Saturday, January 14, 2006

January 15, 2006: More SAR History

January 15, 2006

Okay, so back to more Some Assembly Required history...
After the ECC show (August, 2003), Some Assembly Required sponsored a couple of kids, some local electronic showcases, and then the 2nd ECC show at the Rogue Buddha. The 2 "kids" were Kid 606 at the Triple Rock, in August (2003) and Kid Koala in the First Avenue Mainroom in October (also 2003). The local electronic showcases were a local collective, or showcase, going by the name "Cumulus" which Some Assembly Required was tangentially involved with for a time. Cumulus was an experimental and/or electronic showcase which took place at the Dinkytowner (the best of one of the Twin Cities true dives -- It stinks down there but they put on a good show).

Then, in January (2004), Some Assembly Required sponsored a show at the Weisman Art Museum, called "Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics." Highlights included a motown techno performance collaboration between Justin Boyd, calling himself an "audio scientist," and visual artist Dario Robleto.

The Some Assembly Required interview with Steev Hise (recorded during the first big event which Some Assembly Required had had a hand in - Sound Unseen, 2001) was the next big thing to happen. I finally got the interview produced, and it aired in 2004, on March 6. Then on May 8 (also 2004), I aired an interview with an artist I'd come across while showing Mark Gunderson around the Twin Cities, way back in August of 2003. We'd stopped in at the Soap Factory and stumbled across Omer Fast's "CNN Concatenated" which stands (still) as one of my all-time most awe-inducing (as in jaw-dropping, yes) video, or even sound, collage experiences. Absolutely amazing! If you ever get a chance to see this... then, do. I contacted Mr. Fast a month or two later, convinced him to let me air the audio to his video collage, and aired my phone interview with him along with it, in May of 2004.

Then in June (2004), I finally got around to airing my interview with Wet Gate member Owen O'toole (another interview done around the same time as that first Sound Unseen presentation in 2001). I'd played the records he'd released on his label, and was familiar with his work as The Plagiarist - he's one of those people who needed to be talked about on the show. So, I fulfilled that responsibility.

Then, in August of 2004, I interviewed turntablist extraordinaire, Christian Marclay, who was in town on an artist's residency with the Walker Art Center, and sponsored his show at the Triple Rock Social Club on August 21st (Two Turntables and a Saxaphone). Great, as always, to be able to meet an artist who gets regular airplay on the show. Hearing about his early experiences with Fluxus and then seeing his Fluxus inspired piece, "Shake Rattle and Roll" was one of the highlights of this meeting. The video installation piece consisted of 16 video monitors which simultaneously displayed video documents he'd created/orchestrated, involving the physical handling of a variety of the many Fluxus "Art Objects" in the Walker's collection. He'd made these objects sing - effectively continuing the movement's long-dead request that the work continue to evolve on its own. I didn't even come close to understanding it, until I stood in the middle of the circle of monitors for a few minutes. My skeptical side nearly prevented it, too - but then - bang! I got it. A very nice moment.

So, finally... August 2004. Some Assembly Required teams up once again with Sound Unseen to bring Mark Hosler (Negativland) to town to give a lecture on copyright, his band, and the state of intellectual property in the world today, to an audience of subversives at the Oak Street Cinema, here in Minneapolis. My radio interview with Hosler aired on Radio K the preceding Saturday (10/2/04). Over one hundred people filled the Oak Street's tiny auditorium to hear Hosler tell his story. Definitely another shining moment in the history of Some Assembly Required. I even turned my radio interview with Hosler into a feature for (then) alternative publication, Ruminator Magazine (Nov/Dec '04), titled, "COPYRIGHT, JESUS AND THE ART OF COLLAGE: An Interview with Mark Hosler of Negativland by Jon Nelson” (Check it out HERE).

Then, in December (2004), I interviewed Otis Fodder and Mildred Pitt of the Bran Flakes. This marked the second time I'd interviewed more than one person at a time for the show. The first time had been Lloyd Dunn and John Heck of the Tape-beatles (in 2001). Its a lot harder than you might think. Twice the ego to manage! Not that either of these examples really illustrates this at all. Both parties were quite down to earth - but you can probably understand what I mean. How do you balance an exclusive interview with more than one person? It definitely takes twice as long, to begin with.

The Bran Flakes were awesome, by the way (as were the Tape-beatles- another one of my all time favorite interviews). They were such a refreshing change from what I had become so used to, in the world of sound collage and audio art. They were laughing the entire time; cracking jokes and letting loose. They seemed genuinely happy to be doing what they were doing. The only interview which even came close was with Jason Forrest this past week (the Jason Forrest/Donna Summer interview aired here, in Minneapolis - on Radio K - on January 7, 2006, and should air in syndication around February or March '06). They were awesome. Now that I think of it, Mark Gunderson was pretty laid back, too - and by saying this I don't mean to imply that everyone else was uptight or a jerk, but you know... these guys were especially joyful. Let's just leave it at that...

Then, in January of 2005, Some Assembly Required sponsored an event at Outsiders and Others which featured a screening of a film by a friend of mine (Scott Miller's "Uso Justo"). Craig Baldwin (the man behind a documentary called "Sonic Outlaws," which featured segments on Negativland, the Tape-beatles, Emergency Broadcast Network and a bevy of other appropriation-based sound collage artists) was also in attendance at this event, showing video of various projects. It was good to see Craig again. I'd first met him in 2000, during his artist's residency at the Walker Art Center. He'd invited Escape Mechanism to perform at an event he was organizing to conclude his residency at the Walker. It was at the Soap Factory in October of 2000, and called "(de)factory films." The event was focused largely on cultural recycling, with an emphasis on film. Track six on the live CD by Escape Mechanism ("Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism") was recorded at this event at the Soap Factory.

Then on January 18, 2005, DJ Food released his follow up to "Raiding the 20th Century." He'd sent me the first version a little while after it was originally released in January of 2004, and I was amazed. He was sampling all of the artists which get the feature treatment on Some Assembly Required! I contacted him a little while later about doing an interview and was excited to find out that he was planning a follow up version. I interviewed him right toward the end of his work on the follow up and aired it a bit later in the year - but I've rambled on long enough for now. How much time did we cover here? August 2003 to January 2005? Thats only about 2 and 1/2 years in one post. wow. I'll get back to this again at a later date...

Anyway, stay tuned for the next podcast, tomorrow - January 16 (episode 102). No special interview, but the interviews only happen every two months or so, so don't go expecting them any more regularly than that. If this were my full time job, you could expect them every week, but this show is costing me money, not making me money! I'm not complaining - just offering up weak excuses. That's all.

Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson


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