Cooler

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Sometimes I just don’t understand music videos. Rather, oftentimes I don’t understand music videos. This affliction is so consistent that I’ve almost entirely given up trying to understand them. Instead, I watch them, enjoy them, and move on.

Usually.

What throws me off is when a band passes up a cooler video in favor of… Another one. I’m not entirely sure about the chronology of these videos, but it seems that the band Grizzly Bear has done just that.

Grizzly Bear’s song “Two Weeks” is kind of their hit. It’s an awesome song, it’s catchy, it’s the whole deal. The band knows it’s their big song, too, because they made a video for it, and let’s face it: bands don’t make videos for b-sides. Here’s the official one:

Like usual for music videos, it’s cool, I guess. I don’t get it entirely, and it gets a little boring at the end, but hey, it’s not my video, right?

Artist Gabe Askew, however, has an alternative (as found courtesy of Mr. West):

I can’t say I understand this one, either, but look at it! Whereas the official video makes do with a bit of CGI over some fairly static camerawork, Askew’s version is a craft-masterpiece. I don’t have to reiterate my love affair with cardboard and papercraft, and this obviously wins points there, but the creative drive behind it is almost overwhelming. Both videos crescendo in a similar fashion, but Askew’s completely swept me away, while the official video merely interested me.

Maybe I’m too picky, but maybe the band should have considered other options. Considering how cool their album artwork is, I think it would have fit right in with their style. Maybe next time.

I should really offer Grizzly Bear-themed mashups today… OK, sold.

This first track even incorporates “Two Weeks!” Lil’ Wayne is an interesting addition, however.

This second track has the same idea, but it uses Dead Prez. I have to say that I like this vocal track better.

The final track uses Grizzly Bear’s song “Knife” instead, against Ghostface Killa.

Three-Dee

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As promised, I’m sharing the source of the header photo for my last post. I found this artist via Kanye’s blog, and couldn’t help but pass it along. I’m not entirely sure what she uses to make her pieces, but they’re all brilliant.

The artist’s name is Meredith Dittmar, and she has a portfolio of her work here. I particularly like her dioramas, like this one:

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Particularly, I like how she uses the balance of vivid colors with the greyscale backgrounds. If I had the money, I would definitely buy one of these things to hang wherever I go.

In my US Experience class last week, my teacher (an art professor) gave us a big speech about how Americans don’t buy and hang original art. If anything, we’ll have a poster or a print, but never the original thing. I mentally protested, as we have quite a bit of original art hanging in my parents’ homes, but half of that is either my mothers work or my own. So maybe he has a point. Regardless, buying ¬†original art has made it onto my list of things to do, when I’m rich.

Since I shared a whole album of mashups the other day, I’m going to leave you with this video, courtesy of A-Trak. If you haven’t heard of him, I’ll share something that I love dearly that he’s worked on, soon. That’s a bad sentence, I know. Anyway, here’s the video:

Enjoy!

The Cat Returns

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The school year has resumed, so I’ve decided to resume the blog, as well. I thought about restarting this with some kind of look back into what I’ve been up to in the months that I’ve been away from this, but I decided that’s stupid. I do, after all, try to keep myself out of this process as much as possible. However, I can sum it up in a couple of words:

I was in the woods.

Good? Good. To start things off, I have a couple of stop-motion videos (found through Boingboing, of course) to restore the aesthetic that I like to explore:

I’m not going to write too much right now, since I have a job interview tomorrow morning, but a post wouldn’t be the same without mashups. I shared Super Mash Bros.’ first album last year, but they’ve come out with a new one in the meantime, All About the Scrillions. This album became the soundtrack to the second half of my summer, and I dare say I could have done worse. Check it out.

Here’s one of the tracks.

Here’s another one.

And here’s the link to the album download.

PS– Curious about the header photo? Check back tomorrow to find out what it’s all about!

Redirect

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My direction in college (like most people, I find) has never pointed in the same direction for any great length of time. It’s still pointed in the same general direction (journalism), but all the little stuff usually shuffles around.

Recently, I decided to become a ceramics minor. I really love wheel-throwing, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it. And I’ve been crazy about handbuilding stuff ever since I saw the Claudel-Rodin exhibit at the DIA several years ago. I even thought about doing my AP Art portfolio with 3D work, though I wisely realized that 2D design was a better idea at the time.

Anyway, the volume of production that I’m working at right now makes it pretty easy to justify giving stuff away, but eventually I may try to sell some of the stuff. How? TEH INTERNETZ, OF COURSE!

Yesterday, at the Guerilla Media final class meeting, someone brought up the website Etsy as a way to buy handmade stuff. For me, it was a little bit of a “duh” moment, but there were a lot of people in the room that hadn’t heard of it, so I figured I’d share it here. If you hadn’t heard of it, don’t feel bad. I’m just a dork. Also, check it out. There’s lots of really good stuff on there, though there’s probably an equal amount of stuff that should be avoided.

Norwegian Recycling is the star of today’s music again, first with a video:

The direct-download link for the song is here. My favorite part is from 2:01- 2:30 with Akon. By far. Also, LOL to Green Day.

I’m not quite as pumped about this second track, but it’s still typically high-quality stuff.

This final track is produced out of its mind, but he does it so well!

CMUN 297 Final

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My my my, how the time does fly when you know your project’s due by the end of the night.

Anyway, here’s the final thing. The whole culmination of this class.

It’s not a very comprehensive look at the Chicago DIY/Craft scene, I admit. But it is an intimate look into three seperate pieces of the puzzle that make it up. I may, in the future, add to it. Who knows? But for now, enjoy what we’ve created.

And since I have to be on the bus downtown to present this thing in less than half an hour, I’m afraid the music will have to wait, for tonight (sorry Rob).

Gratuitous Bike Videos

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I wrote a pretty long post last night, so instead of boring you with my words, I’ll just share a couple of videos that I found today.

The first is for Anchor Butter, which I’d never heard of, prior to my internet-browsing this evening. It’s a New Zealand-based free-range butter company, churning out spreads that may not be any better for you, but at least come from happy cows. Here’s a fantastic stop-motion felt advertisement they put out:

It’s cute, and the fact that it’s stop-motion-craft-y makes it a winner for me.

Speaking of cute, I recently saw a video (via Boingboing) that made me realize I live in the wrong country. Now, the USA isn’t all that bad, and it’s getting better (I hope), but check out what these policemen are doing in Denmark:

Hugs! And free helmets! Nice ones, too. I guess when the Danes embrace their two-wheeled bretheren, they really mean it. While I’m tempted to go to Denmark anyway, now I know for sure I’m not going to be wearing a helmet. Just in case.

All of tonight’s mashups will be courtesy of the Illuminoids. Click on that link. And appreciate their fantastic intro/jump page. You actually have to click, though– the “SnapShot” image when you hover over the link isn’t the one I want you to see.

The Temptations never sounded so electro-pop as they do in this first track.

I was interested to see where they went with LCD Soundsystem in this second track. Turns out, they used one of the only songs I really like on Sound of Silver. I guess I’m still not sold on the rest of the album.

This final track does a great thing: it takes the Velvet Underground and keeps Nico away from the microphone.

Music Mess

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It’s that time of year again– Finals week!

Of course, with the screwy classes that I take, this usually means that there’s a lot more project-oriented work going on, and a lot less test-taking, compared to others. Last year, I had three studio/production classes, and the studio time almost killed me. I vowed never to let that happen again.

This year, I again have three studio/production classes, but with the added pressure of the Lisagor video project (now passed, of course). I don’t learn my lessons. I don’t have any more studio time, though– it’s all video production at this point.

I really like audio/video production. Usually I’m not a very nitpicky person, but I just can’t get enough of the little annoying things that make such production work a time-consuming mess, especially in audio, but that’s just because I’m better at that side of the puzzle. While I can edit a video well enough to present, I’m not great. I have no formal training whatsoever, and I just know there are things I could do in Final Cut to make my stuff better.

One of the things I enjoy most about audio (and audio to video) is scoring. The simple addition of music can turn a piece completely around– and therein lies the problem. The rule is that music is supposed to support the mood, not drive it. If you listen to the bare version of a piece and compare it to a scored version and the two are radically different, there’s a problem. Often, however, this is done as a cover-up for bad writing.

Poynter has a good article in its “Ethics” section about this. They even offer several videos to illustrate the difference a simple scoring decision can make:

See?

Another contributing factor to this issue is the problem of licensing. If your piece is going to be shown publically or gains significant popularity, you’re going to need ASCAP licensed music. And most people can’t afford that. Even some broadcast stations can’t afford that. Under Fair Use, you can get away with about 30 seconds of audio before the goonies from the record labels start coming after you. At that point, you’re in trouble. Shuffling though music 30 seconds at a time makes for pretty obnoxious video, though, and can run into this same mood-problem. Tricky stuff.

Of course, you can get by all of this by not using music (or writing your own), but that’s not as fun.

Speaking of music, here’s a little bit for all of you out there.

When I need to wake up after a late night, I used to blast the Fatboy Slim song in this first track, which is one of my favorites in recent memory.

Of course, either of the songs in this second track would get me up just as quickly.

I’ve never heard Marley and Eminem mashed together like they are in this final track.

PS– In eleven days, I’m going to be camping by myself at Camp Chick. That may or may not mean nothing to you.