The art of modern sampling was first introduced in the 1940s by the experimental Musique Concrète school in Paris. Early examples include collage-like field recordings of everyday sounds, including manipulated loops of passing trains, closing doors, car horns, and other urban noises. These experimental techniques later became mainstream, such as the unusual ambient textures and reverse tape processing in the Beatles breakthrough 1966 track Tomorrow Never Knows. The rise of Hip-Hop DJs in the 1970s and 80s further cultivated the vocabulary of sampling, including dance songs built out of loops taken from older tunes (especially 1960s funk). As the technology advanced, DJs began working with samples with greater sophistication, rendering their original sources unrecognizable at times.
Catchphrase is a six-minute fanfare that combines the colorful possibilities of the orchestra and DJ. Designed to work with a variety of hardware and software, Catchphrase invites the DJ soloist to create an interactive musical dialog by sampling and warping the orchestra’s basic motives and rhythmic gestures in real time. Using a combination of standard notation and improvisation, the DJ plays a large role in shaping the electronic sounds, which makes every performance unique.