Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grateful for the Dead

Grateful For The Dead

Grateful for the Dead is St. Paul artist and performer, Michael Donahue. His project is unique in that he is paying homage to artists who are no longer with us, exclusively, by sampling recordings of their musical output, and adding them to samples of recordings of other artists who have also shuffled off this mortal coil. Special attention is paid to partnering those artists who might not have thought to work together, while living.

He's been performing since 1984 with a variety of projects such as Primadonahue and Repulsar. He's also collaborated with a number of artists, and has worked on multiple projects with the Twin Cities' Bedlam Theater.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Grateful for The Dead...

*Name: Grateful for the Dead

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

*Do you use a pseudonym? DJ Squid Viscous. I also have a one man band called Primadonahue performing experimental Electronica.

*Members: Michael Donahue

*Founding Members: Me… but all samples are from dead famous musicians, so you can get the sample credits at

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital deconstructions (or “reconstructions”).

*Another genre descriptor: If you got a good name for it I’m all ears!

*Location: St. Paul, MN

*Original Location: Same

*What is your creative/artistic background: Visual Arts, Graphic Design, Theater Arts, Rock and Roll bands (Art Rock/Punk/New Wave/Punk Jazz/Electronica).

*History: I’ve been performing for less than a year in this project but have been publicly performing since 1984.

*Born: 1963, Minneapolis, MN

*Motivations: This was inspired by the idea of “Rock and Roll heaven.” If all the dead rock stars are jamming somewhere, what does it sound like?

*Philosophy: Using electronic sound shaping tools, I am producing audio collages that are comprised exclusively of sampled material from dead musicians. Any appearance from a living musician is purely incidental. I want to pay tribute to great musicians who have passed. I like the idea of combining the work of musicians who would have never worked together as living musicians.

*How would you like to be remembered: Frank Zappa once said that being remembered isn’t important. I would agree.

*Web address:

Episode 220, Some Assembly Required

Episode 220, Some Assembly Required

01 The Illuminoids - “Lugosi's Mongoloid Loser”
02 Peanut Butter Wolf & DJ Design - “Phonies”
03 Donna Summer - “Heels Over Head”
04 Wax Audio - “Whole Lotta Sabbath"
05 John Oswald - “2 Net”
06 Think Tank - “Homefront”
07 Splinter Test - “Untitled (Track 45, Electric Newspaper - Issue Four)”
08 Go Home Productions - “Strung Out King”
09 Negativland - “Happy Hero: The Remedia Megamix”
10 Carl Stone - “Boo-dop”
11 Grateful For The Dead - “Just Believe”
12 The Tape-beatles - “Grave Implications”
13 Steinski - “Number Three On Flight Eleven”
14 I Cut People - “So Wrong/What”
15 team9 - “It's A Sweet Ghost Party”

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cast of Thousands

Cast of Thousands

Cast of Thousands is a band I put together in 1999, to perform live during the 2nd hour of Some Assembly Required (back when there was a second hour). Over the course of a couple of years, there were four or five members who showed up regularly to set up all the gear and warm up, while I played records by my favorite sound collage artists, and then we all worked together to create a live mix of sound collage to close out the 2nd half of the show.

Even after Some Assembly Required went to a one-hour program, we'd occasionally still get together, when invited out to play at art and music venues around Minneapolis. By this point, the roster had boiled down to just myself, Gregg Boullosa and Corey Hanssen (pictured: Hanssen, Nelson, Boullosa). I asked Gregg to fill out the Q&A this week, speaking for Cast of Thousands.

Our last performance as Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism was in 2001, at the Oak Street Cinema, but Gregg and Corey have continued to work together. I'm looking forward to hearing what they've been up to! Click HERE for more information about the history of Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Gregg Boullosa of Cast of Thousands...

*Name: Cast of Thousands

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism

*Do you use a pseudonym? Cutterhead / Sick Fat Retarded

*Members: Currently there are two of us (Corey Hannsen / Gregg Boullosa).

*Founding Members: Jon Nelson / Amirali Raissnia / Gregg Boullosa

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

*Another genre descriptor: insterstudioishin or insterstudioteknition

*Why you use this descriptor: The approach of using the whole of one’s studio as a single instrument.

*Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

*Original Location: Upstate New York

*What is your creative/artistic background: Curiosity

*History: Since 1999

Gregg: 1971, Onondaga
Corey: Minneapolis

*Motivations: Create or suffer the consequences.

If you can’t please yourself, you can’t please your soul.

*How would you like to be remembered: Phonically

*Web address:
Gregg Boullosa:
Cast of Thousands:

Episode 132, Some Assembly Required

Episode 132, Some Assembly Required

01 Party Ben – “Radio Hollaback”
02 Brain Science – “Public Radio”
03 Tim Maloney – “Video Killed The Radio Star”
04 The Avalanches – “Radio”
05 Workeshoppe Radio Phonik – “Big Time Shopping”
06 Emergency Broadcast Network – “Station Identification”
07 Go Home Productions – “Radio Houston”
08 Laso Halo – “These high-frequency signals are then beamed out...”
09 Radio Jargon – “Radiobup”
10 The Tape-beatles – “Listen to the radio”
11 Cast Of Thousands with Escape Mechanism – “Radio Star”
12 The Button – “Broadcast service provided”
13 People Like Us – “Dead Radio”
14 Realistic – “Radio Document”

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Saturday, November 15, 2008



Cassetteboy are the UK's Michael Bollen and Steve Warlin. They've got three full length cut-up releases and a couple of singles, to date. I'm assuming the rest is like "The Parker Tapes," anyway (tape cut ups), because that's all I've got. Now that the truth is out, I guess I'll have to go and find some more... I really like the album I have, so I'd look forward to hearing more.

For the longest time, this was a group so underground that although their work has been well received, noone knew who the heck these guys actually were. That is to say, their online presence has been shrouded in mystery and misinformation. They've recently started giving out their real names, but alas, we have yet to see a proper photo. I like this one though (above). Perhaps it is a fair approximation of how they would actually appear in person. I just don't know.

Bollen is an author, as well. You can find out more about his satirical novel, Earth Inc. HERE. His brother (?), Warlin, is a musician and theatrical composer. Find out more at their Myspace page.

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


*Do you use a pseudonym? We used to be completely anonymous, for fear of being sued. With the release of our latest album we've revealed our real identities. This is mainly because one of us (Michael Bollen) (me) (hello) has written a novel, and I wanted Cassetteboy fans to know that it was by me. There's no way I was going to publish the novel under a pseudonym, it took too bloody long to let some made up name take the credit.

*Members: Michael Bollen and Steve Warlin

*Founding Members: Michael Bollen and Steve Warlin. It's always just been the two of us. Although sometimes other people join us on stage for gigs. Or fill in for one or the other of us. We did one gig once where neither of us was there - we were in Australia, and there was a Cassetteboy gig in London that was done by one of our mates and some bloke we've never met.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: None of the above. We started off with tapes, using old hi-fis and 'ghettoblasters' (anything with two manual pause buttons). That's how we did our first single Di and Dodi Do Die, and a bit of tape stuff made it onto The Parker Tapes, our first album. Since then it's been computers all the way, specifically Sound Forge, Acid and Vegas.

*Another genre descriptor: We used to use "Parker" but no one understood us.

* Is there a story behind your name? Unfortunately we can't remember. Cassetteboy evolved from Steve and myself making compilation tapes for our friends with tiny snippets of comedy or TV soundtracks between the music. These were known as 'Parker Tapes', each tape would be labelled with the word Parker and then a different number on each side. I think Steve's first one was Parker 81 and 91, mine was Parker 41 and 51. The first one we did together was Parker 211 and 221. I have no idea why the tapes were labelled in this way. Sorry, what a dull story.

*Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

*Original Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

*What is your creative/artistic background: Michael Bollen writes comedy. He's been spectacularly unsuccessful with a few sitcom pilots and sketches and the like, but has recently published his first novel, Earth Inc., which will hopefully make him mega rich. Steve Warlin is a musician. He has recently composed the songs for a stage musical about the board game Monopoly, called 'Free Parking!'. This combination of music and comedy creates Cassetteboy, although we both do a bit of both sides when writing our albums.

*History: The compilation tape Parker 211 and 221 was completed in the summer of 1995 I think. We've worked together ever since.

*Born: Chelmsford, Essex, UK, 1970s

*Motivations: Good question. It certainly isn't to make money - every album has sold worse than the previous one, despite a fanbase that is blatantly growing (curse you, internet). Cassetteboy grew naturally out of compilation tapes made to make our friends laugh, and I don't think much has changed. Also, because Cassetteboy evolved more or less by accident, I think we're quite interested to see what it will become if we just keep doing it. We only do it occasionally though, you'd go mad cutting stuff up like that full time.

*Philosophy: Making funny jokes is the main thing. And good music. With each album we try to change the way we work, in order to move on. The first album (The Parker Tapes) we didn't know what the hell we were doing, we never thought we'd do another album and so we chucked everything we could think of in there. The second, Dead Horse, is our more polished, immediate, pop album. And the most recent, Carry On Breathing, is our sprawling, slightly self indulgent concept album. We both think it's our best work though, it may take a few listens, but hopefully people will be playing that one for years to come.

*How would you like to be remembered: Hopefully not as those guys who got sued by pretty much every musician, TV channel and record label ever.

*Web address:
www. myspace. com/bloodycassetteboy
www. myspace. com/earthincbook

Episode 219, Some Assembly Required

Episode 219, Some Assembly Required

01 Coldcut - “Last Night A Cliché Saved My Life (feat. DJ Food, Grandmaster Flash)”
02 stAllio! - “Introducing the new style”
03 Cassetteboy - “If That's Yer Attitude”
04 DJ Zebra - “Break Through Love”
05 Escape Mechanism - “Change”
06 Buchanan & Goodman - “The Banana Boat Story”
07 Apollo Zero - “Imagine A Dream Stronger Than Pride”
08 Beatrix*Jar - “Afternoon Wedding Vow”
09 C.Marclay, G.Muller - “Je Ne Vous Oublierai Jamais”
10 Jeffrey Sconce - “Stars on high”
11 DJ T-Rock - “Forward Back Back”
12 McSleazy - “(Public Enemy vs Rockford Files)”
13 Lecture On Nothing - “The Custom Apocalypse”
14 People Like Us - “Kitten”
15 notv - “Brass Band Track”
16 Negativland - “Freedom's Waiting”
17 DJ Earworm - “Together As One”

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008

Check out Episode 08, featuring the Some Assembly Required interview with Negativland's Don Joyce, HERE.

I thought I'd kick off the last quarter of our tenth year with one of the very first interviews I ever recorded for Some Assembly Required. It originally aired in Minneapolis, in July of 2001; but if memory serves, this was actually recorded in 2000 (or even a year earlier), and played in its entirety, back when the show was netcast live from the broadcast studios at KUOM. So, that makes this interview anywhere from 7 to 9 years old...

So what has Negativland been up to since then? Well, there have been a few new records actually (and some re-releases), along with a couple of live tours and a traveling art show, to just scratch the surface. Check out the Negativland website HERE, for more info, and for more of our own coverage of the band, check out the following links:
  • Check out Episode 90, featuring the Some Assembly Required interview with Negativland's Mark Hosler HERE.
  • You can also read our profile of the band (masquerading as a Q&A) HERE.
  • Some Assembly Required was proud to sponsor Negativland's Art show at Creative Electric ("Negativlandland"), in 2006. Mark Hosler was in town to help install the exhibit, and joined us live on Some Assembly Required (at KUOM in Minneapolis) to talk a bit about various projects. I recorded the live show and decided to post it as a podcast the following week. An interesting decision, but sure to be of interest to die-hard Negativland fans. Check it out HERE.

Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Episode 08, Some Assembly Required

Episode 08, Some Assembly Required
(Featuring our 2001 interview with Negativland's Don Joyce)

01 Negativland - “Time zones”
02 Negativland - “Yellow, black and rectangular”
03 Don Joyce - “We’ll be right back”
04 Over The Edge - “Mertz, A force of nature, hard
and soft thinking, the good life, cars”

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thomas Dimuzio

Thomas Dimuzio

Thomas Dimuzio is a composer, sound designer, experimental electronic musician and recording studio owner living in San Francisco, California. He's collaborated with a huge number of artists, including Wobbly, DJ Qbert, Negativland, Chris Cutler and Big City Orchestra. He has over a dozen solo releases on a variety of different labels. Check out his website HERE.

His website features a plethora of mp3s, including concert archives and entire albums, free for the taking. Check out Episode 131 for his creative reinterpretation of the classic track, "Stairway to Heaven." His version is titled "Yawriats Ot Nevaeh," and the title is a clue to what you might expect to hear. Trust me, it will really grow on you.

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

*Name: Thomas Dimuzio

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: I've worked in projects with artists such as Dan Burke/Illusion Of Safety, Joseph Hammer/Dimmer, Chris Cutler, Nick Didkovsky/Arte Saxophone Quartett, Negativland, Fred Frith, Chris Fitzpatrick/Poptastic, Wobbly, Matmos, Elliott Sharp, 5uu's, Due Process, ISIS, Scot Jenerik, as well as many others.

*Do you use a pseudonym? No, not usually, but Gench could apply.

*Members: Solo to whomever I may be collaborating with at the time. There have been many artists and groups that I have worked and performed with throughout the years. If I could provide a comprehensive and alphabetized list it would read something like: 5uu's, 99 cents, ...and Friends, Scott Arford, Art Bears, Arte Saxophone Quartett, Pippin Barnett, Emil Beaulieu, Big City Orchestra, Don Bolles, Bob Boster/Mr. Meridies, Bran(...)pos, Mitchell Brown, Dan Burke, Coma Virus, Peter Conheim, Tom Cora, Count Zero, Anla Courtis, Beth Custer, Andre Custodio, Chris Cutler, Leslie Dalaba, Dimmer, Due Process, Marcos Fernandes, Hans Fjellstad, Fred Frith, F-Space, Vance Galloway, Lance Grabmiller, Joseph Hammer, Mickey Hart, Paul Haslinger, Ed Hermann, Anna Homler, Mark Hosler, IBU600, Illusion Of Safety, Industrial Park, Instagon, ISIS, Michael Thomas Jackson, Catherine Jauniaux, Scot Jenerik, Don Joyce, Bevin Kelly/Blevin Blectum, Kiku Day, Jai Young Kim, Komoto Trio, Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Kadet Kuhne, Jon Leidecker, Ron Lessard, TW Li, Matmos, Metalpause, Moe!kestra, Maria Moran, Chris Musgrave, David Lee Myers, Negativland, Brandon Nickell/Aemae, Michael Nine, Konoko Nishi, Yasuhiro Otani, Patronized Humoplasms, Tim Perkis, Poo Poo Shoe, Poptastic, Rick Potts, Garth Powell, David Prescott, Psychic TV/PTV3, DJ Q-bert, Radiosonde, Will Ragano, Don Ritter, Gino Robair, Sean Rooney, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Hahn Rowe, Saifir, Semiconductor, Elliott Sharp, Skeleton Crew, Solid Eye, Moe! Staiano, Sunny Cuba Ensemble, Atau Tanaka, Lon Mitchell Teller, The Chopping Channel, The Jet Black Hair People, The Resonance, David Therrien/Comfort Control Systems, Larry Thrasher, C.W. Vrtacek, Jon Wiggins, Wobbly, Xome, and Zipperspy.

*Founding Members: My parents.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital tape manipulations & deconstructions.

*Another genre descriptor: Live sampling and digital musique concrete both come to mind, although I could probably use a better catch phrase. How about a sonic conduit? Except that what goes in doesn't necessarily come back out, but that could be construed as sonic constipation. So let's go with "Live Sampler.”

*Why you use this descriptor: I've been pioneering live sampling and looping for more than a decade and have evolved a real-time environment/musical instrument designed to bring the techniques of musique concrete and live composition to the stage. I find it liberating to have such a vast palette and powerful instrument to draw upon for live performance.

*Location: I live in San Francisco.

*Original Location: I was living in Boston when my first release came out on Generations Unlimited in 1987. I relocated to San Francisco in 1996.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I'm a composer, musician, and improviser working with sound, noise, and music. I'm primarily self-taught as a musician and technologist. I am also a mastering engineer at my own Gench Studios.

*History: I started writing music and creating works at an early age and was in various rock, comedy, prog, sound art, thrash, and industrial projects from 1979 through 1985. My first formal solo release was in 1987, so it's been more than 20 years for me now as a solo artist.

*Born: I was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1965.

*Motivations: Playing live and tapping into the power of the music is one of the greatest experiences that I know. Composing in the studio can be as equally rewarding, but just as gut-wrenching at the same time. Working with sound and noise in a musical context is what I enjoy best and the music itself is the driving force behind my work.

*Philosophy: To create compelling listening experiences (sonic excursions, visceral vibrations, aural contortions, macrophonics/microphonics, nether realms, disparate juxtapositions, ambient immersions, the almighty drone, systems damage). Tapping into the power of the sound.

*How would you like to be remembered: Good music is timeless, but the digital medium is fragile and fleeting. Will the music even outlive the medium? With that said, I'd be happy with just a Wikipedia entry.

*Web address:
Thomas Dimuzio -
Gench Music -


Episode 131, Some Assembly Required

Episode 131, Some Assembly Required

01 CCC – “Tom's investigations”
02 Realistic – “I am what?”
03 DJ Shadow – “...Meets His Maker"
04 DJ Danger Mouse – “December 4th”
05 Twink – “Hammer”
06 Osymyso – “Hannah (The Most Beautiful Person I Ever Met)”
07 Del Nileppez/Thomas Dimuzio – “Yawriats Ot Nevaeh”
08 Splice of Life Faculty – “Spliceway to heaven”
09 DJ Earworm – “Stairway to Bootleg Heaven”
10 The Bran Flakes – “Go Go Up!”
11 Kumquat – “Everyone Is Afraid Of Clowns”
12 Evolution Control Committee – “Rebel without a pause”
13 Nubile G and the Spurious whiz – “Your jolly giant”

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