and mediums.”

“My experiences that week really opened my eyes to the extent of my artistry and showed me that I could create good content out of almost any source material.”

Using videos from the public domain — various animations, old Bosko cartoons, government-issued public service announcements and some borderline propaganda videos — Moore also created videos to accompany each track. 

“A loose goal I had, without throwing it in your face, is there’s been propaganda going on all throughout history,” he said. “Things that seem silly now when you look back on them but the majority of people believed when they were happening. So I wanted to put that out there and make you think, “What propaganda is happening right now that we don’t realize is propaganda?” 

Moore, who is playing at Milwaukee’s Summerfest Sunday, July 7, will also be displaying the entire five-video “The American Sound: An Audio/Visual Collage” at “Cartoon Cavalcade,” an exhibit of cartoon-themed displays hosted by Oddball Art Labs and held at ArtSpace Gallery, 51 S. Spring St., in Elgin. Proceeds from the art exhibit will benefit the Well Child Center in Elgin. An opening reception will be Friday, July 12, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the gallery. A closing reception for the exhibit will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27. 

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Summerfest

When: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at the Ground Floor Stage near the south gate of Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tickets: Free admission for Fan Appreciation Day from noon to 3 p.m.; regular admission charges apply after that

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Opening Reception

When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, July 12

Where: ArtSpace Gallery, 51 S. Spring St., Elgin, with an after-party at Martini Room, 161 E Chicago St, Elgin

Closing Reception

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday July 27

Where: ArtSpace Gallery, 51 S. Spring St., Elgin