Yes, Royksopp’s use of Bob James’ melody line is clearly a sample. I’d prefer to keep the content on Sounds Just Like focused on similar sounding songs, not obvious samples. However, this particular case is important.
Royksopp’s hit “Eple” is based entirely from a 5 second portion of jazz great Bob James’ “Your as Right as Rain”. James’ version itself is a jazzy take on the Stylistics tune by the same name. In addition to the boldness of the move by Royksopp, there is also something to admire in the beauty of their execution. I heard “Eple” first, and was instantly hooked. It’s a catchy riff. Royksopp recognized the potential of 10 notes from a mid seventies jazz number and did their best to make a techno hit. I admire it.
Bob James is no stranger to sampling. Wikipedia claims that a few of James’ tunes “are among the most sampled in hip hop history“.
So take a listen. Enjoy. Decide for yourself: is Eple a creative collage worthy of it’s own praise or a mere piggyback ride? Share your thoughts in the comments!