Saturday, September 26, 2009



Sparo is London's Virgil Howe. I'm familiar with his work thanks to the hip hop compilation, "Deep Concentration 4," but he's also a producer, drummer and singer, playing with bands such as The Dirty Feel and The Killer Meters, who have a new album due out this Fall (2009).

Howe also remixed an album of tracks by his father's band (Yes guitarist Steve Howe), in 2003. I was mildly interested, being a fan in highschool, until I read that the remixes were made using the vinyl LPs as source material, as opposed to the original session recordings. In fact, at least one of the tracks actually references over a half dozen different songs by the band, making this more of a Plunderphonic response to Yes, as compared to your typical remix. That adds a whole extra dimension to the project, from my perspective at least. Check out "Yes Remixes" HERE.

As a drummer, he's played with everyone from Bryan Ferry and The Pet Shop Boys, to The Future Sound Of London's super-group Amourphous Androgynous. He's produced a series of singles and mixtapes for independent hip hop label Scenario Records, in the UK, and recently joined the London based trio, Little Barrie. Check them out HERE.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Sparo's Virgil Howe...

*Name: Sparo

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: I go by my own name, Virgil Howe, now when I produce. I changed from 'Sparo' at the end of last year, 2008, when an artist called himself Sam Sparro and went straight in at number one! I have used the name 'Verge' for certain projects; some remixes, including the Yes Remix album I did, and my piano tunes.

*Members: I also play drums with Little Barrie, Amorphous Androgynous, The Killer Meters and The Dirty Feel.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: See “History” below.

*Is there a story behind your name? The name Sparo was given to me by an alien being from Sirius, the dog star, who contacted me in my early teens whilst I was in the remote countryside. It came as a vision to me in the middle of the night. White light was streaming through the curtains and a voice told me that one day there would be only truth, that there were already efforts being made to ready earth for their arrival and that I would help them by creating music that would inspire interstellar communication. I hope they don't mind me changing it!

*Location: London, England

*Original Location: London, England

*What is your creative/artistic background: I have a live act which incorporates my production with me drumming and guest musicians. I call it a Psychedelic Disco Show as I've moved away from the Hip Hop scene and more toward the electro/disco side of things. I play drums with a backing track running from Ableton Live, my bass man Kerim Gunes and an array of amazing vocalists and Mcs; Jen Howe, Karime Kendra, Dave Sanderson, Foreign Beggars, as well as singing and triggering bleeps and sounds myself.

*History: I started playing pretty young, my parents told me my eyes lit up with excitement the first time I hit the keys of our Moog synthesizer at the age of four, so I suppose it all started there! My dad, guitar legend Steve Howe, always encouraged me to write music. Showing me chords and recording techniques in our home studio, so I've been very lucky. Brought up around the prog rock maddness of Yes, I've never felt restricted by genres, and the idea of having lots of different projects on the go seems totally normal to me as my dad's a complete workaholic. I love all elements of heavy metal, drum and bass, hip hop, electro, 60’s soul, funk, ska, rock n roll and psychedelic music. I started producing around the same time as drumming, the mid-90s, up till then I had been playing the piano. I dabbled with Jungle/Drum and Bass, cutting a few dubplates. But not really knowing how to break into the scene, I moved onto Hip Hop as my friend Barney bought an Emu SP1200 sampler. As we only had that and a small mixing desk and no Mcs, it all became quite experimental sounding. I then got a MPC200xl sampler, which I made the Yes Remix album on, in 2003, mastering the album in Abbey Road from Mini-disks! I now use Ableton Live, still with my MPC2000xl and synths, also doing some recording with a Roland 2480 hard disk recorder.

*Born: I was born and am still based in London.

*Motivations: I'm motivated by loads of things, I obviously want to impress people with my sounds (my wife Jen in particular!), but I also want to make music that I would like to hear. Whether I'm chilling out or travelling and want to hear something mellow, or I'm out in a club and want to hear something banging I want to be able to make that kind of music.

I know what I want to hear and I'm getting closer to knowing how to make it sound like I want. I think that is all you need to start making music, knowing what you want to hear. It’s just getting it to other people who hear what you hear, that’s the hard part!

*How would you like to be remembered:
I think music is the ultimate time capsule, it lives on forever. We still have all the great composers work being played by orchestras all over the world. The revolutionary sounds of the 60’s still sound just as fresh today. So I have no doubt that if you can make something special, it will live on forever.

*Web address:

Episode 240, Some Assembly Required

Episode 240, Some Assembly Required

01 Moby – “Natural Blues”
02 Invisibl Skratch Piklz – “Insect Mind Numb”
03 Voicedude – “Good, Good Thing”
04 Steinski and Mass Media – “The Motorcade Sped On”
05 Oval – “Mediation”
06 The Bran Flakes – “Van Pop”
07 Negativland – “A Most Successful Formula”
08 Bobby Martini – “I Can't Dance To The Policy Of Truth”
09 The Coherent Encoherence – “Burst Appendix”
10 Sparo – “Bullit”
11 Fatboy Slim – “The Rockafeller Skank”
12 Ground Zero – “Rush Capture Of The Revolutionary Opera – 1”
13 Ground Zero – “Rush Capture Of The Revolutionary Opera – 2”
14 DJ EZG – “Rockerfaction”

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Aaron Valdez

Aaron Valdez

Aaron Valdez is a film and video artist working with sound and video found on cable television and the web. Since 2007, he's been working with a group calling themselves Wreck & Salvage (pictured, left to right, Adam Quirk, Aaron Valdez, Erik Nelson). The trio of film and video artists are scattered across two different continents, working together to help promote eachother's work of video appropriation. Check out Wreck & Salvage HERE.

Valdez has been involved with a number of film series in Iowa City and Austin, Texas. He's also the co-founder of a great, if short-lived project called Lost In Light. The website is still up and active, making available a wealth of lost movies, shot on 8mm and Super 8 film, by home movie makers for a period of over fifty years. The site offers an archive of home movies and educational films, showcasing everything from anonymous family portraits and vacations, to amateur travelogues and some more creative fare like the home movie about a trip to Mars, shot in 1968 by a group of young kids with a knack for homemade science fiction!

Valdez has worked with everything from found footage, to Super 8 and 16mm film, multiple projection performances and installation, as well as hand-painted film, video installation and video blogging. We're limited to playing the audio from his film collage, but you can check out an example in Episode 150, or visit his website HERE.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Aaron Valdez of Wreck & Salvage...

*Name: Aaron Valdez

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Wreck & Salvage, W&$

*Do you use a pseudonym? No.

*Members: Erik Nelson, Adam Quirk, and Aaron Valdez

*Founding Members: Erik Nelson, Adam Quirk, and Aaron Valdez

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Appropriated video. I generally just tell people video remix though I've noticed in the video world people use remix and mashup more and more to describe editing in general without the implication of the material being appropriated.

*Is there a story behind your name?: (Wreck & Salvage is) a play on the idea of the mediated world as a big U-pull-it junkyard. We all come from working-class backgrounds so we wanted a name that represented that. Owner-operated, fiercely American, get dirty and bang the hell out of it.

*Location: Valdez is in Michigan, Quirk is in Brooklyn, and Nelson is in Vermont/the Netherlands.

*Original Location: Valdez originally from Houston, Quirk from Evansville, Ohio, and Nelson from Pittsburgh.

*What is your creative/artistic background:
We all have creative writing, music, art, and video/film backgrounds in varying degrees that came together when personal episodic web video began around 2004-05. We all found each other through our work on the web. I was producing a video podcast just using re-edited cable television. Nelson & Quirk came up with the idea to use the growing pool of internet video to base new work on. That's where we began.

*History: Collectively as Wreck & Salvage since 2007. Individually, since the turn of the century.

*Born: 1975-79.

*Motivations: We make things because we like to play. I think there's an overall Dadaist sense of humor to everything we do. Pop culture and politics are big motivators, a lot of times it's just finding a single video that inspires you to manipulate it or expand on it.

*Philosophy: Go to work. Practice informs philosophy.

*How would you like to be remembered: Beneath of layer of static on a VHS tv tape between the Home Shopping Network and Highway to Heaven in a $1 box at a garage sale.

*Web address:

Episode 150, Some Assembly Required

Episode 150, Some Assembly Required

01 The Bran Flakes – “Step by step”
02 Beatrix*JAR - “French Binaural”
03 Aggro1 - “I'm in summertime mode”
04 Barbed – “Doubleclick Countryside”
05 Extrakd & Eddie Def – “Brain Confusion”
06 Jeffrey Sconce - “The Insect Year”
07 Aggro1 – “Depeche Mode vs. David Bowie vs. Beatles”
08 Kid Koala - “Roboshuffle”
09 Lecture on Nothing – “(Untitled)”
10 Steev Hise – “Slicing Up Amerika”
11 The Who Boys – “Tales of Townshend & Wilson”
12 The Tape-beatles - “I Can't Help You At All; Sorry”
13 Escape Mechanism – “Coffee Cake”
14 Aaron Valdez - “Big Screen Version”
15 Wax Audio - “Major Combat Operations”
16 Party Ben – “Computer Talk”

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

David Morneau

David Morneau

David Morneau is a composer living in New York City. He's composed music for dance, chamber ensemble, nintendo gameboy and piano, winning the 2004 Ruth Friscoe Prize in Composition for his piano piece, The Rhythm Variations.

Morneau holds degrees in music composition from Cornerstone University and Western Michigan University and has been featured in music festivals such as the SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and Arts, in Minnesota, Electronic Music Midwest, in Kansas, The UK's Expo Brighton and SoundImageSound, in California.

His 60X365 project was a year-long exercise in daily composition. The result was three hundred and sixty-five works, each clocking in at exactly sixty seconds. For the next phase of the project, Morneau has extended an invitation to composers from all backgrounds and experience levels, to try their hand at reinterpreting these musical miniatures, in whatever style might strike the individual composers fancy. Find out more about 60X365: Re-Imaginings HERE.

Read more about David Morneau below, and at his website, HERE. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with David Morneau...

*Name: David Morneau

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

*Do you use a pseudonym? no

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
Since I do all of my composing using a computer, “digital deconstructions” is the way to go. Sometimes the techniques I use will resemble traditional tape manipulation techniques (reversing, cutting & splicing, looping, etc). Other times the techniques will be purely digital and based on algorithms and other computer-specific tricks. It’s important to note too that I also work in forms and styles outside of sample-based music. I compose a lot of music “from scratch” as it were. Many times I am composing for live instruments so there is nothing digital about the music at all. My background is fairly traditional, writing music for soloists and chamber ensembles. It is only relatively recently that I began working with digital music and exploring the possible sounds and ideas found in this realm. No matter what I’m composing though, quotation and allusion are important parts of my language as an artist. I don’t know why. Whenever I can quote, borrow, or otherwise reference a melody or theme or motif from existing music I will. When I began making the move into computer music forms I discovered that sampling was a quick way to get at whatever it is I like about quoting and alluding. Generally (though not always) I like to take one or two small kernels and explore them thoroughly rather than trying to cram as many different ideas into a single piece as I can. On the continuum between John Oswald and Girl Talk, I’m definitely closer to Oswald’s end of things.

*Another genre descriptor: I find myself using the word appropriation more than others. I think it’s because I like the conscious act of taking, the deliberateness, that it implies.

*Location: Originally from upstate New York. I’ve lived a bunch of different places, including the Midwest for 15 years. Now I’m living in New York City (Queens specifically).

*What is your creative/artistic background: I began composing in high school for a project with the Drama Club. After the first public performance of my music I was hooked and wanted to keep composing. I went to college and then graduate school to study composition. For a long time I had little or no interest in electronic and computer music. I was writing a lot of music for piano and various chamber ensembles. I played in a brass quintet for a while. We would travel to different churches to play music in their services. I arranged a fair bit of our music and loved to work in references to other pieces—particularly to things that probably weren’t all that appropriate for a church service. A confluence of events in graduate school at The Ohio State University piqued my interest in computer music. One of these was a series of collaborations with choreographers in the Dance Department who wanted original music for the MFA projects. This really pushed me into exploring digital music techniques of all kinds. One project in particular (Lifedance) was all about influential events and ideas, so I used it as a chance to work with appropriation (sampling music that was influential to me). I was just discovering mash-up and John Oswald and Negativland and had been looking to try my hand at these ideas. I ended up composing a 30 minute symphony of sampled music. After that, appropriation became another tool in my bag so to speak. The other major project that allowed me to work out some ideas about appropriation music was a podcast I did called 60x365. Every day for a year I composed a new one-minute piece and posted it online. One of my goals was to try out many different ideas and techniques as I went. Needless to say there are a lot of sample based pieces in that set. Some are blatant pop-music assemblages. Others are subtle beat samples. And still others are probably closer to musique concrete than anything else.

*History: I have been composing for almost 20 years.

*Born: I was born in 1975 in Oswego, New York.

*Motivations: Honestly, I don’t know. It’s fun. It helps me relate to the world around me. It helps me understand things about myself. I know it’s a cliché, but I compose because I don’t know how to do anything else.

*Philosophy: I’m fond of saying that the two core values in my work are eclecticism and collaboration. Neither of these needs much explanation. I like many different kinds of music and want to work with them all. I collaborate because working with others gives me ideas and pushes me in ways I don’t get from working alone. In the context of a conversation about sample-based music I should probably talk specifically about my philosophy for appropriation. Like many who create this kind of music I believe that the reworking of other’s ideas is essential to the growth and advancement of culture. Since a recorded sound can be viewed as the digital manifestation of someone’s idea, sampling that digital information can be the first step to transforming it into something new. The problem, of course, is that we live in a world of lawyers and money so using somebody else’s work in this manner is often a no go (if you want to be 100% legal). Like virtually everyone else featured on this program I’ve decided to appropriate anyway. I know that it’s illegal, but I don’t care. Free exchange of culture is just too important. Composing becomes an act of protest, which I’m okay with.

*How would you like to be remembered: It would be enough just to be remembered. Although if I can ask for more, I’d like to be remembered as someone who created interesting and exciting music and who was a cool guy to hang out with.

*Web address:

Episode 239, Some Assembly Required

Episode 239, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Earworm – “Love and Wonder (Club Edit)”
02 Jeffrey Sconce – “Robot Triangle”
03 DJ Revolution – “Hard Rock”
04 David Morneau – “morneau_60x365_SAR”
05 I Cut People – “21st Century Crap”
06 Aggro1 – “A Shout out for the Magic Rocket Man”
07 John Oswald – “7th”
08 People Like Us – “The Sacred Erm”
09 The Freelance Hellraiser – “Wonder Woman”
10 Wayne Butane - “Untitled (Backwash)”
11 DJ Astro - “Invizible”

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Sunday, September 06, 2009



Voicedude is DJ Joel-Steven. He's a voiceover artist and Mashup producer from California, with dozens of Bastard Pop tracks to his name. Check them out HERE, and at his Myspace page.

In addition to recording Mashups and voiceovers, Joel-Steven keeps busy with a variety of radio and theater work, including writing, producing and acting, and has done everything from emceeing and DJing, to performing and consulting for the folks at Disneyland, in Anaheim California.

His original, holiday-themed track, "All I Want For Christmas (Is Peace On Earth)," was included on the Canadian Bullseye Records release, "Takin' Care Of Christmas," released in 2001. Check it out HERE.

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

*Name: Voicedude

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: DJ Joel-Steven

*Members: Just little, ol' me: DJ Joel-Steven. aka 'Voicedude'.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: To me, they're just mashups (or remixes if it's all from one source). On my Voicedude business card, it says 'creator of aural pleasures'...

*Is there a story behind your name?
I took that name as a mashup artist since I do voiceover work. 'Voiceman' was apparently already taken, so I chose something that reflected my Southern California roots....

*Location: Born in L.A., and mostly raised in Orange County ('the O.C.') And 'yes', I've worked at Disneyland (a lot in the 90's, in fact!) And I've also done work for The Angels and The Ducks. And 'no', I don't go to the beach every day - rarely, in fact!

*Original Location: (Los Angeles)

*What is your creative/artistic background: Been editing (reel-to-reel, Tascam multis, etc.) since the late 70's. Had my own home recording studio in the 80's (mostly for originals). Been digital editing after being introduced to ProTools in the 90's.

*History: Nothing all that spectacular was required of the radio network I was working for (as head of Production), but using ProTools lit a spark of creativity for me that has never left. At the end of the decade, D-Land asked me to do a 1999 / Millennium mix for the Grad Nights. It took 52 studio hours to create a 3 1/2 minute megamix, to which they built a laser and fireworks show shown at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Discovered mashups in mid-2004, and started making my own ever since...

*Born: I was born in LA on March 26th, 1959. (OK... say it! I'm a 'Geez'! Even I can't believe my age!) I was almost born in the Death Valley desert the day before, due to rolling our VW and trailer on the famed Route 66. My first club DJ gig was in 1978, (I had a good fake ID at the time...).

*Motivations: I have perfect pitch, so often I'll hear a song on the radio or somewhere and I'll begin to sing a different tune over it. This is the best way I know to see how well these songs work together.

I am a musician, so first and foremost it has to work musically. Too many off notes of weird sections and it'll usually end up in the trash bin before anyone else ever hears it. Secondly, I'm sort of known for my thematic mashups; Johnny Cash's "The Man In Black" over Will Smith's "Men In Black", for instance. This also provides for some clever lyrical interplay in some sections. I also love a good culture clash. If the two source materials elicit a 'those two don't belong together' response before they hear it, then the better the reaction when they hear how well they actually do fit! But just because two songs are in the same key doesn't mean that they'll work well together. The real proof usually comes when the 'bridge' of a song kicks in. A bridge can take a song in just about any musical direction - that's the whole point of them: to liven up and refresh a song after the verses and choruses are established. But when one song's bridge fits over another song's bridge - well, that's synchronicity designed by the muses!

*How would you like to be remembered:
As someone who has left this world a better place than the way he found it. Seriously I have saved a life or two in my time (the first time at 13!), and I've raised two lovely & talented daughters, but I'm talking about something really meaningful, perhaps even profound. Artistically, I'd like to leave behind just one 'evergreen', something that'll still be around long after I am gone. Gee, I've only been a professional entertainer for 33 years, so hey, I've got time! I'm still rather young, after all!

*Web address:

Episode 149, Some Assembly Required

Episode 149, Some Assembly Required

01 Negativland - “The Gun And The Bible”
02 Fortyone – “Oh Boy A Gun!”
03 A plus D – “Hung Up Night”
04 DJ Food – “Do We “
05 Dad's New Slacks - “Ice Teal”
06 Aggro1/Sam Flanagan – “Michael Jackson vs. Pussy Cat Dolls”
07 People Like Us - “Smash & Grab “
08 Rob Swift - “The Ablist”
09 DJ Earworm - “What's My Name?”
10 Big City Orchestra – “This is BCO”
11 Negativland – “Untitled (Debut CD)”
12 Silica Gel – “Oddly Bloodless”
13 DJ Z-Trip & Radar – “Untitled (Future Primitive Soundsession, Vol. 2)”
14 Stunt Rock – “First chance I get…”
15 Public Works – “Persuasion”
16 Voicedude - “Papa Was A Rolling Stone Named Jack”

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