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One of the strangest phenomena YouTube has germinated and grown since its inception in 2005 is the genre of remixes. Remixes are created when an artist (and skilled video editor) takes an existing piece of content and turns it into something new. Whether that be scenes from a TV show, clips from a political speech, or a soundbite uttered on the news.
There is considerable skill involved in turning what most of us see as normal, everyday fragments of conversational content into something more than the sum of its parts. Which means most YouTube remixers don’t get the credit they deserve. It’s time to right that wrong, by doffing our caps to the magnificent masters of mashups.
Cassetteboy is a British duo known for their humorous, sweary, and often political remixes. They take snippets of TV shows (such as The Apprentice) or soundbites from the speeches of annoying politicians (including David Cameron and Barack Obama) and create magic from what was originally banal and boring.
The video embedded above shows deleted scenes from the debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012. It doesn’t actually, of course, instead showing what Cassetteboy imagined the two U.S. presidential hopefuls wanted to say. And wouldn’t politics be more interesting if this was the true version of events.
Swede Mason is another British master of the genre. As with many of the artists featured in this list, Mason only uploads new videos once every few months. This is due to how much work goes into creating a truly awe-inspiring remix or mashup. Anyone can make a remix, but only the best of the best can make remixes you’ll remember for longer than a few minutes.
The video embedded above shows Mason’s take on MasterChef, with hosts Gregg Wallace and John Torode reimagined as some kind of happy hardcore musical act. Be assured that once the chorus of “Buttery Biscuit Bass” gets into your head, it will refuse to leave without a fight. This song was actually released in the UK (as MasterChef Synesthesia), where it charted at number 37.
DJ Steve Porter is, as his name suggests, a proper DJ and music producer. But he’s also a master of remixes who is responsible for some truly epic remixes, mostly of infomercials. Porter proves that there is money to be made with remixes, having received several commissions from companies over the years.
The video embedded above shows Porter’s take on the infomercial for Slap Chop, a handheld chopping device with internal blades. This remix turns Vince Offer, AKA the ShamWow! Guy, into a rapper, albeit one who raps about chopping up salads. Which is one subject matter not really covered by commercial hip-hop music.
Kutiman, AKA Ophir Kutiel, is an Israeli musician and music producer best known for the ThruYOU project. This project sees various videos of musicians combined to create new compositions. The results can be absolutely amazing, with new bands formed simply by splicing footage of a random guitarist with footage of a budding singer-songwriter.
The video embedded above shows what is, and perhaps always will be, the best example of the genre. Mother Of All Funk Chords combines clips from a host of different YouTube musicians into one glorious whole. Such a composition would be impossible to put together in real life, clearly and cleverly demonstrating the power of YouTube.
Pogo, AKA Christopher Nicholas Bertke, is an electronic musician from Australia best known for creating epic dance tracks using samples from movies. Disney films are a peculiarly particular fascination for Pogo, with animated works such as Toy Story, Alice In Wonderland, and Up all having been given the Pogo treatment.
The video embedded above shows Upular, Pogo’s take on Disney Pixar’s Up. This is a particular favorite of mine as Up is a gem of a movie, and hearing the voices of the main characters used in this way instantly reminds me of the film. Pogo’s channel is very music still active, with an average of one new video uploaded every month.
Melody Sheep, AKA John Boswell, is an American electronic musician best known for his Symphony of Science music project. This sees clips from TV shows featuring popular scientists being remixed into relaxing songs. The idea being to “spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through musical remixes.” It certainly worked for me.
The video embedded above shows A Glorious Dawn featuring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. This is one of the aforementioned Symphony of Science videos, featuring clips from Cosmos and Stephen Hawking’s Universe. Other scientists featured include neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Richard Feynman.
The Gregory Brothers are YouTube stars, with 2.3 million subscribers (at the time of writing). They have made their name (and fortune) by their unnerving ability to turn simple snippets of conversation into works of art thanks to nothing but some serious auto-tune. Which, when used on pop songs, is more annoying than anything else. In this context, however, it works.
The video embedded above shows the one video on this list that pretty much everyone reading is guaranteed to have already seen. With 120 million views and counting, Bed Intruder Song was an indisputable hit, and yet comprises of nothing more than an auto-tuned remix of some guy (named Antoine Dodson) describing a crime on the news. Genius.
What’s Your Favorite Remix Of All Time?
This list comprises of seven of the best YouTube remixers I have encountered on my travels across the Internetz. But there are surely many more out there. Whether you know of any other YouTube channel full of remixes, or you just want to inform us of your favorite remix of all time, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Credit: Bill Benzon via Flickr