It was the concept I liked, that's why I decided to review the CD. Give the audience access to the basic tracks so they can play around with the sound and make it more to their liking: it's a variation on a theme that's been starting to appear as people's home computers have become more sophisticated in their abilities to deal with music files and information.
Discs like IR2 have made individual tracks available online for people to either include in their own songs, or to remix into different forms. David Byrne and Brian Eno have released tracks from their early 1980's found sound experiment My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts online for people to play with and generate new music.
So when I read that a performer named Duncan Sheik was issuing a special DVD ROM with his latest CD, White Limousine that would allow his audience to remix some of the material, I thought what a good idea. I know from my own personal experiences that there is plenty of material out there I would love to get my hands on to do just that: either turning the bass track down, increasing the lead vocals, or putting a little more oomph in the guitar - something that would make the song sound better to my ears. At first blush it sounds like something very democratic that the performer is offering his audience: I know not everyone has the same tastes, so why don't you change it to suit your needs?
But after listening to White Limousine I've had second thoughts on the matter. How many composers would allow anyone to mess about with what they considered their final take on something as personal a piece of music? In the first two instances I talked about, what's being offered are tracks that have been previously recorded to be used as the basis for a song, any song: chants from South Pacific indigenous peoples, drums from the Amazon basin, radio broadcasts, and other third party creations.
In his release notes where he talks about the idea, Duncan Sheik says "there are countless other versions of these songs that one might attempt and I'm genuinely interested in what other people do with this material." The software that's shipped with the DVD ROM splits each song down to its component tracks, and allows you to remix them to your heart's content.
I guess it would be fun for people who are into playing with other people's music and not creating their own, but personally I can't see the point except as a marketing tool. When I've watched musicians mix down their songs, they've been in agony trying to ensure everything matches what they heard in their head when they composed it. They're usually more liable to let someone sleep with their partner than mess with the final mix of their music.