The Grey Album goes to video
November 16, 2004 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Grey Video: a further experimental mashup (this time, in video) of the Beatles and Jay Z, for the DJ Dangermouse song Encore. Looks almost as slick as the old Weezer Happy Days video by Spike Jonze.
posted by mathowie (21 comments total)
I always thought Ringo would be a great DJ.
posted by thebigpoop at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2004

I spent the first minute or so furious at the out-of-sync drumming (for some reason this annoys me to no end), and then it got really cool. Ringo is such a goof. Very nice.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2004

Interesting that so much time and money would be spent on something that breaks so many copyright laws it could never make a dime, or could get pulled and never seen again. Or did they actually get permission (unlike the song)?
posted by fungible at 12:17 PM on November 16, 2004

Naw, I think it was purely an experimental project.

Art doesn't always have to make money, and in many respects I think this bit of video does a good job of pointing out how inane our copyright laws are.

Was anyone hurt financially making the video? Did the Beatles lose money? Jay Z? DJ Dangermouse? Are you less likely to buy either a Beatles CD or Jay Z CD as a result of seeing this? How about their DVDs? Would you skip a showing of Hard Day's Night because of this? Was anything actually "stolen" to make the video?

The answer to every question seems to be a strong No. So if no one is harmed by it, why should it be illegal to make a video like this and not sell it or use it commercially in any way? Why can't art build upon older works?
posted by mathowie at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2004

Fungible: I don't think it cost any money at all. Everyone has computers capable of doing this video. It probably just cost them time.

I also don't think they intended to make any money. They did just because they can.
posted by BartFargo at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2004

the touch of Paul's wig falling off is priceless
posted by matteo at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2004

That was a pretty good effort. They could have made it look cleaner though by dropping some ideas and sticking to tight shots. The whole dancing sequence is just jarring and cheesy. I would have preferred a stand in Jay-Z, and regular breakdancers in the crowd while the Beatles just rocked out instead of falling into the floor. Not knocking it, great effort, I hope that whoever made this gives it another shot Lucas-style to make it better.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:43 PM on November 16, 2004

"Interesting that so much time and money would be spent on something that breaks so many copyright laws it could never make a dime, or could get pulled and never seen again."
This is the reason why I doubt intellectual property "production" would be hurt very much with more lax legislation. One of the primary arguments against openning the floodgates is that if artists weren't able to make money out of their endeavors, they would simply become accountants. Those who find value in creation for the sake of creation will nearly always be ahead of those who do it for purely financial gain.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2004

But those fighting for tighter legislation aren't the people who are in the business of creating, but the business of marketing and selling.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:49 PM on November 16, 2004

he touch of Paul's wig falling off is priceless

John was dancing, I thought.
This is excellent, by the way.
posted by Busithoth at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2004

as a friend of DJ Dangermouse i can say that he has not regretted a single moment since making 'The Grey Album.'

for those of you who haven't heard his recent work on the Zero 7 song, 'Somersault,' check out how he pulled off another nice piece of work with the help of MF Doom.

Somersault - remixed by DJ Dangermouse

this single was also the 1 millionth download on iTunes.
posted by NationalKato at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2004

Jes' for the record: I agree wholeheartedly that people should be able to make videos like this, and should be able to base new art on older works. The only problem is that current law forbids it, and litigious people like the RIAA or the Beatles are more than happy to destroy you because of their enormous egos.

The upside, I guess, is the street cred a video like this gives the creators. Dangermouse made an illegal album (which arguably took a lot less effort than this video) but it propelled him into underground stardom. I remember Todd Haynes made that Carpenters movie with Barbie dolls - he was sued into submission, but in the end, he still became a sought-after director.

This video will never play on MTV, but I'm sure they can spin it into something else. I sure wish I had the time, and yes, *money* (I guarantee you this wasn't done with a Handycam and a laptop) to do something like this without compensation, but I got mouths to feed.
posted by fungible at 1:33 PM on November 16, 2004

My favorite audio+video mashup:

Disco Razzia - Falco & Usher

(A truly amazing mashup of Falco's "Der Kommissar" and Usher's "Yeah", by KE4.)
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:24 PM on November 16, 2004

Falco's "Der Kommissar"

i always preferred the original German version...
posted by NationalKato at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2004


the After The Fire cover was what i was bagging on.
posted by NationalKato at 2:34 PM on November 16, 2004

Did the Beatles lose money? Jay Z? DJ Dangermouse?

Unfortunately, the litmus test is "I did not gain income from a performance of my work" and the scope increased exponentially with the internets. The Beatles', Jay Z's, DJD's current fiscal states did not change because of this. Thus, they were not impacted in a tangible negative because money did not disappear from their bank accounts. They did not improve, however.

Ergo, they did not gain. This is the crux of the biscuit. And as the overzealous copyright holders acertain, not gaining is the same as losing. The result is meddlesome wordplay and less than honest discourse.
posted by pedantic at 3:23 PM on November 16, 2004

NationalKato: That remix is great. Ask your boy DM when the public can expect DangerDoom to be out. That album is going to be amazing...
posted by SweetJesus at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2004

i will, Sweet. i'll post back here if i get any good news.
posted by NationalKato at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2004

Not that Jay-Z needs any help, but I actually bought the Black Album because of the Grey Album. I listen to some hip-hop but generally prefer the more indie stuff. Never gave Jay-Z much thought because he was too commercial for my tastes.

But I liked what I heard on Grey, which led me to buy Black. I'm sure other people did the same thing. Probably not enough people to make much of a blip in the sales figures but there was still probably an increase.

Maybe there's some kids who have never thought much about the Beatles but bought the White Album because of the mix. Thats perfectly feasible.

Didn't know DM was working with Doom. That should be a lovely thing.
posted by pandaharma at 7:48 PM on November 16, 2004

he has not regretted a single moment since making 'The Grey Album.'

Then he's a better man than I would be. Really, I'd be annoyed out of my mind. I haven't managed to score a copy, but I've heard a few tracks, and it's amazing shit. Mashups in general can be really amazing; I still listen to some frequently, just because I like them as songs. Freelance Hellraiser's old Strokes/Christina Ag mashup "Stroke of Genie-us" gets onto a lot of my party discs, and whem I'm blue I often queue up a mashup of Eminem's "feels so empty" song (don't know the title) with the old ragtime tune "Snookered". (And I find it kind of hard to imagine that Marshall wouldn't think that latter was funny as hell.)

I know the standard raps all the way around, and the bottom line is that modern American copyright law inhibits creativity, big time. It is designed to protect corporate assets, not to protect individual intellectual "property" rights. Patent law is headed that way, too.

The very concept of intellectual "property" is deeply, deeply problematic. In fact, at a certain level, it's pure nonsense: It over-extends the metaphor of property so egregiously that the term becomes so meaningless it can be used for anything, and that's how we get crap like the Walt Disney Memorial Copyright Extension Act. The fact that someone has an idea does not in any way mean that it's no longer possible for someone else to have the same idea, sing the same song, write a similar plot, create a similar character... In the absence of moderation and balance (which are conspicuous in their absence in the modern corporate copyright climate), it's all a bunch of horse shit.
posted by lodurr at 5:28 AM on November 17, 2004

The Grey Video site is down, but it's unclear why or when it'll be back. Me and Matt are both mirroring the Quicktime, and there's a torrent too.
posted by waxpancake at 2:21 PM on November 18, 2004

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