Saturday, October 29, 2005

October 29, 2005: Halloween

Going to a halloween party tonight and I don't have a costume yet. Since I will be working at the restaurant all evening and going to the party right afterward, I thought I might just go as a waiter, but everyone says thats dumb. My other idea was to don a black wig, dig up my old leather jacket and combat boots, and go as myself when I was age 18. Everyone said that was stupid, too. I guess I just have terrible ideas for costumes! I never really liked halloween all that much anyway. I'm more of a Christmas kind of guy - sans most of the overtly religious overtones, of course, like the good little secular humanist that I am.

(The photo, by the way, is of Radio K's on-air CD library - I can't figure out how to caption the photos!)

Here's the playlist for this week's episode, airing here in Minneapolis on Radio K (AM 770, 106.5 FM, 100.7 FM and - jeez, did I forget any frequencies there?) This won't air in syndication for a little while. I think the syndicating stations are gearing up for the interview episode with The Bran Flakes but they're not all on the same schedule, so its going to be different, station to station. anyway, here's what folks in the Twin Cities heard this week on Some Assembly Required:

01 Avalanches – “Since I left you”
02 Lecture on Nothing – “Strap it on”
03 Dsico – “Block rockin’ woman”
04 Silica Gel –“Personal dream”
05 Cast of Thousands w/ Escape Mechanism – “Lets talk (Q and A)”
06 John Schnall – “God”
07 DJ Cal – “Wicked whatever”
08 Myeck Waters – “The strangest story”
09 DJ Jester & the Gellm – “Filipinofist”
10 DJ Talkback – “The return of scratching”
11 John Oswald – “Open”
12 Osymyso – “Girls and boys”
13 Splatt – “Caution: rafall”
14 Twink – “Three blind mice”
15 Steinski – “Relax”

I think my favorite thing this week was the mashup, "Wicked Whatever" by DJ Cal. Chris Isaak serenaded by Shakira = very nice.

In other news - Heather wrote from Louisiana, where she listens to Some Assembly Required on KRVS (Lafayette, LA) to let us know about a special event/opportunity for collage artists, as advertised in ARTNET Magazine:

OPEN CALL FOR ANTI-COPYRIGHT "ISLAND" IN SPAIN: Artists are invited to submit works to Copilandia, a "public art intervention" sponsored by the Centro de Arte de Sevilla for the Spanish cultural festival, "Seville, between Cultures," Dec. 28, 2005-Jan. 12, 2006. Setting up as a "copyright free island" in the city’s Guadalquivir River, Copilandia is loaded with
copiers, computers, a sound system and art materials and promises to multiply and disseminate all the submissions in order to promote "the free circulation of art and ideas."

The project is spearheaded by the art group Gratis, founded in 1994 by Victoria Gil, Kirby Gookin, Federico Guzmán and Robin Kahn and dedicated to promoting "the dissolution of intellectual property as an art medium." Send your easily reproduced prints, photos sculpture, painting, mail art, poetry, music video and photography, in analog or digital form, to Kahn and Gookin at 114 Mercer Street, #9, New York, N.Y. 10012, or by email to

Thanks Heather! Sounds like something worth checking out.
Gonna leave you with that. Thanks for the calls this week. Very nice to know you're out there listening!
Jon Nelson

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Retropost - PART V

10/26/05 - Part V

Alright! Last retro-post. From here it will all be fresh and current. Well, until its been sitting in the archives for a couple of weeks, and then it will read just like this. Way old news. Reading this post I recall the other reason I stopped posting to my as yet uncreated blog. I was seriously scrambling to find the money and time to keep the show going at all. Things have never been exactly all that profitable at Post Consumer Productions, but over this past summer they were downright scary. But I write all about it here...

(June 25, 2005)
Ok, so much for my dedication to this blog. Its been three weeks since I posted, and the fact of the matter is I haven’t ACTUALLY posted any of these messages yet. I’m getting up the nerve. My plan is to post a month or two’s worth all at once and then post weekly from there. Yeah, I have a plan. Right.

So the reason I’ve been distracted from the world of blogging…
I work a lot. My friends think I’m aloof (or just anti-social). They’re partially right. I do tend to keep to myself, but the fact is I work EVERY day. I haven’t had a day off (I swear to god) in months and months (not counting sick days – which happen all too often, because I work too much). At the moment, since producing an experimental radio show doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, I wait tables for a living. In order to crawl out of a bit of debt (just one of the more pressing piles, mind you – I don’t even want to think about what I owe for all that college I was told it was necessary to slog my way through), I recently scheduled myself for several weeks of double shifts at both of the restaurants where I currently work. It served its purpose, but man… 14 hour days, nearly seven days a week… and on top of that producing the show AND preparing for the next batch of episodes… Lets put it this way – I’m currently only working seven days a week, one shift per day. That feels like a vacation by comparison.

So, the other distraction was that our main underwriter wasn’t responding to phone calls, and I've since had to abandon hope that they ever would. A bit unsettling, as we relied on them to get the show out to all the stations which feature Some Assembly Required on their program schedules. I have a hard time believing they just dropped us, because they've been such a great supporter in the past - I like to believe that they would have given us some notice. Anyway, I'm not going to say the name of the company in question, because I don't want to make them look bad, but those of you who know who I'm talking about - if you have any idea what happened to them, I'd love to hear from you.

So, I’d been so focused on finding a solution to the burning problem (double entendre!) and just producing each week's episodes, and when I finally found a solution - my own CD burner! - in fact I didn’t even have enough to send out. There were enough episodes, but some of them were intended for later broadcast and couldn’t go out just yet, and there are some details to scheduling and etc, so the long and the short of it is that I had to quick produce two more episodes to round out the batch and then burn them all to CD and mail them off and etc... I guess this is kind of boring, but just imagine me at home in an un-airconditioned apartment, in an extremely uncharacteristically hot June in Minneapolis, after working several double shifts, scrambling to get extra episodes produced… if I sound a little out of it these next few months (in syndication), you now know why. I was going out of my mind!

So on top of all that! I’m also organizing two fundraisers for the show (thing have gotten extremely tight around here lately, and I love this show too much to just give it up). So I’ve been working with a couple of local venues and talking with artists and performing artists and whatnot, trying to put together shows which relate to the program and will pack the house. Lets hope. If you’re in Minneapolis, or nearby – reserve July 30th for a special show at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. We’ve got local hip hop artists DJ Nikoless and his partner Plain Ole Bil, both of whom are members of the very prolific group of artists known as the Rhymesayer’s Collective, along with turntablist Andrew Broder, known for his work with the group FOG, right alongside DJ Lori Barbero, who is known for her work with the punk band Babes in Toyland – all coming together to perform on TURNTABLES alone, for the 2005 Festival of Appropriation, which is doubling as a fundraiser for Some Assembly Required. This is going to be an awesome show and you should definitely come down.

The visual art portion of the showcase (after all, the Festival of Appropriation has historically been just a VISUAL art show, and has only recently expanded to include performances) are all members of the Rosalux Artists Collective, of which I’ve recently become a member. I’ve asked past and present members of the Gallery to come and exhibit their works of collage, assemblage and mixed media. Confirmed at this writing are: John Alspach, Tara Costello, Jennifer Davis, John Diebel, Lucy Grantz, Scott Neff, Jonathan Nelson (thats me!), Kate Pabst, Amy Rice, Michael Sweere, Kate Van Cleve and Dave Whannel. This should be an excellent show in and of itself! With the performing artists, this is going to be the strongest Festival yet. I’m super excited…

There’s other stuff in the works. I’m too tired to go into it right now. Suffice it to say, this is going to be a busy summer. I really appreciate all the phone calls I’ve been getting lately, here in Minneapolis, in the studios of Radio K. Its great to know people appreciate the show! Please show your support by coming down to the Festival of Appropriation on July 30th.

So this has been kind of a boring post. All business. Okay lets personalize it a bit. I can’t think of anything. yikes. Okay I read the wrong liner today on the show which resulted in the shattering of my worst fear (that noone’s listening) - the phone lit up for about five minutes with people calling to say did I realize the date of the event I’d just announced had already passed? And some of them also said how much they liked the show. I should do that every Saturday. Here’s today’s playlist:

01 Basement Clash – “Magnificent Romeo”
02 Christian Marclay – Frederic Chopin”
03 Kid Koala – “Basin street blues”
04 Akufen – “Jeep sex”
05 RX Music – “Sunday bloody Sunday”
06 Lenlow – “Last night”
07 Osymyso – “Monkey to camel”
08 Jason Forrest – “Satan cries again”
09 Antediluvian Rocking Horse – “The third ore bit”
10 Dsico – “I want boys”
11 The Tape-beatles – “Concern about”
12 Lovecraft Technologies – “Frosty the snowman”
13 DJ Danger Mouse – “99 problems”

What can I say about this playlist – RXMusic is amazing. Is that really all Bush samples? If it is, I want to cry. It sounds as if they’ve plundered, word for word, from GW Bush speeches - all the necessary nouns, verbs, pronouns, etc to string together a cover song of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday as sung/spoken/rapped by George W. Bush. If someone can confirm that this is 100% the case then I will be complete in my awe of this feat. This is amazing. I’m also a big new fan of Akufen. I’ve had their CD for awhile and it just didn’t grab me at first. It finally hit home recently. Brilliant. Jason Forrest is also amazing. I’ve got an interview with him coming up very soon on SAR. Stay tuned for that. Love that Frosty the Snowman track. Can’t say enough about the Grey Album (DJ Danger Mouse). Big fan of Antediluvian Rocking Horse. I met Kid Koala at a show we sponsored at First Avenue awhile back. He’s really laid back and cool. Very down to earth. That was nice. Lets see – Osymyso. Very cool – like to interview him eventually. Dsico is one of the first mashups artists to convince me that the genre was worth paying attention to (I know – how is it that I needed to be convinced??). Lenlow’s “Last night” is great. I really like their “Chocolate Cake Revisited” as well. Played that last week. Can’t go wrong with Christian Marclay and the Tape-beatles - keeping it real! There, I gave everyone a mention. I won’t do this every post. I promise. Okay I guess I’m done personalizing this. Did you actually read this far? YOU ARE HARDCORE.

Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Retropost - PART IV

10/26/05 - Part IV

After writing three posts in a row, I seemed to lose inter est in writing a blog (probably because I was having trouble figuring out how to set up a blog account at the site I was originally intending to work with) and skipped a couple of weeks before posting the next one. I'll slip this short message in then, to remind you, if you're reading this, that if you're reading this to see what the playlists are from week to week, and I missed a week (or two) - you can go to the Some Assembly Required website to see the playlists from this week, all the way back to a couple of years ago. They're all there, along with a hefty links page, which I try to stay on top of. Feel free to get in contact with me to tell me about outdated links, or to suggest new ones, etc etc.
Thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson

Retropost - PART III

10/26/05 - Part III

Here's the third (of 4, or 5) unpublished blog posts, written prior to actually having a blog to post to...

(June 4, 2005)
Here’s this week’s playlist:

01 Negativland – “Escape From Noise”
02 Messer Chups - “Learning To Control Myself”
03 DJ BMC – “Country inferno”
04 Mr Dibbs – “Judeas Transmission”
05 Big Apple Productions – “Genius At Work”
06 DJ Shadow – “Would You Buy A War From This Man”
07 John Schnall –“Everything's Falling Down”
08 Kid Koala – “Stompin' At Le Savoi”
09 Jeff Sconce – “Joy Sinatra”
10 Lecture On Nothing – “It Means Nothing To You”
11 Myeck Waters - “Another Bible story adventure”
12 Unknown – “Closer to da club (50 inch nails)”
13 Negativland – “Happy Hero: The Remedia Megamix”

Ironic that I mentioned Negativland in my last post, and then this week played two tracks by them, making specific comments about having not given them the attention they deserve, as I actually produced this episode last week, at the same time as last week’s episode, and in one of my breaks acknowledged the fact that I hadn’t really played an awful lot of tracks by Negativland in the first two years of syndication. What I didn’t mention was why…

Although of course I’m a fan of their work, I specifically remember making a conscious decision to focus the show on a broad range of appropriation-based artists, and to give as much exposure as possible to artists who hadn’t made as large a name for themselves. Negativland, I figured, didn’t need the exposure so much, and so of course I’d play them but not as much as other artists. This was an issue, I felt, especially in the beginning, because the library was so small back then, by comparison. I remember I had built this wooden box with hinges and a clasp, and would haul it to and from the studio every week (I was the production director at Radio K at the time, so I didn’t have to haul it far – my office was just down the hallway - but it was pretty heavy). Since about 25% of the library were Negativland CDs, I was concerned that I’d rely on those CDs too often, so I made an effort to limit how much I played them.

Anyway - I’ve made similar decisions about other CDs. For instance, I try not to play more than two mashup artists a week – I don’t want the program to turn into a bastard pop show. I intend for SAR to stay focused broadly on the art of appropriation, across all genres. Anyway – I mentioned that I’d be going back over my playlists and determining what and who I’d been playing, trying to even things out a bit, now that the library has more than doubled. I’m excited about this third year. I think the mix should really be evening out. Turntable creations will mean more musique concret AND hip hop artists, tape manipulations/digital deconstructions will be an even broader spectrum of experimental, cut-ups and even pop music (including mashups, which I hadn’t even heard of when the show first started). Overall, I’m looking forward to a strong third year. There are some exciting interviews coming up as well. Lots of work to do.

Yawn. Its actually 2:30 in the morning. I just finished watching the Empire Strikes Back. Saw the new Star Wars film a few days ago and have been revisiting some of the other movies since then. I waited tables at my restaurant job along Lake Calhoun after the show today, and am exhausted. So I’m going to make this one a bit shorter and hit the sack. My cat is chasing a small furry ball around the room. I’ll take a picture of that for today’s image, then hide his toy (so he doesn’t keep me awake all night with it!) and go to sleep.
Pretty exciting, huh?
Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Retropost - PART II

10/26/05 - Part II

So here's the following week's post, from May 2005, when I started writing the blog, a bit prematurely... (By the way, that's Mark Hosler (Negativland) there, to the right, taken at the Oak Street Cinema in Fall of 2004 - story below)...

(May 28, 2005)
Here’s the playlist for this week’s episode of Some Assembly Required

01 Akufen – “Wet Floors”
02 DJ Riko – “Whistler's Delight (Full Version)”
03 DJ Babu – “Suckas (Sucka DJ Dis)”
04 John Oswald – “Anon“
05 Myeck Waters - “I love white things”
06 Fat Cougars – “Little ditty about superbike”
07 Jim Allenspach – “People like um”
08 People Like Us – “More Plunderblunders”
09 Eric Vessels – “Limbaugher”
10 Party Ben – “Fischervana (smells like emerge)”
11 Emergency Broadcast Network – “You Have 5 Seconds To Complete This Section”
12 Evolution Control Committee – “Nasha”
13 DJ Shadow – “You Can't Go Home Again”

I got some nice phone calls today. One was from a man who says he looks forward to listening to the show with his son. That’s awesome. I’ve been trying to get a feel for who listens to the show, and so far I’ve got it boiled down to three pretty distinct categories. Prepare yourself for some (obviously) broad generalizations…
1) Punks/Outsiders (We know who we are)
2) Artists/Art lovers (uh, again... we know who we are)
3) Kids (and again!)

I was shopping at the Wedge one afternoon (a Twin Cities food coop) and a woman came up to me and said she really liked the show (I forget how she knew who I was, by sight), and then introduced me to her kids, who looked up at me and shouted, in unison, “Only children can go down a bathroom drain!” I just about passed out, I felt so cool (the phrase repeats in a collage I made and played on the show). When the phone rings at the studio, it’s either from parents/kids, various members of the "counter culture," or other artists and fans of modern art. Or its someone accusing me of having lost my mind and insisting that I start to play some “real music.”

Which brings me to my second subject for this week’s blog entry. “Music” vs. “Audio Art.” When Mark Hosler was in town to give his film presentation on Negativland for Some Assembly Required and Sound Unseen, we had a friendly debate about this subject. He, like a lot of people I know, insists on calling everything "music," even if it has no rhythm or melody. That’s cool - of course - everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But I respectfully disagree. Keep in mind, if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m a BIG fan of sound collage and am not trying to say that it’s not worthwhile, if its not entirely musical. I’m just saying that if you can’t dance to it, or hum along, why call it music? Music, unlike art, does have some basic guidelines. Why stretch the definition? Why not just call it art?

Anyway, I’m a fan of Negativland, and I'm sure Mark knew that, so he didn't seem overly defensive when I said I don’t always refer to his band, or the artists I play on Some Assembly Required, as music. I think I actually got through to him with this point: My “mission,” if you want to get lofty about it, with Some Assembly Required, has always been to expose people to my collection of unusual and beautiful recordings. Its up to me to try and be savvy about how to get people to listen. I can set up shop for an hour every week for a million years and no one’s going to listen unless I use some strategy in how I present the work...

One thing I’ve learned to respect is the power of preconception. One of my pet peeves is when I find a dramatic film in the comedy section at the video store, because it stars an actor who is a comedian. My personal review of the film is often seriously jeopardized by the fact that I have to first come to grips with the fact that it isn’t actually a comedy. That’s my concern when it comes to what to call what I play on the show. If I tell people to get ready to dance to this three minute text cut-up by Myeck Waters, or Wayne Butane, they’re going to crank the radio, put on their dancing shoes and then completely overlook how brilliant, and humorous, the relationships between all the cut-up fragments are, because they’re trying to figure out why I think they can dance to it. If it has a beat in the background, its musical, yes, but the lines are still blurry to say the least.

So I like to use the term “audio art.” Or as the FAQ page at the show’s website says… “I like to think of the program as a weekly art show. A lot of it IS quite musical, but that’s not necessarily always the case… Basically, while all music is audio art, not all audio art is music. That’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind, when listening to Some Assembly Required.”

So that’s my rant for this week’s blog submission. Feel free to comment if you like. I think that’s a feature of this blog. We’ll see. This week’s image is a picture of Mark Hosler, taken at the Oak Street Cinema in October of 2004, right before his presentation at Sound Unseen. Makes some sense since I mentioned his visit earlier. And feel free to drop me a line, if you have questions/comments about Some Assembly Required or Post Consumer Productions. Specifically, I’d love to hear from you if you’re listening in cities other than Minneapolis. Let me know where you hear the show (city/state/station/etc). Thanks!

Until next week…
Jon Nelson

Retropost - PART I

10/26/05 - Part I

Okay - so I actually started writing this blog last May, before I had figured out how/where I wanted to post it. So what do I do with those old posts? I guess I'll post them here...

(May 21, 2005)
Well today I start my new blog.

From what I've seen of other blogs, I guess I'm feeling pretty free to just write how I normally write - free association, basically. Like a journal entry, but less personal. I've been keeping a journal since the 2nd grade, so this should be a piece of cake.

Since Some Assembly Required airs on a weekly basis (on college, public and community radio stations across the US and Canada), I'll probably end up primarily focusing on that week's episode. I plan to post the playlist and I'd like to do a weekly focus on artists who receive airplay on the show, but that all depends on how receptive the individual artists are to answering questions. If you get played on SAR, expect an email at some point this year, with a handful of VERY basic questions about you and your work. I'd like to compile a little collection of small bios about the artists featured on the show.

Here's what I played today on Some Assembly Required, in Minneapolis (on Radio K). Keep in mind that the shows don't air in syndication until usually a couple of months after they initially air in the Twin Cities, and when they do air in syndication, its completely up to the individual stations as to when they choose to air them (or if they play them at all, in some cases!), so there's probably not much consistency in scheduling. Contact your local station for more information about the days and times SAR airs in your neighborhood. Here's today's (May 21, 2005) playlist:

01 People Like Us - “OB & Cha Cha”
02 Cassetteboy – “Scrap Heap Services”
03 Kid Koala – “Drunk Trumpet”
04 Picasio - “Do you really like it”
05 The Bran Flakes – “No More Free Will”
06 Jason Forrest - “10 Amazing Years”
07 Christian Marclay – “Louis Armstrong”
08 Freddy Fresh – “Music For The Younger Set”
09 David Shea – “Track 18 (Let's Entertain, Disc 2)”
10 Cassetteboy – “Fred Horse “
11 Idiom Creak – “Jean Luke's Room”
12 The Who Boys - “Mr. Davidson”
13 Escape Mechanism – “Worship”
14 Brian Eno & David Byrne – “Moonlight In Glory”
15 DJ Danger Mouse – “Moment of Clarity”

I produced this show this morning on the way into the studio, which is how I usually do it, actually. I'll put together the playlist Friday night and lay out the order in which I'm going to play the tracks and then get up early Saturday morning and plan my breaks. A common criticism I've received in the past is that I don't talk enough on the air, so I've started doing more research to find more to say about the tracks being played, rather than just creating a playlist and back announcing everything. I've always enjoyed keeping it very straightforward, letting the work speak for itself (keeping my own personality out of the mix as much as is possible), but I can definitely see the importance of providing a little background on the work featured, so I've been giving myself more time to talk these days.

I guess I started this story with the idea that I'd share some pointless bit of info about the show each week, such as this one: I usually have it timed out right down to the wire and end up burning each week's episode to CDR with about thirty minutes to drive to the studio at Radio K. Well, this week I've been feeling pretty sick, so in my somewhat groggy state I accidentally burned a data CD instead of an audio disc and the reason the show started a few minutes late was because that’s about how long it took to burn the extra CD this morning! See? Pretty pointless little story, but maybe it sheds a little light on the show, or my life, which is the underlying feature of this blog, I guess -- and in the future I'll try to keep it more interesting!

This week's photo (above) is a collage I did a few years ago. In the future it will have more to do with that week's entry. Okay. Thanks for reading!
Jon Nelson

Sunday, October 23, 2005

October 23, 2005: History


OK! I've got the blog fever now, or something like that. I bet they have a word for it - the blog community at large, that is. Anyway...

Here's a little history about the show...
(By the way, the photo is a scan of the original promo card we put together for Some Assembly Required, in '99).

I started Some Assembly Required as a netcast exclusive in 1999. But to go back a little further than that, just briefly - I started volunteering at my college radio station (Radio K) in 1995, and had tried to get involved when the station first went on the air (to go back even further!) in 1993...

There was an alternative radio station in Minneapolis called KJ104 which went off the air right around the same time I moved back to Minneapolis from Chicago. As a big fan of the station, I was naturally pretty disappointed, and when I heard there was a new alternative radio station starting up (Radio K positioned itself as "alternative" the first couple of years it was on the air), I gathered up all my courage and attended a meeting about the new radio station. I was working at the Uptown Theater at the time, and a guy came in to ask if he could put up a poster about a film screening and "town meeting" about the new station, and the "state of modern rock" in the Twin Cities, and he gave me some tickets to the event.

After the film and panel discussion, I went up to ask about how I could get involved and was told I wasn't eligible because I wasn't a student at the University of Minnesota (I was a fine arts major at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design at the time), so I swallowed my disappointment and tuned in to the new station as it went on the air in October of 1993. Soon after that I moved back to Chicago to study photography at Columbia College, where I quickly changed my major to Production for Radio. I was actually more interested in exploring an old interest in sound collage than anything, but when I moved back (again!) to Minneapolis, in 1995, it was because I wanted to finish up my Bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota, and the main reason I chose to go to the University was because I wanted to finally get involved at Radio K.

So - three years later it was 1998 and I'd been hired as Radio K's Production Director. I'd also just released an album of sound collage (Escape Mechanism - a project I had started back in the production department at Columbia College) and thanks to the internet, and a somewhat aggressive series of mailings, the record was being reviewed and I was starting to meet a lot of other sound collage artists on the web. We were trading records and eventually I had quite a library of "found sound collage," which is what I called it at the time.

Towards the end of the year, the station's founder and program coach (Jim Musil) left Minneapolis for Colorado and Radio K hired Mark Wheat (a DJ at KFAI, at the time, and currently a DJ for MPR's the Current) to fill the position of Program Coach. To introduce Wheat to the rest of us at Radio K, an all-station meeting was called, at which one of the topics discussed was the problem we were having finding DJs to fill the overnight netcast slots (Radio K goes off the air in the evening, as our AM signal would reach much further at night than it does during the day, interfering with license holding stations in other areas). One of the individuals in attendance was Radio K alum Simon Peter (co-founder of the station's local music showcase, "Off the Record"), who spoke up to remind us that back when many of Radio K's founding DJs were at WMMR, they didn't have any problem finding DJs who were happy just to be on the station's limited cable frequency, and that the potential for online listeners was much greater than that. This was what inspired me to start an online specialty show, and a few days later I met with our new programming coach, who supported the idea from the very beginning, and Some Assembly Required began as a netcast-exclusive specialty show in January of 1999.

Originally, the show was two hours long. During the second hour we mixed a live sound collage not unlike other live sound collage shows around the country. Freeform experimental sound collage shows, mixed live, have become a college and community radio tradition. A few obvious examples spring to mind: Greg Carr's "Technological Retreat" (KFAI - Minneapolis, MN), The Button's "Press the Button" (WRUW - Cleveland, OH), Kenzo 's "Ken's Last Ever Radio Extravaganza" (KOOP - Austin, TX) and Negativland's long running "Over the Edge" (KPFA - Berkely, CA). What set my show apart was the first hour, which was a pretty straight forward radio program, where the focus was on sound compositions by other collage artists.

As fun as that second hour was, the first hour was what really held my interest, and in 2001 I retired the 2nd hour and, concentrating on the first hour's programming, started experimenting with syndicating the show to other stations. It was at this time that Radio K decided to give me a slot on their AM dial, during the afternoon on Sundays, and we moved to Saturday's at 2PM, not long after that.

So, thats the story in a huge nutshell. Probably way more detail than most people would ever want, but if you're interested, there it is! Believe it or not, I actually bump into people from time to time who used to listen to us online and remember that second hour of improvisation. We used to call it "Live, Improvised Media Collage." As noisy as it often was, we took it very seriously, and would occasionally be asked to play out live. We performed at the Weisman Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, The Rogue Buddha Gallery, The Oak Street Cinema and The First Avenue Mainroom. I released a best-of CD of recordings from those public performances, called "Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism," in 2004. It's available at the Recombinations website, and there's more information about it at the Escape Mechanism website.

Alright, thats quite a long post, so I'll wrap this up for now. Thanks for reading about Some Assembly Required!
Jon Nelson

Saturday, October 22, 2005

October 22, 2005: First Post


This is the first post for the Some Assembly Required blog. Hi! My name is Jon, I'm the host and producer of Some Assembly Required, and this blog is an attempt to make the show's website a bit more personal. More interactive? We'll see if people comment or get involved. Who knows? It will also give me an opportunity to share more about the show and the work that we play, since I'm much more comfortable writing than talking. For those of you familiar with the show, you're probably aware that I spend a lot more time playing music/audio art than I do talking about it. This is partly because I'd rather let the work speak for itself, but its also because I'm not really the kind of person/DJ who likes to go on and on about things (well, not on the air at least!). I think I've gotten a lot better about this over the last couple of years though. If you were listening back when the show was first produced, you may remember the famously short breaks where all I said was what was being played. I've been slowly warming up to the idea of speaking my mind a bit more, and I think it is making for a better show. Hope you agree.

Anyway - I have big plans for the blog. One thing I'm hoping to start doing in January 0f 2006 - once I've mastered the basics here and am ready to start adding features - is an online archive of old shows. I'm looking for a place where I can put them, and the plan will be to upload a new one each week and provide a link to it here. I figure we'll start with the last episode of the 2nd year and work our way backward for two years, until the first two years are archived online.

Another feature I hope to work on is a weekly artist profile. I've already started emailing various artists who receive regular airplay, asking them to answer a few basic questions. The plan is to share those with you, via the blog.

My other goal is to start podcasting! I have no idea how to do this though, so hopefully I can find a mentor, or a good FAQ and have that project ready to launch in a couple of months.

In the meantime, to give myself something to do with the blog - to get started - I'm going to start the weekly posts with a little history of the show. This will serve as basic blog training for me - I'll upload images and create all the weblinks, etc - and at the same time provide a little background on the show for those of you who are curious. I hope there are a few of you out there at least! I'll start by posting this the way it is and then I'll edit it and add links and things. fun fun fun.
thanks for reading!
Jon Nelson