Archive for March, 2023

Stealth Games, Tile Medleys and Other Recent Achievements in Skate Video Sound Design

March 18, 2023

Still pinkish and unsteady on its paws, but already beginning to sharpen cuspids and canines on accessible trees and stumps, this yung Year of the Rabbit already has delivered in service of skate video sound design, that untelevised and yet fiercely contested also- also-ran of the fourth-quarter awards season. The early and obvious standout as springtime draws nigh is Tightbooth’s frenetic and swaggering ‘Lenz III,’ proportioning its goods out in a fairly audible drip-drop sequence over these past few weeks, several of the dudes’ clips rewindable for their eardrum-tingling properties nearly as much as the relentlessly combusting tricks — check the percussive tempo shifts as Kotora Mitani samples varying sizes and shapes of tiles, the whetstone-slick scrape of Ayahiro Uratsuka’s humpy 50-50,  the hallucinatory barrage that is Japanese Super Rat, a part that plays like a ‘Beez’ vid. Ryuhei Kitazume, the world’s favorite skater, delivers a comparatively more classically mic’ed frontside k-grind revert and elsewhere, in his accompanying ‘Meet You There’ part for Free, a stair ride-out that thrums like a drumbeat.

Are the auditory pleasures of such footages enough to render any musical soundtrack superfluous? It is a question that has been probed, poked and at times vigorously prodded over the years, with vids from World’s ‘Rubbish Heap’ to the GX1000 full-lengths going musicless for extended stretches; Tim Dowling’s late campus-period document ‘Listen’ famously made the skating sounds the sole soundtrack, a tactic variously employed by Dan Wolfe’s ‘Eastern Exposure Zero’ comp, PJ Ladd in ‘Really Sorry,’ Hockey’s 2017 promo, and various others.

The most intense use of sound in this nubbly and provocative season though may arise from the Mason-Dixon straddling Quasi camp, which over the past week uploaded two distinct video computer files related to Bobby DeKeyzer, a knowed pro and established ASMR supplier in his own right. In ‘Prototype,’ the Youtoob video file preceding the somewhat more conventional ‘Hard Dream‘ BDK vid, sounds woosh and clang and cut in and out in a cut-up manner matching the footage itself — til an extended passage toward the end in which Bobby DeKeyzer and filmer enter into a real-life ‘Metal Gear Solid’ episode with a roving security guard; they are signaled from quiet across the street to keep as the security guard looks, listens, and the tension piles up by the metric ton, building toward an optimistic but still uncertain end.

Does ‘Prototype’s silent cat-and-mouse standoff with security reveal the lasting influence of the nonstarting Numbers Edition, whose unique and unfortunately limited video output positioned the audience as voyeur to sessions spiked with a weirdly ominous vibe? Do the earmuff headphones rocked of late by pros ranging from TJ Rogers to Jahmir Brown suggest a school that instead seeks to block out all ambient noise and sound while the actual skating is being pursued, similar to those weird vids with the skating sounds totally muted? Would the correct way to honor the potential passing of, for so long a matchless source of auditory motivation to generations of skaters, be to soundtrack parts or maybe an entire video solely with DJ drops?

Mike Carroll Comes Out of Voiceover Retirement As Niels Bennett Puts On A Transatlantic Pants Clinic

March 4, 2023

Have all the myths been made, all the great tales handed down, chiseled into stone tablets, and pulverized into a fine powder to be taken up and lilted unto the planet’s corners, crannies and nooks? Sometimes, a bro wonders. Several eons ago, in a dinosauric age, dispatches from ‘the pro scene’ and available industry hype were parceled out in monthly-arriving periodicals and less-predictable videocassette releases, strained through the keyboards and mouse-movements of editors and film-o-graphers. The stories that were had were the ones that were determined to be told, in the decided style and length, sometimes fine-tuned for drama and legendmaking and lulz. 

Amongst the signature tools in the big box of Transworld video production values during their late ’90s/early ’00s heyday was the voiceover, a concept previously explored in such vids as Foundation’s ‘Rolling Thunder,’ and seasoned with that signature TWS Pro Spotlight sauce to deepen narratives and make parts like Henry Sanchez’s ‘Sight Unseen’ comeback or Marc Johnson’s upper-echelon arrival in ‘Modus’ land harder, linger longer. Through the voiceover, Brian Anderson taught a generation of kids the powers of visualization; the story of Cliff Coffman’s kickflip led to a reconsideration of football players everywhere, and Mark Gonzales anointed John Cardiel an ‘Original Coors.’ Around the time of the Great Recession the voiceover lost favour, occasionally resurfaced by the history- and vibe-mindeds such as Pontus Alv and Mark Suciu, but more broadly buried by the cinema verite wave of raw files, video-part commentaries and IG stories of name skaters’ meals and home improvement projects that have torn away the proverbial curtain and obviated much of the more choreographed mythmaking activities. 

Daly City backside smith angler Mike Carroll not only was a prime featuree of the Transworld video heyday, he also for years was a voiceover heavyweight, channeling a uniquely 1990s alloy of sarcasm and self-deprecation to assess his own neuroses in ‘Modus Operandi’, speak on tour life in ‘Beware O The Flare’ and lament slams in ‘Harsh Euro Barge.’ For much of the past decade Mike Carroll has shifted into behind the scenes roles as Girl has installed a new generation, while simultaneously remaining retired from voiceover work. 

Until this week, as Niels Bennett, among the more incandescent lights shining forth from the Crailtap set in recent years, brought forth via Free his spectacular ‘Heroes/Helden’ vid, replete with soulful music, popped tongues, switch bs 5-0s and tricks done the hard way across multiple time zones and tax jurisdictions. The vid makes resourceful use of Niels Bennett’s great fortune in filmers, parceling the Chris Mulhern-filmed US stuff and the Torsten Frank-filmed Euro stuff into halves, which are stitched together via a Mike Carroll voiceover, expounding upon Niels Bennett’s Crail-bestowed ‘Professor’ nickname and what’s described as a questing quality to his choices in spots and tricks. The vid is on the one hand another progression for Niels Bennett, whose tricks and ability never have been in doubt but here look stronger, perhaps elevated by a more grown visage and particularly a baggier cut of pant that seem destined for a @whatpantsarethose feature, or 10, in the days and weeks ahead. It also is a return to form for Mike Carroll’s voiceovering, the years seeming to have slightly weathered his sound but his noun and verb and adjective selection still in top form. 

Did some of Tom Snape’s pants game, long regarded among the sharpest in any hemisphere, rub off on Niels Bennett during the course of filming Adidas’ still super-good ‘Reverb’ video? Did you get the Guy vibes too on those nosegrind revert tricks on the one lil rail? With Mike Carroll having ceded the spotlight to successive generations of Crailtap pros and yungstars, is it nice just to hear his voice