Monday, January 30, 2006

Episode 100, Some Assembly Required

Episode 100, Some Assembly Required

01 Akufen – “Heaven can wait”
02 The Kleptones - “Bite”
03 DJ Medjyou – “Mr. Natwarlal”
04 DJ Tripp – “Without me (vader mix)”
05 DJ BC – “Tripper trouble”
06 The Coherent Encoherence – “Intelligent squid monkeys”
07 Overturned Big Rig – “Night of the living Andre”
08 Osymyso – “Rabbit to rabbit”
09 Alien Heat – “Shootout at Best Western”
10 The Avalanches – “Electricity”
11 John Oswald – “Mach”
12 Dan Serkland – (Untitled)
13 Steve Dirkx – “Is there anybody?”
14 Dsico - “U too in a bottle”
15 RX Music – “Imagine a walk on the wild side”

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

January 30, 2006: The Coherent Encoherence

January 30, 2006: The Coherent Encoherence

Well, so much for finding time to add to the Some Assembly Required blog this week... all I know is: time flies - and I can't even really say that I'm having all that much fun. Ah well, at least I can stay true to my goal of podcasting every week, and along with that comes the self-prescribed obligation to add to the SAR Q&A...

This week I've chosen to focus on The Coherent Encoherence.

About four years ago, I got a package from a couple of kids here in Minnesota (brothers, in fact), who've since moved on to other states - and like all the submissions I get for the show, it was opened with great excitement and then tossed into the backseat of my car (I was driving a red pickup truck at the time, with a tape player - which came in handy...), where it sat waiting for me to find the free time to review it. On this particular occasion, the aforementioned cassette player was what afforded me the opportunity to review the submission a bit more speedily than is perhaps the norm. The Coherent Encoherence had sent me a cassette tape of their sound collage composition. It was titled, "Will a Computer Give you Kids?" and it was NOISY.

I don't usually like noise. Keep that in mind. Some "noise" has gotten some time on the show, because (with a little effort) I've been able to appreciate that there was some method at work; a message, a joke, a point that was trying to be made -- something. But, for the most part, I'm a fan of music, or comedy, or the spoken word (not to mention rhythm, melody, political commentary... I think you get the idea).

So, The Coherent Encoherence... These guys were definitely noisy, but what I liked about the tape was what I perceived to be the innocence, the lack of pretension, which went into its creation. It reminded me of the first sound collages I used to make, when I was in the 9th grade (which, if I'm not mistaken, is approximately the school years of the two members of TCE, at the time that they finished this collage). It was simply a collage of what was at hand, at the time, influenced only by the mindsets of two young men who were working with that material, at that time. I listened to it over and over all week, and shared my favorite tracks with a handful of people, who (with the proper introduction), were able to appreciate what I saw (heard). The next step, I felt, was to see if we could get anyone else to hear that... and so I wrote the duo to see if they'd want to be a part of the first series of releases I wanted to put out, on a record label I launched in 2004.

"Will a Computer Give you Kids?" was released in June of 2004, on Recombinations - the first of three new releases on the new label. The response was mixed, to say the least. It earned one review which was definitely (no doubt) the worst review I've ever witnessed any band get for any release. I was shaking in my chair, as I read it. It also earned two reviews which were quite a bit more favorable. So who's to say what the critics thought? Ink 19 spared no punches, saying it was "the most annoying record since Metal Machine Music, and I mean that in a bad way," while Indieville gave it a 70% and Wire Magazine chimed in with the sort of positive ambivalence which only the most sought after reviewers will save for some of the more unknown Outsider Art - which is where, at least at this stage, I'd say The Coherent Encoherence fit in most comfortably.

They tell me they're working on new releases though, and they share most but the most negative views on their debut release. A stellar first effort, to be sure. It was wildly entertaining, for me, riding around Minneapolis in my (now, dearly departed) big red pickup truck. My new car doesn't even have a tape deck. One thing's for sure - I'm proud as heck to have been the one to put out these guy's first record! So, without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with The Coherent Encoherence...


*Name: The Coherent Encoherence

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: TCE

*Do you use a pseudonym?
TCE, Keith Harvest (Keith’s solo side project), Lonelyfox (Nick’s recent solo side project), Eighth Tiny Reindeer (Nick’s older solo project).

Keith Dylan Hadad, Nick Hadad

*Founding Members:
Nick and Keith

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
All of the above.

*Another genre descriptor:
Medialation, Medipulation

*Why you use this descriptor: Medialation is manipulating and reconstructing any prerecorded audio media/mediums in any which way to create something entertaining in a scattered and unorganized fashion. (This describes "Will a Computer…" and our other older material).

Medipulation is a more structured, creative, technical, well organized version of Medialation that has more plots and/or themes in the songs. It’s usually a digital reconstruction of a tape manipulation. (This describes our new material).

*Location: Right now we’re recording near Rochester, New York.

*Original Location: We started as a group in New Ulm, Minnesota.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Playing around and experimenting with music, sounds, sound equipment, and old records from groups that helped inspire us (The White Album by The Beatles is probably the biggest influence) since we were kids. We started manipulating with dual tape decks before we knew that it was an art form. We also both have been painting, drawing, writing, and doing photography for as long as we can remember.

*History: We’ve been making manipulations since 1997, and we started recording projects as a group since late 2000.

*Born: Keith was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1989, and Nick was born in the same place, 1985.

*Motivations: It’s fun, you can create something funny or just plain entertaining out of something old or boring.

*Philosophy: We’re finding ways to convey a message through spliced previously existing material.

*How would you like to be remembered: We’d like to be remembered as an underground group trying very creative new (sometimes humorous) directions in music.

*Web address:


Thanks to The Coherent Encoherence, for submitting to the Q&A this week... Stay tuned for my next post: the Podcast for Some Assembly Required, Episode 100. The 100th episode includes 15 excellent tracks by a very diverse group of sound collage artists, of which one is The Coherent Encoherence. Stay tuned...

I'm trying something new this week - uploading late Sunday night (hey, its after midnight, so technically its Monday), to see if we get more downloads this week. My guess is that there's a lot more down time on Mondays (time more easily spent listening to podcasts?) which we've been neglecting by sleeping in Monday and not podcasting until later in the evening. So, we're giving it a shot. As always - feel free to drop me a line! There's contact info at the Some Assembly Required website. Do let me know what you think of all this nonsense...

Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

Monday, January 23, 2006

Episode 101, Some Assembly Required

Episode 101, Some Assembly Required

01 Basement Clash – “Magnificent Romeo”
02 Christian Marclay – "Frederic Chopin”
03 Kid Koala – “Basin street blues”
04 Akufen – “Jeep sex”
05 RX Music – “Sunday bloody Sunday”
06 Lenlow – “Last night”
07 Osymyso – “Monkey to camel”
08 Jason Forrest – “Satan cries again”
09 Antediluvian Rocking Horse – “The third ore bit”
10 Dsico – “I want boys”
11 The Tape-beatles – “Concern about”
12 Lovecraft Technologies – “Frosty the snowman”
13 DJ Danger Mouse – “99 problems”

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

January 23, 2006: Osymyso

January 23, 2006: Osymyso

Hello! Getting ready to podcast Episode 101 of Some Assembly Required...

I've actually been experiencing some hesitation lately, regarding my plan of going backwards in history with this podcast project. The fact is, if I do say so myself, the show has been improving with every episode, and to go backwards is, well... kind of backwards. I will say this - I don't know that I'll be going all the way back through the first year as originally planned. At this point I'm still planning on podcasting the second year and sticking with that. Anyway... We'll see how this thing develops.

The 101st Episode of Some Assembly Required is a really diverse mix, including a track by an artist from London who calls himself Osymyso - the subject of this week's SAR Q&A...

Osymyso has so far managed to be recognized as much for being a DJ and a cut-up artist as he has enjoyed being lumped in with mashup artists. He's also an electronic musician in general, having created numerous sample-free works, as well.

One of the first tracks I ever heard by Osymyso was called "Pat 'n Peg." In it, he makes almost an entire piece out of arguments between characters on a British Sitcom called Eastenders, including a particularly nasty exchange between two of the show's female leads. Since one half of this exchange uses the "B" word, and since I'd recently been warned not to use that word on public radio, I proceeded to beep it out - each and every time it was uttered on the track. The result was absolutely ridiculous. If I remember correctly, there were over eighty beeps in that particular song - an absurdity I hadn't really thought about too much until airing the show. I just hope Osymyso will forgive me - I only wanted to share this amazing track with the Some Assembly Required audience!

Osymyso is also known for his epic, "Intro-Inspection," wherein he mixed the intros to over 100 songs into one listener friendly reference mix. He also set Chris Morris' "Bushwhacked" to music, and in 2005, involved himself with a project called "50 from O5ymy50 in 05" where the plan was to create one new track every week, for the first fifty weeks of 2005. He's clearly as much an idea man as a musician, which puts him near the top of the list, as far as this reviewer is concerned. The Osymyso track featured in episode 101 is called "Monkey to Camel." Originally available in 1998, as a 10" record, I think I probably downloaded it. He's made a practice of making most (if not all) of his work available for free, via the internet.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Osymyso...

*Name: Osymyso

*Members: Just me

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: If I was to choose out of those 3, then I would definitely go for "digital deconstructions." Everything I do is in the digital domain. I love any kind of new digital manipulation software.

*Another genre descriptor: I like the term Wonkytronics or Daft Techno. But to be honest I just made them up. I tend to think of what I do as "Electronica" but that's a very broad term. There needs to be a new description; you've got me thinking now. Oh and just for the record, I think Plunderphonics is one of the coolest words ever invented and I wish I'd thought of it first.

*Is there a story behind your name?: I wanted my name to be something I had made up myself that didn't really have any specific connotations, sounded feminine and was palindromic, and that was one of about 20 I wrote down on a piece of paper.

*Location: I come from the North of England in a place called Harrogate and I have lived and worked in London since 1993.

*Original Location: Harrogate

*What is your creative/artistic background: I went to Art Collage (sic!) and studied Graphic Design but left when I started releasing records and decided that was my future.

*History: My first record as Osymyso came out EXACTLY 10 years ago next week.
(note: this Q&A was submitted July 6, 2005).

*Born: I was born in Oxford, England in 1973.

*Motivations: I want to spend the rest of my life exploring rhythm and melody. I love my job and if I'm doing this in 50 years time I'll be happy.

*Philosophy: It's all about being experimental with computer music and remaining accessible. Making odd music that is fun, interesting and exciting for as many people as possible. As long as I'm still searching I have a reason to carry on, if I am boring myself then I'll need to change direction.

*How would you like to be remembered: As creative, imaginative, honest and someone who stuck to the plan. I want people to love my music and for it to leave a trail of amused and happy people.

*Web address:


Thanks again to Osymyso! Stick around for Some Assembly Required, Episode 101...

In other news: I just got an email from National Public Radio's "All Songs Considered," who have started a podcast for their program about independent, unsigned and/or self-produced bands, called "Open Mic." They're including a track off of my last album and perhaps doing some kind of feature on the project as well, at their website, which is awesome. My last CD, by the way, was titled "Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism." Its a CD of live performances by Escape Mechanism, recorded at art venues and performance spaces around Minneapolis. You can find the Open Mic website, at:
The episode in question is set to podcast on Wednesday, January 25th...

I haven't blogged this week, beyond uploading the podcast. Must have lost track of time. I'll try to submit something later this week. This is fun, but it can be time-consuming! In the meantime, enjoy Episode 101 of Some Assembly Required. I'll be uploading it in just a minute. Until then...
Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

Monday, January 16, 2006

Episode 102, Some Assembly Required

Episode 102, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Happee – “Last night I ruled the world”
02 Otis Fodder – “The Rulers (Mister Alger mix – fall silent remix)”
03 The Wholesome Family Singers – “The tyrant will soon be gone”
04 Christian Marclay “His master’s voice (excerpt)”
05 Janek Schaefer – “His master’s voices”
06 Negativland – “I am God”
07 (c)(P)ee – “King Brian”
08 The Tape-beatles – “Every man a king”
09 Antediluvian Rocking Horse – “On her majesty’s secret dune”
10 The Tape-beatles – “Joy and power (remix)”
11 Idiom Creak – “Jet-powered, monkey-navigated”
12 The Tape-beatles – “Wow, feel the amazing power”
13 Laso Halo – “You don’t have the power”
14 Unknown - “The power of bizkit”
15 John Oswald – “Power”

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

January 16, 2006: Antediluvian Rocking Horse

January 16, 2006
Time to upload a new episode. Stay tuned for Episode 102, of Some Assembly Required (in my next post)...

Episode 102 of Some Assembly Required features a track off of an album by Antediluvian Rocking Horse, called Forward Into the Furniture. I've been playing Antediluvian Rocking Horse since the very beginning of the show. They were one of those artists who got discovered earlier because they had a record out on Negativland's label, Seeland. I'd have found out about them eventually, but such close proximity to Negativland didn't hurt, especially at the time.

It was a lot harder, then, to find out about sound collage artists. I don't know if it was just because the internet was newer, or maybe because people were more afraid (copyright issues?), but back then you could hardly find anything about anyone online. That was actually one of the inspirations for the show - once I learned that there were actually LOTS of sound collage artists out there, I wanted to create a venue for them. This blog and the Some Assembly Required podcast is the perfect extension of that goal. In particular, I'm excited about this new feature - the weekly Some Assembly Required Q&A. I'll try my best to match up the SAR Q&A with an artist being played that week on the podcast. I don't know if it will always be possible, but so far so good...

So, this week's Q&A is with Antediluvian Rocking Horse! According to their official website, Antediluvian Rocking Horse has three official releases: Music for the Odd Occasion (1995, Seeland), Music for Transportation (1999, Musicmine) and the self-released Forward into the Furniture, released in 2003. The duo (which is occasionally a trio) also belongs to that (semi-) exclusive club of sound collage artists with their own radio shows. Their radio program is named after their 2003 record "Forward into the Furniture" (or perhaps the other way around?) and airs on 3PBS-FM, in Australia. The band has been involved with numerous Festivals, Events and Parties, and have done everything from supporting noise bands and running their own "neo-exotica nights," to creating original soundtracks for live theatre.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Antediluvian Rocking Horse...


Antediluvian Rocking Horse (Melbourne, Australia)
*Name: Antediluvian Rocking Horse

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: ARH, DJ1

*Do you use a pseudonym? DJ2 (Paul Wain) and DJ3 (SM King)

*Members: Paul Wain, Susan King, Ollie Olsen

*Founding Members: Paul Wain, Susan King

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Dada. Anti-art. We are Sonic Culture Actuality Reabsorber Satellites.

*Another genre descriptor: Opaque music

*Location: Melbourne, Australia

*What is your creative/artistic background: Paul Wain is a sculptor. SM King is a writer and visual artist. Ollie Olsen is a musician.

*History: ARH formed on April 23rd, 1994.

*Born: We were all born in or near Melbourne between the years 1958-1971.

*Philosophy: Folk music, random occurences, bricolage. We use whatever is at hand, live and in the studio, to produce sound. Analogue cassette, radio and TV, reel-to-reel, various keyboards, turntables, CDs, effect pedals, and drum machines have all made their way into our sets. When we play live we use no headphones and rarely tell the other what we have in our audio arsenal. Anything can happen. We like to have as many sources in the mix as possible, to find the point at which DJ1 has taken over and neither DJ2 or DJ3 can determine what sound is from which source - an unpredictable 'third record' of sorts. Our recorded output has more structure. We take inspirations while playing 'live' - how different elements conversed amongst themselves, back to the studio to create tracks for our CDs. Our basic motivator is "Do whatever you can with whatever you can get your hands on." ARH is administered by the Potential Fossil Assemblage and underwritten by the Cultural Mechanics Institute.

*How would you like to be remembered: As...."those people who used to play really weird s*** at parties that did my head in."

*Web address:


Stay tuned for Episode 102 of Some Assembly Required, featuring a track by Antediluvian Rocking Horse and 14 other sound collage artists. The full track listing is in the next post. As always, please feel free to comment on the blog and the podcast. The number of downloads is encouraging, but feedback would be icing on the cake! Thanks for listening...

Stay tuned,
Jon Nelson

Saturday, January 14, 2006

January 15, 2006: More SAR History

January 15, 2006

Okay, so back to more Some Assembly Required history...
After the ECC show (August, 2003), Some Assembly Required sponsored a couple of kids, some local electronic showcases, and then the 2nd ECC show at the Rogue Buddha. The 2 "kids" were Kid 606 at the Triple Rock, in August (2003) and Kid Koala in the First Avenue Mainroom in October (also 2003). The local electronic showcases were a local collective, or showcase, going by the name "Cumulus" which Some Assembly Required was tangentially involved with for a time. Cumulus was an experimental and/or electronic showcase which took place at the Dinkytowner (the best of one of the Twin Cities true dives -- It stinks down there but they put on a good show).

Then, in January (2004), Some Assembly Required sponsored a show at the Weisman Art Museum, called "Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics." Highlights included a motown techno performance collaboration between Justin Boyd, calling himself an "audio scientist," and visual artist Dario Robleto.

The Some Assembly Required interview with Steev Hise (recorded during the first big event which Some Assembly Required had had a hand in - Sound Unseen, 2001) was the next big thing to happen. I finally got the interview produced, and it aired in 2004, on March 6. Then on May 8 (also 2004), I aired an interview with an artist I'd come across while showing Mark Gunderson around the Twin Cities, way back in August of 2003. We'd stopped in at the Soap Factory and stumbled across Omer Fast's "CNN Concatenated" which stands (still) as one of my all-time most awe-inducing (as in jaw-dropping, yes) video, or even sound, collage experiences. Absolutely amazing! If you ever get a chance to see this... then, do. I contacted Mr. Fast a month or two later, convinced him to let me air the audio to his video collage, and aired my phone interview with him along with it, in May of 2004.

Then in June (2004), I finally got around to airing my interview with Wet Gate member Owen O'toole (another interview done around the same time as that first Sound Unseen presentation in 2001). I'd played the records he'd released on his label, and was familiar with his work as The Plagiarist - he's one of those people who needed to be talked about on the show. So, I fulfilled that responsibility.

Then, in August of 2004, I interviewed turntablist extraordinaire, Christian Marclay, who was in town on an artist's residency with the Walker Art Center, and sponsored his show at the Triple Rock Social Club on August 21st (Two Turntables and a Saxaphone). Great, as always, to be able to meet an artist who gets regular airplay on the show. Hearing about his early experiences with Fluxus and then seeing his Fluxus inspired piece, "Shake Rattle and Roll" was one of the highlights of this meeting. The video installation piece consisted of 16 video monitors which simultaneously displayed video documents he'd created/orchestrated, involving the physical handling of a variety of the many Fluxus "Art Objects" in the Walker's collection. He'd made these objects sing - effectively continuing the movement's long-dead request that the work continue to evolve on its own. I didn't even come close to understanding it, until I stood in the middle of the circle of monitors for a few minutes. My skeptical side nearly prevented it, too - but then - bang! I got it. A very nice moment.

So, finally... August 2004. Some Assembly Required teams up once again with Sound Unseen to bring Mark Hosler (Negativland) to town to give a lecture on copyright, his band, and the state of intellectual property in the world today, to an audience of subversives at the Oak Street Cinema, here in Minneapolis. My radio interview with Hosler aired on Radio K the preceding Saturday (10/2/04). Over one hundred people filled the Oak Street's tiny auditorium to hear Hosler tell his story. Definitely another shining moment in the history of Some Assembly Required. I even turned my radio interview with Hosler into a feature for (then) alternative publication, Ruminator Magazine (Nov/Dec '04), titled, "COPYRIGHT, JESUS AND THE ART OF COLLAGE: An Interview with Mark Hosler of Negativland by Jon Nelson” (Check it out HERE).

Then, in December (2004), I interviewed Otis Fodder and Mildred Pitt of the Bran Flakes. This marked the second time I'd interviewed more than one person at a time for the show. The first time had been Lloyd Dunn and John Heck of the Tape-beatles (in 2001). Its a lot harder than you might think. Twice the ego to manage! Not that either of these examples really illustrates this at all. Both parties were quite down to earth - but you can probably understand what I mean. How do you balance an exclusive interview with more than one person? It definitely takes twice as long, to begin with.

The Bran Flakes were awesome, by the way (as were the Tape-beatles- another one of my all time favorite interviews). They were such a refreshing change from what I had become so used to, in the world of sound collage and audio art. They were laughing the entire time; cracking jokes and letting loose. They seemed genuinely happy to be doing what they were doing. The only interview which even came close was with Jason Forrest this past week (the Jason Forrest/Donna Summer interview aired here, in Minneapolis - on Radio K - on January 7, 2006, and should air in syndication around February or March '06). They were awesome. Now that I think of it, Mark Gunderson was pretty laid back, too - and by saying this I don't mean to imply that everyone else was uptight or a jerk, but you know... these guys were especially joyful. Let's just leave it at that...

Then, in January of 2005, Some Assembly Required sponsored an event at Outsiders and Others which featured a screening of a film by a friend of mine (Scott Miller's "Uso Justo"). Craig Baldwin (the man behind a documentary called "Sonic Outlaws," which featured segments on Negativland, the Tape-beatles, Emergency Broadcast Network and a bevy of other appropriation-based sound collage artists) was also in attendance at this event, showing video of various projects. It was good to see Craig again. I'd first met him in 2000, during his artist's residency at the Walker Art Center. He'd invited Escape Mechanism to perform at an event he was organizing to conclude his residency at the Walker. It was at the Soap Factory in October of 2000, and called "(de)factory films." The event was focused largely on cultural recycling, with an emphasis on film. Track six on the live CD by Escape Mechanism ("Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism") was recorded at this event at the Soap Factory.

Then on January 18, 2005, DJ Food released his follow up to "Raiding the 20th Century." He'd sent me the first version a little while after it was originally released in January of 2004, and I was amazed. He was sampling all of the artists which get the feature treatment on Some Assembly Required! I contacted him a little while later about doing an interview and was excited to find out that he was planning a follow up version. I interviewed him right toward the end of his work on the follow up and aired it a bit later in the year - but I've rambled on long enough for now. How much time did we cover here? August 2003 to January 2005? Thats only about 2 and 1/2 years in one post. wow. I'll get back to this again at a later date...

Anyway, stay tuned for the next podcast, tomorrow - January 16 (episode 102). No special interview, but the interviews only happen every two months or so, so don't go expecting them any more regularly than that. If this were my full time job, you could expect them every week, but this show is costing me money, not making me money! I'm not complaining - just offering up weak excuses. That's all.

Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

Monday, January 09, 2006

Episode 103, Some Assembly Required

Episode 103, Some Assembly Required
(featuring an interview with DJ Nikoless)

01 DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – “The magnificent Jazzy Jeff”
02 DJ Qbert - "Turbo paw platoon"
03 DJ Nikoless - "Background check (audiobiography)"
04 Herbie Hancock - "Rockit"
05 DJ Babu – “Blind Alley juggle”
06 DJ Nikoless - "DJing for dummies"
07 DJ Nikoless - "Disc vs. vinyl (you decide)"
08 Beat Junkies - "They don't understand"
09 DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – “He’s the DJ, I’m the rapper”

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

January 9, 2006: DJ Nikoless

January 9, 2006

Okay! On with the podcast. Kind of cool that the first interview episode to be podcast is with a local artist - DJ Nikoless Skratch. I interviewed DJ Nikoless in the summer of 2005, to air on Some Assembly Required before a show I was organizing in July, at the Varsity Theater, here in Minneapolis. He was the headliner, with his partner Plain ole Bill. Andrew Broder and Lori Barbero were the other Turntablists/DJs on the bill. I'll write more about that show, eventually, as I continue to work my way down the list of performances as presented by Some Assembly Required...

In the meantime, as the next episode set to podcast is Episode 103, and as that episode contains an interview with DJ Nikoless, I've decided to go ahead and start yet another project associated with this blog, which I've been planning to do all along; and that is the creation of an online database of artists who receive airplay on Some Assembly Required. I've put together a very basic set of questions, and emailed them out to a handful of the artists who receive regular airplay on the show, and some of them have actually come back... Thankfully, DJ Nikoless' response arrived in time to include here in this post, to introduce the next post, which will be the podcast for Episode 103, which includes a much more in-depth radio interview with DJ Nikoless Skratch. Stay tuned.

To briefly introduce: DJ Nikoless is Kevin Beacham, a member of the Rhymesayer's Collective, and the host of a radio program called "Redefinition Radio," which airs here in Minneapolis on MPR's The Current (Saturday nights, 11-Midnight, 89.3 FM). Radio bookends my workshift on Saturdays... After doing Some Assembly Required over at Radio K, I wait tables for several hours and then, as I'm heading home, I'll tune in to Redefinition Radio, on The Current, and check out what Kevin Beacham (aka DJ Nikoless) is playing. According to the bio at his show's site, Beacham got his start in radio in 1995, at WNUR, in Evanston, Illinois. He's been everything from MC, producer, artist manager and record promoter to journalist, DJ, radio show host and record label manager.

Tune in to Episode 103 of Some Assembly Required (I'll be uploading it later tonite), for more on DJ Nikoless. Here's the official Some Assembly Required Q&A to introduce the episode...


DJ NIKOLESS (Minneapolis)
*Name: DJ Nikoless (A.K.A Kevin Beacham)

*Do you use a pseudonym? Nikoless Skratch is the full Pseudonym.

*Is there a story behind your name? I don't have a middle name and thru out life I toyed with the idea of what it should be. When it came time to think of a DJ name, and being that I suck at thinking of names sometimes… I wanted something flexible. By that I mean a name that won't be too "regretful" later, or corny. I wanted a name that could be a regular name too. There are several reasons why I went with Nikoless Skratch and it's impossible to be brief...ha! I'll say that Nikoless Skratch is a comic character in the old 70’s Fantastic Four comics. Plus, I thought it was cool that my daughter’s middle name is Nikole (which I gave to her) and by just adding two "S's" at the end gets you Nikoless. There's a ½ dozen other metaphorical reasons if you really want to know....

*Members: This is Where You Got It From double CD (also features) Plain Ole Bill & DJ Tanner.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations?: Hard to say. I think a little of each actually. I guess I, or my guests, are involved in all those things. I'm just a DJ with a lot of ideas that I think are clever...ha!

*Location: Minneapolis, MN

*Original Location: I'm an Army Brat. Born in Frankfurt, Germany and moved around all thru out life. I've lived in Colorado, Texas, Kansas, various spots in Germany, Michigan, Illinois and now based in Minneapolis.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Just have always been a fan of music since a young age. At 9 my dad introduced me to Hip Hop and I was hooked ever since. Started out MCing at age 10 and from there just immersed myself in Hip Hop in general.

*History: I started dabbling in DJing in 1985 but it was just something I did because it intrigued me and I didn't think of myself as a DJ. However, I had been buying or getting records as gifts since age 4. It was in the mid 90’s that I really started taking it serious (when I stopped focusing on MCing). In '97 I released my first mix tape.

*Born: Born in 1970, in Frankfurt, Germany.

*Motivations: I just love the music...all different types, but Hip Hop is how I can best express myself. I love the idea of being able to contribute to an art form that gave so much to me.

*Philosophy: Hmm....I just aim to find a balance between creativity, entertainment, and education.
*How would you like to be remembered: Just as a guy who pursued his passions and was able to make his dreams reality and for the most part I have done that.

*Web address: Nothing official (yet)… …and eventually I'll have a page up at (artist page)


Okay, that's it for this post. Thanks to DJ Nikoless for the interview. Stay tuned for Episode 103, later tonite. As always, please leave comments, or email me directly. Contact information is at the Some Assembly Required website, at:
Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Evolution Control Committee: 2003

January 6, 2006

okay, back to my recollections of live performances in Minneapolis...

After the People Like Us show in 2002, I decided to invite Mark Gunderson, of the Evolution Control Committee, to come and perform two shows in Minneapolis, in 2003.

(Photo of the ECC's Mark Gunderson, at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, by Stefan Hertel - lifted from the Minnesota Daily's coverage of the show...)

The first show was at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, a beautiful theatrical space (which houses the well known theatre company), in Minneapolis. This was the first show I had organized without any major funding, so when Mark arrived, we had to spend the night before the day of the show, on cots in my studio in Northeast Minneapolis. I felt bad not being able to offer him the luxury of hotel suites which previous artists had been treated to, but then again - I got to know Mark a lot better than the other artists I'd had out, as a result of much more time spent together. So that was a bonus. My studio at the time was actually just a storefront on Hennepin Avenue, in Northeast Minneapolis.

We practically filled the 300 seats at Theatre de la Jeune Lune the next night - it was probably the most exciting show I've organized to date. In addition to being the first one I'd done on my own, it was probably the best attended. The theatre was beautiful, the performances were amazing, and the audience was extremely appreciative.
I had asked some local circuit benders to assemble as a "Circuit Benders Orchestra," and do a live set, opening for The ECC. I was the first opening act - DJing from my, at the time, fairly limited library of mashups. This was in homage to the ECC's status as "Godfather of Bastard Pop." Their 1991 Eerie Material's release, mixing Public Enemy's "Rebel Without a Pause" and Herb Alpert's "Bittersweet Samba," is generally referred to as the first recorded example of an A+B mashup. So I had a little fun spinning some bastard pop, to get the audience in the mood. After my DJ set, the lights went down and Matt Cisler (Datura 1.0), Logan Erickson, Tim Kaiser and Jacob Roske (JAR) took the stage with their assemblage of electronic toys, gadgets and boxes full of circuits, bent to produce sounds only they could have imagined. These artists came together on this occasion for the first time, and improvised for over twenty electrified minutes. They sounded like they'd been practicing together for weeks, though many of them had literally just met eachother that night. A very cool introduction to the show.

Finally, Mark Gunderson took the stage, as the Evolution Control Committee, performing his often interactive, multi-media extravaganza, which included video, karaoke and something he invented and performs, called the Thimbletron (pictured above). It was a truly spectacular show, and it was very gratifying to feel the audience responding so positively. The Thimbletron is a performance device which utilizes ten thimbles attached to two gloves which the performer wears. Samples are triggered when wired thimbles complete and break circuits created by touching other thimbles, along with other metal receptors on the gloves (and perhaps elsewhere, as well?). He performed a few ECC standard's, among other songs, in the herky-jerky method which has become the Thimbletron's trademark.

Nathan Hall wrote about the show in a review for the Minnesota Daily, the next week, saying that The ECC "single-handedly saved Friday night for downtown Minneapolis." The article concludes with "Regardless of your feelings regarding the contentious intellectual property debates, you at least have to hand it to the guy for distinguishing his gigs from yawn-inducing Microsoft training sessions." Well put! Its been very interesting for me to see all the different approaches to live performance by sound collage artists. I'd say my favorites so far are either the largely hands-off (and multi-media) approach, as practiced by artists like The Tape-beatles and People Like Us, or the aggressively involved performances by artists like Mark Gunderson, or Wobbly. If you're going to get up on stage, you might as well throw yourself into it.

Anyway, the audience screamed and laughed along with The ECC that night, and participated in a couple of karaoke versions of some classic ECC tracks. I was really proud to have been a part of it. The next day Mark and I drove around Minneapolis and took these ridiculous photos of ourselves at an even more ridiculous "theme park" at the Mall of America - designed around various brands of breakfast cereal (after hearing about my trip there with Vicki Bennet, Mark insisted on seeing the inside). The next day, he loaded up his gear and headed off to yet another show.

He came back in November to perform at the art opening for the Fifth Annual Festival of Appropriation. The show at Jeune Lune had been a "preview party" for this event at the Rogue Buddha Art Gallery, a few months later. Artists in that year's Festival of Appropriation included Loretta Bebeau, Beth Brownfield, Kyle Fokken, Lisa Jurgens, Holly Streekstra and Anastasia Ward. Some of these artists also showed in the lobby of the Jeune Lune at the preview party. Since it was also a five year anniversary, several artists from previous years were invited to participate in a retrospective show (Cathy Camper, Allen Christian, Mark Gunderson, Jeffrey Isham, Andrea Jayne, Jonathan Nelson, Michael Pilmer, Mike Splatt, The Tape-beatles and Michelle Winowiak).

The ECC managed to do mostly new material at the second show, which was a surprise. Both shows were great, but it would have been nearly impossible to beat the energy at that first show in August at Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Probably my favorite memory associated with Some Assembly Required, to date.
Okay - more blogging later. Thanks for checking out the new podcast, which was successfully launched on Monday, January 2nd, 2006! Stay tuned for Episode 103, which will be podcast this monday (1/9). It features an interview with DJ Nikoless of the Rhymesayer's Collective, recorded on the occasion of his 2CD release, "This is where you got it from (Theories of origin, volume three)." I'll write more about that next week. Until then...

Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Monday, January 02, 2006

Episode 104, Some Assembly Required

Episode 104, Some Assembly Required

01 Dada Legion – “The new #2”
02 John Oswald – “2 Net”
03 Realistic – “Angel 2000”
04 Dsico – “2 turntables are ice”
05 Avalanches – “Two Hearts in 3/4 Time”
06 Girl Talk – “Touch 2 Feel”
07 DJ Abilities – “Two Men And A Lady”
08 Steinski – “Collage #2”
09 Saga & Mei Lwun – “Def Con 2.01”
10 Cassetteboy – “2hrs Later Loop”
11 Kid Koala – “Barhopper 2”
12 Negativland – “Edited Special Edit Radio Mix - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For”
13 Cassetteboy – “2 Millennium Big Knee”
14 Wayne Butane – “2000 Flushes”
15 V/Vm – “Two Can Play That Gammon”
16 Dsico – “U too in a bottle”

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

January 2, 2006: Podcast Begins

Happy New Year!

Its finally 2006. I think I've been looking forward to starting this podcast even more than I used to look forward to Christmas. In fact I couldn't wait, and on December 21, decided to warm up to podcasting by posting a mix of the tracks I would play on the Some Assembly Required Christmas Special (which aired on Radio K on Christmas Eve).

A fellow DJ at Radio K liked it enough to post a message about it to a website called Boing Boing and the resulting attention just about crashed our original server. This was a good thing though, for two reasons. For one thing, we learned we needed a server with more "bandwidth" (a term only recently added to my vocabulary). So, we've made those changes. Of course, the other reason is that it was great to see so many people downloading the Christmas Special! At last count, the Christmas Mix was downloaded over 7,000 times - about 350 times more downloads than I expected. So, thanks for listening!

And now, to begin the actual podcast... I've been told the best thing to do is post a message to the blog beforehand - getting all the extraneous information out of the way first - so that folks trying to download the podcast on mp3 players don't have to scroll through (relatively) giant posts like this one, while finding the mp3. So I'm going to ramble here a bit before posting a link to the podcast in the very next post.

To reiterate: Some Assembly Required is a weekly audio art show focused on works of appropriation. NEW episodes currently air in syndication on two dozen college, community and public radio stations across the US And Canada. For more information about the show, and who is syndicating, visit the Some Assembly Required website, at:
THE PODCAST is an attempt to archive OLD episodes - I'll be uploading a new (old) episode every Monday, starting today (1/2/06). We're starting with the last episode of the second year in syndication (episode 104) and working our way backward. So next monday, the podcast will be episode 103, and the following Monday, we'll podcast episode 102, and so on. It might be a little confusing, for those of you who subscribed and/or downloaded the trial episode a couple of weeks ago, as the episode we used then was also episode 104. That's what I'm posting today as well. Don't worry - next monday, and every monday afterward, there will be "new" episodes being podcast...

My next blog post will be really short - just the name of the show, a playlist and a link to the podcast for episode 104. Thanks again for being here from the very beginning. As of right now, we have over 200 subscribers to the podcast. That's a pretty good start! Thanks for subscribing. Please let others know about the show, and feel free to get in touch with questions, comments, even constructive criticism. I'm brand new to podcasting and could use good advice, if you're so inclined. There's contact info at the Some Assembly Required website:

Okay. Thats good for now. Podcasting will commence this evening!
Thanks again,
Jon Nelson