Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jim Allenspach

Jim Allenspach

Jim Allenspach began cutting tape in Peoria, Illinois, while studying at Bradley University and volunteering at WRBU. He currently lives in Chicago, where he is gainfully employed, perhaps as a web designer (considering all of the websites he has a hand in), but we can't be sure about that. One of the (many) websites which he created, and/or administrates, includes the Mother, Jugs & Speed fan site - a newsgroup parody about the (relatively) obscure 1976 Bill Cosby film. Another of his websites is Legnog, but the main site, if I had to point to just one, is his personal blog, which often proves to amuse more than just the author, himself. A major feat for any blog!

Allenspach is the creator of quite a few sound collage tracks, many of which are of a genre of his own creation... Dictionaraoke is a style of cut and paste wherein the sound artist recreates, (or covers), usually well known songs from popular culture, word for word, utilizing one or more of a handful of online dictionaries which offer pronunciation guides as audio files. Hundreds and hundreds of examples by dozens of artists are available online by now and Dictionaraoke has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and On the Media, not to mention The Wire, Wired and Spin Magazine. Why, we've even played some examples on Some Assembly Required! A CD was compiled in 2001 (the year which Allenspach refers to as "The heyday of Dictionaraoke"). It contains 100 songs in MP3 format, and I believe they are also available for download at the the Dictionaraoke website.

Be sure to check out his artist's page as well, for links to audio, video and other digital collage he's created. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Jim Allenspach...

*Name: Jim Allenspach

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Yes, I've used the name "jima" or "Jim A." in the past. The derivations of these names should be obvious.

*Do you use a pseudonym? See above.

*Members: There's just me! The computer doesn't count.

*Founding Members: Me me me! It's all about me!

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: All of my current work is digital, but I did start out with traditional tape editing and manipulation at my college radio station (WRBU, Bradley University). We had a bunch of old cast-off studio equipment and it was always exciting to try and use the tape decks, reel-to-reels, and cart machines to try and craft something entertaining.

*Another genre descriptor: I like the term "audio collage" because it has a more artistic connotation. Plus, it also ties in with other collage artwork that I've done in the past.

*Location: I've been living in Chicago since 1995, and I consider that my home.

*Original Location: I've lived loads of different places in the continental US. My family mostly lives in central Illinois.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Not much in the way of formal training. I had only one art class in school, and no musical training until I was an adult. I do a lot more drawing and design work than a person of my modest talents should feasibly take on.

*History: I believe I started to create collages in 1997 or '98, when I got inspired by the artists on the Negativland mailing list, Snuggles, to try and work on my own creations. It's been a humbling experience to try and make unique audio art out of samples, especially when there are so many people currently doing outstanding work.

*Born: Late 1960s, central Illinois.

*Motivations: A lot of my motivation comes from the fact that it's just fun to put together different audio samples and create something new out of them. There's an astounding amount of media out there, and technology is allowing us to capture it, to catalog it, and to combine it in ways that were not possible just a few years ago. The possibility of making up something that could not have been heard or seen before is very tempting.

*Philosophy: I don't think too much about the philosophy in my stuff, apart from the obvious point that you can make new things out of old things. Sometimes there's an ironic point to be made, in the case of political sources, but most of the time the idea is to put two or more sources together and see what it sounds like.

*How would you like to be remembered: As long as possible.

*Web address: My main blog is, but I'm trying to put up some kind of artwork site as I was hoping to have something up by the time this interview was to be published, but circumstances have interfered with that plan, so I will just put up a token information page at the latter site for you to link to, in case anyone's interested in my other audio/video works.

Episode 184, Some Assembly Required

Episode 184, Some Assembly Required

01 Genji Siraisi – “24 Blipplyn”
02 John Oswald – “Brown”
03 Listen With Sarah - “Fleur Bleue”
04 B'O'K – “Oil”
05 Aggro1 - “Kelis vs. Pearl Jam”
06 Avalanches - “Summer Crane”
07 Mofobaru - “OK Computer in 60 seconds”
08 Dum Dum Tv – “Onannie Synthesizer”
09 Team 9 – “About a Girl in My Dreams”
10 Jima – “All He Sees Is You”
11 DJ Para And Relent – “Control”
12 Forty One – “Inzaney”
13 The Evolution Control Committee - “One Beck In The Grave”
14 Jeffrey Sconce – “Easter magic”
15 Ralph Johnson – “For the rest of your life”
16 B'O'K – “Prologue: Fossil Fuels”
17 Divide & Kreate – “A new treasure”

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007

Episode number two?!? That's right, we're finally starting to dip into the first season of Some Assembly Required. This week's podcast (featuring a phone interview with Steinski) is only the second episode ever sent out in syndication, back in 2001, when it first started to seem like a good idea to see if there might be any interest in our program, outside of Minneapolis (and at the time, it even seemed like a bit of a stretch to imagine that there was much of an interest here)... The episode originally aired on KUOM, in Minneapolis, on June 23, 2001.

Episode 02 is arguably the most commercial episode we've ever produced, too - considering the widespread, if underground, popularity of Steinski. If you're more than just a passing fan of hip hop in general, or sound collage specifically, than you're definitely aware of Double Dee and Steinski, Steinski and Mass Media and Steve Stein (better known as Steinski). We recently ran the SAR Q&A with Steinski here at the Blog. You can check out the article HERE.

I'm starting to work key episodes from the past few years into the official on-air programming schedule, in an attempt to maintain a more realistic production schedule for myself. I'd like to continue doing this program for at least a couple more years, and the reduced workload will help guarantee that as an option. The other reason though, is that before I decided to sync the on-air schedule with the podcast schedule, the idea had been to get some older episodes online - some of the really good ones, in my opinion, such as this week's installment.

So, that's the upside - the fact that we're finally uploading some classic episodes. The downside is that... taking another listen to episode number two... I'm more than just a little aware, at times, of how green I often sounded on the microphone! Of course, the day will definitely come when even last week's episode (which was literally produced just ten days ago), will sound just the same way to me... I'll be cringing at every DJ break, wondering how I ever managed to sound so nervous. Anyway - I guess the point is, I hope you'll take into account the fact that this episode was produced quite a few years ago, back when I was first trying to figure out how to produce a radio program for more than just my own neighborhood. I really had to figure it all out on my own. In a way, I'm actually kind of proud of that fact...

The other cool thing to mention about this week's podcast (episode number two, of our fifteenth quarter in syndication, by the way) is that it was featured briefly in DJ Food's composition, Raiding the 2oth Century (see/hear Part III - Say Kids, What Time Is it?). I was very excited about this fact at the time (and now), as I'm a fan of DJ Food and of course felt an intimate connection with the subject matter of his composition. The mix was available at the DJ Food website when it was released in 2005 ... it has since been archived at - check it out HERE.

That's just about all there is to say about this week's episode (#02). Be sure to check out the SAR Q&A with Steinski HERE, and feel free to drop me a line - there's contact info at our Contact Page. Check out Steinski at his website, HERE.

As always, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Episode 02, Some Assembly Required

Episode 02, Some Assembly Required
(Featuring an interview with Steinski)

01 Steinski and Mass Media - “It’s up to you (the television mix)”
02 Double Dee and Steinski - “Lesson 1: the payoff mix”
03 DJ Shadow - “Lesson 4”
04 Steinski & Mass Media - “We’ll be right back”
05 Steinski & Mass Media - “The motorcade sped on”
06 Double Dee and Steinski - “Jazz”
07 Cut Chemist - “Lesson 6: the lecture”
08 Steinski and Mass Media - “The xen to one ratio”
09 Steinski and Mass Media - “Wild about that thing”

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

DJ Marvel

DJ Marvel

DJ Marvel is an English producer and Hip Hop DJ. He was also a member of the turntablist group, "The Wristerons (with DJ Haste)," releasing a CD titled "Flex of the Wrist," in 2000. DJ Marvel is a featured artist on compilations such as Revenge Of The B Boy, Part 2, and Return Of The DJ, Volume 4 and 5, on Bomb Hip Hop, as well as Scratch attack, Volume 2 and Global Turntables, on Hiphop Slam. He's been DJing since he was sixteen years old - check out his myspace page HERE.

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

*Name: DJ Marvel

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Not really... I was also the brainchild of a turntablist group called The Wristerons, which consisted of myself and DJ Haste. We recorded various tracks around 2000 to 2004 and had releases on both Bomb records and HipHop Slam. However since then I have focused much of my time learning production and hoping to start producing and remixing for different artists in the near future.

*Do you use a pseudonym? nope

*Members: Currently I work alone as a producer... but will be working on different projects with different artists.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Well, I am a big fan of sampling as this was how hip hop music was originally made... and still should be made in my opinion. Being a DJ too, I always incorporate the turntable in what I do and certainly when I was working on The Wristerons music, they were all "turntable creations.”

*Another genre descriptor: Well, I can only describe what I do as creative and beautiful music. I like to sample music that captures moods and has plenty of feeling and emotion... and this will probably be the main feature of my production. I wouldn’t say that I have a particular name to describe it though.

*Location: I am from Torquay, in south west England, UK.

*Original Location: I was born in Plymouth, south west England, UK.

*What is your creative/artistic background: My background in music is pretty much all hip hop, as well as the soul, funk and jazz music used in hip hop music over the years.

*History: I bought my own turntables in 1993, at the age of 16. Firstly creating mixes and sampling records for mix tapes, until I started taking music-making more seriously, buying my first Emu sampler in 1997. Since then, I have been making various turntablist tracks and now focusing more on hip hop backing.

*Born: I was born in Plymouth, south west England, in 1977.

*Motivations: From the age of 11 (in 1988), when I was first exposed to hip hop music properly, I was hooked on the sound of scratching. My curiosity also led me to learn about sampling and production and I was amazed at how creative and clever hip hop artists were. My main motivation is to be as creative and clever as the hip hop artists of the late 80s and early 90s, when hip hop music was at its peak. I can only describe being able to scratch and creatively make music like a drug addict scoring a hit. Making hip hop music is a drug and I am completely addicted.

*Philosophy: My philosophy behind my music is mainly to have fun and enjoy what I am doing, as well as to be creative. Hip hop has no boundaries and should be enjoyed by everyone.

*How would you like to be remembered: I'd like to be remembered as someone who made a positive contribution to music. Someone who was good at what they did, gave listeners plenty of enjoyment and hopefully influenced people along the way.

*Web address: I don't have a website at the moment, but have a myspace page:

Episode 183, Some Assembly Required

Episode 183, Some Assembly Required
01 Arty Fufkin – “Atoms for Idols”
02 You™ vs. Elvis – “Shook All Up”
03 Negativland – “Why Is This Commercial?”
04 Antediluvian Rocking Horse – “September Shuffle”
05 DJ Tripp – “Super Holla Tricka”
06 Forty One – “Scooby Doo, Lolita & the giant”
07 Wax Tailor - “Once Upon a Past”
08 Beige Channel – “On You"
09 DJ Marvel – “1-8-7”
10 Listen With Sarah - “Animal Boum!”
11 Totom – “Rio Grande”
12 Escape Mechanism – “Whiz Bang”
13 John Oswald - “Net”
14 David Morneau – “Sing”
15 Lenlow – “The D is for Dirt”

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Saturday, August 04, 2007



Steinski (Steve Stein) is well known for his work with Double Dee (Douglas DiFranco). The duo produced the well known Lessons series, in the early 1980's. Since then, Steinski has produced many more sound collage tracks, both in partnership with Double Dee, and on his own. Most of the work is quite listener-friendly, yet officially unreleased, due to fears concerning copyright issues. I first heard about Steinski through the DOVentertainment release, Death of Vinyl, which features the legendary track, The Motorcade Sped On.

I interviewed Steve Stein on Some Assembly Required, about six years ago, when SAR first went into syndication. The episode originally aired in Minneapolis, at KUOM, on June 23, 2001. DJ Food heard it and used a portion of the interview in his Raiding the 20th Century composition. You can download the original episode (#02), at the SAR Blog, HERE.

Steinski's work ranges from mastermixes to sound collage you can dance to. One of my personal favorites samples commercials from radio and TV, to create a very fun, musical collage about advertising. We'll be right back was released in 1986, on Fourth And Broadway, and earned a spot on the UK charts the following year.

Double Dee and Steinski reunited in 2002 and 2006 to perform opening for DJ Shadow and Coldcut, respectively. Their work has been greatly influential, especially in the hip hop community. De La Soul, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, DJ Format and DJ Bombjack have all contributed to the Lessons series, or referenced them in some major way. Although there is still no official Lesson 5, the series has been continued through Lesson 7, as of this writing.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Steve Stein of Steinski and Mass Media...

*Name: Steinski

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Steinski and Mass Media, or Double Dee & Steinski

*Do you use a pseudonym? Yes

*Members: Steve Stein/Doug DiFranco

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital deconstruction and nitroglycerine.

*Location: Noo Yawk, yo.

*Original Location: Money Earnin' Mt. Vernon

*What is your creative/artistic background: Ex-hipppie. Dropped out of 2 colleges, wrote advertising on staff for several years at a huge agency, functioned as a producer/creative consultant to many of the NY-based cable networks in the late 80's and 90's. Bought a lot of records and gradually learned (with the help of several long-suffering friends) how to use digital audio equipment.

*History: Since 1983.

*Motivations: I can't help it.

*Philosophy: Making trouble and having fun.

*How would you like to be remembered: With a knowing smile.

*Web address:

Episode 58, Some Assembly Required

Episode 58, Some Assembly Required

01 Steinski - “Its time to testify (mc5 mix)”
02 Steinski - “The acid test”
03 Steinski - “Silent partner”
04 The Tape-beatles - “Desire”
05 Animals within animals - “Pirates of the internet”
06 Kid606 - “Never underestimate the value of a holler (vipee-pee mix)”
07 Radio Jargon - “Radiobup”
08 Splatt - “Goddess deconstructed”
09 Sarah Jane Smith - “Stomp (live)”
10 Donna Summer - “Accept the cheap”
11 Negativland - “Guns (now)”

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