Sunday, August 27, 2006

Episode 109, Some Assembly Required

Episode 109, Some Assembly Required

01 Freddy Fresh – “Hillbilly 303”
02 Hal Wilner – “Bercuse On Parade”
03 Kid Koala - “Annie's Parlor”
04 Public Works – “Follow me”
05 Freelance Hellraiser – “We don't give a damn about our friends”
06 Silica Gel – “Shut up, shut up”
07 Cast Of Thousands with Escape Mechanism – “Today”
08 stAllio! – “Bathtime Fun”
09 Splatt – “Shoes (sprecherin)”
10 Steinski - “Your reality's a fantasy (radio friendly)”
11 MC Sleazy – “Don't call me blur”
12 People Like Us – “Clippety Carl Horse”
13 Freddy Fresh & The MPC Genius – “(Untitled)”

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More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

August 27, 2006: Splatt

August 27, 2006: Splatt

Stay tuned for this week's feature on Splatt, and for this week's podcast (episode 109) which will be uploaded later this evening!

I had fun DJing my very last summer event last night, and now am looking forward to a Fall full of studio work. Wish me luck! The event was Density Studio's Art of Design Show, and the winners of the juried competition were Chuck U (First Place), Nancy McCabe (Second) and Squad 19 (Third). The jury consisted of Amy Bemas (Art Director, Peterson Milla & Hooks Advertising), Loie Maxwell (Creative Director of Advertising, Target Corporation), Sophia Svenssen-Huang (Creative Manager of Advertising, Target Corporation), Paul Saarinen (Principal, Brand & Butter) and Izaak B (Senior Designer, L'etoile Magazine). Thanks to the artists, the jurors and to everyone who came out to Density last night!



I first met Splatt at the Bryant Lake Bowl, in October of 2001. I was working with Sound Unseen that year to bring out several sound collage artists from around the world, and Splatt showed up to see one of the shows we organized for that venue. He gave me a CD that night and then continued to send new stuff in the mail just about every month or two, until finally I had about ten original records from him!

At some point, I thought I should do a best-of compilation, just for the SAR library, to make it easier to program his work into the show. When I was done, it occurred to me that the collection would make an excellent release. I don't know that I would have thought about starting the record label (Recombinations) if it weren't for Splatt then, because once it occurred to me that I'd like to put it out, I started thinking of a few other things which had been sent to me, that hadn't been officially released, and started to put together a list of records I would put out if I could. Recombinations was launched in 2004, with an album by The Coherent Encoherence, a live CD by my own project (Escape Mechanism) and World of Splatt, the best-of compilation by Splatt.

I think Splatt falls into a category of sound collage which I've been starting to recognize but haven't come up with a name for yet. It's rough, to be sure, in that it's not always all that musical, but it doesn't qualify as noise either because it's quite organized, and while it is crunchy, it's not abrasive. There's something in it which kind of sneaks up on those with the patience to find it out. I feel fortunate in cases such as this. If it weren't for having to find new work for the show, I don't know that I would have given this the time it needed to sink in. Another artist like that is Jeff Sconce, or maybe even Hal Wilner. I definitely didn't get it at first, but upon further reflection, I'm still realizing its hidden beauties.

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

*Name: Splatt

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: SPLATT WRECKCHORDS AND ARTWRECKS. "Stuff from the other side of the fence. Stuff that would bug most people."

*Do you use a pseudonym? Always.

*Members: From time to time, there have been as many as 35 and as few as one (me). Some of the more significant members have been (with my apologies to all I've forgot or don't have room to list): Babyfat, Chefboy R-D, Thomas the Tank Injun, Salvador Dolly, Elephant Gerald, Greasy Gerald, Pillzberry, Blind Boy Grunt, Son Raw, Fatso, Ronald Splatt, Kurtis Splatt, Dr. Jkeith, Harvey Splatt, Kenny Splatt, Lars Splatt, Lars Boatman, George Splatt, Little Stevie Splatt...and myself, Michael Splatt.

*Founding Member: Michael Splatt takes full responsibility for everything that has happened afterward.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Probably the first two.

*Another genre descriptor: SFM (spindulator - foldomatic - module mutilation) - or - "Lucky Breaks.” Actually, the way I classify my work is that it's so UNDERGROUND there ain't a hole deep enough to reach me.

*Why you use this descriptor: The first one came to me in a dream about appliances and the second (if not self-explanatory) came to me when I spotted a pack of Luckys on the mixing board while listening to "Real True Freecore" for the first time.

*Location: Detroit/Minneapolis

*Original Location: Detroit

*What is your creative/artistic background: In the first grade, I divided the class up into cowboys and indians. When I was 12 years old, I bought my first rock and roll record (it was either Cream or The Amboy Dukes). I quickly discovered that guys even uglier and geekier than me could score with pretty chicks and make lots of money if he was a MUSICIAN. I bought a guitar. Many, many rockin' teenage combos and sh*** little bar bands later, I retired from public performances. I bought a computer. Fooling myself again, I assembled a revolving cast of MUSICIANS (including some now-famous ones, that I'm forbidden to name) and started SPLATT RECORDS. Many flops and unfinished projects later, I started to create music without the use of any MUSICIANS, and soon without the use of any musical instruments either. Having worked through the arduous, expensive, and arbitrary process of sample clearances, I adopted a new philosophy of "public domain" and started stealing the towels!!!!!! My latest project (before my computer died and put me outa business) was a series of singles made here in the motortown called "MO' SING". It's been fun.

*History: Just counting from the period of SPLATT RECORDS (which you may have noticed has now mutated into SPLATT WRECKCHORDS), it has been 13 years.

*Born: Oh man, you don't wanna know all that. Me, I just turned 50.

*Motivations: It's like Al Jourgenson of Ministry said, "I know I've created a success when I listen to the final mix and it makes my d*** hairs stand up on end."

*Philosophy: Our reality is the existence of multiple, overlapping imaginary universes. Most of my work reflects these universes in collision.

*How would you like to be remembered: By the soundtrack played at my funeral. And maybe also as the guy that turned people on to Frank Zappa.

*Web address: We can't afford one. You can list my email address - - if anyone wants to get some information (or send some money).


Thanks to Splatt for being the focus this week. They don't have a website, but you can find his and other Recombinations records at the Recombinations website. Or contact him directly at the above email address!

No events to advertise for the coming weeks... I'm so excited! I know that seems backwards, but I've been doing too many parties lately and am ready to settle into the studio and roll up my sleeves. Stay tuned to the radio show, of course - I'll still be producing a new episode every week for air on the many syndicating radio stations, and uploading an episode from the archive every week as well, for the podcast. Drop me a line and let me know you're listening - and thanks to everyone who wrote this past week! It really makes my day to hear from people who enjoy the program.

Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Friday, August 18, 2006

Episode 108, Some Assembly Required

Episode 108, Some Assembly Required

01 Laso Halo - “Well, you keep buying wine for me...”
02 Christian Marclay - “Jukebox Capriccio”
03 Loo & Placido – “Bigger than love”
04 Osymyso – “8beatinspection”
05 Jabberwocky – “Why”
06 Mag Wheels – ‘We'll create”
07 Otis Fodder – “Bubbles for bellboys”
08 Negativland – “The Perfect Cut (White Rabbit And A Dog Named Gidget)”
09 Lecture on Nothing – “Your dog”
10 LF Peee – “Who's On The Turntables”
11 Escape Mechanism - “Digital Occasion”
12 Party Ben – “Another One Bites Da Funk"
13 Hal Wilner – “Alamo Hellfire”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

August 18, 2006: Lecture on Nothing

August 18, 2006: Lecture on Nothing

Episode 108 is being uploaded a bit early, so I have time to work on some projects this weekend. Stay tuned for 13 sound collages by sound artists and sample based musicians such as
Escape Mechanism, Otis Fodder, Jabberwocky, Laso Halo, Lecture on Nothing, LF Peee, Loo & Placido, Mag Wheels, Christian Marclay, Negativland, Osymyso, Party Ben and Hal Wilner. Episode 108 will be up in just a few - check it out!


Our feature this week is on Lecture on Nothing - the sound collage project of sound engineer and record producer, Eddie Miller!

I've been singing the praises of this project for years and years. I think I found the first CD release by Lecture on Nothing around the same time that I became aware of the Tape-beatles, and have been playing them both ever since. The debut release by Lecture on Nothing is self-titled and was put out by Pop Mafia, in 1997 - though it's interesting to note that it was actually produced in 1990. There was a follow-up single, also released by Pop Mafia, called "Truckload of Bibles," which had a couple of remixes of that particular track off of the debut disc.

There's more work to be released and we've played an awful lot of it on Some Assembly Required over the years. Considering the strength of these recordings, I'm surprised to find so little about the project online, and instead of just repeating everything Eddie Miller wrote below, I'll just wrap up the intro and feel content to be adding more information about Lecture on Nothing to the world wide web. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Lecture on Nothing!

*Name: Lecture on Nothing

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: No

*Members: Eddie Miller

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: The first album was done without any computers or sequencers. A casio fz-1 sampler, cheap (A.R.T.) harmonizer, and a tascam 388 8 track tape machine were used. I mixed down to an early form of digital 2-track (pre DAT), which used a box to convert analog to digital (and vice versa), and a sony beta machine to store the data. I think the one i had was made by akai. All samples were played by hand, which in some ways is quicker, and allows for more experimenting with pitch, rhythm, and harmony. The second album was done much the same way, but I used a computer (Cubase was the software) for a tape recorder and mix down machine, and for some drum loop editing.

*Location: Los Angeles, California

*Original Location: Pittsburgh, PA

*What is your creative/artistic background: I started my pro career at Paisley Park where I managed to engineer/mix my first records with Prince. It's been an uphill/downhill ride ever since. I started playing in bands as a drummer when I was 8. I decided at one point that I'd try the artist thing, and that I'd do it on my (strange) terms so that if it was successful, I'd really have fun doing it. It took seven years to get the first album released, and I was happy to be able to do it that way.

*History: The first album was recorded in 1989-1990 (released in 1997) as a side project to a more conventional band I was in at the time. The other guys in the band - Tom Fleming and Tim Hixon - co-wrote half the stuff on the first album. The second album was finished in 1/1999 - just me. I got it ready as a second release for the label I was on at the time, but the label didn't survive. It took about a year to do each record. Very tedious. No computers or sequencers on the first album.

*Born: 1963

*Motivations: Best thing I could come up with in terms of doing my own thing.

*Philosophy: Taking at least 3 different musical elements (usually a lot more) to make 1 new one. The vocal pieces I use I try to use melodically - in the way Steve Reich does on "Different Trains." I try to use samples in a very different musical context (harmonic/rhythmic) than they were found originally. I also try to keep the harmony moving - not static. The form of the songs generally follow pop forms. I started doing this kind of stuff with tape loops in the early 80's. Makes me feel old (I'm 43 now...).

*Web address:


Thanks to Eddie Miller for being the focus this week - be sure to check out the Lecture on Nothing website, and download Some Assembly Required, episode 108, to hear 13 sound collages by artists from around the world, including a track by Lecture on Nothing, off of their upcoming album.

The final Relay at Rosalux is tonite! Maybe that's why I'm posting this a bit early, to help get the word out. It's been a lot of fun doing so much DJing out at art galleries this summer. I'm looking forward to spending some time in the studio this fall though, so come down and say hi at two final summer DJ nights. I'll be DJing the Art of Design Show at Density Studios next Saturday (August 26, stay tuned for details) and TONITE at Rosalux Gallery. Joining me will be Tarik Moody of The Rhythm Lab (The Current) and Jennifer Downham of Groove Garden (KFAI). Rosalux Gallery is located at 1011 Washington Ave. South, in Minneapolis. Featured artists at Rosalux right now are Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice, so come check out the art and listen to some great music. More info at the gallery's website...

Hope to see you tonight - until then, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Episode 107, Some Assembly Required

Episode 107, Some Assembly Required

01 Negativland – “Escape From Noise”
02 Messer Chups - “Learning To Control Myself”
03 DJ BMC – “Country inferno”
04 Mr. Dibbs – “Judeas Transmission”
05 Big Apple Productions – “Genius At Work”
06 DJ Shadow – “Would You Buy A War From This Man”
07 John Schnall –“Everything's Falling Down”
08 Kid Koala – “Stompin' At Le Savoi”
09 Jeff Sconce – “Joy Sinatra”
10 Lecture On Nothing – “It Means Nothing To You”
11 Myeck Waters - “Another Bible story adventure”
12 Unknown – “Closer to da club (50 inch nails)”
13 Negativland – “Happy Hero: The Remedia Megamix”

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More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Friday, August 11, 2006

August 12, 2006: Kid Koala

August 12, 2006: Kid Koala

This week's feature is on Kid Koala, Canadian DJ and turntablist extraordinaire. Check out episode 107, which features a track off of Kid Koala's 2003 album, "Some Of My Best Friends Are DJs," along with a dozen other sound collages by the usual suspects (and of course, a few new ones as well).

I'll be DJing the final Relay at Rosalux, at Rosalux Gallery this week (Friday, August 18th) and then an event at Density Studios on the 26th (stay tuned for more info). I won't say that these are my last ever DJ gigs, but I'll allow that I intend to narrow my focus on some neglected projects for a little while, and aside from the radio show, won't be worrying about much else for some time. So, what? So, come on down and say hi! It will be your last chance for at least a little while, and both events are sure to be worth the trip. More details at the end of this post, so read on!


Kid Koala is a classically trained pianist who started scratching records at a young age, on turntables he purchased with money from his paper route. He became the first North American Ninja Tune artist, in 1995, thanks to his mix tape "Scratchcratchratchatch" being in the right cassette deck at the right time. He's toured with Ninja Tune artists such as Coldcut and DJ Food and opened for touring acts such as The Beastie Boys and Radiohead. In 2003, Kid Koala became a published author - his first book, "Nufonia must fall," is a graphic novel about a robot in love with a workaholic! He's got several records out on Ninja Tune and a long list of remixes, compilation appearances and whatnot, so be sure to check out his website.

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

*Name: Kid Koala

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Your mom's favorite DJ.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Sometimes

*Members: Eric San

*Founding Members: Mr. and Mrs. San

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I make records out of records. I cut up bits of audio on 2 turntables and layer them into tracks on a 24 track reel to reel tape machine. I try to make all kinds of silly and beautiful things happen with sounds.

*Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

*Original Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

*What is your creative/artistic background: Piano, drawing...

Around 10 years.

*Born: December 5, 1974. Vancouver B.C. Canada

*Motivations: The possibilities.

*Philosophy: Try to have some fun at some point.

*How would you like to be remembered: Just some guy.

*Web address:

Thanks to Kid Koala for being our focus this week - be sure to check out his website, and check out this week's podcast (episode 107) for 13 sound collages, including a track by Kid Koala.

Well, the final installment of Relay at Rosalux is coming up pretty fast. Rosalux Gallery is located at 1011 Washington Ave. South, in Minneapolis. Featured DJ's include Tarik Moody and DJ Don Cuco of The Current's "Rhythm Lab," Jennifer Downham of KFAI's "Groove Garden" and myself. There's free parking to the left of the Open Book Complex, which is the building where Rosalux is located, on Washington Avenue. The final Relay at Rosalux is this Friday, August 18, from 9-midnight (or later).

I've been keeping busy with DJing this summer - too busy - and now I've got my schedule filled with studio time, both for audio and visual work, of my own creation. I intend to keep busy with projects for awhile - while keeping up with the radio show, of course. So, come down and say hi this week, and stay tuned for info on an event at Density Studios where I'll be DJing on August 26th...

Until then, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Friday, August 04, 2006

Episode 106, Some Assembly Required

Episode 106, Some Assembly Required

01 Avalanches – “Radio”
02 Jomenico – “Iteration 31”
03 Lecture On Nothing – “Beyond Names And Forms”
04 DJ Teddyedward – “Smooth K Minogue”
05 Negativland – “Michael Jackson”
06 Freddy Fresh & The MPC Genius – (Track 14, Trainspotters Dream, Mastermix Vol. 2)
07 Escape Mechanism – “Draining”
08 Managment – “It Just Don't Make Cents”
09 Orchid Spangiafora – “Hold everything”
10 Osymyso – “On Osymyso! No?”
11 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Electronic Behavior Control System”
12 DJ Spair – “Your Typical Skratch Track”
13 John Schnall – “Yeah Yeah Yeah”
14 Go Home Productions – “Ray of gob”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August 4, 2006: John Schnall

August 4, 2006: John Schnall

This week's feature is on John Schnall, former WFMU specialty show host and creator of a multitude of film and tv-inspired sound collages. Stay tuned for episode 106, featuring a track by Mr. Schnall, along with 13 other sound collages by artists from around the world!

First though, let me say thanks to - our newest sponsor! Starting Monday, we will begin working with to promote this labor of love. You can check out their website, every Monday, to download the newest episode of Some Assembly Required, and read a short article by yours truly, providing some insight into each week's foray into the world of tape manipulations, digital deconstructions and turntable creations. I can't imagine keeping better company - has provided an online home for Minnesota artists (and their various communities) since 2002, and is a project of the McKnight Foundation and the Walker Art Center.

Thanks to for their support!


John Schnall is an animator from New Jersey, who was involved with a great project at WFMU called Midnight Matinee, for over ten years. It was a radio show, mixed live, using samples from primarily film and television. There are tons of mp3s available at his website, if you'd like to learn more about the project, which ran until 1998 at the popular free-form New Jersey station.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with John Schnall of Midnight Matinee!

*Name: The project was called Midnight Matinee; it was a radio show that ran on WFMU-fm for a number of years. There’s no band name per se; this show (and the CDs you have) were released under my name (John Schnall).

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: No, not for this project.

*Do you use a pseudonym: I’ve been known to record under the name The Opposable Thumb.

*Founding Member: N/A; though The Opposable Thumb used to record with Bob Mozart and The Opposable Thumb many moons ago.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I’d have to say “digital deconstructions,” or more accurately “digital de- and re-constructions.” The show was often, but not always, a combination of dialog clips from a film with ‘music’ made thru samples of dialog combined with or becoming music in some way (using my sampling keyboard). It was a weekly hour-long radio program, so each piece of ‘music’ was made very quickly; there might be 10 or more different ‘songs’ in one week’s show. I’d prepare the film dialog and songs on different audio cassettes at home during the week and put it together live on my one-hour Sunday night slot on ‘FMU. It was a pretty labor-intensive hour. This was before I had a computer; if I were to do it today on my computer it would take twice as long (it’s hard to stop tweaking on computer; on my keyboard it was pretty much done in one or two passes and then I’d quickly move on to the next ‘song’; seemed like more time was spent hooking up cords and patching than actually ‘composing’).

*Another genre descriptor: No, but some call it noise.

*Location: New Jersey.

*Original Location: Covered below.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I make animated films. I’ve got a compilation tape (“Death Laughs Among Us”) available at, and spent the last several years directing “JoJo’s Circus” for the Disney Channel. I do commercial work as it arises; just finished animation on a documentary called "The Last Speakers." And I’m always working on my next film, which right now is an animated adaptation of a one-act play called "The Dead Comic."

*History: I started animating in high school back in 1979, had a radio show at Drew University in 1980, started animating professionally in 1983 (various commercials), started with ‘FMU around 1986 and released my first single (a Midnight Matinee precursor, “The Jayne Mansfield Story”) in 1990.

*Born: I was born in Rahway, NJ in 1961, grew up in Colonia, NJ until 2nd grade, moved to South Orange, NJ and now live in Bloomfield, NJ.

*Motivations: There are some ideas that just sorta keep you up at night until you do them. I like to sleep, so I have to do what I have to do to get those ideas out of there.

*Philosophy: In Midnight Matinee, it’s often trying to find some sort of inner truth in something essentially not very truthful (for instance, molding all the times a character says “God” in “Davey and Goliath” into a cover of the show’s theme song). Sometimes it’s taking two disparate things and forcing them together to make them get along (like, for instance, melding “Dark Side of the Moon” with "The Exorcist," or “Einstein on the Beach” with “Beach Blanket Bingo”). Sometimes it’s just plain goofy though; always room for cheese in the diet. In my films it’s more often than not an attempt to get under the surface. Sometimes literally, getting under the skin and letting the bones run around, sometimes more figuratively, as in my last film which was an adaptation of the Bible story “The Binding of Isaac” that pokes around and asks questions not often raised.

*How would you like to be remembered: Fondly.

*Web address: On this page you’ll find a description of every Midnight Matinee radio show I produced, along with some archived shows, mp3’s and some animated music videos which listeners might particularly enjoy:


Thanks to John Schnall for being our focus this week! Be sure to visit his website and stay tuned for episode 106, featuring one of his collage compositions - just one of 14 tracks by sound collage artists from around the world.

In other news: I will be DJing at Mira Gallery Tonight (Friday, August 4, 6-10 pm). Stop by and check out the closing reception for artists Andrew Braunberger, Aldo Moroni and Susan Opitz. Mira Gallery is located at 4137 Bloomington Avenue, in South Minneapolis. More info online, at:

Then on Saturday, Rosalux Gallery is having its annual fundraising event ("Green," Saturday, August 5, 7-11 pm). It should be a lot of fun, too, with a performance by Beight, and you can buy raffle tickets for just $5 each, to bid on artwork by gallery members (myself included) and/or prizes from local restaurants and shops. Rosalux is located at 1011 Washington Avenue, in South Minneapolis. Check out the Rosalux website for more information.

Until next week, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson