Saturday, October 27, 2007



Soundhog is Ben Hayes, from North Wales. He's a mashup artist, though he leans (strongly) towards calling it "bastard pop," and by the sounds of things, at his myspace page, would probably prefer that you didn't talk to him about any of it, at all. Ever. This puts me in a bit of a spot, as I'm actually pretty excited to be presenting his Q&A here, as I'm a fan of his work as a bastard pop artist. Just another star of the genre who has moved on, I guess. Luckily, he's left us with a few gems.

His alter-alter ego, by the way, is The Freelance Hairdresser, and his other projects include an online radio program (don't call it a podcast), called Radio Soundhog. He's also a recording artist, in a "electronic experimental supergroup" called Tauchsieder, which put out a CD in 2007.

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

*Name: Soundhog

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Soundhog is the name I use for most of the normal bootlegs, long mixes and remixes. Less 'serious' tracks were done under the 'Freelance Hairdresser' banner (which are the ones that usually got all the attention - pah...) and I've also been part of a project known as "Tauchsieder" with a CD that came out in 2007 (and nobody knew about), but that was original stuff and as such probably outside the scope of this feature. Shame, 'cos it's really good.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Soundhog and Freelance Hairdresser are just me. My friend Stuart Mclean (who used to do bootlegs as 'Frenchbloke') did a couple of early Hairdresser tracks before I grabbed the project with both hands, and was also a member of Tauchsieder.

*Members: Ben Hayes. I used to try and keep an air of mystery about it, but there's not much point these days. Hello.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: If I had to choose, then the first two (depending on the material - I've done all sorts over the years). I'm a pretty damn good DJ, but I'm not very well versed in the turntablism art - I love my record collection too much to get them covered in fingerprints and wear them out around the first beat. I'm starting to practice though... I've already ruined part of one of my original Bonzo Dog Band albums from continuous back-cueing... dammit... I think I'll go back to CDJs (Cue gasps from a shocked audience).

*Another genre descriptor: Not really. I really, really dislike the term 'm*shups' - I hate the look and sound of the word, plus it's been hijacked by all sorts of talentless idiots in recent times - so bootlegs/bastard-pop will usually do for me.

*Is there a story behind your name? Soundhog was a brand of budget cassette tape that was quite popular in the UK during the 1970's, a product of the EMI company. I happened to have one lying around when I was creating my first tracks of this ilk, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

*Location: North-East Wales. Lived here all my life. There's virtually no culture when it comes to music around here, so for once the internet was a saving grace. I was also well away from the epicentre of the bootleg 'scene' when it had it's brief moment of glory in the early 2000s, which was a blessing and a curse in equal measures, I suppose.

*What is your creative/artistic background: I was messing about with tape loops and edits in the late '70s when I was about 8 years old, after reading an article by Ron Geesin (Scottish maverick producer and sonic artist - best known for scoring Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother and doing the soundtrack from "The Body" with Roger Waters, but that's just one tip of his particular iceberg). In the early '80s I used to make up my own extended and short edits of various tracks, usually using a deftly wielded finger on the pause button of whatever cassette recorder came to hand. I'd combine these techniques with a home-built sampler running on an Atari 800 in the mid 1980s, and there are some very odd tracks lying on various tapes as a result. I produced a few soundtracks for C64 games in the late '80s (and programmed a couple of games as well), and had a brief stab at creating dance music on an Amiga A500 a couple of years later. I had lots of interest from various labels but nothing ever came of it. I got back into music, and specifically bastard-pop, after hearing the first couple of Girls On Top 7"s by chance - six years or so later, I'm still clinging on by my fingertips to the idea that I've got something worthwhile to offer.

*History: Sort of answered above, but there are examples I did of what would come to be termed 'bootlegs' dating back to the early 1990's. The ideas were there, but the quality was poor due to the limits of the stuff I was working with. The first fruits of the Soundhog 'project' came in late 2001.

*Born: Late 1971, and a few miles from where I'm sitting right now. I'm not the oldest person to do this kinda stuff, though. Oh, dearie me no...

*Motivations: Initially for fun, later to try and break out of a stifling and dull 'scene', recently just to prove a point. Or something. I only do something when I feel the creative need to, which is probably why I come up with very little these days. The days when I could sit down and knock out three ideas a night are long gone. When doing Radio Soundhog 6, it was getting to the point where I'd be coming up with 20 seconds of audio in a six hour period - details are very important to me, even though hardly anybody hears them. I shouldn't knock the old bootleg movement so much I suppose, as without it I'd never be known outside my own front door, but it's hard not to these days (although even when I started getting into it, I was shocked by the amount of crap floating about). I get particularly annoyed when people try to say it's got a 'punk' spirit, or that it's subversive in some way. People who say things like that wouldn't know something truly subversive if it punched them in the face and then kicked them in the genitals. There needs to be more of that, if you ask me... I should have known what I was dealing with long ago. Spend days on a perfectly crafted mixtape and nobody cares. Spend 5 minutes slapping an Eminem vocal over an old ragtime piano track and it's all over the world before you can say "what the...?" There's a lesson in there somewhere. I still do the odd thing these days, recently I've been re-editing a few UK psych and progressive tracks from the late '60s, and occasionally I'll take it upon myself to remix a track that I particularly like. Pretty much just for my own amusement... and without the original artist knowing, of course. Old habits die hard.

*Philosophy: I have no idea. When I got into all this, it was a case of "hang on, I've been doing this for years" and it was like some people had finally ‘got it.’ Once I got away from the basic 'stick a vocal over someone else's music' approach, I was able to mix up all sorts of the weird and wonderful music from the last 50 years, and put it into a format that I hoped people could digest and connect to. I want people to hear how good some Peruvian progressive rock from 1970 is, even if the only way to do that is to have it as a 10 second section in a one hour mix just before a Supremes vocal comes in. I don't bash out shoddy 'A+B' stuff to play to 25 people at the local youth centre, or to get mentioned in some obscure newspaper that nobody actually gives a sh** about - unlike the majority of the 'm*sh-up' scene these days. When things get down to their lowest level, the thick mainstream can 'get it', which is fine if you just want to score ego-points by being played on some backwater radio station or being mentioned in the B'diddly-Boing Evening Herald's "Panty-Sh** List,” but it doesn't make for decent music for those who care about such things. It's four years since making 'bootlegs' was in any way revolutionary or interesting. Occasionally I'll still hear something that's fun for five minutes, but the emphasis is on 'occasionally.’ I apply the same standards to all forms of music. If it's good, it's good. If it's crap, it's crap.

*How would you like to be remembered: As a grumpy, opinionated bastard who actually knew what he was doing. I'm a dead nice person in reality, but I've just got no time whatsoever for bullsh** when it comes to music...

*Web address:

Episode 190, Some Assembly Required

Episode 190, Some Assembly Required

01 Radar – “Radar frees Tibet (Gasho mix)”
02 Ben Double M – “Abacab Faint”
03 Matt Mikas – “Divination #8”
04 Wes Nisker – “Untitled (A Decade in Your Ear)”
05 B'O'K – “Not Enough Oil”
06 David Shea – “Untitled (Let's Entertain)”
07 rachMiel - “Twilight Zone”
08 Tigerbluemusic – “A Boundless Zephyr”
09 Deck Demons - “Rip That Beat”
10 Double Dee & Steinski – “Lesson 3 (The History Of Hip Hop)”
11 Lecture On Nothing – “Country But”
12 Cassetteboy – “Tr389 Shl82 Tr380”
13 Soundhog – “Bad Grey Rocker Girls”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Episode 55, Some Assembly Required

Episode 55, Some Assembly Required

01 Realistic - “Trademark mess”
02 Davide Shea - “Cartoon for Scott Bradley”
03 PLS_WDTH - “Fly. like eagle”
04 Kristine H. Burns - “Somewhere...”
05 People Like Us - “World of stereo”
06 The Bran Flakes - “Hi-fi”
07 V/VM - “Take my beef away”
08 Myeck Waters - “Sex ‘n drugs ‘n elves”
09 Wobbly - “Use a bit”
10 Project Data Control - “Genesis”
11 Donna Summer - “Possibly useless”
12 Splatt - “Noone sings like you anymore”
13 The Overneath - “The Ec$ta$y of Lar$”
14 Mr. Dibbs - “Delta bound?”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

RX Music

RX Music

RX is one of the few remaining sound collage artists who still feels compelled to withhold his identity from the public at large. Even when interviewing him on the phone a few months back, when I asked him what his real name was, and where he lived, he said that he was homeless and that I could call him "RX."

There was a time when more collage artists hid their identities, thanks to a general feeling of anxiety, with regards to too much attention being paid to the "illegal" nature of so much of what is being done in the realm of sound collage. These days, it's a subject which doesn't even necessarily come up in the interviews I do anymore. Aside from a few very publicized cease and desist letters, and only one or two actual lawsuits, there really hasn't been that much to show for all the concern, and most artists these days are just going by their actual names.

All that said, I suppose it's worth pointing out that RX Music has one extra reason for feeling worried about letting the world know his true identity, and that's the fact that the primary target of his political cut-ups is the current President of the United States. With extremely few exceptions, that voice alone has been the focus of each of his intricately edited sound collages. That might be a good reason to hide who you are, even in a country where we're proud to say how free we are to criticize even our most powerful public office.

Largely utilizing a web resource called the George W Bush Public Domain Audio Archive, RX Music has put together an impressive body of work, largely defined by some amazing cover versions of popular songs which have been recreated in the voice of the 43rd US President. GW Bush would do well to never let himself be recorded singing U2's protest song, "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and anyway, he doesn't have to, as RX Music has created a mockup of what it might sound like, if he did. It's brilliant, and there are many more tracks just like it at his website, along with videos of much of the work as well.

What follows is one of the shortest Q&A's we've posted to date, but if you want to learn more about RX Music, you can hear my interview with him online. In addition to a short feature on politically charged cut-up tracks, episode 189 features my phone interview with RX Music and a half dozen tracks by the artist. Check it out HERE.

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

*Name: RX Music

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: There are 2 projects. The polisci stuff is thepartyparty. The real me stuff is (me)™. As far as I know, the names are rx, thepartyparty, and rx2008 (youtube).

*Do you use a pseudonym? No doubt.

*Members: Thepartyparty is me, with input from assorted others. (me)™ is me, nik, and assorted others.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Digital deconstructions has a nice ring to it.

*Another genre descriptor: Poliscifi.

*Why you use this descriptor: Polisci + lofi.

*Location: NYC

*Original Location: Long Island.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Guitar.

*History: A very long time.

*Born: 1969, Long Island.

*Motivations: Conscience. And greed.

*Philosophy: Mutually assured destruction is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

*How would you like to be remembered: Is that a hint?

*Web address:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Episode 189, Some Assembly Required

Episode 189, Some Assembly Required
(featuring an interview with RX Music)

01 RX Music – “White lines”
02 Steinski and Mass Media – “It's Up To You (Television Mix)”
03 Steev Hise – “Nexus 6”
04 The Bots – “Bushwack”
05 Wax Audio – “A Day Of Horror”
06 RX Music – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
07 RX Music – “Dick Is a Killer”
08 RX Music – “My generation”
09 RX Music – “My name is Rx”
10 Evolution Control Committee – “Bush speech (corrected - part 1)”
11 RX Music – “Imagine/Walk on the wild side”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

DJ Cal

DJ Cal

DJ Cal is a Swedish mashup artist, video game sound technician and musician whose mashups are well known on the world wide web. He's one of my favorite mashup artists, even though he's not currently making any new ones, because his work is often quite different from the majority of the mashups we hear on Some Assembly Required. For instance, he isn't afraid to mash two ballads, resulting in what I've found to be the very rare mellow bastard pop track. It may not motivate a dance floor, but they can be brilliant, none the less...

He's name dropped everywhere online, but there's very little real in-depth info to be found, making this post all the more valuable! Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with DJ Cal...

*Name: DJ Cal is the name I use when making mashups. However, Robootlegs is the name of my site.

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: That would be my real name then, Calle Hansson.

*Members: Only me, myself and I.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: That would absolutely be digital decontruction. Everything I've made is done exclusively using SoundForge. No Acid, Cubase ProTools or other multi channel software is used. All mixing and mashing is made using destructive editing and extreme planning in my head.

*Is there a story behind your name? Uhm. it's just a shorter version of my real name really. No fancy thoughts there. And DJ? Uhm, I'm really not a DJ in the traditional sense, but it sounded cool at the moment I felt that I needed a handle. The site Robootlegs comes from an old signature I used when using the GYBO site. I used to write DJ Cal - Robootlegs in disguise. This referring to Transformers - Robots in disguise.

*Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

*What is your creative/artistic background: I've worked as a professional sound technician in the computer games industry for seven years. After working for Digital Illusions (making sound for Midtown Madness 3 and Rallisport 2 for Xbox) for three years, I went back to school again. I've studied music recording, analog and digital mixing, songwriting and a hell of a lot more in the sound and music department. Right now I'm working as an Audio Director at a company that produces games for education, commercials or soon for Xbox Live Arcade.

*History: I made bootlegs for about three years on and off.

*Born: I'm born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden.

*Motivations: Music is what I live for. I listen to music basically as often as I can. Very often I hear mashups in my head when listening to music. Vocals that would fit over another backing track or vice versa. After that is both fun and a challenge to see if I was right or not.

*Philosophy: In key, in tempo. That is what I've always struggled for. I don't care much for rap-bootlegs since anyone can slap a rap acapella over any backing track or drum loop and come up with what they call a mashup. I want the listener to perceive the bootleg as a standalone version i.e a new song that works for itself rather than a half clever tune that works most of the time but in some places feels forced.

*How would you like to be remembered: It's a tough question. I really don't aim for fame. I appreciate when people like my work but I have no ambition to become a legend in any way. My kids and doing a good job are my priorities at the moment.

*Web address:

Episode 188, Some Assembly Required

Episode 188, Some Assembly Required

01 Go Home Productions – “Triple Rhythm Stick”
02 X-ecutioners – “X-ecutioners Scratch”
03 Steve Fisk – “Holiday”
04 Sucking Chest Wound - “Business Is Business”
05 DJ Cal (Calle Hansson) – “Wicked Whatever”
06 John Oswald – “Brazilianaires Theme”
07 C. Marclay, G. Muller – “Vitalium”
08 Scratch Perverts - “Course of action”
09 Wax Audio – “Howard Killed”
10 Forty One - “The Pink Panther goes to town”
11 The Bran Flakes – “Fun Land Five”
12 McSleazy - “No Looking Down”
13 Cecil Touchon – “Massurrealist Meditation #3”
14 B'O'K – “Breaking Windows”
15 Soundry Courter – “Ready 2 Die”
16 Alex C - “A Third Of Beasthoven”

Use this address, for your pod software:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Droplift Project

The Droplift Project

Tim Maloney spearheaded this project, instigated by a few and fleshed out by many different collage artists, from a variety of backgrounds. Richard Holland coined the term, and stAllio! even recently put out a new album purporting to be "Droplift II," although if there was an actual sequel to the project, it was the disc, "Free Speech For Sale," which was released a couple of years later.

The Droplift Project was officially launched in July of 2000, after years of preparation. All participants, and more than just a few supporters (primarily in the US and Europe), snuck copies of the CD into big name record stores such as Best Buy, and performed an act which was the opposite of shoplifting. Instead of removing product from the shelves of these chain stores, they left brand new, shrink wrapped copies of "The Droplift Project" in the racks, filed under "D," of course.

As a participant in this project, I personally left several copies in about a half dozen different record stores in the Twin Cities area. I wrote all about it to the message board at the Droplift site, and a writer for Flakmag picked up on those comments as the basis for a nice introduction to the project...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Tim Maloney, on behalf of The Droplift Project...

The Droplift Project

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Nope.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Droplift was made by a number of artists all unified by their membership on an email discussion list dedicated to discussion of Negativland called "Snuggles." Each of the artists may or may not have used pseudonyms (or even a variety of them) at any given time. But "Snuggles" is definitely the uniting factor.

*Members: There are 21 tracks on the disc, and a few more available on the website that probably SHOULD have been added.

*Founding Members: The project came together so slowly and organically... I was the nominal ringleader in that I collected money, authored the disc, and coordinated the effort. I guess you could say I took care of most of the "real world" factors involved in the project. But conceptually, musically, and artistically the project is the work of many minds. I refer you to for more info! It is all ruthlessly detailed there. In addition, the site has all the tracks as mp3s and even the cover art as downloadable pdfs. Grab it all and burn your own - Droplift has always been in the public domain.

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Most of the work on the disc seems to be of the "digital deconstruction" variety. Droplift came together in July of 2000 - before that we had been discussing the project for almost three years on the list. During that time the big issues were the collapse of Napster and the emerging efforts of the RIAA to classify everything as piracy. Coupled with the development of digital tools that made audio editing even easier, many of the Droplift artists found themselves creating work that explored those themes and practices. Most all of the tracks feature copyrighted materials cut and recut in a variety of ways. It was part of our concept that this disc should originate from materials in our popular culture, be rearranged and transformed, then reinjected into that same culture.

*Another genre descriptor: The variety of expressions and styles on the disc makes any descriptor difficult. There is everything from cover song to mash-up to straight-up noise. There's good and bad, and few people agree on which is which.

*Location: Droplift participants were international! Most were from the U.S., but we had a sizeable European contingent as well. Because of the nature of the mailing list, people from all over could participate.

*Original Location: See above.

*What is your creative/artistic background: There were no questions asked on the Droplift disc. In fact, there was no method for selecting tracks. If you were interested, you paid into the project and you got a certain amount of time. I think it was around 3:30 in the end. Enough to fill a CD. The money went towards pressing the disc and mailing the copies to everyone - including special Droplifting-only agents who did not contribute to the disc but merely droplifted it. So, there are a variety of backgrounds presented here. I think some of the tracks were the first efforts by some. Others were regular cut-and-paste veterans. Try to see if you can guess which is which. Actually, don't do that; it's a pointless waste of time because I don't think anyone knows what the answers are.

*History: Droplift was a one-off. Years later some of the same people contributed to a second "Snuggles" project - this one called "Free Speech for Sale." It was also droplifted, but it was not organized by me, and it should be considered a separate project. Not because I'm trying to separate myself from FSFS, mind you - I contributed to that as well, and supported it enthusiastically. When we did FSFS we all realized that it was not going to be a "Droplift II" or anything like that. Years later than FSFS and we on the list would like to come up with a new project. But we have not, so far, and no one has stepped forward to shepherd a new work. Putting out a CD seems, like it should for the music industry, to be less effective than it once was. There seem to be lots of new avenues for distribution and lots of new ideas. "Droplifting" has become a regular practice in Europe. I know of some French artists who make a regular sport of it, and futurists in London have interviewed me about what they call "shopdropping" as a kind of anti-corporate practice.

*Born: No idea about any of this! "Snuggles" members are deliberately obscure. Most of us do not know each other's proper names unless we use them regularly. It's odd, but there seems to be a trend amongst people of a certain age not to use their real names or personas. Those who seem to have been influenced by the Subgenius, the Neoists, the Art Strikers, Stuart Home, et. al., tend to create deliberately bizarre pseudonyms that mostly seem like supernatural creatures, powerful and slightly evil corporations or really weird robots more than musicians. It seems very much the opposite of the mainstream music business, where the persona of the pop idol is crafted to seem like a real desirable person.

*Motivations: "Snuggles" member are all freaks. There is simply no way of understanding why they do what they do, except my favorite explanation these days, and that is some kind of brain damage.

*Philosophy: Now THAT is a question I can answer. The concept of The Droplift Project is deceptively simple. 20 or so audio collage artists take, cut-up, reassemble, and reuse whatever they receive from the world of sound and reinject it back into the culture by "droplifting" CD's. This term, coined by Richard Holland, was named to reflect the opposite of shoplifting: the operator sneaks a CD INTO a store and leaves it in a bin for someone to purchase. It is effectively "jamming" the corporate structure that dominates the way we consume music. To add another layer of fun, most of the tracks of the CD have some thematic relation to this same premise, either by cutting up/distorting/detourning popular music or by "electroquoting," to use John Oswald's term - using recognizable pieces of audio in the midst of an otherwise different composition. Most of the participants in the Droplift Project would never be able to have their music heard otherwise. Regardless of how it sounds, even, no label would publish it. No music producer would touch it. And this would have nothing to do with sound or art or the experience of listening to the CD. It's purely a legal/financial consideration – something the Droplifters felt should not intrude in the world of music. Most importantly, by planting these cuckoo eggs into the bins at regular chain stores, the hope was that the consumer, now put in contact with the work of such "radicals" may not know the difference, and may select Droplift and enjoy it for what it is - music. What we did was to steal real estate. We heard from a number of people who actually DID buy the disc. Their experiences are still on the website, I believe. We didn't have enough money to really destroy the music industry, by the way. Droplift was a tiny drop in the bucket in terms of practical effect on the entire corporate music industry. But it was a damn good art project, and gave lots of people something to talk about for quite awhile. And it was an entirely uncommodifiable art project - at least from the standpoint of the artists. We couldn't possibly make any money from it, we gave them all away! My understanding is that some chain stores did benefit from it, however, as they charged some consumers for the disc (although some simply gave it away when they found no barcode on it and it wasn't in the computer system).

*How would you like to be remembered: With Droplift the concept was strong enough that I would hope it is remembered before any of the participants. If the CD market had not died so badly it would still be a pertinent statement about the corporate control of music and the lack of respect for an artist's rights to transformatively reuse materials that originate from existing recordings. Although collage has long been a staple of fine art production, the music industry (and now, increasingly, the MPAA) have been involved in an absurdly greedy game of bullying everyone who wants to use the music they've already paid for.

*Web address:

Episode 187, Some Assembly Required

Episode 187, Some Assembly Required

01 Soundhog – “A Day In Tracy's Life”
02 Negativland – “Michael Jackson”
03 Speaker Freaker – “Christian Collateral Damage”
04 DJ Schmolli – “Luxurious Diana”
05 The Evolution Control Committee – “Kill me”
06 Invisibl Skratch Piklz – “Word Cut Skratch”
07 Donna Summer – “dreize cassette”
08 Kool DJ E.Q. – “Hide Your Wrecords When We Come Through”
09 The Bran Flakes – “Speak To Me Through Your Shoes”
10 Stop Children – “To The Fullest Extent Of The Law”
11 Steve Janke/Black Dad – “My Bway”
12 Wobbly – “Saxgag”
12 Arty Fufkin - “All I Need's A Smile”
13 Think Tank - “Unrealpolitik”

Use this address, for your pod software:

James Tenney

James Tenney

I often refer to James Tenney's collage compositions, when referring to the fact that artists have been sampling pop music since the very beginnings of pop music. Tenney worked on "Collage #1 (Blue Suede)" in an electronic music studio at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) in 1961, just five years after the release of “Blue Suede Shoes,” the Elvis Presley record which gets sampled in the piece.

Another Tenney collage is a bit longer, and composed a bit later (in 1967). "Collage #2 (Viet Flakes)" is also the soundtrack to a film of the same name, by Carolee Schneemann. The film is a collage of violent images from the Vietnam War, while Tenney’s composition collages bits of audio from sources such as Vietnamese and Classical music, along with American Pop music.

Tenney was an extremely respected experimental composer and music theorist (he passed away in 2006). He was an author and a teacher, and performed with many artists, including Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The bulk of his work has very little to do with collage, though of course that's the aspect of his career that we've focused on here, at Some Assembly Required. Thanks to Gayle Young, at Musicworks, for her help with this feature on Tenney, along with websites such as
The Canadian Encyclopedia and Wikipedia, of course...

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with James Tenney (as answered by myself and Gayle Young)...

James Tenney

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Both Blue Suede and Viet Flakes were created with magnetic tape editing techniques, cutting and splicing. The works juxtapose and combine pre-existing (and often familiar) sounds and excerpts of songs. These two pieces stand out from Tenney’s other compositions, which were largely instrumental or used computer-generated sound. They show his interest in popular music and, in the case of Viet Flakes, his interest in interdisciplinary art forms—the piece was originally the sound component of a performance piece by Carolee Schneeman.

*Another genre descriptor: Electroacoustic Music, New Music, Stochastic Music, Computer Music…

*Why you use this descriptor: Stochastic elements, in music, are randomly generated elements, created by mathematical processes…

*Creative/artistic background: Tenney’s work deals with perception, just intonation, stochastic elements, information theory and arch form, which he referred to as “swell.” He studied information theory under Lejaren Hiller and composed stochastic early computer music, eventually becoming very focused on writing for instruments, utilizing tape delay and alternative tunings. He performed with John Cage, and with the ensembles of Harry Partch, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. In the sixties, he worked with Max Mathews at Bell Telephone Laboratories, developing programs for computer sound-generation and composition. An entire issue of of the academic journal, Perspectives of New Music, was devoted to his music, in 1987.

*History: Tenney was born in Silver City, New Mexico and grew up in Arizona and Colorado. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music, Bennington College and the University of Illinois. He studied piano with Eduard Steuermann and composition with Chou Wen-chung, Lionel Nowak, Dorothy Taubman, Paul Boepple, Henry Brant, Carl Ruggles, Kenneth Gaburo, Lejaren Hiller, John Cage, Harry Partch and Edgard Varese. He taught at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, the California Institute of the Arts, the University of California and York University in Toronto. Tenney died in 2006 in Valencia, California.

*Born: August 10, 1934.

*How would you like to be remembered: Tenney will be remembered as an influential music theorist, and composer.

*Web address: