Sunday, March 25, 2007



Buttfinger must have been a late addition to the Wifflefist family, as just when I thought the collective was officially history, the website had a new group listed as one of its own. Buttfinger is Tommy Birchett, from the state of Viriginia. He has three albums available on Broadcastatic, Interfear k7 and Wifflefist. Much of the material is available at his website as well.

Oh, I hate having to play this project! I have to admit it. I'm just a little too uptight to say their name without apologizing, and I hate myself for it. There are no legal reasons why not to, so when I do play them (and I do, because they're good), I do say the name, but it's either giggle like a schoolgirl or hem and haw like an old man, as I do. Either way, it's just (yet another) reminder that I'm getting old. What with all the crazy names bands these days are coming up with...

Anyway... Buttfinger is quite good with his dual cassette deck and built in turntable. I imagine he's moved beyond these limited means by now, but that's how he describes having gotten started. It reminds me of my original set up. I imagine a lot of sound collage artists got started in very similar ways - just experimenting with whatever means they have at their disposal.

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

*Name: Buttfinger

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Tommy Buttfigga, b-figga, cuttfinger

*Do you use a pseudonym? Yes, Rev. Tommy Birdscheidt

*Members: it's just me, 1 lonely dude.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: All of the above, but if I have to pick one I'd say "turntable manipulations." It started with a dual cassette deck my parents gave me as a gift. I begged for that tape deck because I wanted to make mix tapes using my existing cassettes for sharing with friends. It didn't take long for me to realize this cheap tape deck had a really precise pause edit button that allowed me to cut and paste beautifully. As a kid in the mid-1980’s, I recorded lots of radio and TV fragments to cassette. I created lots of cut and paste tapes for my friends. One of my first successful pause-edit creations was a collage that consisted of buzzers and bells from an episode of the TV show The Family Feud. When I played the collage piece for my friends they loved it. I was inspired to continue. As I got older I grew interested in breakdancing and rap culture. My dual cassette recorder had a built-in record player, so naturally I started teaching myself how to scratch. I was never any good at it, but when I started to get interested in Punk and DIY I realized being good was not necessary, so I just kept with it. This Cut-n-Scratch-n-Paste eventually got branded with the ridiculously juvenile name "Buttfinger" and it stuck. Some of the more recent creations have been manipulated or refined digitally, but the Cut-n-Scratch-n-Paste sound is still in effect. Actually, it's not just sound-- there are now several videos. I have most of them collected on a self-released DVD-R.

*Is there a story behind your name? I wish I had a better story for you here, but the truth is I was sitting down at work one day eating a candy bar. I had a pair of scissors and some transparent tape. I was bored.

*Location: Most recently based in Richmond, Virginia, previously based in Farmville, Virginia.

*Original Location: I was born in Hopewell, Virginia. All of these places are in Central
Virginia, in the Richmond area.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Other than what I've already described, I have worked with photocopy, photography, field recordings and digital art. I am part of the radio-based collective Broadcastatic and the sound recording and performance group Ting Ting Jahe.

*History: I began making my tape mix/collages around 1987.

*Born: Hopewell, VA. December, 1969.

*Motivations: I love to chop up media and I don't mind if I make a mess.

*Philosophy: Record. Cut. Scratch. Paste. Pause. Play. Repeat.

*How would you like to be remembered: "Tommy was a pretty nice guy" would be good enough for me.

*Web address:

Episode 166, Some Assembly Required

Episode 166, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Paysano - "Sue me if my big yellow taxi goes too fast"
02 Christian Marclay - "One Thousand Cycles"
03 Myeck Waters - "The banjo"
04 DJ Shadow - "Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt"
05 DJ QBert - "Movement 1: Quadraphonic Element Download"
06 Unknown - "God Lujon Knows"
07 DJ QBert - "Movement 2: 6 Fingered Fury"
08 DJ QBer - "Movement 3: Inside-Out Body Warp"
09 Jabberwocky - "Experience"
10 Bobby Martini - "I Can't Dance To The Policy Of Truth"
11 People Like Us - "My Son Jim"
12 Osymyso - "On Osymyso! No?"
13 Wobbly - "'Cause I Don't Love It. Tah Aight All Back, Aaack. See?"
14 Buttfinger - "Flexi-Scratch"
15 Donna Summer - "Vader over me"
16 RX Music - "Dick Is a Killer"
17 Twink - "Whose Turn Is It?"
18 Party Ben - "Hung Up on Soul (Death Cab for Maddy)"

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Naked Rabbit

Naked Rabbit

Naked Rabbit is Los Angeles, California's Tim Maloney. One of my first memories of Naked Rabbit involves a mail order CD and a fistful of homemade comic books, one of which was a spoof of both Cathy and Garfield, arguably two of the most inane strips ever published in the funny papers. His spoof simply and beautifully pointed out that basic fact, and I found it quite entertaining. I'm sure I still have it around here somwhere...

Maloney was also the man behind The Droplift Project. There were lots of people behind that project, but he was the person who stepped up to the plate and got it all organized - and it's worth mentioning that he did a bang-up job. For those of you unfamiliar with The Droplift Project, check out the website, which I believe is still current, although the official Droplift date came and went way back in summer of 2000.

The Droplift Project, in a nutshell: Sound Collage artists from around the country all pitched in and produced a CD packaged, by design, to fit in on shelves at major music outlets such as Musicland and Best Buy. The discs were then split up among the contributing artists and on a specific date, the discs were "droplifted" (yes, the opposite of "shoplifted") onto those major music retailer's shelves, in cities all over the US. It was an eloquent little bit of theater - performance art, if you will. The disc wasn't bad either! I'm pretty sure you can still download all the tracks HERE.

In addition to project coordinator and sound collage artist, Tim Maloney is also a filmmaker and cartoonist. For those of you familiar with Negativland's video work, you may know Maloney as the animator behind their "Gimme The Mermaid" video (2002), which involved a certain famous singing mermaid. A quick search reveals that video is still all over the web... Instead of creating a link which is certain to expire within moments, I'll just advise you to do your own search using the terms "Gimme The Mermaid" and "Negativland." Actually, I think they included the video on their "No Business" release as well, so there's another option.

An obviously multi-talented individual, Tim Maloney fits right in here with the usual suspects on Some Assembly Required. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Naked Rabbit...

*Name: Naked Rabbit

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: That's hard to say. I use a few, including my own name. I've used Naked Rabbit for over 15 years now, so that is the most common, but dozens of others crop up here and there. I recently found there is some band somewhere using my name. They must be terribly disappointed that I have held on to my URL for so long! I' not sure what their music is like, but since they are on the other coast and we don't seem to be appealing to the same people, I'm fairly sure we can stay out of each other's way. Still, for me to use "Naked Rabbit" is one thing - for them it is commercial suicide, so I hope they drop it! Also used: Sensory Homunculus, Monster Grandparents From the Id, Cat Women on the Moon, Density Control, The Naked Rabbit Orchestra, and The Flying Tigers. Most of those are older. Played in a two-then-three-then-two-again piece band called The Happy Shrimp Show while in Chicago.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Sometimes I use names for other members when I think it might help. There are a few extra names, but I'm not giving up who they are.

*Members: Tim Maloney.

*Founding Members: Just me. I tend to work like many do - a loose collection of people moving in and out of the situation contribute to recordings here and there. As such I tend to move into other people's recordings, too. I've been a little silent these days because I've been on everyone else's stuff as of late.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
Digital Deconstructions, definitely. Although I often use real instruments and have been known to mess up quite a bit of tape, I've always been interested in sampling since I saved up for an SK-1. More below, but this is probably because of my background in film sound.

*Another genre descriptor: I try not to use any descriptors! I wish I were more consistent and more regular - so that people could say "Yes, that is the quintessential 'Naked Rabbit' Sound!" If there is one, please let me know. In the meantime, I need to make and release more material.

*Is there a story behind your name? I heard a six year-old say it to annoy his nine year-old sister. They were playing with a stuffed rabbit, and he kept saying "The Naked Rabbit!" She was annoyed, because she knew all rabbits are naked (none of them have little clothes on that I have ever seen, barring someone's cruel and cutesy treatment of his or her pet) but she was still kind of concerned about this "naked" business - something in her told her this was naughty somehow and the boundary of propriety had been seriously breached.

*Location: Los Angeles.

*Original Location:
Originally from the Midwest, chiefly Indiana, then Chicago.

*What is your creative/artistic background: You mean like schooling and stuff? I have an MFA, but it's in Film Production. I studied Film Production at Northwestern in Evanston, IL and then moved out to L.A. to get my MFA at USC's Film production program.

*History: Since I left home, about 20-some years.

*Born: 1966, Urbana Illinois.

Someone asked me this recently and here's what I told her: I think of all creative work as somehow involving brain damage. To be honest, I'm not well known for what I do. I'm very interested in it, and quite passionate about my own creative output, but I'll guarantee you I'm the biggest fan of whatever it is I'm doing. It takes quite a bit of time out of my life - enormous amounts - that I could be using to do ordinary things like rearing children or working a steady job. This is to say nothing for extraordinary things like becoming a financial genius or saving the world, or curing cancer. So I'm wasting my precious life on these fiddly little art things that aren't even blockbuster mass-market appealing... I dunno, the whole thing is just kind of idiotic, isn't it? And yet I am completely unable to stop, because doing this seems like the only thing worthwhile in the world to me. And that must involve brain damage somehow, to be that out of step with the program. Of course I make no apologies, and I'm not about to give up on any of my pursuits - in fact I'm sure I'll just go deeper into them as I get older. But it's not what you'd call - you know - stable. I do what I do because for some reason I fid I am unfit and unable to do anything else. If I could, I really would. It would be nice to be useful and well liked.

*Philosophy: I come from a background in motion picture sound rather than musical training, so I have kind of naturally developed to consider sounds in a manner similar to John Cage - everything can be music, or musical, and every sound can contribute to a composition. In film sound, music is just another element in a developed soundtrack. It may not even appear in the final form. You may record that piece yourself or find it in a library, or discover someone else's recordings. It all has exactly the same currency. Of course, I am drawn to formal manipulations and some kind of ironic juxtaposition in sound art. In 1986, a lovely young woman named Jenny Hopkins did me the greatest favor by introducing me to the radio station, and showing me that yes, you could in fact play all the devices in the studio simultaneously, and the radio station would become like a giant instrument. I became obsessed with the idea of making dissimilar records talk to each other: Helen Gurley Brown and Rob McKuen would seem to answer one another if you hit the faders just right. All genres, all styles, all noises were possible. We were lucky that we had late-night radio slots on a college station - I don’t think this kind of exploration is encouraged under any other circumstances.

*How would you like to be remembered: Oh, I'm sure I won't be. I don't have children and I am not making an impact on the world in any way. This is all perfectly fine with me if I can make a few things that are of interest to me and those around me while we are here - we're all just visitors, you know.

*Web address:

Episode 165, Some Assembly Required

Episode 165, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Earlybird – “Da Da Da Bamba”
02 Lecture on Nothing – “Fresh makeup”
03 The Tape-Beatles – “Another Blue Night”
04 Pop Chop – “Comp-elation”
05 Sucking Chest Wound – “Kicksville”
06 Cassetteboy – “6 It”
07 Evolution Control Committee – “By the time I get to Arizona”
08 DJ Jeff – “Change The Scratch”
09 DJ Jay-R – “S.L.H. (Sri Lanka High)”
10 General Patton VS. The X-Ecutioners – “A.W.O.L. Block Party Brawl 0600 Hrs.”
11 Dickie Goodman – “Mr. Jaws”
12 Tim Maloney – “Don't sub in the sleepway”
13 Speaker Freaker – “Geo Bush IS John Wayne”
14 Twink – “Mr. Magic”
15 Wayne Butane – “C.G. And The B.L.'s”
16 Go Home Productions - “Papa Was A Clock”

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Episode 164, Some Assembly Required

Episode 164, Some Assembly Required

(featuring an interview with Realistic)

01 Evolution Control Committee – "Darwin at Fifteen"
02 Realistic – "Magnetic Home Poetry"
03 Realistic – "Larry Likes Greeting"
04 Realistic – "The introduction ditty"
05 Realistic – "Sq-80 Buzz"
06 Realistic – "Conversation Hearts"
07 Realistic – "Eyebeam pounding"
08 Realistic – "Looking for a handout"
09 Realistic – "Hopeless Romantic Tragedy"
10 Realistic – "The Camera Track"
11 Realistic – "Trademark Messaging"
12 Realistic – "Post-Corporate Fantasy"

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Episode 163, Some Assembly Required

Episode 163, Some Assembly Required

01 DJ Earlybird - “Superstition can't buy me love”
02 Steve Fisk - “The Firin' Line”
03 People Like Us – “Funny Tune”
04 Beige Channel – “The Man”
05 Daniel Steven Crafts - Snake Oil Symphony (Part II)”
06 Evolution Control Committee – “Untitled (Ritalin Ruckus)”
07 Daniel Steven Crafts – “Snake Oil Symphony (Part V)”
08 Forty One – “All Of This”
09 Lecture on Nothing – “Memories”
10 DJ QBert – “Invasion Of The Octopus People”
11 Lenlow – “My Shiny Gun Mosey”
12 Nubile G & The Spurious Whiz – “Our Pioneer Ancestors”
13 Whimsical Will – “Hey Spidey!”
14 stAllio! – “Boo!”
15 RX Music – “Imagine/Walk on the wild side”
16 AudioDile - “More Werewolves of Alabama”

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Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz

Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz

When I first started my search for more "found sound collage," one of the earliest and most insistent recommendations was for a record put out by DOVentertainment, a Canadian record label which at one point was also affiliated with Ninja Tune. "DOV" stands for "Death of Vinyl" and the record everyone kept telling me to find was their Death of Vinyl compilation, which featured tracks by the likes of Steinski and The Tape-beatles. For awhile, this was one of the only places a person could find The Motorcade Sped On by Steinski and Mass Media. I suppose it's probably still hard to find though, isn't it?

I got ahold of Gerald Belanger (1/2 of Nubile G and The Spurious Whiz) at some point a long time ago, who sent me a CDR of the release (which had by then sold out), with an original copy of the album art, and I felt like I had struck gold. I recently did an online search for the release and found one of the artists included on the compilation had a few copies left and was selling them at the band's website. So, about ten years later, I finally got an original copy.

Folks who have tuned in regularly over the years will recognize Nubile G and The Spurious Whiz as the artists behind Your Jolly Giant, one of a handful of tracks which have been played more than twice on the show (A recent investigation reveals that only a couple dozen of the thousands of collages in the SAR library have been played more than 3 times each and only four have been played as many as 5 times apiece. This is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself, especially considering how small the library was that first year). Your Jolly Giant is the opening track on the Death of Vinyl compilation.

When interviewing Charles Watson (the other 1/2 of Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz), for an upcoming feature on the label, I made a successful plea for new material and eventually found a disc with three new tracks by the group in my mailbox. "New" to me, that is. The group disbanded around 1992. Read on for a very insightful Q&A with Charles Watson of Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz. He tells us all about not only the band, but also about running the DOVentertainment label with Gerald Belanger in Toronto, Ontario, from '89-'92.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Charles Watson of Nubile G and the Spurious Whiz!

*Name: Nubile G. & The Spurious Whiz

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Our name was initially meant to be a piss-take on acts with names like "Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince" and "Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock", But those acts were falling out of favour by the late 1980's. The "short name" of the band was "G-Whiz". We used this name colloquially when discussing the band in private, but eventually we released a song called "America Is A Paper Tiger" under that name. Some of the DJ's didn't like the political nature of that track, and that ended up being the last thing we did as a group. Later, some of us recorded under the name "Virex,” which was an ambient project.

*Do you use a pseudonym? "The Spurious Whiz" was my pseudonym for the purposes of this project. "Nubile G" was actually Gerald Belanger, the proprietor of DOVe Records, now affiliated with Nice & Smooth, here in Toronto. At that time, we were the only two people working at DOVe. G-Whiz was our in-house band. We were heavily influenced by The Residents, who ran Ralph Records, anonymously. We wanted to do something similar; run a record label, and release our own material, without explicitly letting anyone know that it was actually us.

*Members: There were 2 members, although we welcomed contributions from Danté, Dave Newfeld (AKA Producers For "Bob"), Heiki Sillaste from Digital Poodle, Jean-Claude Cutz of DIN, and possibly others. These are some pretty hazy memories now.

*Founding Members: Charles G. Watson & Gerald Belanger.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations:
I'd say "digital deconstructions" would be the best description, as we used samplers heavily. Not a lot of tape was used when producing any G-Whiz material. My main instrument at the time was a Roland W-30. We also used a Casio FZ1, and a plethora of other synths. Once we got our hands on a Roland 909 for one project. It think that was borrowed from Dave Rout, then of Bang Electronica.

*Another genre descriptor: We didn't create a genre-name for our limited musical output. We were heavily influenced by the likes of Negativland, but we wanted to make something more accessible. It seemed feasible at the time that we could score a groundbreaking "hit". There was a slick commercial radio station called CFNY here in Toronto, and they played some of our stuff, as well as lots of other bizarre, local material. Things seemed to be changing for the better back in those days. Those days were short-lived, though. CFNY soon became "The Edge" and is now fully formatted. Many of the ideas for the songs came from Gerald, who had more of a background with tape manipulation. I had more of a traditional musical background, and had been trying to apply some of that tape-manipulation-style material to a more solid beat. We thought that we could conceivably break through on commercial radio, and still stay true to our experimental roots. Of course, sometimes the experimental aspect took over. And, it is the more experimental stuff that people remember the most.

*Is there a story behind your name? Gerald came up with the name "Nubile G" as a rather accurate descriptor for himself at the time. I'll let people decide for themselves what they think "The Spurious Whiz" might be a reference to. We were young men with one-track minds, and thankfully, a sense of humour.

*Location: Our press releases at the time indicated that we were actually from space. We had our graphic designer design a UFO. There were also comic strips drawn in which Nubile G. & The Spurious Whiz confront a mutated version of The New Kids On the Block as they invade Toronto. But, Nubile G. & The Spurious Whiz are concealed safely within their UFO, and their faces are never revealed. In actuality, we both grew up in and around Toronto and it's surrounding suburbs.

*Original Location: Toronto.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I was in a rock band as a teen-ager in the 1980's. When that little fantasy subsided, I joined a band called "The Impaled" which later changed it's name to "Capital i". We were a trio, and we hung our instruments off of a large scaffolding structure. There were keyboards, drums, drum pads, cymbals, and various other noise-making things dangling off of this thing. "Capital i" attracted a small following around Toronto, but eventually disbanded when I moved away to college, where I started spending time with Gerald Belanger, who ran the radio station at the college. When we left college, DOVe was born. And, we wanted to release some of our own material anonymously on our burgeoning new label.

*History: We worked together between 1989 and 1992, or so. Because we were also running DOVe, G-Whiz was not always a priority. We had been selling lots of Digital Poodle and Zoviet France CD's, and we spent alot of time running around Toronto, responding to mail orders, and heaving lots of shipments to the post office. Occasionally, we'd take trips to Montréal to convince shops there to consign our stuff. For better or for worse, Nubile G. And The Spurious Whiz took a back seat to all of this work. It was an exciting time.

*Born: I was born in Toronto. I think Gerald was born in Québec, but I can't remember.

*Motivations: At the time, we were interested in making and releasing some innovative music for the DOVe. We were very interested in selling music, and becoming hugely successful. It didn't work, really. But "Your Jolly Giant" did manage to make #1 in the former Yugoslavia, right before the entire country disintegrated. We're still not sure about whether that song actually caused the collapse of Yugoslavia, but I'm sure it had at least some influence. When a song like that goes to #1, then you'd better start running for shelter. Civil war is imminent. Expect a province or two to break away and transform themselves into independent states. Also: it's futile to try and recover royalties from countries that don't exist anymore. Don't try.

*Philosophy: We wanted our music to be described as "entertainment". We wanted it to be innovative, funny, shocking, and dancable. I don't think we wanted it to be "philosophical", although perhaps it was inadvertently. Some of our later material took on a bit of a political bent.

*How would you like to be remembered: I hope that people can see the humour in it. When we were recording the stuff, we were typically laughing hysterically. After our first attempt to record "Your Jolly Giant", we left the studio, and listened to it in the car. We were exhausted, and ended up laughing so hard we cried. We loved the sample of Arnold Schwartzenegger saying "And now your body is ready for the major pump!"

*Web address: The web didn't really exist when we disbanded, so we don't really have one.