https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM_9As_2VAg

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the life changing Do Lectures, an inspiring festival of ideas, held in giant a teepee in Wales and featuring a presenter roster to die for: Owner of Moshi Monsters? Check. Head of strategy for BBC Digital Service? Check. Founder of Vimeo? Check. You get the idea. Stupidly, I blagged my way on-stage to spread the gospel of streaming ether video remixes. A year on they invited me back to remix the presentations into a nightly rehash, a daunting feat I tried not to focus on. 

The Do was a little different this year, and featured workshops to develop products and businesses. A tall call I reckoned at the start, although with hindsight products like Doobox and Tentoring are an impressive demonstration of the group smarts. This left slightly less time for presentations, with many being highly structured around business strategies: not the richest remix material. Still, there were plenty of barnstorming speeches to add to the mix. I particularly enjoyed Alex Tutty on copyright, Mark Bolton on everything, Damon Collins on fucking focus and Michael Action Smith’s “Make beautiful mistakes” “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” and “Say yes to parties” the perfect bookends to a typical live set!

do acton

Unfortunately the first nights attempted performance was an epic #fail, with all the elements crapping out on me: first I couldn’t play the days presentations, then the internet died and finally the projector gave out. Thankfully, Friday was an entirely different kettle of fish, which saw me setting up inside my van and projecting onto a giant screen hung in the trees next to the pub. I kicked off with a number I’d been saving for the occasion…

I followed up with all manner of random stuff, most memorably, Cassetteboy’s take on the Dragons Den hashed with the Beatles ‘You never give me your money’. Other than a bit of rain dampening down the outdoor audience, it was a proper winner.

do branSaturday night was the first time I’ve had to wait for an actual giant to clear the space before playing, one of those unexpected Do experiences that make it so special. I was slotted in between the giant and the warmup DJ for Wales best (only?) surf rock band. This time we didn’t get a sluiced down by the rain, and thankfully the internet connection held out until the next DJ was ready to kick off. I would have made the most of the proximity to the pub, had I not had to drive the van back up the hill to my spot for the night.

do setup

The organisers were most hospitable and evidently appreciated my small contribution, as they gave me a special card with my name on that granted me free beer, as well as sharing a few kind words after the event. I also overheard one confused Do-er heading back to their tent early on Saturday morning saying “That was the trippy-est thing I’ve ever seen.” Whilst I’d venture their psychedelic experience must have been rather limited, it was music to my ears none-the-less.

free beer

I’m sure many others will sum up the intoxicating mix of food, company, fresh air and fresher ideas that constitute the Do much better than me. I was just absolutely delighted to play a small part in such an amazing happening.

I need to say a big thank you to Richard King for getting it, James for his outstanding projection screen solutions, Chris the awesome sound guy with the endless supply of cables, everyone who cooked, Kev the dude, Sean, Steve, Kate & Colin for the superb footage, Jon for popping my Mac cherry and everyone there for their amazing energy. It was a life affirming pleasure.

 

Start at the very beginning….

“…it’s a very good place to start”. I guess I should have followed that pop culture advice in crafting your remix eduction. Lets rectify that, particularly now sample culture and remix is back in the news thanks to some copyright liberties on the backing track for the Harlem Shake meme. The trouble is, there are several interwoven beginnings to this particular story.

I’m going to look at an artist who has been called the “unwitting inventor of turntablism” Christian Marclay. Never heard of him? No surprises there, although Newsweek named him one of the top 10 most influential artists of all time. He started out working with sound collage in the 1970’s, using scratched loops on records as percussive elements. Like many people since, myself included, his creative journey led him to incorporate visual elements.

Marclay came at this from an avowedly arts perspective. He wasn’t that interested in entertaining, he was making art. Perhaps the culmination of this is his 24 hour remix, The Clock, which uses samples from films to create a clock. Yes, that’s right, an entire day of samples. The Clock won the official selection prize at the 2011 Venice Biennale , as if you needed proof of his arts cred.

But I cant show you that, as Marclay is strict on the situations in which it can be viewed. Instead, lets look at some of his earlier work, Telephones from 1995. You can very much see this as the grandaddy of the latter supercuts such as Hello that I kicked this series off with.

I love how he creates an entirely new narrative from the samples, which is pretty much what I am doing in my live shows, creating new narratives from existing work.

Next up, we’ll look at some other remix pioneers, who were more party than arty…

Wrecking the net

Lets pick up that remix education with a collective who would doubtless have scorned an appearance on Rudetube. They are hot favourites amongst the uber hip Vimeo staffers, yet rarely hit 4 figure views on YouTube. Ladeez and gerrulmen, I give you Wreck & Salvage: three internet hobos riding the rails of digital refuse.

I came across these guys back when I was a promoter of av nights and didn’t tread the boards myself. They hooked me with an irreverent mashup humour that hinted of deep philosophical underpinnings… and intense bourbon consumption. Excitingly, they were broadcasting live video mashups over the intertubes a good 3 or 4 years ago. A feat I’m yet to achieve (though stay tuned on that front) and one giants of the scene, Eclectic Method, have only just got round to.

Many of their uploads are snappy, disconcerting affairs, coming in at around 30 confusing seconds. However I thought we’d take a look at one of their longer offerings, POTUSes. A simple idea delightfully realised.

Whilst they are not politically obsessed, Wreck & Salvage also feature in the mix that I promised to share last time round. Look out for Joe Biden commenting on the marvels of the internets in “Remixing teh internets”..

remixing teh internets

For more Wreck and salvage, I’d check their Vimeo, as YouTube limit what they can put out there.

I see a Motown or a Madchester

Although I’m looking to broaden sources of mix material beyond YouTube, with Vine in particular providing promising content, mashups are always going to be a staple of my sets. So spotting a ‘Rudetube Mashup Special’ whilst lazily browsing the old medium, I figured I could maybe learn a thing or two from their extensive research.

I didnt.

Clearly I shouldn’t have had high hopes for a no-rent digital rip off of You’ve Been Framed. But their top 50 countdown of the “best mashups on the net” left an awful lot to be desired. Since they used number of views as the sole criterion, I guess it’s not surprising there were some echoing voids in coverage. Some of my genuinely favourite mashup artists have views in the hundreds or low thousands. Nowhere near the 5 million odd views of the ‘winning’ video: a creation so acidic on the memory that recalling what it was entirely defeats me.

And so, inspiration struck for my next 50 odd postings.

Lets start by acknowledging one of the few artists Rudetube managed to include: Matthijs Vlot.

Now heres a guy, HERES A GUY who goes DEEP. I couldn’t think of a better opener. There are no beatmatched classsic rock songs synched to Missy Elliot in his mixography, hell no. When I’m talking mashup, this is what I’m talkin’ about.

Start your education with “Hello”:

When I watch this and consider the online remix oeuvre  I see a Motown or a Madchester. I see a movement with creativity at it’s heart. Only now, the geography is global not local

In my next post, I’ll show you how I would use this in a set. But for now, lets ponder a while on the unfathomable connections Matthijs must make in his head every time he watches a film.

As so often, YouTube limit remix material, so go check his Vimeo.

A good run in the cup

Not since Brother ineaux issued commands from atop the Leeds Uni during LightNight 2011 have I done any outdoor projection. So when the BBC asked if I could project some images of footballers round Bradford, I jumped at the chance.

It was a pretty simple job. Head over to the gorgeous architecture of Little Germany. Find some nice dark buildings. Fire up generator. Play the footage from 1911 courtesy of the Yorkshire Film Archive.

What started out as a 10 minute slot for Inside Out had suddenly become a half hour news special, so the producer also had some nice BBC footage of JB Priestley visiting Bradford that we also used.

I love this shot of him sitting in a carriage framed on a wall…

Priestley wall

I just hope this is no longer an appropriate epithet for the city…

lost city

Buggles had it all wrong

MTV famously debuted with a goggle eyed mop top singing about how video had killed the radio star. I bet he never anticipated a radio show made entirely from videos.

I must confess, when I started mixing YouTube videos I didn’t anticipate it either, but yes that just happpened. My new friend @curatingyoutube emailed following our back to back mixtape session asking me to craft a mix for him. The radio show wasn’t the only twist on a common theme, the mix had to be done using gridr.com. I must confess, this made it doubly attractive. Broadcasting to an audience of late night Berliners (did I mention he’s German?) using a new platform was a challenge I couldn’t turn down.

Briefly, a word about gridr. Its a great platform for non-linear mixes of YouTube videos, demonstrated far more artistically that I do in @curatingyoutubes exhibition “Three hours in every second”. Me? I just bludgeoned it into submitting to do the sort of thing I would do live, only without full screen videos. The mix is called Meta wangling in Beta. The ‘wangling’ bit comes from the opening track, the Beta is because I am learning and Meta? Well its all Meta isn’t it?!

I was delighted with some of the responses, particularly from people who had been confused as to what exactly I do when I play live, such as:

abi ytdj comment

PS YTDJ = YouTube Jockey

Whilst it isn’t a perfect portrayal of what I do live it works a treat if you’re just listing to the audio, or interested in watching me work ‘behind the scenes’ without the full screen treatment.

The loneliness of the youtube curator

I have griped before that it’s a lonely business doing something that essentially no one else does. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a twit by the name of @curatingyoutube.

We’d barely exchanged brief pleasantries before I’d invited him to partner up for an online video mix.

Now it’s worth mentioning that I knew essentially nothing about him, in fact I don’t think I even knew he was a he. Still, I was sold by his handle (wtf does mine sell?!) and a fascinating game of video ping pong ensued. We played on dragontape.com, taking turns to choose a video and tag it onto the previous choice, working within the confines of the mandated 5 second audio fades and abrupt video transitions.

We played until we’d reached what seemed like a sensible conclusion.

I love what we came up with, and knowing a bit more about him now I can understanding his choices. I also loved that there was no background, no context, just a shared love of extracting the best from the tubes.

The result is Video Ping Pong. Can you tell who’s turn is whos?

vid ping pong sshot

We continued to play, only we changed the nature of the game… more of that next.

Yourtubes is coming, honestly…

I know this seems like a repeat posting, but YourTubes is definitely coming back at 8pm on Friday 22nd September (ignore the bit below where it says Saturday 22nd). This time its smack bang in the centre of town, in the swanky surroundings of the White Cloth Gallery no less (ignore the bit below that says it’s at Melbourne Street Studios…. you might guess things have been rehashed significantly from the original plans) right next door to the train station.

What more could you want, a delightful setting, a saturday night soiree with drinks on tap where you and your chums control the viewing. Until you get too tiddly to focus, when I will take the controls.

YOU! are what makes this event unique. YourTubes is the only event in existence (karaoke aside) where you choose what everyone else watches, right up until I can bear it no longer and wrestle controls back from you for to craft an on the fly mix from live streaming video. The evening will kick off with some inspiring/enlightening online presentations, which you can shortlist in advance (on Twittter with the hashtag #YourTubes) which we’ll vote for on the night. After that, any old randomness goes, though if a theme starts to emerge, I’d recommend running with it, bouncing selections from the ones that go before.

There’s good reason why ‘horns’ are cited on the poster (though I didn’t realise it when it was created) Unless I get carried away, this will be the starter for my set…

Suggestions welcome for horn based follow ups.

L’entente cordiale

I can be a bit full of myself from time to time, but really I’m pretty modest about my work. So when the head of the French sister label of Ninja Tune starts emailing compliments about about my blog, it’s fair to say I was a happy ineaux.

The man in question is DJ Oof, psychedelic art collector, curator, film and fashion geek & founder of the Ping Pong label. Years ago I picked up one of his Cinemix dvd’s at a Big Chill Festival, though I don’t recall actually seeing him do it live. This doesn’t actually mean I didn’t see him, as far as I’m concerned festivals are like the old adage about the Sixties ; )

I’ve always had a penchant for his style: great musical choice, and a cheeky humour, often expressed through samples from the French equivalent of Carry On. He’s a one man cinematic kiss of life for neglected footage, whether the French film archives or pioneering 50’s animator Norman Malcolm.

He emailed some kind words, and mentioned that a few of the videos had gone offline. He was clearly expecting me to have a hard drive stashed away somewhere with downloads. So explained that I only played live streaming content from the internet, which meant I was in the lap of the censorious inter-tube gods. His “Respect” answer meant an awful lot to me, as it’s great to be recognised for the verite of my approach.

Anyway, enough basking in the reflected glow, lets take a look at his oeuvre…

Well well… in a moment of pure serendipity I just came across my favourite segment from the aforementioned Cinemix dvd, featuring some Anglo French capers in ‘The Brain’. I’ve been looking for this online for a good 5 years, only to find it whilst writing this blog with only 2 previous views. Like picking the winning numbers in the Euro Millions Lottery!

That one is perhaps not the most cerebral offering, so here is the result of 500 hours plundering the French aeronautical archives set to some Modeselektor minimalism. I’m a sucker for clunky machines and retro switchgear…

And to finish, heres some glitch-hop set to the work of Norman McLaren…