Watch Bob Dylan Do The ‘Cut-Up’ Technique
Bob Dylan - Swingin’ Pig / Youtube
Bob Dylan’s creative streak in the sixties was his ultimate weapon in perfecting his craft, which was fleeting and ever-changing with the times. One of his musical pinnacles is the album Blonde on Blonde, where he displayed a certain kind of sonic aesthetic that was quite confusing to wrap your head around trying to figure out how it came to be but was exquisitely poignant when observed from an external standpoint.
This was also the time where Dylan learned of the artistic technique, cut-up. It was the multi-faceted artist Brion Gysin that showed American beat author William Burroughs the said technique before it was popularized. The latter explained when an artist could use the technique, saying: “In fact, all street shots from movie or still cameras are by the unpredictable factors of passers-by and juxtaposition cut-ups.
“And photographers will tell you that often their best shots are accidents . . . writers will tell you the same. The best writing seems to be done almost by accident but writers until the cut up method was made explicit– (all writing is in fact cut ups. I will return to this point)–had no way to produce the accident of spontaneity. You can not will spontaneity. But you can introduce the unpredictable spontaneous factor with a pair of scissors.” David Bowie himself made use of the technique, creating some of the most unorthodox yet pleasing lyrical imagery.
Watch Dylan demonstrate the technique for the creation of Blonde on Blonde in the video below.