Friday, August 18, 2006

August 18, 2006: Lecture on Nothing

August 18, 2006: Lecture on Nothing

Episode 108 is being uploaded a bit early, so I have time to work on some projects this weekend. Stay tuned for 13 sound collages by sound artists and sample based musicians such as
Escape Mechanism, Otis Fodder, Jabberwocky, Laso Halo, Lecture on Nothing, LF Peee, Loo & Placido, Mag Wheels, Christian Marclay, Negativland, Osymyso, Party Ben and Hal Wilner. Episode 108 will be up in just a few - check it out!


Our feature this week is on Lecture on Nothing - the sound collage project of sound engineer and record producer, Eddie Miller!

I've been singing the praises of this project for years and years. I think I found the first CD release by Lecture on Nothing around the same time that I became aware of the Tape-beatles, and have been playing them both ever since. The debut release by Lecture on Nothing is self-titled and was put out by Pop Mafia, in 1997 - though it's interesting to note that it was actually produced in 1990. There was a follow-up single, also released by Pop Mafia, called "Truckload of Bibles," which had a couple of remixes of that particular track off of the debut disc.

There's more work to be released and we've played an awful lot of it on Some Assembly Required over the years. Considering the strength of these recordings, I'm surprised to find so little about the project online, and instead of just repeating everything Eddie Miller wrote below, I'll just wrap up the intro and feel content to be adding more information about Lecture on Nothing to the world wide web. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Lecture on Nothing!

*Name: Lecture on Nothing

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

*Members: Eddie Miller

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: The first album was done without any computers or sequencers. A casio fz-1 sampler, cheap (A.R.T.) harmonizer, and a tascam 388 8 track tape machine were used. I mixed down to an early form of digital 2-track (pre DAT), which used a box to convert analog to digital (and vice versa), and a sony beta machine to store the data. I think the one i had was made by akai. All samples were played by hand, which in some ways is quicker, and allows for more experimenting with pitch, rhythm, and harmony. The second album was done much the same way, but I used a computer (Cubase was the software) for a tape recorder and mix down machine, and for some drum loop editing.

*Location: Los Angeles, California

*Original Location: Pittsburgh, PA

*What is your creative/artistic background: I started my pro career at Paisley Park where I managed to engineer/mix my first records with Prince. It's been an uphill/downhill ride ever since. I started playing in bands as a drummer when I was 8. I decided at one point that I'd try the artist thing, and that I'd do it on my (strange) terms so that if it was successful, I'd really have fun doing it. It took seven years to get the first album released, and I was happy to be able to do it that way.

*History: The first album was recorded in 1989-1990 (released in 1997) as a side project to a more conventional band I was in at the time. The other guys in the band - Tom Fleming and Tim Hixon - co-wrote half the stuff on the first album. The second album was finished in 1/1999 - just me. I got it ready as a second release for the label I was on at the time, but the label didn't survive. It took about a year to do each record. Very tedious. No computers or sequencers on the first album.

*Born: 1963

*Motivations: Best thing I could come up with in terms of doing my own thing.

*Philosophy: Taking at least 3 different musical elements (usually a lot more) to make 1 new one. The vocal pieces I use I try to use melodically - in the way Steve Reich does on "Different Trains." I try to use samples in a very different musical context (harmonic/rhythmic) than they were found originally. I also try to keep the harmony moving - not static. The form of the songs generally follow pop forms. I started doing this kind of stuff with tape loops in the early 80's. Makes me feel old (I'm 43 now...).

*Web address:


Thanks to Eddie Miller for being the focus this week - be sure to check out the Lecture on Nothing website, and download Some Assembly Required, episode 108, to hear 13 sound collages by artists from around the world, including a track by Lecture on Nothing, off of their upcoming album.

The final Relay at Rosalux is tonite! Maybe that's why I'm posting this a bit early, to help get the word out. It's been a lot of fun doing so much DJing out at art galleries this summer. I'm looking forward to spending some time in the studio this fall though, so come down and say hi at two final summer DJ nights. I'll be DJing the Art of Design Show at Density Studios next Saturday (August 26, stay tuned for details) and TONITE at Rosalux Gallery. Joining me will be Tarik Moody of The Rhythm Lab (The Current) and Jennifer Downham of Groove Garden (KFAI). Rosalux Gallery is located at 1011 Washington Ave. South, in Minneapolis. Featured artists at Rosalux right now are Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice, so come check out the art and listen to some great music. More info at the gallery's website...

Hope to see you tonight - until then, thanks for listening!
Jon Nelson


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