Friday, May 22, 2009

When Scraps Make A Quilt

It would be wrong me of me to suggest that The You Tube is filled with $20 webcam-owning narcissistic attention whores because in doing so, I'd be tarring myself with that same brush. Ahem. So, what I'll say instead is that The You Tube is filled with people who think they have a particular talent and, for whatever reason, feel the need to look for a wider audience. Whether it's because they think they're a good singer, because they feel that they excel at playing a particular instrument, because they think they're funny or because they want to feel special by proxy by having the world to heap praise on something vaguely amusing their kid did, it's hard not to notice that the current generation gauges success based on the number of views their video gets, rather than concrete achievements in the real world. Feh, what can you do, other than hope one day someone posts a mobile phone video called 'THE DAY I CURED CANCER!" rather than the usual "OMFG!1 CHEK OWT THIS TOTALLY AWESUM THING I DIDD!"

I should point out that there are some legitimate talents on You Tube. One of those people is a You Tube member called "kutiman", who has found a way to take the "look at me! look at me! FOR CHRIST'S SAKES, LOOK! AT! ME!!!" crowd of You Tube and turn it into something valuable. In the tradition of Portishead, a band that didn't sample songs as a backing track to go "ice ice baby" over, but instead took miniscule portions of songs and used them as instruments, Kutiman takes The Drum Guy, The Keyboard Guy, The Cello Guy and The Singer, re-jiggs and re-orders what they do, and combines them together. There's not a scrap of original footage in his videos, it's all recycled - and it's amazing. And I mean "omfg" amazing, particularly when you consider all the work - mental, musical and physical - that goes into creating these songs.

You can check out the whole album of 'found footage' here, at Here's the best one, though:

It took twenty-one samples to make it, and Kutiman links to all the originals on the main You Tube page. Stick with the song until at least 4:38. It's well worth it.


Connie said...

There's an anthropologist studying the Youtube phenomenon. His video of the research is lengthy, but (I think) well worth the time. It's amusing, poignant and informative.


Paul Higginbotham said...

I used to hold my nose at sampling but I've grown to appreciate the skill and creativity involved.

And that dude's work is awesome. Props for the dude in the Cincy hoodie! North siyeeeeeeed represent!

Spike Nesmith said...

@Connie that was awesome! thanks for the link, I watched it the whole way through, it was well worth the time. It sure explained a lot. I don't know that I agree with the conclusion that the internet is a lovely community filled with nice people - although certainly pockets of them exist, like most of the WV bloggers - but the thinking is water-tight.

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