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Posts Tagged ‘mashup’

The key changes when the guys start singing are really striking. This genre of video fascinates me, as it really highlights the combination of group participation and response to music, mass democracy, voyeurism, and exhibitionism that the Internet inhabits. That is to say, this is a piece of art that is entirely new and could not have ever existed previous to this moment in history.

People can complain about whether or not mashup is worthwhile, but it is at least novel.

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(NSFW for language)

Sure, there’s a long Internet history of cartoon characters synced with rap songs, but this is among the best.

Sorry for the preponderance of video posts lately. We’ll get back to serious things soon enough.

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YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

(see here for context)

Also, great NPR story here about how the song is actually climbing the iTunes charts.

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In the past, such a video might have been passed around as a jokey, pre-viral piece of local news hilarity, kept alive by circulating VHS tapes in north Alabama.

The Internet, however, provides many opportunities for creative interaction. First, we get the basic remix, which would have been the result of the YTMND community a few years ago.

But the real genius starts with the Auto-Tune The News guys, who add an extra layer of awesome on top. This kind of reorganization and reconfiguration of the original video is exactly what makes creativity on the Internet so potent — a discussion through creative production at lightning speed. Again, this required the proliferation of recording technology, as well as Auto-Tune itself.

Then, the cover versions follow, creating a continuum of reimaginings.

Sure, this stuff is trivial, but it points to the direction that mashup culture can take postmodern culture. When one looks at the instant mixtapes and remixes that hip hop can generate, or the near synchronous news production and commentary, one sees the future, for better or worse.

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As I previously noted, “Star Wars Uncut” has random people put together 15-second clips of “sweded” Star Wars clips — do-it-yourself clips that are then mashed up into a recreation of the full-length movie.

Different from the now-tired trend of bands playing their great albums from start to finish, this recreation allows us to see fan culture at its most innovative, provocative and hilarious. Fandom has become a way of turning what seems like a submissive act — worshiping at the altar of some celebrity demigods — to a transgressive one — loving the thing so much that you actually change it.

Anyways, enjoy the clip. Full screenings start soon!

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This Michiko Kakutani piece in the NYT bashing mash-up is stupid in many ways, which you can judge for yourself. (Useful commentary here and here)

I wanted to point out a tangential irritation, however. The notion that mash-up culture is somehow a lower form of art, simply because so much of it is garbage, seems misguided:

To Mr. Lanier, however, the prevalence of mash-ups in today’s culture is a sign of “nostalgic malaise.” “Online culture,” he writes, “is dominated by trivial mash-ups of the culture that existed before the onset of mash-ups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media. It is a culture of reaction without action.”

In recorded history, 99.99% of all artistic output has not survived the test of time. How many contemporaries did Beethoven have, long since forgotten? How much doggerel polluted newspapers and books, while Emily Dickinson toiled alone? How much terrible early rap music shared boombox time with Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc?

It is easy to point out the huge chunks of really bad mashup. How, though, do you argue with the good mashup? The great mashup? For every 10000 trivial mashups, there is one chunk of gold, just as for every 10000 terrible sonatas of the 19th century, there was one Appassionata.

Which is a good segue for this:

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The Muppets + The Wicker Man

What do you get when you combine the Muppets with 1973 cult existential horror movie? I don’t know, but I love it.

My favorite part is how it successfully uses Muppet humor (Kermit’s hapless straight-man-ness, Gonzo’s gonzo-ness, the Muppets’ habit of bordering on creepy), while fitting the original storyline. Mashup may have begun in music, but this takes it to its inevitable growth into other media as well.

Original trailer here:

Whole original Wicker Man movie available (until it inevitably gets taken down) here.

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