Feature by: David Carter
Posted on: 04 May 2010
Historically invaluable, the first two mixtapes also offer a treat for fans of punk through their inclusion of very rare performance footage of The Clash and Public Image Ltd. A cringe-inducing interview with John Lydon from The Tomorrow Show – shown in its entirety — is a spectacular example of the man’s ability to be simultaneously a genius and a total asshole. In between porn and gore clips, TV Sphincter incorporates some interesting footage from workplace safety videos and sexual harassment guides and features a lengthy section containing classic cartoons and commercials.
AAV starts with an intriguing television segment detailing a failed Bob Crane special in the Hawaiian Islands. Apparently, Crane and crew offended the gods by taking pieces of lava and disrespecting idols, and it is posited that Crane’s death was the result of a curse. The clips that follow continue this focus on mysticism and incorporate footage from television psychics and Haxan. Other notable inclusions are a segment from the amazing Wally George Show, classic horror cartoons from the twenties, and a religious video detailing the sins committed by the eighties’ cartoon She-Ra. Repeats the same Budd Dwyer footage found in TV Sphincter.
Lost & Found Video Night Previews: http://www.youtube.com/user/5mtl
The encyclopedia of the video mixtape genre, containing almost every notable clip that exists. Complete recaps of individual entries can be found at the 5 Minutes to Live website and most of the clips come from videos they sell9. The series has very few instances of extreme footage and is very well edited though most entries lack a theme. Footage includes: Crispin Glover weirdness, Tardspasm clips, Steve Vai’s Biggest Fan in near entirety, Mr. T’s Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool, Bollywood clips, sex-ed videos, and countless others. There is a heavy focus on uncut, rare musical performances and Vol 4 is an all-music edition. Lost & Found best exemplifies the “party tape” aspect of mixtape culture, as it can be watched in segments, contains little post-editing, and is a narrativeless collection of oddities.
Crazy Dave Tape 2 preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IarPARPAs5E
The Crazy Dave Tapes are perhaps the zenith of the “artistic” mixtape form. Their editing, scene selection, and pacing propel them beyond the realm of pointing out mass media’s foibles into something closer to video art. Rife with old horror films, pornography, and television clips, the Crazy Dave Tapes travel at such a frenetic pace that they are impossible to look away from and become almost hypnotic. Each contains a great deal of post-production work: clips are superimposed over one another and atonal screeches are played over the original soundtracks at points. Shocking, disturbing and infinitely enjoyable, the Crazy Dave Tapes are at the opposite end of the spectrum from works like Lost & Found Video Night but better fit the idea that mixtapes are more than the sum of their parts. For the Crazy Dave Tapes, the creator is as important as the footage and we can more readily see the creator as “artist” rather than simply “compiler.” The CDTCrew, as they call themselves, have announced Vol. 3 will be coming soon and have other works currently available, such as a compilation of ending freeze-frames from TV and movies called the Totally Radical Pause Tape, the shorter mixtapes Radical Powers, Party Tape, Amazing Video Weirdness, and Let’s Get Turkish, and an album of Beastie Boys remixes.
TV Carnage previews: http://www.youtube.com/user/tvcarnage
Ouch Television My Brain Hurts, A Rich Tradition of Magic, A Sore for Sighted Eyes, Casual Fridays, and When Television Attacks
TV Carnage falls somewhere between the Crazy Dave Tapes and Lost & Found Video Night. The entries contain almost exclusively TV footage and have a greater sense of narrative and theme than other collections. There is a stronger emphasis on humor than on shock and TV Carnage lends itself to viewing as a party tape and to deeper analysis as well, since the entries focus a great deal on social commentary. The brevity and rarity of the clips make a content recap difficult, but the collection is highly recommended.
Forbidden Transmission previews: http://www.youtube.com/user/brianunfried
Forbidden Transmission is a series similar to TV Carnage but one that contains shorter entries utilizing footage from a variety of sources. The series is notable for the Forbidden Transmission Drinking Game party tape that prompts viewers to drink in between clips. This is the earliest instance of a creator-designed drinking game that I have come across, but there are certainly other tapes that utilize the same premise.
Retard-O-Tron previews: http://www.youtube.com/user/zxql3000
To my knowledge, Retard-O-Tron was the first mixtape to be widely marketed and distributed primarily on the Internet via free downloads. Others may have come before, but Retard-O-Tron quickly became the most popular and was many viewers’ first introduction into the mixtape genre and culture. A large number of post-2007 mixtapes cite Retard-O-Tron in their credits, proof of its influence. Retard-O-Tron is one of the more extreme mixtapes apart from those that are explicitly compilations of extreme footage, featuring (un)healthy doses of feces and vomit alongside music videos and cartoons.
Everything is Terrible, Future Schlock 1 & 2, American Dream, American Nightmare 1 through 3, debris v.1 and v.2, and Video Armageddon