Sunday, December 30, 2007

Joe Frawley

Joe Frawley

Joe Frawley is a musician and composer, and a sound collage artist. His work is defined by the creative combination of his own improvisational piano playing, fleshed out with samples and sounds found in both natural and media environments. He has three records, to date. Wilhelmina’s Dream was put out in 2006, Tangerine in 2007. The Hypnotist is due in 2008.

For more information, check out his main website, as well as his pages at Myspace and YouTube. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Joe Frawley...


*Name: Joe Frawley

*Is there a story behind your name? I started out as a sort of neo-classical comp
oser, self-publishing under my own name. Then, when I moved towards electronic music, I considered adopting some other hip moniker, but nothing felt sincere. Plus, I figured if someone named Harold Budd can find success with a name like that, then I should be able to as well.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Someone needs to invent a term to describe my music. I haven't found a genre that fits closely. When people ask, I call it "hypnotic, sample-based sound collage mixed with piano compositions.” I've also used "cinema for the ear.” As far as technique, I sample from a broad range of source material - any recorded media with sound is fair game. This sometimes includes works of other composers, though I'm trying to move away from that. All my work so far has been done using freeware, incidentally: Isobuster for ripping CDs, and Audacity for everything else.

*Location: I was born in New York, but have lived in Connecticut most of my life.

*Original Location: New York

*What is your creative/artistic background: I studied music in college and all that, but I was educated more by listening to records than anything. I've dabbled in many different styles of music, since around 9 years old, but only now at 36 do I feel like I've found the work I'm meant to be doing. When I was young, my favorite rock music always had extra-musical elements. Sgt. Peppers was probably the first record I fell in love with. And, later, Kate Bush - especially her Hounds of Love album - had a big effect on me. The way the music on those recordings plays off of other sounds (voices, ambient noise, etc.) is very evocative and somehow deepens the listening experience. In a way, my work is an attempt to do that same thing with classical music (“Instrumental” is probably a better word, depending on your understanding of the term “classical”). I’m interested in exploring specific states of mind: dream-like states, nostalgia, fleeting memories, and the contemplation of beauty are all recurring themes in my pieces.

*Born: I was born July 4, 1971.

*Motivations: My "motivation" stems from my early listening experiences of the albums I mentioned, along with my current ambition to use those techniques in the classical/instrumental context.

*Philosophy: My philosophy is simple: I open myself to all different kinds of sounds, and choose the ones which have some resonance with me. Many times, I think they resonate for subconscious reasons. From that I try to build a composition which satisfies structurally, using the repetition of motives, and other techniques, to build a kind of drama. Ultimately, I create pieces which please me, and hope that they in turn please some others.

*How would you like to be remembered: I'd like for my work to be listened to well into the future. I don't know if it has lasting value or not, but I do think all artists are in some way trying to leave some sort of stamp. I'm no different, I suppose.

*Web address: www.joefrawleymusic.info



www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 196, Some Assembly Required

Episode 196, Some Assembly Required

01 Wax Tailor - “Radio Broadcast”
02 Unknown - “Closer to da club (50 inch nails)”
03 Negativland – “No Business”
04 Mista Ed - “The Boys Dope!”
05 Lamp Leaking Dead Flies – “Baader Got Up”
06 Listen With Sarah – “Tempus Trumpus”
07 Beat Junkies – “They don't understand”
08 John Oswald - “Dab”
09 Joe Frawley – “X + Y (Tangerine, Part III)”
10 DJ Faust - “Return Of The DJ”
11 (G)HP Sauce – “Beastie Ketchup”
12 DJ Shadow - “Organ Donor”
13 Jason Forrest – “Dust Never Settles”
14 Aggro1 - “Untitled (Depeche Mode vs. David Bowie vs. Beatles)”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sawako

Sawako

Sawako is featured on the experimental electronic release, bRiCoLAge #1, put out by Illegal Art, with Seeland, in 2000. The album is composed largely of artists working with samples, but it's not clear whether or not Sawako works exclusively with media samples. She may not use them at all, in fact. This is one of those projects I've played on the good possibility that it fits the format of the show, and since we have played her work on Some Assembly Required, I invited her to be our featured artist this week.
Sawako has been a practicing digital artist since 1999 and has three albums of such material. She also has experience playing the piano and Nohgaku, and has played in a band. She has appeared on more than 20 compilations, remixes and CDs as a guest musician and currently lives and works in New York City. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Sawako...


*Name: Sawako

*Members: Me. Only 1 girl.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: The current official bio says "Sawako is a sound sculptor, a timeline-based artist and a signal alchemist." My old BIO says "broken processor + bug or hub or hug + or just a little girl" and "Tokyo Digital Mutation Girl."

*Another genre descriptor: I don't want to put myself in any "official" genre, since it is possible for my music to be categorized under many different genres. And from my experience living in Japan and the USA and traveling the world, I can say that the genre categories are different between different cities and countries. I enjoy living in between categories, rather than settling down under one specific community.

*Location: I am born in Nagoya, Japan, then grew up as an artist in the online community and in Tokyo. In 2004, I had moved to NYC where I am still living.

*Original Location: Nagoya, Japan

*What is your creative/artistic background: My digital music activities had start with accidents - around 1999, I had started to take the computer music classes in the university because many of my friends were taking the class. I was in the interdisciplinary departments, so I was also taking biology class, computer science class, ethnography class, the pop culture critic class and so on. It was the era of mp3.com, and soon I got more and more friends through online music community - mailing lists, net labels and CDR labels. At that time, I wanted to be an art curator and was working at the art space in Tokyo. Although checking record shops in Tokyo at least 3 times per week at that time, I was not a big music fan and never be longing to be a musician. Just I was so fascinated the fact that my G3 iBook and free software (= which I could prepared within the collage student's tiny budget) can make the pass to the world. I kept making the handmade CDR for my friends all over the world, and my friend list became bigger and bigger. Until when I had released the already sold out 1st album, "Yours Gray,” in 2004 from Oregon based field recording label and/OAR, the label which was releasing the Phonography Mailing List Compilations for years, I never expected that so many people (for me) are interested in what I am doing, nor music became the center of my life. Then, I had released my 2nd album "hum" from 12k in 2005 and my 3rd album "madoromi" from Anticipate Recordings in 2007. In 2007, I had played in some big festivals such as Mutek (Canada) and Glade (UK). I have some (classical) music experiences such as 12+ years of piano lesson, 6+ years of Nohgaku lesson, 4+ years in the conventional band etc etc. But I feel the experiences as the programmer, the interaction designer and the art curator are closer and deeper to connect with what I am doing with audible media than the so-called musical experiences.

*Born:

*Philosophy / How would you like to be remembered: Originally, I skipped these questions, because the questions don't fit with my philosophy. I feel that I am closer to the Japanese "Mingei" designers than to the idea of the individualistic Western artist who is "creative," "doing something unique," "artistic," etc. For me, making things – from music, visual, and networked programming works to everyday food and accessories – is just like breathing in everyday life. Some of these works may disappear in the long term for one reason or another, but everything happens in the natural flow of subtle daily things. So I don't care whether what I do will remain in history or not, or how it is contextualized. I am a tiny existence floating in a big river. The only difference for me between cooking a meal for friends and making music is that, with music, I have a wider audience, influence and responsibility.

*Web address:
http://www.troncolon.com

http://myspace.com/sawako


www.some-assembly-required.net

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Episode 60, Some Assembly Required

Episode 60, Some Assembly Required

01 Dsico - “Just mix f***ing anything”
02 Brian Eno/David Byrne - “Mea culpa”
03 Otomo Yoshihide - “Virus 5”
04 The Tape-beatles - “Architectural requirements”
05 John Oswald - “It's a Beautiful Day (The B-Day Arrangement)”
06 Sawako - “Super star”
07 Project Data Control - “Know yr. Doses”
08 T. Hecker - “Introduceing Carl Cox”
09 John Oswald - “Open
10 John Oswald - “Urge”
11 John Oswald - “Manifold”
12 John Oswald - “Blur”
13 John Oswald - “Zoom”
14 John Oswald - “Cyfer”
15 John Oswald - “Compact”
16 John Oswald - “Worse”
17 John Oswald - “Mad Mod”
18 John Oswald - “Temperature”
19 John Oswald - “Massive”
20 John Oswald - “Velocity”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, from Some Assembly Required!

I hope to have a new SAR Q&A to upload in just a little while, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy this week's (Christmas themed) episode, originally broadcast in Minneapolis exactly two years ago. I'm uploading it a week early, so that our syndicating stations will have access to it in time to air before Christmas...

I started the podcast of this program almost two years ago now (it has been on the air since 1999), and the first thing I uploaded was a special mix of Christmas-themed sample based music and audio art. The mix was very popular, which was really encouraging as I began to podcast regular episodes a week later. The episode I'm uploading this week is the December, 2005 radio show I put together using the same playlist as the Christmas mix I'd produced for that first podcast....

It's been a great couple of years online - stay tuned for a new Q&A and in the new year, a linkable list of all the nearly 100 Q&A's which have been uploaded over the past two years!

Happy Holidays, and thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

http://www.some-assembly-required.net/

Episode 129, Some Assembly Required

Episode 129, Some Assembly Required
(Christmas Theme)

01 DJ John – “The Christmas massacre of Charlie Brown”
02 John Oswald – “White”
03 Corporal Blossom – “The Christmas song (chestnuts)”
04 Corporal Blossom – “Little drummer boy”
05 Escape Mechanism – “Elf song”
06 Dummy Run – “Jolly holiday”
07 The Evolution Control Committee - “The Christmas wrong”
08 No-L – “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”
09 Cassetteboy - “XFM Christmas cut up”
10 Diffusion – “dnbchristmas”
11 Lovecraft Technologies – “Frosty the snowman”
12 Poj Masta – “Santar Klaws”
13 Mr. Fab and The RIAA – “Santa's acid hawaiian space disco”
14 Corporal Blossom – “White Christmas”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wax Tailor

Wax Tailor

Wax Tailor is French turntablist Jean Christophe Le Saout. He started his musical career in the nineties, as part of the group "La Formule" and started working solo, as Wax Tailor, in 2001. He currently has two full length album's available. His debut release, Tales of the Forgotten Melodies, came out in 2005, and was followed by 2007's Hope & Sorrow.

He often works with guest musicians and vocalists. Live, Le Saout mans the turntables with help from cello player Marina Quaisse, singer Charlotte Savary and others. Madwreck & Mattic (The Others), FP & Green T (A State of mind) have been known to join the lineup as well. For more information, check out his website and myspace page.
Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Wax Tailor...


*Name: Wax Tailor

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

*Do you use a pseudonym? Wax Tailor is the pseudonym.

*Members: Wax Tailor is my solo project which features guest vocalists or musician. On the last album, I had the pleasure to work with Ursula Rucker, Sharon Jones or Charlotte Savary to name but a few. Then there's the Wax Tailor as a live show, which is more of a band because I tour with Charlotte Savary (Vocals), Marina Quaisse (Cello) and Marine Thibault (Flute).

*Founding Member: Jean Christophe Le Saout (Keyboards, Scratches & Sample)

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I would just talk about a wax tailor. Of the three, tape manipulations might be the most appropriate, although it is restrictive because my influences often come from Movie dialogues I like.

*Is there a story behind your name? I began to produce tracks with a sampler in the early 90’s, sampling some vinyls. I was building instrumentals around lyrics, so for me it was kind of costumes & I felt as a wax tailor.

*Location: Paris, France

*Original Location: Vernon, France

*What is your creative/artistic background: I was an MC/producer/manager in a French rap band called La Formule which had some measure of success in the early 90's.

*History: 5 years now for this project.

*Born: I was born in 1975 in Vernon.

*Motivations: I never ask myself this question. Music is something natural & necessary in my life.

*Philosophy: I don’t know if it’s a philosophy, but there’s the Hip-Hop culture that is the foundation to all I do. In a way you could say that I am trying to expand Hip-Hop's boundaries. It feels to me that previously Hip-Hop was a broader musical genre, and that it got defined in a very restrictive way. I'm hoping to give people outside of Hip-Hop a new perspective on this movement.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a music maker & lover.

*Web address:
www.waxtailor.com
www.myspace.com/waxtailor


Episode 195, Some Assembly Required

Episode 195, Some Assembly Required

01 Z-Trip – “Rockstar II”
02 Wobbly – “Stillupsample birds”
03 Go Home Productions - “Ray of gob”
04 Public Works – “Mortal mind”
05 DJ Nikoless - “DJing for dummies”
06 Wax Tailor – “Sometimes”
07 Go Home Productions – “Kelly's Lazy Papa”
08 DJ Maniphest Featuring Mr. Thing – “U.T.A. : 2”
09 dj soft – “yeahyeahyeahyeahyeah”
10 Jeffrey Sconce – “Cheap sentiment”
11 DJ Happee – “Last Night I Ruled The World”
12 Secret Mommy – “The Drink”
13 Cassetteboy – “Krylon”
14 Orchid Spangiafora – “Gulf”
15 Divide and Kreate – “It's a fine holiday”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wesley Nisker

Wesley Nisker

A little over ten years ago, I happily stumbled across a book called "Crazy Wisdom." The paperback advertised itself as A provocative romp through the philosophies of East and West. A quote on the back said the book would serve as the missing link between sit-down meditation and stand-up comedy. Of course, I bought and read it right away. I've since referred to it as a kind of life-long companion... So very much of it rang so very true, for me, especially at the time.

"Crazy Wisdom" was written by Wes "Scoop" Nisker, and it was only after recently re-reading the book that I noticed in the introduction (I must have skipped it the first time around) that the author is also a sound collage artist! My interest in sound collage pre-dates having read this book, which is why it's strange I somehow missed this fact initially, especially considering what an impact his book had on me at the time. I was in my mid-twenties and for the first time allowing myself to really think critically/creatively about the concept of meaning in a meaningless universe... Hopefully you've made your way through a period like this at some point in your own life as well. If not, check out this book if you want to get started.

Nisker was a newscaster and commentator, from 1968, at a radio station known as a voice of the anti-war movement, and had the freedom there to present his views in the form of some seriously edited audio tape, featuring the voices of then-current politicians, rock and roll samples, sound effects and other recordings of the era. The results were broadcast at KSAN in the late sixties and seventies and the best tracks were, more recently, put together on one CD for a program on National Public Radio.

He's worked as a morning show radio host, in addition to his roles as radio producer and commentator, and is cofounder (and coeditor) of the International Buddhist journal, Inquiring Mind. He's won The Armstrong Award for excellence in FM programming (1976), and The Bay Area Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award (1986). He's a comedian, author, Buddhist meditation instructor and sound collage artist...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Wes "Scoop" Nisker...


*Name: Wesley Nisker

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Wes “Scoop” Nisker

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Tape manipulations, with a razor blade.

*Another genre descriptor: The only news you can dance to.

*Is there a story behind your name? I got my nickname Scoop in the late 60's, when I was the news commentator for the infamous underground station KSAN in San Francisco, and was receiving communiques from various groups about their protests and manifestos. I also had an inside witness to the Chicago Conspiracy trial, and the DJ's started calling me "the Scoop."

*Location:
Berkely, California

*Original Location: Norfolk, Nebraska.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Comedy, journalism, philosophy, Buddhism.

*History: 39 years.

*Born: I was born in 1942, just before the "baby boom" in a small town, Norfolk, Nebraska. I was the only Jewish kid in my schools, and as I grew up, which may have been the beginning of my life as an "outsider." It's all detailed in my book "The Big Bang, The Buddha, and the Baby Boom."
*Motivations: Women, peace in the world, and money.

*Philosophy: You must get people's attention if you want to tell them something.

*How would you like to be remembered: As I am.

*Web address: wesnisker.com


www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 194, Some Assembly Required

Episode 194, Some Assembly Required

01 Double Dee & Steinski – “Voice mail (the sugarhill suite)”
02 Wes Nisker – “Untitled - Track 04”
03 DJ Design - “Never Be The Same”
04 Team 9 – “Screaming pro”
05 Stark Effect – “The Real Thing”
06 Listen With Sarah – “Ramblin' Andy”
07 The Bran Flakes - “Kitty Takes A Ride (Kitty Mix Up)”
08 Joe Frawley – “Cabin Fever (Tangerine, Part I)”
09 Lenlow – “Last night”
10 89 Skratch Gangstaz – “Director's Cut”
11 The Tape-beatles – “The American Adventure”
12 People Like Us – “Like”
13 Wayne Butane – “WB-Backwash11”
14 Girl Talk – “Smash Your Head”
15 Go Home Productions - “If Your Girl Was Stoned”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Piss

The Piss
"The Piss" is an artist who I have to say I've always had to hesitate to play, on the show, thanks entirely to the project name he was using. I'm still not sure if it's legal to say it on the air, though I have on occasion. Read his Q&A below, for a full explanation...

He's a sound collage artist who has worked very hard at his craft though, so of course I have to give him credit, though I do still worry about whether it's okay to actually give him credit, when I play his stuff on the airwaves. Who knows what the standards of decency are from one area to the next, in this country (the rules change from one neighborhood to another, as I understand things). So, this might be a good story to illustrate the value of choosing a name wisely...

Or not. A lot of sound artists are much more focused on the internet these days, and the on-air radio programs which will actually air this type of material are extremely few and far between.

He's a huge Negativland fan, and a proud member of the Snuggles Collective, an email newsgroup for audiophiles, culture jammers, and digital cut-and-paste collage artists which began as a fan club for the band. There are sound files at his myspace page and videos at his page at YouTube. His work is very politically motivated, and he's been censored by the popular video sharing site at least once. Further proof of the fact that he's certainly not afraid of offending anyone...

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


*Name: The Piss
*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: The Piss, aka Orina Maloliente. These days they call me Pissy Steve, as I'm generally an arrogant and argumentative person despite being a skinny geek in my thirties. My noms de guerre are really dumb but honest. As a temporary house rule, I once forced guests to tape record the sounds of themselves using the bathroom and to provide commentary, or else they couldn't use it. When it felt as though enough material had been collected, the most notable moments were assembled into a forty-five minute collage called "The Piss Tape." Pranking has always been a favorite pastime, so taking the piss certainly seemed to come out rather naturally.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Culler (working title for a project which is currently marinating).

*Members: One.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I've been constructing digital cut-and-paste collages since 2000, when I finally dumped my beautiful, hissy four-track tapes for hard drives and such. I had been mixing feedback and other noise onto cassettes from 1995 to 2000. When you switch from a trusty, comfortable setup to a series of tools which truly make your job easier, it feels like you're cheating on your girlfriend or trading in your trusted spouse for a newer model. But then you two begin to make a new kind of sweet love together, and it's on. Lately, most of my audio tracks and videos have been focused on U.S. politics. I believe that all of the abhorrent behavior of the Bush/Cheney administration and the rest of the current Republican Party has sparked an interest in (national) politics for many people, as it has for me. Perhaps, in the years to come, this fact will help to offset the extensive, worldwide damage which has been done by these brazen gangsters.

*Another genre descriptor: Episstemology (no, not really).

*Why you use this descriptor: "Hyper-edited collage," I believe was how my friend stAllio! described a certain style which I tend to employ.

*Location: Georgia

*Original Location: New York

*What is your creative/artistic background: I took a photography class in my freshman year of college. I have a friend who has an MFA and works for museums. I nearly won a radio jingle contest once. I heard Negativland on CBC Radio Two's "Brave New Waves" show in 1995. How's that for artistic cred?

*History: Twelve years.

*Born: 1975

*Motivations: Before I shuffle off into nothingness, I'll enjoy throwing my little, irregular instincts about art onto the broad mosaic of human history. It's something like using your turning signal or voting. Even if most people will never invest their time nor energy in doing it, I'm going to do it because it could make things better, especially so if more people would do it.

*Philosophy: Creating sounds or images is much like cooking meals to me in that one doesn't necessarily need to generate each ingredient from scratch to be a good cook. I tend to cull portions from other creators' works (i.e. snippets from films, records, TV broadcasts, web media, etc.) and throw them into my cooking pot, much as a chef goes hunting for the perfect groceries and then processes them. And this hobby started shortly after I heard some of Negativland's emancipating work.

*How would you like to be remembered: A proper remembrance of me should doubtlessly include a healthy discussion of my deep sympathy for the proverbially righteous and brave underdogs of the world, my nearly extreme emphasis on the importance of truth and facts, my problematically obstinate nonconformism, and my ridiculously fast skating ability on a freshly resurfaced ice hockey rink. Just be sure not to let anybody start to do anything stupid like praying or suggesting that I'm still around in some other form, at least not without throttling them once for me.

*Web address: Admittedly strangely, I still don't even have a proper web home for my work, but the ubiquitous corporate solutions of youtube and myspace are filling that gap at present.


www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 59, Some Assembly Required

Episode 59, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Pantshead - “Technobilly”
02 Orchid Spangiafora - “Coarse fish”
03 Negativland - “Bite back”
04 Carl Stone - “Flints”
05 DJ Haste - “Styles to kiss”
06 The Piss - “Sound art”
07 The Button - “What’s prayer”
08 Realistic - “Hopeless romantic tragedy”
09 John Oswald - “Clouds cast”
10 People Like Us - “Well I”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Friday, November 16, 2007

EBN Videos

EBN Videos

My phone interview with one of the two founding members of Emergency Broadcast Network is featured in episode 193 of Some Assembly Required - check it out HERE - and since the group is of course known primarily for their video work (which I was obviously incapable of sharing via the radio show), I thought I'd use the blog this week to point to some examples of Emergency Broadcast Network's video work on the web...

I realize the links in this post may quickly become outdated, as things move around quite often online, but it should stay current at least as long as episode 193 is new, here at the SAR site - so that's worth something, hopefully.

To learn more about Emergency Broadcast Network, check out my feature on the project (including a phone interview with Gardner Post, who co-founded EBN with Joshua Pearson in 1991), then check out some of these links, to watch examples of their ground breaking video collage work:

* The SAR interview with EBN's Gardner Post (Episode 193)
Emergency Broadcast Network Videos:
* Joshua Pearson's personal website
* EBN videos at stage6.divx.com
* EBN videos at videosift.com
* EBN videos at youtube.com


www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 193, Some Assembly Required

Episode 193, Some Assembly Required
Featuring an interview with EBN's Gardner Post

01 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Get Down Ver. 2.2”
02 Emergency Broadcast Network – “EBN Station Promo”
03 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Kill The Enemy”
04 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Move Toward The Middle”
05 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Watch Television”
06 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Homicidal Schizophrenic (A Lad Insane)”
07 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Electronic Behavior Control System Ver. 2.0”
08 Emergency Broadcast Network – “3:7:8”
09 Emergency Broadcast Network – “State Extension”
10 Emergency Broadcast Network – “We Will 'Raq You”
11 Emergency Broadcast Network – “What's Happening?”
12 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Total Smoothness”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ergo Phizmiz

Ergo Phizmiz

Ergo Phizmiz is a sound artist and a DJ at WFMU. His radio program (Phuj Phactory) features sound collage, vintage vinyl and music from animation and ballet, along with vintage comedy and musical comedy. He's put out almost a dozen records on his own, and has collaborated with artists such as People Like Us and Irene Moon, just to name a few.

As a composer, he's created sounds for film, installation and radio. He has albums out on over a half dozen different labels. You can find out more info at his website.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Ergo Phizmiz!


*Name: Duke Ergo of Phizmiz, Sensual Belly Dancer of Troutmask Pond

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Baron Ergo of Phizmiz, Taut Bassoon of Sardinia

*Do you use a pseudonym? Lord Ergo of Phizmiz, 31st Tap Dancing Champion of Erith

*Members: One

*Founding Members: Him

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Either all also none. I try to make "music without limits" - which is a quite lovely phrase coined in this context by the great Vernon Lenoir.

*Another genre descriptor: Trombone Wielding Warrior of the Soft-Shoe Shuffle

*Location: Olde England. Currently residing in the Southern areas.

*Original Location: The Northern Lands.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Inability to do much more than draw pictures and compose music. Began writing operettas as a teenager which somewhere along the line evolved into what I do now. I took a few years off to stand on stages and shout things at people, then found a mixer and didn't stop.

*History: As long as I can remember.

*Born: 1980

*Motivations: The truth of this matter is that I'm perpetually pummelled by a ceaseless cacophony of just-about fully-formed ideas, and am constantly driven by the need to try out new things. Only yesterday I engraved "Born in the USA" onto a piece of plywood and developed a system for playing it like a record by rubbing it up and down my back. Now I've developed a new method of sound reproduction but can't sit down.

*Philosophy: Eat, drink and be merry.

*How would you like to be remembered: That would be very nice, thank you.

*Web address:
www.ergophizmiz.com
www.wfmu.org/playlists/ER

www.wfmu.org/playlists/MB

www.myspace.com/ergophizmiz



www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 192, Some Assembly Required

Episode 192, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Shortfuse – “Unpleasant Thoughts”
02 Soundhog - “Thinking Of No One”
03 Negativland – “We Are Driven”
04 Escape Mechanism – “Left To Say”
05 B'O'K – “Iraq: I Want Your Oil”
06 Wes Nisker – “Untitled (A Decade In Your Ear)”
07 DJ Tripp – “We Will Rock Beverly Hills”
08 The Tape-beatles – “Schwa For Frog”
09 Hal Wilner – “If I Had Known”
10 Wayne Butane – “Untitled (Backwash segment)”
11 Lecture On Nothing – “Addiction”
12 Go Home Production - “How Does It Feel To Be Rich Man (2003)”
13 Ergo Phizmiz - “Chop Sue Me”
14 Wax Tailor - “There is Danger”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jan Turkenburg

Jan Turkenburg

Jan Turkenburg is a former busker, and current Dutch primary school music teacher, who I recently found online. His composition, "Tribute to 365 Days Project" (Parts 1 and 2), was made in response to a challenge issued by Otis Fodder, whose "365 Days Project" was a daily dose of strange and often obscure audio, uploaded every day for a year. The challenge was to create music, using his project as its basis.

You can find out more about Jan Turkenburg at his website. Otis Fodder's 365 Days Project has been archived at both WFMU and ubu.com, and can be explored HERE. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Jan Turkenburg...


*Name: Jan Turkenburg

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: “De Zwervende Keien,” “Marcel, Jan and the Dutch birds”

*Members: Well, it's mostly a one-man project by yours truly: Jan Turkenburg. On some pieces I get some help from my wife Wilma Turkenburg. We used to perform as a cheesy kind of folk duo, but now Wilma only appears very rarely on tracks. Even more rarely I get some help from my friend and colleague music teacher Marcel van der Wulp playing horn. On pieces where Wilma is involved we still use our former group name: De Zwervende Keien (Dutch= The Drifting Boulders) and Marcel and I call ourselves Marcel, Jan and the Dutch birds.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Well, these are difficult ones to answer for me. I refer to my pieces as "splogwroughts.” I use any kind of sound carrier or live musical instrument to make the works I'm making. My first digital works consisted of cut and paste works using samples only, but I gradually started to add flute, keyboard, guitar and later other instruments on top of it. I try to construct pieces like I've been taught to paint in secondary school. Most of the time I begin with rough outlines of the whole composition. But sometimes, like the first two 365 days tributes, I just start with a few samples and intuitively just cut and paste along. It really depends on what mood I'm in.

*Another genre descriptor: splogwroughts

*Why you use this descriptor: Splogwroughts (also sometimes named splogworks) naturally comes from Splogman's wroughts or works. The name Splogman originally has nothing to do with today's meaning of splog (spam/blog). I began using the pseudonym Splogman, around 2000 when googling on splog or splogman still didn't lead to any result. It's a Dutch abbreviation of flexidisc log (Slappe Platen LOG), because one of my first websites was a weekly log on flexible corporate records.

*Location: The Netherlands

*Original Location: I'm very, very Dutch. My father's family records go back to the fourteenth century Netherlands. From my mother's part I might have inherited some 18th and 19th century German and Jewish genes ;-)

*What is your creative/artistic background: My father gave me my first music lessons when I was a kid. After school I took recorder lessons when I was between 8 and 12 years old. I gradually switched to flute when I was a teenager. I learned a bit piano from a friend. I took saxophone lessons at 22 years, after which I was a busker in Antwerp, Belgium. After that I played and sang in the British-Dutch-Belgian band The Stepping Stone Visit. Finally I went to the music academy in Zwolle, The Netherlands to get a full degree as a music teacher on all Dutch school types (from kindergarten to secundary school/highschool). Now I'm a fulltime music teacher at one of the biggest primary schools of this region.

*History: I started creating music this way in 2003, after a long period of hardly having composed anything anymore. It was pretty much Otis Fodder's challenge to make music based on 365 days material that pulled the composing trigger again.

*Born: I was born in 1964 in Vinkeveen, a small farmer's village near Amsterdam. Wilma was born in Zwolle where we live now.

*Motivations: I've always been fascinated by the possibility of recording and manipulating sounds, cutting bits and pieces out of their original context and giving them a new meaning in another context. But it's also a strong urge, an inexplicable need, a neurotic disorder or compulsion to create music and produce sounds.

*Philosophy: Music is just vibrating air. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

*How would you like to be remembered: Someone with a contagious obsession for music.

*Web address:
http://www.splogman.com
http://www.myspace.com/splogman



www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 191, Some Assembly Required

Episode 191, Some Assembly Required

01 Freddy Fresh - “Humdinger”
02 Wax Audio - “This Crusade”
03 dj BC - “Groovy Burnin' Heart”
04 X-ecutioners – “Feel The Bass”
05 Nick Boffo - “Star Spangled Haircut”
06 Escape Mechanism - “Why Does The Light Fall?”
07 Bobby Martini - “Catch A Lovesong”
08 McSleazy – “Unworkable”
09 Jan Turkenburg – “Tribute to 365 Days Project (Part 1)”
10 Jan Turkenburg – “Tribute to 365 Days Project (Part 2)”
11 Genji Siraisi – “Wh'ever”
12 Lecture On Nothing - “Chicken Sludge”
13 Jeffrey Sconce - “Electro-smoky”
14 Noisy Stylus – “Broccoli Wars”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Soundhog

Soundhog

Soundhog is Ben Hayes, from North Wales. He's a mashup artist, though he leans (strongly) towards calling it "bastard pop," and by the sounds of things, at his myspace page, would probably prefer that you didn't talk to him about any of it, at all. Ever. This puts me in a bit of a spot, as I'm actually pretty excited to be presenting his Q&A here, as I'm a fan of his work as a bastard pop artist. Just another star of the genre who has moved on, I guess. Luckily, he's left us with a few gems.

His alter-alter ego, by the way, is The Freelance Hairdresser, and his other projects include an online radio program (don't call it a podcast), called Radio Soundhog. He's also a recording artist, in a "electronic experimental supergroup" called Tauchsieder, which put out a CD in 2007.

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


*Name: Soundhog

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Soundhog is the name I use for most of the normal bootlegs, long mixes and remixes. Less 'serious' tracks were done under the 'Freelance Hairdresser' banner (which are the ones that usually got all the attention - pah...) and I've also been part of a project known as "Tauchsieder" with a CD that came out in 2007 (and nobody knew about), but that was original stuff and as such probably outside the scope of this feature. Shame, 'cos it's really good.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Soundhog and Freelance Hairdresser are just me. My friend Stuart Mclean (who used to do bootlegs as 'Frenchbloke') did a couple of early Hairdresser tracks before I grabbed the project with both hands, and was also a member of Tauchsieder.

*Members: Ben Hayes. I used to try and keep an air of mystery about it, but there's not much point these days. Hello.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: If I had to choose, then the first two (depending on the material - I've done all sorts over the years). I'm a pretty damn good DJ, but I'm not very well versed in the turntablism art - I love my record collection too much to get them covered in fingerprints and wear them out around the first beat. I'm starting to practice though... I've already ruined part of one of my original Bonzo Dog Band albums from continuous back-cueing... dammit... I think I'll go back to CDJs (Cue gasps from a shocked audience).

*Another genre descriptor: Not really. I really, really dislike the term 'm*shups' - I hate the look and sound of the word, plus it's been hijacked by all sorts of talentless idiots in recent times - so bootlegs/bastard-pop will usually do for me.

*Is there a story behind your name? Soundhog was a brand of budget cassette tape that was quite popular in the UK during the 1970's, a product of the EMI company. I happened to have one lying around when I was creating my first tracks of this ilk, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

*Location: North-East Wales. Lived here all my life. There's virtually no culture when it comes to music around here, so for once the internet was a saving grace. I was also well away from the epicentre of the bootleg 'scene' when it had it's brief moment of glory in the early 2000s, which was a blessing and a curse in equal measures, I suppose.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I was messing about with tape loops and edits in the late '70s when I was about 8 years old, after reading an article by Ron Geesin (Scottish maverick producer and sonic artist - best known for scoring Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother and doing the soundtrack from "The Body" with Roger Waters, but that's just one tip of his particular iceberg). In the early '80s I used to make up my own extended and short edits of various tracks, usually using a deftly wielded finger on the pause button of whatever cassette recorder came to hand. I'd combine these techniques with a home-built sampler running on an Atari 800 in the mid 1980s, and there are some very odd tracks lying on various tapes as a result. I produced a few soundtracks for C64 games in the late '80s (and programmed a couple of games as well), and had a brief stab at creating dance music on an Amiga A500 a couple of years later. I had lots of interest from various labels but nothing ever came of it. I got back into music, and specifically bastard-pop, after hearing the first couple of Girls On Top 7"s by chance - six years or so later, I'm still clinging on by my fingertips to the idea that I've got something worthwhile to offer.

*History: Sort of answered above, but there are examples I did of what would come to be termed 'bootlegs' dating back to the early 1990's. The ideas were there, but the quality was poor due to the limits of the stuff I was working with. The first fruits of the Soundhog 'project' came in late 2001.

*Born: Late 1971, and a few miles from where I'm sitting right now. I'm not the oldest person to do this kinda stuff, though. Oh, dearie me no...

*Motivations: Initially for fun, later to try and break out of a stifling and dull 'scene', recently just to prove a point. Or something. I only do something when I feel the creative need to, which is probably why I come up with very little these days. The days when I could sit down and knock out three ideas a night are long gone. When doing Radio Soundhog 6, it was getting to the point where I'd be coming up with 20 seconds of audio in a six hour period - details are very important to me, even though hardly anybody hears them. I shouldn't knock the old bootleg movement so much I suppose, as without it I'd never be known outside my own front door, but it's hard not to these days (although even when I started getting into it, I was shocked by the amount of crap floating about). I get particularly annoyed when people try to say it's got a 'punk' spirit, or that it's subversive in some way. People who say things like that wouldn't know something truly subversive if it punched them in the face and then kicked them in the genitals. There needs to be more of that, if you ask me... I should have known what I was dealing with long ago. Spend days on a perfectly crafted mixtape and nobody cares. Spend 5 minutes slapping an Eminem vocal over an old ragtime piano track and it's all over the world before you can say "what the...?" There's a lesson in there somewhere. I still do the odd thing these days, recently I've been re-editing a few UK psych and progressive tracks from the late '60s, and occasionally I'll take it upon myself to remix a track that I particularly like. Pretty much just for my own amusement... and without the original artist knowing, of course. Old habits die hard.

*Philosophy: I have no idea. When I got into all this, it was a case of "hang on, I've been doing this for years" and it was like some people had finally ‘got it.’ Once I got away from the basic 'stick a vocal over someone else's music' approach, I was able to mix up all sorts of the weird and wonderful music from the last 50 years, and put it into a format that I hoped people could digest and connect to. I want people to hear how good some Peruvian progressive rock from 1970 is, even if the only way to do that is to have it as a 10 second section in a one hour mix just before a Supremes vocal comes in. I don't bash out shoddy 'A+B' stuff to play to 25 people at the local youth centre, or to get mentioned in some obscure newspaper that nobody actually gives a sh** about - unlike the majority of the 'm*sh-up' scene these days. When things get down to their lowest level, the thick mainstream can 'get it', which is fine if you just want to score ego-points by being played on some backwater radio station or being mentioned in the B'diddly-Boing Evening Herald's "Panty-Sh** List,” but it doesn't make for decent music for those who care about such things. It's four years since making 'bootlegs' was in any way revolutionary or interesting. Occasionally I'll still hear something that's fun for five minutes, but the emphasis is on 'occasionally.’ I apply the same standards to all forms of music. If it's good, it's good. If it's crap, it's crap.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a grumpy, opinionated bastard who actually knew what he was doing. I'm a dead nice person in reality, but I've just got no time whatsoever for bullsh** when it comes to music...

*Web address:
www.soundhog.co.uk

www.myspace.com/soundhog

www.myspace.com/thefreelancehairdresser


www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 190, Some Assembly Required

Episode 190, Some Assembly Required

01 Radar – “Radar frees Tibet (Gasho mix)”
02 Ben Double M – “Abacab Faint”
03 Matt Mikas – “Divination #8”
04 Wes Nisker – “Untitled (A Decade in Your Ear)”
05 B'O'K – “Not Enough Oil”
06 David Shea – “Untitled (Let's Entertain)”
07 rachMiel - “Twilight Zone”
08 Tigerbluemusic – “A Boundless Zephyr”
09 Deck Demons - “Rip That Beat”
10 Double Dee & Steinski – “Lesson 3 (The History Of Hip Hop)”
11 Lecture On Nothing – “Country But”
12 Cassetteboy – “Tr389 Shl82 Tr380”
13 Soundhog – “Bad Grey Rocker Girls”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Episode 55, Some Assembly Required

Episode 55, Some Assembly Required

01 Realistic - “Trademark mess”
02 Davide Shea - “Cartoon for Scott Bradley”
03 PLS_WDTH - “Fly. like eagle”
04 Kristine H. Burns - “Somewhere...”
05 People Like Us - “World of stereo”
06 The Bran Flakes - “Hi-fi”
07 V/VM - “Take my beef away”
08 Myeck Waters - “Sex ‘n drugs ‘n elves”
09 Wobbly - “Use a bit”
10 Project Data Control - “Genesis”
11 Donna Summer - “Possibly useless”
12 Splatt - “Noone sings like you anymore”
13 The Overneath - “The Ec$ta$y of Lar$”
14 Mr. Dibbs - “Delta bound?”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Sunday, October 14, 2007

RX Music

RX Music

RX is one of the few remaining sound collage artists who still feels compelled to withhold his identity from the public at large. Even when interviewing him on the phone a few months back, when I asked him what his real name was, and where he lived, he said that he was homeless and that I could call him "RX."

There was a time when more collage artists hid their identities, thanks to a general feeling of anxiety, with regards to too much attention being paid to the "illegal" nature of so much of what is being done in the realm of sound collage. These days, it's a subject which doesn't even necessarily come up in the interviews I do anymore. Aside from a few very publicized cease and desist letters, and only one or two actual lawsuits, there really hasn't been that much to show for all the concern, and most artists these days are just going by their actual names.

All that said, I suppose it's worth pointing out that RX Music has one extra reason for feeling worried about letting the world know his true identity, and that's the fact that the primary target of his political cut-ups is the current President of the United States. With extremely few exceptions, that voice alone has been the focus of each of his intricately edited sound collages. That might be a good reason to hide who you are, even in a country where we're proud to say how free we are to criticize even our most powerful public office.

Largely utilizing a web resource called the George W Bush Public Domain Audio Archive, RX Music has put together an impressive body of work, largely defined by some amazing cover versions of popular songs which have been recreated in the voice of the 43rd US President. GW Bush would do well to never let himself be recorded singing U2's protest song, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and anyway, he doesn't have to, as RX Music has created a mockup of what it might sound like, if he did. It's brilliant, and there are many more tracks just like it at his website, along with videos of much of the work as well.

What follows is one of the shortest Q&A's we've posted to date, but if you want to learn more about RX Music, you can hear my interview with him online. In addition to a short feature on politically charged cut-up tracks, episode 189 features my phone interview with RX Music and a half dozen tracks by the artist. Check it out HERE.

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


*Name: RX Music

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: There are 2 projects. The polisci stuff is thepartyparty. The real me stuff is (me)™. As far as I know, the names are rx, thepartyparty, and rx2008 (youtube).

*Do you use a pseudonym? No doubt.

*Members: Thepartyparty is me, with input from assorted others. (me)™ is me, nik, and assorted others.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital deconstructions has a nice ring to it.

*Another genre descriptor: Poliscifi.

*Why you use this descriptor: Polisci + lofi.

*Location: NYC

*Original Location: Long Island.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Guitar.

*History: A very long time.

*Born: 1969, Long Island.

*Motivations: Conscience. And greed.

*Philosophy: Mutually assured destruction is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

*How would you like to be remembered: Is that a hint?

*Web address:
www.thepartyparty.com
www.abandcalledme.com



www.some-assembly-required.net

Friday, October 12, 2007

Episode 189, Some Assembly Required

Episode 189, Some Assembly Required
(featuring an interview with RX Music)

01 RX Music – “White lines”
02 Steinski and Mass Media – “It's Up To You (Television Mix)”
03 Steev Hise – “Nexus 6”
04 The Bots – “Bushwack”
05 Wax Audio – “A Day Of Horror”
06 RX Music – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
07 RX Music – “Dick Is a Killer”
08 RX Music – “My generation”
09 RX Music – “My name is Rx”
10 Evolution Control Committee – “Bush speech (corrected - part 1)”
11 RX Music – “Imagine/Walk on the wild side”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Sunday, October 07, 2007

DJ Cal

DJ Cal

DJ Cal is a Swedish mashup artist, video game sound technician and musician whose mashups are well known on the world wide web. He's one of my favorite mashup artists, even though he's not currently making any new ones, because his work is often quite different from the majority of the mashups we hear on Some Assembly Required. For instance, he isn't afraid to mash two ballads, resulting in what I've found to be the very rare mellow bastard pop track. It may not motivate a dance floor, but they can be brilliant, none the less...

He's name dropped everywhere online, but there's very little real in-depth info to be found, making this post all the more valuable! Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with DJ Cal...


*Name: DJ Cal is the name I use when making mashups. However, Robootlegs is the name of my site.

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: That would be my real name then, Calle Hansson.

*Members: Only me, myself and I.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: That would absolutely be digital decontruction. Everything I've made is done exclusively using SoundForge. No Acid, Cubase ProTools or other multi channel software is used. All mixing and mashing is made using destructive editing and extreme planning in my head.

*Is there a story behind your name? Uhm. it's just a shorter version of my real name really. No fancy thoughts there. And DJ? Uhm, I'm really not a DJ in the traditional sense, but it sounded cool at the moment I felt that I needed a handle. The site Robootlegs comes from an old signature I used when using the GYBO site. I used to write DJ Cal - Robootlegs in disguise. This referring to Transformers - Robots in disguise.

*Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

*What is your creative/artistic background: I've worked as a professional sound technician in the computer games industry for seven years. After working for Digital Illusions (making sound for Midtown Madness 3 and Rallisport 2 for Xbox) for three years, I went back to school again. I've studied music recording, analog and digital mixing, songwriting and a hell of a lot more in the sound and music department. Right now I'm working as an Audio Director at a company that produces games for education, commercials or soon for Xbox Live Arcade.

*History: I made bootlegs for about three years on and off.

*Born: I'm born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden.

*Motivations: Music is what I live for. I listen to music basically as often as I can. Very often I hear mashups in my head when listening to music. Vocals that would fit over another backing track or vice versa. After that is both fun and a challenge to see if I was right or not.

*Philosophy: In key, in tempo. That is what I've always struggled for. I don't care much for rap-bootlegs since anyone can slap a rap acapella over any backing track or drum loop and come up with what they call a mashup. I want the listener to perceive the bootleg as a standalone version i.e a new song that works for itself rather than a half clever tune that works most of the time but in some places feels forced.

*How would you like to be remembered: It's a tough question. I really don't aim for fame. I appreciate when people like my work but I have no ambition to become a legend in any way. My kids and doing a good job are my priorities at the moment.

*Web address: www.robootlegs.com


www.some-assembly-required.net

Episode 188, Some Assembly Required

Episode 188, Some Assembly Required

01 Go Home Productions – “Triple Rhythm Stick”
02 X-ecutioners – “X-ecutioners Scratch”
03 Steve Fisk – “Holiday”
04 Sucking Chest Wound - “Business Is Business”
05 DJ Cal (Calle Hansson) – “Wicked Whatever”
06 John Oswald – “Brazilianaires Theme”
07 C. Marclay, G. Muller – “Vitalium”
08 Scratch Perverts - “Course of action”
09 Wax Audio – “Howard Killed”
10 Forty One - “The Pink Panther goes to town”
11 The Bran Flakes – “Fun Land Five”
12 McSleazy - “No Looking Down”
13 Cecil Touchon – “Massurrealist Meditation #3”
14 B'O'K – “Breaking Windows”
15 Soundry Courter – “Ready 2 Die”
16 Alex C - “A Third Of Beasthoven”


Use this address, for your pod software:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/some-assembly-required/JSpD

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Droplift Project

The Droplift Project

Tim Maloney spearheaded this project, instigated by a few and fleshed out by many different collage artists, from a variety of backgrounds. Richard Holland coined the term, and stAllio! even recently put out a new album purporting to be "Droplift II," although if there was an actual sequel to the project, it was the disc, "Free Speech For Sale," which was released a couple of years later.

The Droplift Project was officially launched in July of 2000, after years of preparation. All participants, and more than just a few supporters (primarily in the US and Europe), snuck copies of the CD into big name record stores such as Best Buy, and performed an act which was the opposite of shoplifting. Instead of removing product from the shelves of these chain stores, they left brand new, shrink wrapped copies of "The Droplift Project" in the racks, filed under "D," of course.

As a participant in this project, I personally left several copies in about a half dozen different record stores in the Twin Cities area. I wrote all about it to the message board at the Droplift site, and a writer for Flakmag picked up on those comments as the basis for a nice introduction to the project...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Tim Maloney, on behalf of The Droplift Project...


*Name:
The Droplift Project

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

*Do you use a pseudonym? Droplift was made by a number of artists all unified by their membership on an email discussion list dedicated to discussion of Negativland called "Snuggles." Each of the artists may or may not have used pseudonyms (or even a variety of them) at any given time. But "Snuggles" is definitely the uniting factor.

*Members: There are 21 tracks on the disc, and a few more available on the website that probably SHOULD have been added.

*Founding Members: The project came together so slowly and organically... I was the nominal ringleader in that I collected money, authored the disc, and coordinated the effort. I guess you could say I took care of most of the "real world" factors involved in the project. But conceptually, musically, and artistically the project is the work of many minds. I refer you to droplift.org for more info! It is all ruthlessly detailed there. In addition, the site has all the tracks as mp3s and even the cover art as downloadable pdfs. Grab it all and burn your own - Droplift has always been in the public domain.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Most of the work on the disc seems to be of the "digital deconstruction" variety. Droplift came together in July of 2000 - before that we had been discussing the project for almost three years on the list. During that time the big issues were the collapse of Napster and the emerging efforts of the RIAA to classify everything as piracy. Coupled with the development of digital tools that made audio editing even easier, many of the Droplift artists found themselves creating work that explored those themes and practices. Most all of the tracks feature copyrighted materials cut and recut in a variety of ways. It was part of our concept that this disc should originate from materials in our popular culture, be rearranged and transformed, then reinjected into that same culture.

*Another genre descriptor: The variety of expressions and styles on the disc makes any descriptor difficult. There is everything from cover song to mash-up to straight-up noise. There's good and bad, and few people agree on which is which.

*Location: Droplift participants were international! Most were from the U.S., but we had a sizeable European contingent as well. Because of the nature of the mailing list, people from all over could participate.

*Original Location: See above.

*What is your creative/artistic background: There were no questions asked on the Droplift disc. In fact, there was no method for selecting tracks. If you were interested, you paid into the project and you got a certain amount of time. I think it was around 3:30 in the end. Enough to fill a CD. The money went towards pressing the disc and mailing the copies to everyone - including special Droplifting-only agents who did not contribute to the disc but merely droplifted it. So, there are a variety of backgrounds presented here. I think some of the tracks were the first efforts by some. Others were regular cut-and-paste veterans. Try to see if you can guess which is which. Actually, don't do that; it's a pointless waste of time because I don't think anyone knows what the answers are.

*History: Droplift was a one-off. Years later some of the same people contributed to a second "Snuggles" project - this one called "Free Speech for Sale." It was also droplifted, but it was not organized by me, and it should be considered a separate project. Not because I'm trying to separate myself from FSFS, mind you - I contributed to that as well, and supported it enthusiastically. When we did FSFS we all realized that it was not going to be a "Droplift II" or anything like that. Years later than FSFS and we on the list would like to come up with a new project. But we have not, so far, and no one has stepped forward to shepherd a new work. Putting out a CD seems, like it should for the music industry, to be less effective than it once was. There seem to be lots of new avenues for distribution and lots of new ideas. "Droplifting" has become a regular practice in Europe. I know of some French artists who make a regular sport of it, and futurists in London have interviewed me about what they call "shopdropping" as a kind of anti-corporate practice.

*Born: No idea about any of this! "Snuggles" members are deliberately obscure. Most of us do not know each other's proper names unless we use them regularly. It's odd, but there seems to be a trend amongst people of a certain age not to use their real names or personas. Those who seem to have been influenced by the Subgenius, the Neoists, the Art Strikers, Stuart Home, et. al., tend to create deliberately bizarre pseudonyms that mostly seem like supernatural creatures, powerful and slightly evil corporations or really weird robots more than musicians. It seems very much the opposite of the mainstream music business, where the persona of the pop idol is crafted to seem like a real desirable person.

*Motivations: "Snuggles" member are all freaks. There is simply no way of understanding why they do what they do, except my favorite explanation these days, and that is some kind of brain damage.

*Philosophy: Now THAT is a question I can answer. The concept of The Droplift Project is deceptively simple. 20 or so audio collage artists take, cut-up, reassemble, and reuse whatever they receive from the world of sound and reinject it back into the culture by "droplifting" CD's. This term, coined by Richard Holland, was named to reflect the opposite of shoplifting: the operator sneaks a CD INTO a store and leaves it in a bin for someone to purchase. It is effectively "jamming" the corporate structure that dominates the way we consume music. To add another layer of fun, most of the tracks of the CD have some thematic relation to this same premise, either by cutting up/distorting/detourning popular music or by "electroquoting," to use John Oswald's term - using recognizable pieces of audio in the midst of an otherwise different composition. Most of the participants in the Droplift Project would never be able to have their music heard otherwise. Regardless of how it sounds, even, no label would publish it. No music producer would touch it. And this would have nothing to do with sound or art or the experience of listening to the CD. It's purely a legal/financial consideration – something the Droplifters felt should not intrude in the world of music. Most importantly, by planting these cuckoo eggs into the bins at regular chain stores, the hope was that the consumer, now put in contact with the work of such "radicals" may not know the difference, and may select Droplift and enjoy it for what it is - music. What we did was to steal real estate. We heard from a number of people who actually DID buy the disc. Their experiences are still on the website, I believe. We didn't have enough money to really destroy the music industry, by the way. Droplift was a tiny drop in the bucket in terms of practical effect on the entire corporate music industry. But it was a damn good art project, and gave lots of people something to talk about for quite awhile. And it was an entirely uncommodifiable art project - at least from the standpoint of the artists. We couldn't possibly make any money from it, we gave them all away! My understanding is that some chain stores did benefit from it, however, as they charged some consumers for the disc (although some simply gave it away when they found no barcode on it and it wasn't in the computer system).

*How would you like to be remembered: With Droplift the concept was strong enough that I would hope it is remembered before any of the participants. If the CD market had not died so badly it would still be a pertinent statement about the corporate control of music and the lack of respect for an artist's rights to transformatively reuse materials that originate from existing recordings. Although collage has long been a staple of fine art production, the music industry (and now, increasingly, the MPAA) have been involved in an absurdly greedy game of bullying everyone who wants to use the music they've already paid for.

*Web address: www.droplift.org


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