That's right. It's almost February and we're just now posting our 'Best of 2013' recap. So what? If you've ordered anything off our web store lately you know we're not exactly punctual. So buzz off and just let us do our thing. Our, slow, lazy thing. Well, times have changed, my friends, and no longer can you really post a 'Best Videos' list. With the multiple formats and different nature of video offerings it all has to fall under a more general title of 'Video Pieces'. Some of our favorite releases of 2013 weren't full length videos. Shit, some of them were just 1 minute commercials. But overall, it was the impact that a video made on us that caused us to take notice and include it in our list. So take a gander at our favorite video moments of 2013 and see how terrible your taste is and see what people with good taste thought was the best shit from 2013.
When it comes to 'judging' something that's supposed to be art, there's not really a justifiable way to rate something as 'The Best' or a "Top 10". Essentially, you very likely would've picked 10 completely different videos so we're just gonna call this our "Favorite Videos" of the year. And when it comes to picking a "favorite", I personally don't really judge it by the skating alone. If we were judging these based on just the skating it could be a very different list indeed. But a good video piece or full length project should pull you into a different world, use music befitting of the skater/skaters or location of the piece and ideally offer an experience that you've never had before. Online edits these days consist of gnarly footage, a hastily chosen song and a logo at the beginning or end. But those kinds of edits are rarely good for anything more than one watch. I don't care how gnarly the skating w/in it may be, a great video requires as much input and work from the videomaker as it does from the skater. So there's a lot more taken into account for our choices for the favorite videos of 2013. Maybe you'll agree maybe we'll piss you off. But these are the videos we felt made the biggest impression on us last year and have caused us to have a 2nd, 3rd and sometimes a 5th watch since we first had the pleasure of seeing them.
First off I have to include an "Honorable Mention" for 3 video parts from 2013 that aren't in our "Top 10". For several different reasons, the three video parts below were so gnarly/impressive that they can't go unmentioned. Personally, the overall editing/production didn't really stand out to me in these pieces. But the level of skateboarding is just too heavy to ignore:
13. Ishod Wair in the "Sabotage 3 Remix"
12. Jamie Thomas in "Cold War"
11. Mark Suciu in "Search The Horizon"
10. Daniel Kim from 'Belly of The Beast'
Although 'Belly of The Beast' is a full length video that STILL hasn't been released, Daniel Kim's part was posted online in mid 2013 and made quite a splash. Washington DC has always been the sleeper city on the east coast, with a tight cache of underground talent that's incredibly skilled at giant pop and tech ledge abilities. But every once in a while a skater pops up with bizarre talent that makes them stick out, even despite the underground nature of the DC scene. And Daniel Kim's abilities and style are just that freakishly impressive. How this dude is still just flow for DGK is beyond me. This video part is not only awesome because of Daniel's style and selection of spots, but little known videomaker Allen Danze obviously knows his craft and put together Daniel's footage in a masterful manner that keeps this part, long by modern standards, entertaining and powerful all the way through. I still haven't seen the full video but if it's anything like Daniel's part I can't wait.
9. Hopps 'Floating' Piece
Hopps can always be counted on to come out of left field with a video piece and concept out of left field. And the 2013 release of the 'Floating' piece was definitely no disappointment. Getting to see the Hopps crew skate is always a treat but when it's packaged around Markus Manoogian's special effects work, it pushes it to a whole other level. Something about the vibe of this brand and the personality of the skaters just brings a happy, rad feeling when you watch their video pieces. The 'Floating' piece was simple and short but I guess since I was around watching Markus produce the special effects elements of the piece, it made me an even bigger fan. Short as it was, it left us begging for more. And that's never a bad thing.
8. 'Solo Jazz'
I doubt I need to tell you that Peter Sidlauskas' video work is amongst the most entertaining stuff on the interweb right now. It doesn't matter if some of the footage is filmed on your grandma's handycam or ripped off of Youtube, he somehow can create a mystique with his editing that brings you into a strange world of early 90's weirdness that packages the local NYC skate scene quite nicely and in it's own unique way. When most others just throw a mid-90's KRS One song over their NY footage and expect it to do the job, Peter goes deeper to another level. A level where you almost expect to run into that midget from Twin Peaks dancing on your laptop. But no matter what it makes for a truly unique experience that makes Bronze productions stand out strongly from the internet video wastelands.
When people talk about Tengu they are usually going bananas about the roof section or the subway segment. But this video goes far beyond wild roof antics and highly illegal subway skating. It's also a well thought out street-skaters video that showcases underground scenes from NY to SF and from Bordeaux to Tokyo. Colin has captured some heavy links in the chain of the new skateboarding underground movement happening around the world, and done so in a really entertaining way with original music and dope graphic elements to boot. Definitely one of the strongest independent video projects out this year and one of the most original videos to come out of the US in a while.
6. 'The Brodies'
In an age where EVERY skater in the world is taking skate tours to NYC to film their next video part in a feeble effort to give their part some 'edge', Jeremy Elkin steps in and comes correct to show us all what a real NY video should feel like. And more importantly, who should be featured. One of my personal favorite videos of the past 5 years, 'Poisonous Projects', also by Elkin, was one of the best examples of an extremely watchable video project that portrayed NYC properly and gave credit to the skaters who actually live in and skate the cities streets daily. 'The Brodies' went even further by bringing us full video parts from some old NY characters that helped give the city's skate scene it's edge. And in my opinion, Akira Mowatt was the hit of this video. Bringing shocking skills for a skater who's been in the game for so long. And then Brooklyn-born Shut am Leo Gutman shut it down with an incredibly impressive part to wrap up the video. And then add in the 50 page booklet packaged with all of Jeremy's past videos, and this was definitely one of the raddest projects from 2013
5. Magenta's 'Soleil Levant' Video
From the moment this video starts you are pulled in and realize that you're about to witness something very different from what you would expect from a skate video. 'Soleil Levant' is French for 'Rising Sun' and is an homage to the Japanese skate scene and almost a video love letter of sorts to Japanese culture. And the Magenta guys pulled this off beautifully with sourced footage and thoughtful editing. If you were to pull any one specific line or single trick out of this video to analyze it you might not be impressed, but that's not the point. It is the culmination of the editing, music and the overall feeling that is achieved by all of these components that tell a story and convey a really rad message of respect and admiration for a culture that has been ignored by the western skate scene for far too long. Soleil Levant is a very unique offering to skateboarding and an impressive piece of work especially considering the hilarious collaboration section with Japanese genius Takahiro Morita. And they made hard copies as well, which is always a plus in our book.
4. 'Lenz 2'
There's not really much more I can say about 'Lenz 2' that I haven't already said in recent posts on TOA. The Japanese skate scene is just on another level and they've taken the 'east coast' style of street skating and made it their own. Shinpei Ueno did an insane job with this project traveling all over the country and incorporating all kinds of different scenes and styles of skaters into the project. Although 95 minutes is definitely too long for a modern skate video, there were enough amazing moments in this video to keep me entertained the whole way through. If it had been edited down to 45 minutes I think it would be my top pick of the year. 'Lenz 2' should be seen by all of skateboarding. I think it contains such an important mixture of different styles and it would introduce the world to what I think is the most unique and incredible skate scenes in the world right now.
3.Brandon Westgate 'Made: B Side"
To be honest I wasn't going to list this video part at first. I personally feel that music is about 60% of what makes a good video part. And I felt the music in Westgate's 'Made' part did his skating an injustice. But then Pat Stiener pointed me in the direction of the 'B Side' part and it was a whole different ball game. Brandon's skating supercedes any editing, filming or music selection. It's just that incredible and, quite simply, inhuman. But to see all of it in it's pure state with just the raw footage along with some bails and slams alike, I think it helped to add some humanity to this short beast of a skater. There's really nothing I can say about this part that would do it justice. It's just unbelievable. And it would easily be in my #1 spot if it was packaged in an edit that pulled more emotion out of me.
2. 'The Philadelphia Experiment'
Chris Mulhern has evolved as a videomaker very quickly. And I would say that he and Greg Hunt are probably the most talented cinematographers in the skate game right now. Every time I click 'play' on a new Mulhern piece I know that I am going to witness shots and composition that will have me shouting 'FUCK!' multiple times and leave me feeling jealous of his skills. But 'The Philadelphia Experiment' was a whole different ball game. Meant as a driver to help introduce his new brand Caste, I really had no clue what to expect from this video piece when I first saw it online. But when I clicked play, the world dropped out from around me and I floated into my laptop screen. This edit was the most original and brilliant piece released this year. To shoot an entire Philly piece on the old Sony VX-3 with a modern death lens and then to incorporate original 1990's footage of the OG Philly skaters Matt Reason and Ricky Oyola filmed by Ryan Gee into the piece seamlessly, I was just floored. And to top it off it had the usual beautiful Chris Mulhern cinematography as the icing on the cake. If you missed this piece I urge you to press play on the link below. You won't be disappointed.
1. 'The 11th Hour'
Out of respect to the format of the full length skate video, released in hard copy form, I have to give my favorite video release of 2013 to Jacob Harris and 'The 11th Hour'. This video had all of the elements you want out of a dope underground skate video. Great music you've never heard, great filming and tasteful art direction/packaging, and incredible skating by a mixture of skaters you've never heard of and a few classics that you were already a big fan of. You could see a strong Dan Magee influence through the start to the end of this video, but that is NOT a bad thing. Dan Magee is one of my favorite skate video makers of all time and I think he set the standard for any video out of the UK. And 'The 11th Hour' didn't disappoint. One of the raddest things about the UK scene is the fact that it's so isolated. Aside from South Bank, there are very few spots that we Americans have seen enough to be tired of. So almost the entire video is filled with unseen spots and it also helps that the entire line-up of the project features skaters with great styles that compliment the spots quite nicely. Tom Knox was the obvious hit of this video. Especially to most of us who hadn't really had the pleasure of seeing him skate up to this point. But my personal favorite was seeing such an incredible part from Nick Jensen, who was sort of the young up-and-coming superstar of the London skate scene 10 years ago. So it was a rad balance of Jensen, the former child-star, killing it to an amazingly weird song that worked just perfectly and then followed up by the new young up-and-comer Tom Know. Perfect bookends to a breakout hit video that none of us saw coming. Good shit.