Sunday, February 25, 2007

Episode 162, Some Assembly Required

Episode 162, Some Assembly Required

01 Negativland – “Favorite Things”
02 DJ Ghetto – “Ghetto On The Cut”
03 Team 9 – “Belinda's freakin out”
04 Daniel Steven Crafts – “Snake Oil Symphony (Part I)”
05 The Bran Flakes – “Call me patches”
06 DJ King of Pants - “Let's Go Die”
07 Unknown – “Johnny be good to Frankie”
08 Escape Mechanism - “Destruction”
09 Idiom Creek – “Odysseus”
10 Forty One - “Everything's Allright”
11 The Button – “I don't care”
12 Go Home Productions – “Daytrip To Never Never Land (2003)”
13 Wax Audio - “Imagine This”

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More information about Some Assembly Required online, at:

Wax Audio

Wax Audio

Tom Compagnoni has been serving up Wax Audio from his home in Australia, since 2003. I think his was one of those rare projects, these days, which I had to actually go out and find on my own. In the old days, you'd type "sound collage" into the search engines and get maybe a dozen responses, some of which would be somewhat along the lines of what you'd been looking for. These days it's a landslide of information, so you have to take more time to sift through all the data. Wax Audio found itself at the top of the pile one afternoon, and provided downloads. I've been playing it ever since.

The project is overtly political in focus, appropriating sound bytes from the news and political figures in order to manipulate and recontextualize them in ways which Wax Audio feels will help the listener come to a better understanding of just how manipulative the worlds of politics and the news media can be. When it comes to presenting an "objective" point of view, most news outlets will claim they are unbiased and fair in their news reports. Wax Audio aims to force the listener "to confront the bias, contradiction and sensationalism inherent in their daily intake of media information."

The work is often dead serious, as a result of its subject matter, but rarely goes on too long without coming up for air. Perhaps the best example of this is their cover of John Lennon's Imagine, as sung by a meticulously placed series of cut and pasted soundbytes of George W. Bush. That's just one track from the two albums currently available at the Wax Audio website.

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

*Name: Wax Audio

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Mashed Media: Appropriated, Re-Mixed, Sexed up and Uranium Enriched.

*Do you use a pseudonym? "Wax Audio" is a kind've pseudonym but I don't hide the fact that I'm nobody else other than Tom Compagnoni.

Just me, but you could describe some of the unwitting participants heard on several of my tracks as band members. I used to play guitar in a three piece prog-rock (for the '90s) outfit called AnD and a substantial amount of the musical backing tracks are taken from the old two-inch multi-track tapes we recorded (originally intended for our debut album but shelved and only now seeing the light of day - albeit in greatly altered form). Like I said, Wax Audio is just me - but you can hear alot of Hamish Ford on drums and Benson Graham on bass. There are also numerous "guest" vocalists of which George W Bush is the most prominently featured.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: "digital deconstructions" is perfectly apt for what I do as it's 100% assembled on computer. I haven't spliced a tape in over a decade and have never even owned a turntable. I used to play my trashy old '80s albums on my dad's record player back home. If I need a "scratch" I just sample one.

*Another genre descriptor: I kinda like "mashed media."

*Why you use this descriptor: "Mashing" and "Mash-up" are now pretty well recognized terms for any kind of DIY media blending. "Mashed Media" is simply a play on the term "mass-media" which is the field I am exploring and appropriating in my audio work.

*Location: Sydney, Australia

*Original Location: I grew up in Canberra, a little known urban backwater that also happens to be the capital city of Australia.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I had formal classical guitar tuition from age nine and played drums in the school brass band at around the same time. I vainly pursued rock-god superstardom from ages 13 to 24 as guitarist in several rock/metal/prog bands but never moved beyond playing pubs. I immediately joined the digital revolution in 2001 and have never looked back (though I still noodle on my strat when I'm waiting for something to download or process on the computer).

*History: Wax Audio started the minute the bombs started dropping in Baghdad on March 20th 2003.

*Born: I was born in Sydney, Australia in 1973.

*Motivations: Creative self expression is my way of keeping sane in an insane world and my method of communicating particular concerns, frustrations and opinions of mine to others in a way that is (I hope) entertaining rather than obtrusive. A lot of energy is generated (inside me) when I see or hear things (on the news, around the dinner table, anywhere) that I passionately object to. I think with the two on-line EPs I have put out, I have harnessed that energy creatively and at the same time given other despondent people out there a little galvanizing shot in the arm. Clever political satirists have always helped me in this regard, so when I get an email from some stranger in Latvia saying "thank you, that's exactly what I needed to hear" I am inspired to continue.

*Philosophy: The fact that my stuff is very much centered on the post 9/11 culture as represented by the mass media goes hand in hand with the fact that the media I am involved in (DIY mashing, self distribution on the web, MP3s etc) is a phenomenon of exactly the same era. I believe that all acts of appropriation (mashers, DJ's and other artists) are inherently political by virtue of the fact that they are illegal. Artists are refusing to be complicit with laws they believe are restricting their creative impulses. Negativland's TENETS OF FREE APPROPRIATION (I had to put that in capitals as it really is the bible of this issue) is the definitive statement on this subject and there's nothing more I need to add to it. As for my work, I think it's wholly appropriate that I use the very media I am criticizing as the voice/source-material of the actual critique (rather than my own voice). And one more thing - the fact that so many artists are doing this stuff quite happily for free (and free of the constraints that commercial realities place on genuine self expression - like having to obey copyright law) represents an artistic revolution happening right now in it's own right.

*How would you like to be remembered: I don't think about those kind of things. I'm focused on the present and not planning any memorial statues of myself at this stage!

*Web address:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Episode 161, Some Assembly Required

Episode 161, Some Assembly Required

01 Hal Wilner – “Do You Hear Me? (No Pie) With Jack Webb”
02 Negativland – “Our National Anthem”
03 DJ Earlybird - “Axel F vs Mr. Mister (Exorcism Edit)”
04 Messerchups – “Midnight”
05 The Tape-beatles – “Flowers For Dead Heroes”
06 Rob Swift – “This Is Our Day”
07 Dum Dum Tv – “T V U F C”
08 Diplo – “Big Lost”
09 Martinn – “Papa Was A Rose Of Stone (Wicked Edit)”
10 DJ Broken Window – “Der cookie und der prinz”
11 Wobbly – “Only musical”
12 Wayne Butane – “Backwash segment”
13 Ground Zero – “Consume Mao”
14 COIL – “Who'll Tell”
15 Lecture On Nothing – “It Means Nothing To You”
16 DJ Jay-R – “Black Eyed Go Go”

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Rob Swift

Rob Swift

DJ Rob Swift (Robert Aguilar, former member of the turntablist group The X-ecutioners) is well known around the world as one of the first hip hop DJs to emerge as a popular solo artist. Spin Magazine has compared Swift to DJ Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike, saying that he is "the most self-consciously musical of his peers." Rolling Stone said his “elaborate scratching and beat juggling techniques create new music by dismantling the old.”

He began college in 1990, in New York, and in 1991 took 3rd place in the East Coast DMC competition. In 1992 he had become a member of The X-Men and was named the DMC East Coast turntable champion. By 1993, he had begun producing and remixing tracks for artists such as Cornershop, Bill Laswell and Lords of Acid. In 1995 he graduated from Baruch College with a degree in Psychology.

Swift has close to ten albums in as many years, including 1999's The Ablist (his first solo album) and 2005's War Games, an album/dvd in which he tackles issues surrounding 9/11, the war in Iraq, terrorism and police brutality.

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

*Name: I'm a solo artist, so it's just Rob Swift.

*Do you use a pseudonym? "The Ablist" is my pseudonym.

*Members: I'm a ONE MAN ARMY.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: "turntable creations"

*Do you use another genre descriptor: Nah

*Location: Queens, NYC

*What is your creative/artistic background: Well, my dad (a Colombian immigrant) was a DJ and he spun a lot of Salsa, Cumbia and Merengue music while my brother was into Hip Hop, so both of them influenced my to listen to everything... Latin Rhythms, Funk, Soul, R&B etc.

*History: As a solo artist, I'd say since 1997.

*Born: I was born during the 1970s in Jackson Heights, Queens NY.

*Motivations: I guess I had an innate predisposition to do what I do considering both my dad and brother are DJs.

*Philosophy: Be well rounded, introduce a variety of styles and forms of music to your public and educate the masses at the same time.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a DJ that changed the way people view the turntable.

*Web address:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Episode 160, Some Assembly Required

Episode 160, Some Assembly Required

01 Lenlow – “Morning”
02 David Shea – “Cartoon For Scott Bradley”
03 JAR – “Untitled”
04 Escape Mechanism - “Digital Occasion”
05 Jeffrey Sconce – “Stars on high”
06 DJ Deedle – “Come Tangerine Together”
07 B'O'K – “I'm Very Afraid”
08 Wobbly - “Rather, Uh Uh Uh. What? What? Uh”
09 V/Vm – “Only You Ba Da Da Da”
10 King Of Pants – “I Feel Hate”
11 Ros Bobos – “The Mark: 666”
12 Cold Cutz Crew – “Cold Cutz”

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Ros Bobos

Ros Bobos

Ros Bobos is a Filmmaker and a Poet from the New England area. He is a former drama teacher and a current sound artist. He's composed scores for dance, film and theater, and released two albums of sound collage (1999's "Sonambulations" and "Unchartered Universal Euphoria" in 2006). His films have been shown at The ArtSpace Film/Video Series, The Coolidge Corner Best of Open Screen, The Marblehead Video Film Festival and The One Minute Film Festival.

There's really not a whole lot to be found out about Mr. Bobos on the internet. So, what does the lazy sound collage reviewer do, when he's run out of things to say? Why, he makes a list of the samples he recognizes in the artist's work, of course! I'm going to be a bit more creative (and perhaps even a bit lazier?) and make a list of all the source materials, as identified in the various reviews for his two albums at cdbaby...

On Sonambulations and Unchartered Universal Euphoria, we're treated to a collage of radio broadcasts and humorous media snippets including self-help records, medical lectures and experimental music. Hmmm... ok, so most of the reviews at CD baby, were actually pretty lacking - only when it comes to games of "spot the sample" (which is a good thing).

Sound Projector said "his unsettling tirade of gibberish cannot be denied," which reminded me of a road trip taken with a girlfriend, several years ago, in which much time was killed by reviewing many sound collage records. "Sonambulation" got its turn one evening, as we were driving though the desert. I was tired and had probably reviewed about a dozen albums of sound collage prior. There's something about listening to disordered sound for hours at a time, in any environment, but on this particular occasion, as the sun went down and the horizon stretched out in front of us, I have to say a certain state of mind occurred, thanks entirely to Bobos' unique blend of found sound. It was a practically mystical experience, if mystical experiences can be practical. Is it possible I'd been hypnotized?

Recalling that experience, his response to the SAR Q&A came as no great shock and I'm pleased to be adding just a little bit more information about Ros Bobos to the world wide web. Here's the SAR Q&A with Ros Bobos...

*Name: Ros Bobos

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: The Snescott Holistic Nucleus

*Do you use a pseudonym? Ros Bobos

*Members: Ros Bobos, Lindsey Larue, Honey Thunder, and Cuntus Drooples… Ros Bobos is a founding pillar in the conglomeration of spiritual mass. There are 3 other members. The fourth was excommunicated.

*Founding Member: Professor Donald C. Snescott who is no longer on this earth wonder walk.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: All of the above. An ecstatic hodgepodge of multi-media circusry. Whatever is in front of me.

*Another genre descriptor: Non-thinking Expressionism

*Is there a story behind your name? Ros Bobos is a bastardization of Russ Burgess, who is my spiritual mentor. He has performed his ESP/hypnotism show around the USA for over 50 years. I made a documentary about him.

*Location: New Hampshire

*Original Location: Andover, MA

*What is your creative/artistic background: Been involved in theatre my whole life. Taught drama in public schools for 7 years. Filmmaker for 20 years. Performance Poet for 20 years. Sonic Contortionist for 20 years.

*History: 20 Years

*Born: 1971, Lawrence, MA

*Motivations: Strange compulsion to organize or capture strange things into stranger containers.

*Philosophy: I don't know. To see God in a compromised position. To challenge, stimulate, entertain your earwax. Enjoy myself.

*How would you like to be remembered: A good man. A good Father. A good husband. He who wears strange clothing.

*Web address:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Episode 159, Some Assembly Required

Episode 159, Some Assembly Required
(Featuring an interview with Mr. Dibbs)

01 Mr. Dibbs – “Judeas Transmission”
02 Mr. Dibbs – “Scooby's 5th Check”
03 Mr. Dibbs – “First”
04 Mr. Dibbs – “Live @ 1st Ave.”
05 Mr. Dibbs – “Live In Memphis (excerpt02)”
06 Mr. Dibbs – “Chaos”
07 Mr. Dibbs & 1200 Hobos – “B-Boys Revenge 96 Porkopolis Turntable Jazz”
08 Mr. Dibbs – “Delta Bound”

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February 3, 2007

February 3, 2007

There's no SAR Q&A this week, so I thought I'd try to make up for it by making a personal blog entry for once...

Check out this week's episode of Some Assembly Required, featuring a phone interview with Mr. Dibbs (Episode 159). I hope to post the SAR Q&A with Mr. Dibbs, at some future date. In the meantime, tune in to hear our interview with the turntablist known for his work with the hip hop festival, Scribble Jam, as well as the 1200 Hobos. Check out his Myspace page while you're at it.

In other news: Last week's Girl Talk show at the Varsity Theater was a major success! Thanks to everyone who came down and danced with Greg Gillis of Girl Talk, who more than lived up to his reputation for throwing an out of control dance party. Check out L’etoile Magazine’s Blog to see photos taken at the event.

I'm trying my best to wrap up a new series of sound collage this month and next, and hoping to debut them all at yet another art show at Rosalux Gallery in April. Wish me luck. With that in mind, I think I'll sign off for now and get back to work!

Thanks for listening,
Jon Nelson