Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Evolution Control Committee

The Evolution Control Committee

I ran across The ECC's Double the Phat and Still Tasteless release at an independent record store in Minneapolis a little over ten years ago. Intrigued by the album's odd packaging, I was excited to find out it was a sound collage record and snatched it up right away (the CD came wrapped in a hollowed out floppy disc). Not too long after that, at another indie record store, I was pointed to their Compact Disctructions, a kit with instructions on how to destroy CDs in ways which resulted in "creative playback." Clearly this was a group worth exploring further!

The Evolution Control Committee is primarily Mark Gunderson (or TradeMark G.), although there is a larger collective involved on some level, in activities best left described by the ECC. I interviewed Mark in 2003 (download episode 57 for a great introduction to the project) and had him out to perform at both Theatre de la Jeune Lune and The Rogue Buddha Gallery that year. I wrote about these shows at length in this blog post from last year.

The ECC have released cassettes, vinyl, CDs and videos. They even claim to have released an album on Wax Cylinder, if you can find someone with a player! For more information about the ECC, read on or visit their website. I'd also recommend checking out my previous blog post about the group. Check it out HERE. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with the ECC!

*Name: The Evolution Control Committee

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: The Evolution Control Committee, Music Division. A lot of people don't realize that we're actually just one division of The Evolution Control Committee, the policy-making organization for evolution. The ECC's mission is to plan and guide the flow of evolution in all areas of life: biological, political, artistic, etc. So, we're the division responsible for the world's musical evolution. Sometimes people incorrectly credit me (TradeMark G.) individually for The ECC's collective work. Additionally, some members (myself especially) have been involved with many other related projects of The Committee which are occasionally similar. A partial list of related projects: Cheese & Pants Theater, Gaga, The Weird Love Makers, MelloDeath, and The Mood Swingers.

*Do you use a pseudonym? er... ahem... well, my friends call me TradeMark, though my parents call me Mark Gunderson. You can choose which role you want to be.

Four or more, depending on how generous the upper management of The Evolution Control Committee is able to be... like many non-industry think-tanks, The ECC is often budgetarily thin. I'm the core member that you're most likely to associate the band with. In addition to me, you'll also see the names of my brother Mike Gunderson on the project, our DJ Pantshead (formerly DJ John Philip Suicide), my assistant Frillypants, as well as others.

*Founding Members: My brother and I, who launched The ECC's Music Division in 1986. (Which makes this year, 2006, our 20th anniversary!)

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
I can think of tracks which have been 100% of any single one of those methods, and many which are combinations of them. Nowadays, we definitely favor digital and use that almost exclusively.

*Another genre descriptor: We still like "Plagiarhythm.” I don't dislike "Plunderphonics,” but Oswald's style always seemed to treat rhythm and the beat like an unwanted child. We love it, and the term "plagiarhythm" makes that apparent. Nowadays "Mash-Up" is likely to swallow both of those terms into its scope, and I'm actually fine with that term (except, perhaps, for its awkward, epicurious sound to our American ears).

*Why you use this descriptor: I think it's pretty obvious -- "Plagiarhythm" is plagiarism with rhythm. And that describes our music perfectly.

*Location: Currently, San Francisco...

*Original Location: ...originally, Columbus Ohio. The Evolution Control Committee's main headquarters are still based there, with San Francisco as our new satellite, music-focused branch offices.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Classically trained in piano, trombone, violin; later self-taught in synthesizers/sound synthesis and accordion; much later unlearned most of it in favor of sampling/mashing. I have an equally abortive past with computers, and have a degree in computer science which kept me semi-gainfully employed at legendary has-been CompuServe, among others. I also was doing some microelectronics work when I was younger (around 13 and 14) which I've revisited to build things like our Thimbletron instrument.

*History: I co-founded the Music Division of The Evolution Control Committee in 1986, or at least, that was the earliest date that work under that name emerged.

*Born: My brother Mike and I are twins, and were born in 1966, in Columbus Ohio. Sorry, but I'm not too clear on the details of our DJ.

*Motivations: As mentioned previously, it's The ECC's mission to plan and guide evolution, so it's the Music Division's mission to apply that to the world of music. If The ECC's policy decisions say that humans will develop a sixth finger, we need to design instruments that use it. That's our job.

*Philosophy: We're probably best known for our sample-based music, and we do this to shed light on a glaring disparity: the idea of cut-and-paste is so basic that you learn it in kindergarten, with safety scissors in one hand, non-toxic paste in the other, and an old magazine and blank construction paper in front of you. And yet, if you had an art show of this work, it would attract a blizzard of cease and desist orders from a cadre of corporate intellectual property lawyers. In a world where pre-schoolers are outlaw artists, something is amiss.

*How would you like to be remembered: As the people who corrected that. We want to see remix culture legalized.

*Web address:

Episode 57, Some Assembly Required

Episode 57, Some Assembly Required
(Featuring an interview with The Evolution Control Committee)

01 Evolution Control Committee - “I want a cookie”
02 Evolution Control Committee - “I don’t care”
03 Evolution Control Committee - “Computers”

04 Evolution Control Committee - “Nearly no time for yes”
05 Evolution Control Committee - “No time for yes”
06 Evolution Control Committee - “Acid family”
07 Evolution Control Committee - “Hello”
08 Evolution Control Committee - “Breakfast”
09 Evolution Control Committee - “Toot”

10 Evolution Control Committee - “Lunch”
11 Evolution Control Committee - “5000 BC”
12 Evolution Control Committee - “Dinner”
13 Evolution Control Committee - “Goodbye”
14 Evolution Control Committee - “Rebel without a pause”
15 2 Many DJs - “Push it/no fun”
16 2 Many DJs - “Smells like booty”
17 Evolution Control Committee - “Rocked by rape”
18 Evolution Control Committee - “Don’t miss the great snatch”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This Week's Podcast

We're taking a little two week break... thanks to having fallen slightly behind schedule. If you're a syndicating station, please take this week's podcast (archived episode #56) and air it as an official re-run. I had a couple of exhibitions this past month which took a bit of time and now I'm behind schedule with new episodes...

One upside to this is you'll be treated to an as-yet-unpodcast feature on The Evolution Control Committee next week. Stay tuned for episode 57, to be uploaded next weekend, featuring the Some Assembly Required interview with Mark Gunderson of The Evolution Control Committee. We'll be posting a NEW SAR Q&A with the ECC next weekend, too, so it's a double dose of one of our favorite sound collage artists, The Evolution Control Committee - NEXT WEEK on Some Assembly Required...

Until then, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Episode 56, Some Assembly Required

Episode 56, Some Assembly Required

01 Innernational - “Deedz in da mix”
02 Hal Willner - “Do you hear me? (No pie) with Jack Webb”
03 John Oswald - “O’hell”
04 Myeck Water’s - “John Little is my name (remake)”
05 Splatt - “Laughterstruck”
06 Steve Fisk - “Diamond club”
07 The Tape-beatles - “Success through vibration”
08 Akufen - “Even white horizons”
09 Evolution Control Committee - “Music for selling”
10 The Bran Flakes - “Wowee”
11 The Avalanches - “A different feeling”
12 Steinski - “Swingset (10 beautiful girls mix)”
13 Evolution Control Committee - “Nothing really matters”
14 DJ French Bloke - “Destiny Kennedies”
15 The Avalanches - “Little journey”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Carl Stone

Carl Stone

Carl Stone is an award winning composer currently residing in Japan. He has composed for dance, theater, television and the world wide web, and hosts a radio program on KPFA in Berkeley, California. He's released albums on numerous labels including CBS Sony, EAM Discs, New Albion, New Tone labels, t:me recordings, Toshiba-EMI, Trigram and Wizard Records. I've listed most of the labels he's worked with because if I tried to list all the theater directors and choreographers, my intro would be longer than his Q&A. For much more information about his array of accomplishments, be sure to visit his website.

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

*Name: Carl Stone

*Do you use a pseudonym? nope

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
Either of the first two, not the third.

*Another genre descriptor:
Sampling Neurosis

*Why you use this descriptor:
Nels Cline once referred to my music as Sampling Psychosis,
but that seemed a bit extreme :-)

*Location: Born in LA, moved to San Francisco in 1993. Now living in Tokyo.

*Original Location: Los Angeles, California

*What is your creative/artistic background: From his website: Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music, and has been hailed by the Village Voice as "the king of sampling." and "one of the best composers living in (the USA) today." He has used computers in live performance since 1986. Stone was born in Los Angeles and now divides his time between San Francisco and Japan. He studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts with Morton Subotnick and James Tenney and has composed electro-acoustic music almost exclusively since 1972. His works have been performed in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and the Near East. In addition to his schedule of performance, composition and touring, he is on the faculty of the Media Department at Chukyo Unoversity in Japan… (continued at website)

*Motivations: eat

*Web address:

Episode 169, Some Assembly Required

Episode 169, Some Assembly Required

01 Go Home Productions – “Jet Lady Joe (2004)”
02 Animals Within Animals - “Gitchgitchystickywickybootyop”
03 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Get Down Ver. 2.2”
04 Doug Kahn – “Reagan speaks for himself”
05 Party Ben – “Pump Up the Doorbell”
06 Daniel Steven Crafts – “The Art of Hearing (Soap Opera Suite - Part II)”
07 BRATmix - “Simply No Other Man”
08 Christian Marclay & Otomo Yoshide - “Lucky Seven”
09 Furious – “Mood Swing”
10 Carl Stone - “Boo-dop”
11 Negativland – “I Believe It's L”
12 DJ Danger Mouse - “Justify My Thug”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Saturday, April 07, 2007



Barbed are two British guys named Alex. They claim to have no interest whatsoever in the "genre" of plunderphonics. More power to them. They have two downloadable albums and two "proper records" under their belt and have appeared on 10 compilations and two remix albums. They also have three live records and even did a film soundtrack in 1996. They seem like good guys.

I probably first heard about Barbed around 1997, because of their participation with Public Works in a five hour long jam at the Cocktail Festival, in Berlin. Other performers included Leumund Fieling, Dominique Petitgand and Muzic Toerist. Barbed took their favorite moments from the collaboration and Public Works took their favorite moments and they each took a side of the 12" record titled "Plunderphonics All Stars" (Kleptones, 1997). I've played it on the show before... good stuff.

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

*Name: Barbed

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

*Members: Alex Burrow & Alex McKechnie

*Founding Members: Alex Burrow & Alex McKechnie

*(Would you classify Barbed as) Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: No, I wouldn't.

*Another genre descriptor: Like John Oswald and the Toyota Yaris, we also are too unconventional for description by existing language, so we also have invented a new word. It's a secret right now. But we have got one.

*Location: London

*Original Location: Near London

*What is your creative/artistic background: Punk Rock / Art Rock / Band members gradually replaced by machines. Home Counties UK. 1970s.

*History: Since 1984 / From Boyz 2 Men (I mean, since 1984. Then we were boys. But now we are men. As in, "I've worked in that pit man and boy”).

*Born: Are you from the Inland Revenue?

*Motivations: There's always a loose end that needs tying up. It always leads to another thing, with another loose end. Forever pursuing beauty. The naive desire to make something lovely that nobody else could possibly have made, persists.

a) Nihilist / Situationist / Dada / BlaBla
b) Different sounds create different realities
c) Sometimes music is too much fun and meaning is saved for later: this is ideal
d) If you can't hum it, dance to it or laugh at it, it's probably s**t
e) If you can't hum it, dance to it or laugh at it and it's definitely not s**t, then you're on to something.

*How would you like to be remembered: As the friends of men / lovers of women, witty, wise, fruity, vain, disdainful, sarcastic, petty, mean, sickly, profoundly sexual, cautious, lucky, shallow and wacky. And for our macabre double suicide.

*Web address:

Episode 168, Some Assembly Required

Episode 168, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Earlybird – “Crazy Trooper”
02 Escape Mechanism - “Draining”
03 Barbed – “Philadelphia”
04 Eddie Def – “Eddie def land”
05 Steve Fisk – “Doll House”
06 Lecture on Nothing – “Opinions”
07 The Coherent Encoherence – “Let's Talk About Time”
08 Soundry Courter – “French For BS”
09 Lenlow – “Hidden Howling Bird”
10 DJ Archie Pepper/Dr. Didji – “Bushwhacked”
11 Kid Koala – “Static's Waltz”
12 The Tape-beatles – “The human machine”
13 Soundry Courter – “Hair-do U.S.A.”
14 RX Music – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
15 Aggro1- “(Untitled)”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Steev Hise

Steev Hise
Steev Hise may have been the very first person I met online, back in the mid nineties, when I first ventured out onto the world wide web. I was looking for other artists who created using recycled sounds and found him there somewhere. I don't think he'd started Detritus yet, so I must have done a search for "found sound collage" and found one of his posts to a listserv, or something like that.

The internet's become a lot more user friendly since then, and you can find a much larger amount of information about sound collage and audio artists on the net these days, but back then it took a serious effort. I would spend what seemed like hours typing new combinations of search phrases into all of the search engines I could find (Does Google even have any competition these days?) and see the same ten responses over and over and over.

So, I started firing off emails to total strangers and one of the first people to respond was Steev Hise, who shortly thereafter started his "recycled culture" website,, which not only set out to provide the web with some much needed info on the subject of recycling in art and music, but also to provide server space for collage artists who needed help getting online. I'm one of the people who took advantage of his generosity right at the beginning. Both the Escape Mechanism and Some Assembly Required websites got their start at and I've long maintained my email address (thanks Steev!).

Sound Unseen asked me to invite some SAR artists to perform in Minneapolis a few years ago and I asked Steev to open for Wet Gate when they performed at The Bryant Lake Bowl. All told we had three evenings of "plunderphonic" events at that year's Sound Unseen (2001), including John Oswald and Wobbly on another night at The Bryant Lake Bowl, and my band (Escape Mechanism) opening for The Tape-beatles at The Oak Street Cinema. We even presented a panel discussion with The Tape-beatles, Wet Gate, Steev Hise and Kembrew McLeod at the Walker Art Center, called "I Love Trash: Recycling Culture and Rewriting Copyright." It was an exciting week!

Steev posted some photos from one of the evenings at the Bryant Lake Bowl

Steev's been performing and composing with recycled sound and video for years. He's also created original instruments and software and has been working lately as a documentary filmmaker. His first documentary, "On The Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juárez" is available on DVD from (as is his CD titled, "Original"). Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Steev Hise...

*Name: Steev Hise

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

*Do you use a pseudonym? No

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: None. I'm a documentary filmmaker who once made electronic audio art, which is not to say I've totally given that up. I may go back to making music and sound art, but I've been concentrating on film/video for the last 4 years or so. For now, I think music is an insufficient form to convey the messages I need to convey to my audience, so that's why I do film.

*Another genre descriptor: "Recycled culture." I stole that term from the Tape-beatles. It really fits.

*Location: Davenport, Iowa, but I live in Tucson now.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I come from a community radio and punk band background, with a little grad school thrown in, at an art school studying music and new media. (Starting at) WCBN ("Radio Free Ann Arbor"), the student station in Ann Arbor, at the U of Michigan, where I did my undergrad in electrical engineering. For grad school I went to CalArts in Los Angeles, studied there with Morton Subnotick, Tom Erbe, and Dick Hebdige, amongst others. Band names, in chronological order: International Leakage, The Tao Puppies, T-Zero, Ears Under Siege (getting into noise and ambient electronics here), Hubie, Wax Utensil Guild, The Anti-Cyborg Orchestra.

*History: About 16 years.

*Born: In the late '60s.

*Motivations: To make the world better, somehow.

*Philosophy: The world is f****d, and artists have the responsibility to help fix it. Just as everyone does, but artists have a more important role than many, because they have the power to communicate ideas and sway opinions.

*How would you like to be remembered: That's a hard one. Maybe something like "he was great in bed, and his intentions were good."

*Web address:
Also, I have a blog here:

Also, the site for my new documentary about the murdered women of Ciudad Juarez is:

Episode 167, Some Assembly Required

Episode 167, Some Assembly Required

01 Big City Orchestra – “Confident”
02 Team 9 – “Crazy Times”
03 John Oswald – “O'Hell”
04 Realistic – “Magnetic home surgery”
05 The Cranial Fishers – “No Need To Fear”
06 DJ Spooky – “It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, World”
07 DJ Broken Window – “Let's build a rhythm hive”
08 The Bran Flakes – “No More Free Will”
09 M-sli©k da ninjA – “Marcy is Love”
10 Wobbly – “19999”
11 Doormouse – “Killing Your Agressions”
12 Omer Fast – “CNN Concatenated (Part IV)”
13 Evolution Control Committee – “Untitled (Ritalin Ruckus)”
14 Steev Hise – “Ferrante Zeppelin & Teicher”
15 Wayne Butane – “Untitled (Backwash)”
16 Go Home Productions – “Razor Smile (2003)”

Use this address, for your pod software:

More information about Some Assembly Required online, at: