Posts Tagged ‘Quasi’

Boxcar Sled Dogs In The Mood

July 22, 2018

With Oedipal vibes, Quasi’s inaugural full-length at long last arrived last week, spiced with temptation. As ever, messageboard banditos probed and hunted for stray links ahead of the official online release. Shortly after it finally hit, an electronic threat from former Throbbing Gristle frontperson Genesis P’Orridge of all people torpedoed the original Youtube link. This forced resourceful computer-rippers to seek out alternate hosting capacity via sites specializing in sophisticated adult entertainment of a different stripe, and left the rest of the world pondering what air cover their web caches and private-browser settings might provide in their pursuit of ‘Mother.’

For those ponderous unfortunates cursed to read between life’s lines and leave no Magic Eye poster unstared upon, it has been tougher still. DNA analysis obligates any video historian to place Quasi’s first full-length within the same creative lineage as ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Mosaic,’ citing teamrider and darkman resumes, Ohio geospatial data and the winking juiciness of the Pappalardo hamburger.* It is easy, upon the seventh or eighth watch of this excellently put-together video, to speculate idly as to any nods or winks involved with soundtracking an intro to ‘Band on the Run,’ hailing the heady freedom and risk of escape and liberation — this from the company that announced its emergence from the Alien Workshop/Pacific Vector meltdown with the declarative “no more corporate blues,” and wind up this vid with some oldster stating that he’s “looking just to get away.” The rorshach-test qualities of many Quasi graphics invite similar ponderings: Do all the race cars, motorcycles and fast-running dogs similarly speak to themes of speed and escape? What about the Dale Earnhardt tributes and those drippy sculptures? How much of this is designed mainly to befuddle deck consumers who may feel on sturdier ground with pizza-themed art or endless iterations of a stylized letter B?

Whatever cipher is to be found in Quasi’s graphics, on maple or judiciously sprinkled amongst the footage in ‘Mother,’ probably serves best as a vehicle or backdrop to the team and its skills – all of which ‘go,’ in the parlance of our times. What really merits those mysterious VHS tapes’ positioning alongside the earlier yellow, gray, orange and white cassette ancestors is the video’s careful crafting and exquisite tricks. Forestalling much of the talented flow squad gets ‘Mother’ under the critical 30-minute bar, even with timeless-feeling intro and credits sections. There’s a parallel universe somewhere with full Jake Johnson and Al Davis sections, sure, but their material here is presented in the most resourceful fashion possible, and the efforts of the other bros and ams — especially the ams – more than get the video over besides.

Justin Henry, latest of the Ohio torchbearers, delivers on years’ worth of early promise, gliding and jamming his way over spots on both coasts, fusing otherwise disparate moves into weirdly smooth alloys like the bigspin backside lipslide to firecracker out, or the wallie leap to noseblunt slide. The Grant’s Tomb backside noseblunt is there. Beltholder for greatest hair in the industry, Josh Wilson, blasts multisyllabic flip tricks over various bars and dangerously dings some other ones, along with an intense ollie out of a tall wallride. There is Tyler Bledsoe’s most recent addition to the backside tailslide canon, an almost painfully good Jake Johnson flowerpot backside kickflip, Al Davis thundering switchstance down a cascade of mountain peaks.

Gilbert Crockett, who seems yet to let up from a string of heavy parts following 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ constructs a throbbingly manual-heavy closer that includes an unhinged fakie flip switch manual to switch frontside shove-it out and the rather intense kickflip nosemanual over the guardrail and down the embankment, plus other crazy shit like a scary fence jump and a switch backside nosegrind at the JFK bank to ledge. But it is Dick Rizzo with the most pumping, vital section, cracking over bars and banging down on fire-engine red cellar doors with a weirdly fluid grace, or jumping catlike over the boulevard after half-spinning switch into some griping grayhairs’ beloved banister. There are lovely dips on the backside smith grind and switch backside 5-0, the sounds of the under-bridge wall blast deeply satisfy, and the backside nosegrind revert to GT rollercoaster makes good on the pain and leaf-diving required to reel it in.

Does Quasi have the bench-depth and belly fire to come back in six months’ time with another vid showcasing Drake Johnson, Justin Drysen, Dane Barker and all those Justin Henry tricks that didn’t make it into this one? Is Bobbito back to reclaim his spot after being displaced by Shadoe Haze? Will this year reunite the Dayton diaspora in video releases if Fat Bill completes the new Supreme/FuckingAwesome one and the now three-years revived AWS brings the Joe Castrucci-helmed release described by now deservedly-pro Frankie Spears?

*Note: Boil a Ocean Weblog briefly considered registering @PappalardoBurger on Instagram, and using this to make several humorous posts relating to various video parts in the voice of the burger itself, but ultimately chose instead to leave it to parties who could do more justice to such a concept, rather than linking back to a meandering and partially thought out internet screed

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The Power of the Deck-Buying Dollar, and the Promise of the $30 T-Shirt

July 16, 2017

The internet’s cultural side-loader washing machine swirls. What once was, is again, sometimes faded and sometimes pinked by rogue red garments. In the civilian world, tragedy plus time equals comedy; in skateboarding, fashion and hardware trends plus a period of years divided by the internet’s recyclatory properties (which are a constant), factoring the quotient by the strength of the counter-prevailing fads of the day, equals attractive brand-building opportunities that can help to finance electric cars with an auto-pilot option.

Santa Cruz, whose venerable skate dynasty doesn’t preclude opportunistic chintz-grabs, this month has revived its early 1990s technology breakthrough, the Everslick, presumably upgraded to avoid the sogginess that turned so many back toward conventional decks by the turn of the half-decade. As skaters nationwide discovered low-cost ledge lubricants to be had in the supermarket’s canning section, Alien Workshop, World and others abandoned slicks, relegating the technology to the same hardware-fad dustbin as Bridgebolts, Rip Grip, copers and Gullwing’s incredibly heavy plastic-coated hangers. But with deck shapes then already well on their way toward a homogenized popsicle shape, shelving the slick also marked a fateful step away from one of the few deck innovations that briefly commanded a premium price from penny-pinching skateboard consumers — and provided a fleeting glimpse into a future where peddling decks could be something other than a low-margin, efficiency-maximizing commodity business.

In this year of our lord 2017, the deck buyer’s dollar has never been more powerful. Through the 20/20-enabling hindsight view afforded via the internet’s continually expanding archives, skateboard purchasers can gloatingly look 25 years into the past to see mailorder clearinghouses hawking decks for $45 apiece. Adjusted for inflation, those same objects ought to change hands for about $76 at current rates, but U.S. shops, internet portals and even the lowly mall asks only around $55 as the industry has failed to provide a justification for lifting prices incrementally skyward over the years. The world has not stood idly by; wages, logistics and other costs grew while the skateboard business repeatedly cast their votes for Ulysses Grant as their preferred candidate for boards. This has lead deck makers and distributors to move manufacturing overseas to cut costs, whilst chipping away at shop margins, and diversifying into shoes and clothes to subsidize deck enterprises in the grand quest for profitability or its less attractive sibling, break-evenness.

It did not have to be this way. The wooden baseball bat —- derived from hardwood trees and among the sporting world’s closest kin to the seven-ply deck —- has not been subject to the same price-point stagnation. Despite occasional mutations in shape and diversification away from ash into maple and birch, the wooden bat has changed relatively little over the past 30 years, if not the past 130. A basic wood bat retailed for around $20-$35 in 1992; similar models today fetch $30 to $160, scaling upwards based upon pro endorsements, premium wood selections and high-tech processing techniques to command enlarged dollar piles from wood-shopping baseballers.

The same embrace of that unbottleable qualitative that produced Natas Kaupas’ hydrant spin, the Fucked Up Blind Kids, and Gou Miyagi is at play here: The visceral pleasure to be milked from sliding silkscreened Canadian hard-rock maple across concrete or stone cannot be replicated through aluminum or synthetic hybrids, probably to the detriment of performance enhancements that might put more balls into end zones or players on base in other, more regimented pastimes. And the same frugal Ludditism that has fueled the past decade’s revival in low-profile vulcanized shoewear translates to a collective “meh” towards innovations such as Almost’s “Impact” decks, corrugated bottom plies and unique wood mixes.

Should board makers dreaming of fatter profits look to the cotton T-shirt, where token shifts in construction and fit allow those with the strongest graphics and market position to nowadays ask $30 or more for an otherwise commoditized garment? Has the remarkably visionary Jason Dill already been applying this concept to boards? Was the riser pad the air bubble of hardware? Do Paul Schmitt and Rodney Mullen possess a secret storehouse of advanced board technologies long-shelved due to fears the seven-ply maple-worshipping would never accept them?

In Lieu of Some Longwinded and Semi-Coherent Blog Post Here’s a Bunch of Justin Henry Tricks

June 11, 2017

10. Tyler Bledsoe – ‘All Clear OK’

December 22, 2016

For one of the only companies among the new crop intent on harpooning the full-length video cetacean, Quasi is taking their sweet time, averaging so far one part a year, which is all to the good since it feels like they’re still figuring out their motion-picture aesthetic without veering too much onto Bill Strobeck or Mike Hill territory. Between the slow-mo trash bin bash and the crab-walking hoedown, Tyler Bledsoe’s ‘All Clear OK’ scrapes a little bit of both, but the opening automobile wipe to backside flip and the backside smith grind drop-down are promising indicators of any longer-playing project to come. Tyler Bledsoe, who’s gone dark a few times here and there in recent years, resurfaces to a throbby techno track in savage mode with a teeth-rattling street gap nollie 360, a deceptively hard entry into the Pupecki grind annals, and a round-the-world backside tailslide ender, and who else has them like that.

Oblivion Access

January 1, 2016

Some others

Gilbert Crockett – ‘Salt Life’
Hard-cut edit on the post-Workshop frontier from Gilbert Crockett’s perpetually spring-loaded feet

Jack Kirk – ‘Krew Killers’
Spyro gyro tailslide

Andrew Allen – ‘Boys of Summer’
Between this, ‘Propeller’ and the Vans offcuts, there is some type of unholy Skater of the Year bid

Kevin Bradley – ‘Chronicles 3’
Neck and neck with ‘Sickness’ in turn up terms, last 30 seconds particularly

Tyler Surrey – ‘Spanish VX’
Lines that go forever, and a case for nollie flip noseslides in 2016

Tom Asta – ‘1947’
Nollie heelflip backside noseblunt on a handrail

Jerry Hsu – ‘Boys of Summer’
The heartwarming results possible – feeble grind, smith grind – when beloved pros oblige requests to ‘just see you skate’

Nick Boserio – ‘No Cash Value’
2015’s reigning lord of hairball, where you wouldn’t be surprised if he loosened his trucks before the penultimate escalator plunge

Dylan Sourbeer – ‘Sabotage4 Promo’
Love park ledgelord with Wenning slump status

Tony Trujillo – ‘Propeller’
His best one since the Transworld vid

Donovan Piscopo – ‘Hockey promo’
The planter backside tailslide line

Josh Kalis – ‘Sabotage4’
*shrug*

Yaje Popson – ‘SK8RATS’
Back in living color, but for good?

Mark Suciu – ‘Civil Liberty’ sans voiceovers
Also including Dennis Busenitz at Pulaski, and ending with one of the most Mark Suciu tricks doable there

Hats off to Chrome Ball Incident for its exhaustive (yet apparently truncated) interview-by-mail with jailed switchstance barbarian, stunt cycler and street preacher Lennie Kirk, which nearly met 2015’s quotables quota on its own and expands upon all the old stories, nearly all of which seem to be true and then some:

“Many times with Jesus’ guidance, Him, I and my girl, Ez, took the bike to 177mph at night on the 101 freeway. All out throttle to the max. Alone, I topped the bike out at 184mph, wide open for more than 10 miles. Just me and God. It’s a surreal spiritual experience. God’s glory in it all. Other drivers seeing a bike fly by them at 184mph in the night! It’s deeply personal, eternal and unique. A oneness with God, my girl and my bike… flowing and free, not worried about cops.”

nike-sb-the-sb-chronicles-vol-3

The print media struggle in 2015 means taking risks to stand out. Transworld, its revival already well underway, rolled further dice by essentially re-running The Skateboard Mag’s most-recent cover on page 56-57 of its Jan. 2016 issue.

Also flexing on print media this year was Quartersnacks, one of the few (if only) internet web pages with not only the balls to make a book but the well of stories, hoarded text messagement, pic of folks skating castoff TVs and depth of collective character to pull it off in spades – buy it here.

Heated Seats And Pants With No Pleats

October 17, 2015

judge_kiss

“There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it,” grumbled the dark lord Sauron in a recent and grumbly voiceover advertising the new Star Wars movie. “The dark side, and the light.” The vibrant world of wookies and hard-partying ewoks again has fallen into strife and discord, lousy with massing storm troopers and crashed spaceships. It represents an extension of what is perhaps the nation’s best-known workplace drama, in which the rigors of toiling under the Emperor’s exacting standards caused Darth Vader to crack and fail to recoup the Empire’s lofty investment in the initial Death Star, then resign his position before construction on the second could complete.

Darth Vader, like so many other career professionals laboring under layers of blubbery bureaucracy, encountered distressors* that occasionally drove him to lash out at colleagues and competitors, employing telekinesis and a lazery sword in equal measure, often illegally. As hinted by the Star Warrior-baiting Santa Cruz decks of yesteryear, Darth Vader’s broiling frustrations may mirror those gripping the skateboard sphere in these, the autumn days of 2015.

Like an incredulous Death Star space welder handed a snorkel, a flathead screwdriver and an unconvincing clap on the shoulder, stakes and requirements for workaday professional bros seem to ratchet ever higher while the constraints of a turbulent global economy seem intent on culling the industry herd. Once high-flying board affairs like Alien Workshop, Zero and Girl are undergoing painful evolutions, while rumors swirl around the future of Dekline shoes and Adio has taken to advertising former team riders in its bid for continued relevance. Signature-model toting professionals increasingly are expected to bear the responsibility of marketing themselves via crowd-courting internet pages, and we live in a time when not only is it unshocking to see a marginally-known amateur break off tricks like Gabriel Summers’ shiveringly gnarly nosegrind, it also is de regueur do it nominally for free. Olympic endorsement contracts would beckon skateboarding’s sobriety-compatible 1%, while remaining ne’er do wells contemplate crowdfunding raisers to sop up medical bills.

Are stress levels within skating’s grand talent pool rising to a Vader level in which colleagues get choked out at sit-down meetings? You hear these things, but it is hard to know for sure. There are signs and siguls, including but not limited to growth in powerviolence-sprinkled parts and graphics, or soundtracks bearing murderer music. Vignettes tucked into ‘Sabotage 4’ and the ‘Our Life’ video, two of the grittier and grottier outputs of recent weeks, feature fights with cops and passersby, recalling a previous industry crunch that manifested itself in part via board-to-drill combat.

Veins of latent but palpable anger burble beneath the overcast surface and betwixt combusting switchstance tricks in Gilbert Crockett’s ‘Salt Life’ video part for the redubbed Quasi, an outfit forged from the wreckage and occasional raw feelings of a highflying corporate adventure gone kaput. Quasi’s initial video look transposes some of the hi-contrast and sharp cuts of their graphical concepts, anchored in a somewhat deeper trench of Gilbert Crockett’s technical skating, including a crunchy switch backside smith grind and one of the more eye-popping switch shove-its in recent memory, and peppered with enraged grunts and a viciously celebratory board beating.

Has the quantity of cathartic, building-slapping wallrides and wallies risen in lockstep with the industry’s general level of fiscal insecurity? Will snapchatted pro boxing matches emerge as a multipronged answer to slackened incomes and late night instagram sniping? May all of it be symptomatic of a divide-and-conquer conspiracy among deep-pocketed sportswear and drink manufacturers? Does the environment grow ever riper for a Bo Turner comeback?

*versus happier eustressors trafficked among those hard-partying ewoks and jawas