Pogo and Changes at Disney

I have of late been entranced by Australian artist who goes by “Pogo” (real name Nick Bertke) who takes an extraordinary number of samples from a single film and weaves them into music and video. His tagline: “I remix stuff.” I love what he does. He’s gained his greatest fame doing remixes of Disney films. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Apparently he does mix in some synthesizer and drum beats from modern equipment, although it’s not clear how much; you can pull an awful lot of sound samples for drum beats and bass lines out of a 90 minute movie.

As a side note, that second video reminds me how easy it is to forget that Dick Van Dyke was a really fabulous dancer (and apparently still was until very recently.)

An interesting part of the Pogo story is that, even though his work is completely independent, he has faced fairly little static from Disney. This is highly uncharacteristic of Disney, which for some time has been famous for being outright brutal in its protection of its intellectual property. Their reputation is for threatening legal action at the speed of light against anyone and anything that even looks like it might somehow be related to one of their properties. They’re outright hated in many circles for it, as they’re known to bully people in circumstances most would call “fair use” or “parody” simply because they had the money and legal muscle to do it. In the case of Pogo’s remixes, Disney appears to have done something of an about-face, and while he’s faced some static from them they’ve mostly left him alone and even (through their Pixar subsidiary) commissioned some work from him. Some of my Facebook friends posit that this more relaxed attitude on Disney’s part may be related to Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, because not only has Disney mostly kept to its promise to let Pixar be Pixar, but key Pixar people are now in place at Disney who may have a more thoughtful take on things like this. Certainly a lot of people with a more modern outlook would look at these videos and say “that’s not just fair use, that’s brilliant promotion of older material!”

I mean, I kind of want to go back and see some of those films again now, especially Mary Poppins. A cheesy and maudlin old movie it may be, but it had some terrific dancing and singing didn’t it?

Pogo doesn’t just do Disney material by the way. Here’s a neat one he did using “Terminator 2” which he claims is nothing at all but sounds from the movie: