|Year Five (Episodes 185-234)
Episode 185: The Button: Live
Sessions Take 1 (01/07/2001): (Full Staffed) The Button will be playing
their first live show next weekend in Columbus, OH. This is our
first attempt at putting our material together in front of a live audience.
This radio show consisted of our first ever rehearsal sessions to be
broadcast on the air. There was very little improvisation, as most of
the material is rehearsed and based on cues. There were many mistakes,
retakes, missed-cues, and alternate versions of our own songs until
we found what gelled better. Also, a very amusing highlight was Paul
Ryan breaking out into a coughing fit while doing a fake Mormon's commercial.
Show began and ended with a new Button industrial-dance song called
"Feima Built My Hotrod." We needed the filler to rewire the entire main
broadcast studio so we could pull off what we needed to do live.
Episode 200: Cold War Part 1 (04/30/2001): (Full Staffed) This production was an outstandingly well done collage of old fallout shelter videos, cold war films, confused live phone callers, and little sample communication between Planet of the Apes & Beneath the Planet of the Apes (which was outright hysterical at times, not to mention ironic.) Instructions on how to properly use a bomb shelter, duck and cover, and retaliate against intruders are all provided in great detail -- in collage of course. This was somewhat of a continuation on what started in our first hour last week, but with greater direction and preparation. The collage was thick, with all three of us using samples, but not as dense as you might think...one of the reasons I praise this particular episode is that it shows how much we've matured in terms of timing ourselves, as well as being creatively selective. This built a better listening environment, and increased the chances of better "intentional coincidences" happening. Additionally appealing to me was the thorough channel separation throughout the program. Hardly anything heard in the left ear mirror the material in the right ear, though seldom did you hear things in both at the same time, allowing for an easier listening experience. Admittedly, despite how hard we tried to time ourselves, it was more dense than our average shows, so it's not for everyone.
Episode 201: Cold War Part 2 (05/06/2001): (Full Staffed) To celebrate this the 200th episode (technically the 201st, but we decided to celebrate it this week), Darrick Servis, West Coaster, art car aficionado and audio artist extraordinatour, showed up at the station during Press The Button’s atomic crisis to lead us to the escape path from total nuclear annihilation: Just go into space! Either as tourist or as working astronaut, John Glenn and Dennis Tito butted heads with the nuclear explosions from dozens of public service announcements and movies from the darkest days of the Cold War raging below us and China, who we called Red China, pressed our buttons in Korea, ravaging banditos from the North to attack the simple, almost likable, peasants in the South, or so said Sam Spade Soundalikes and The Green Hornet, all mashed together, as if on the same windshield. By the third hour, the radiation sickness just got to be too much [they said it was only supposed to last two weeks!] and musical elements started mutating from nowhere, Every Scatting, Dr. Asbestos Scratching, Darrick Beat Boxing, and Paul Ryan Humming out a nameless little tune while the farmers were alarmed, Peter Jennings was bemused, and I could had sworn that David Spade kept saying ‘collage’, over and over again, to the beatz, to the callers, all over the damn place, like that radioactive dust all over your clothing.
Episode 202: Ho-Down Of The Century (05/13/2001): (Full Staffed) Could you believe that we, Press the Button, had not yet done a tribute to the King of Late Nite Weirdness, Conan O’Brien? We couldn’t either, so we did. Set to the soundtrack of their very own Max Weinberg Seven , the Tall Gawky One was babbling like a monkey, lunging from topic to topic like lunging someone we know at Alyssa Milano. Guest artists jammed, Conan did Leno impersonations, and Max just couldn’t seem to get the pronunciation of ‘ABBA’ quite right, no matter how hard he tried! Listen for the culminating beat box trip hop ‘Conan Verbalization-O-Rama’ where every non-word sound effect that Conan makes, up to an including his ‘Robert Wagner on the Party-Line’, is jammed, rhythmically speaking, in ways nobody thought possible! With Special Guests: A Laughing Mr. T, a Mime, an Ear of Corn, and a Gorilla in Bishop’s Robes, and The Spirit of the Comedic High Road, who totally loses it and calls Conan bad, bad names.
05/20/2001 - NO NEW SHOW DUE TO STUDIO PROBLEMS - Re-run of our Phish remix show.
Episode 203: Vanna, Can I Buy a Bowel? (05/27/01): (every man & Paul Ryan) Round and round the wheel goes, and when it gets sampled, nobody knows. Violating a quarantine order at the station, Paul Ryan and every man snuck in to the studios letting letters drop left and right, buying vowels, consonants, and solving puzzles Pat Sajak specifically told us not to. It got so bad at one point, after Paul yanked on the wheel so hard that it spun for nearly 5 minutes, Vanna got pissy and started talking to us like a learning disabled child who’d just found the Pudding Pop. Vowels were worth nothing, and each consonant was worth a million laughs as various contestant vainly tried to request letters that Pat would have nothing to do with, instead suggesting letters of his own. Finally the fumes got the better of us all, the wheel spun away off to infinity, new categories sprang up all over the place like mushrooms, and some contestant spelled ‘s-h- I-t’, making it a full day for all concerned. (Vanna: ‘Very Good!’)
Episode 204: A Sporting Chance (06/04/01): (Full Staffed) An email from a fan who was dead on: "I liked the introduction, explaining you were performing an artistic collage of sports programming, and instructing the callers to call in only with sports samples. I also liked the fact that less popular sports were used. The commentators seemed to show a different attitude towards their sports, and more of an appreciation for the skills required of the players, without emphasizing the importance of winning. In the second hour, you were right in saying that sports are among the least artistic topics to deal with as well as difficult to shape and mold into something more creative...these comments made me admire the content instead of reject it for the stereotypical testosterone association it had. You've taken up this challenge and attempted to create a new perspective of these sports, which was quite artistic of you. The second hour seemed to reflect a lot of excitement and enthusiasm that sports seem to evoke from people. It especially reminded me of all the fans who take sports way too seriously, and only focus on the win/lost aspect. Using different samples to make a sort of music was very creative. The second half of this hour had an eerie, ominous feel to it. In the third hour, the violence of some sports seemed to be the idea; the violence towards opponents as well as some self-abuse either in in their chosen sport or in training. I liked the fishing thing in the last 15 minutes, where you guys improvised dialogue while sailing on the fake reservoir, catching fish while being interrupted by a blue painted Ronald Reagan on a jet ski--who apparently looked like Sesame Street's Grover to every man. Some of the improv was hysterically funny, while other sections were just plain absurd. It's been awhile since you guys talked on your show, it was a refreshing ending to a well done performance."
Episode 205: Science Faire (06/11/01): (Full Staffed plus David Dixon, PHD) This was perhaps one of the most hysterical shows we've ever done to this date. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, [hours after the show aired] and special guest mad scientist David Dixon had, lying on the table, under a sheet, in front of us, a dreadful, fantastic, unbelievable monster SCIENCE SHOW! A switch was pulled, and it leapt to life! Children’s science programs writhed and crawled, Stephen Hawking burst in, did a doughnut in his wheelchair and started spewing expletives, in-between bouts of explaining entropy and the initial theories about black holes. Songs, whole songs [See, we told you this was weird] burst from all sorts of uncommon places, about the sun, about chemistry, geology, astronomy, physics, you name it. Every known song that had anything even remotely to do with science was played, purely for a change of pace from our usual unusualness. Yes, even Timbuk 3. One Particular show highlight: We played They Might Be Giants's version of "Why Does the Sun Shine?" along side with the original children's record version they covered; playing TMBG in the left ear, and the original version in the right ear. Worried callers ran about madly like villagers in a Frankenstein movie, looking for torches and trying to grab their sex pistols and ACTUALLY THROW THEIR RADIOS, all the while on the air. The stargazing guides eventually brought us back to earth where Napster Nuggets bounced and rolled by, as with an avalanche, bringing the show to an abrupt halt.
Episode 206: Words in C (06/18/01): (Full Staffed) Inspired by Terry Riley's classical composition effort entitled "In C", which was approximately a one hour long original orchestration done entirely in the key of C; we created an entire 3 hour found sound collage composition out of words in the key of C. Instead of using the words in terms of their context, we used them as musical notes. Each of us brought in a series of words, almost all of which were two syllable words, and varied in pitch. Some were feminine voices, others were deep low-voiced male advertising voice-overs. Keeping true to Terry Riley's composition, the very first note we hit, continued to repeat throughout the entire program without changing pitch. We used that as a base note to play against. The word, just for the curious, was "ban." The person saying the word was Peter Jennings, who sounded angry during the second hour for some reason. Odd psycho-acoustics would occur throughout the show as we continued to hear looping words in our left and right ears...at times we thought there were people behind us talking, or doorbells were ringing, or objects were falling. We found that when listening to the same spoken words in a continuous loop, NON-repetitive sounds or words would remain 300% more distinct than they normally would. The entire first hour was true to Riley's form in a purest sense, but don't go thinking we NEVER broke away from the intended convention. Indeed, sometimes we would pitch shift some words anyway, or chorus them, and constantly move them around from your left ear to your right ear and back....sometimes making notes go away, while bringing them back a half hour later. Some words were time stretched, while others were reverbed, delayed, and even thrown into 100% distortion. It wasn't the most listener interactive show we ever could have done, but was a truly unique approach for us, and certainly a new sound environment for the dedicated listener. Not all shows can (or should) be consistent to the others, artistically speaking, and we strongly feel this program succeeded in fulfilling its intentions. We are grateful to report we received two emails from listeners (one from Cleveland and one who heard us on the web) who complimented the trance-like originality it had. So it wasn't so much about context this week, though if you weren't aware of what we were doing, it may very well have given you an extremely intriguing message for sure.
Episode 207: A Show Called Show (06/25/01): (Full Staffed) Humbled by technical errors, the mythical ‘Jeopardy’ remains, to this day, mythical, though we thought we were making so much progress. Thinking that this was going to be the episode that we closed the cycle of elderly game shows, all appeared to be in readiness, then suddenly, somewhere within the computer banks at the Button Press headquarters deep in the heart of. . . well, you know where, a circuit went *pop, fizzle*, and suddenly, no Alex, no daily doubles, just Every, Paul Ryan , and the Good Doctor, and a little dog named. . . . Well, first the little dog was named Snuggles, as all the recent musical masterpieces from our brothers [and sisters] in arms at Snuggles made their way through the ether. This was to be followed by a protracted discussion about 60’s movies, spatulas, (green ones too big to lift) and a bathtub filled with Miller Lite. Somebody yelled, the callers wanted to know why the dog was named ‘Dog’, and ultimately came to the conclusion that they knew they were high, and that they were just trying to mess with them. Paul Ryan admitted that the Theory of the Pancultural Medium is actually based on the fact that Sherlock Holmes was not a real person and did not live in Milwaukee in 1983. Then everything started to get high again, including the UFO’s, including the life in the tub, and the rest of them just had their Walkmans on. Can't forget that Every spent 15 minutes insisting that Paul was a spatula, a green one at that.
Episode 208: Is Jeopardy! in Jeopardy? (07/02/01): (every man & Paul Ryan) After months of putting it off and weeks of intense editing the sound files, this show finally happened! Brought to you fully utilizing WRUW's new digital stereo mixing board and editing console, we presented a nice thick blend of Jeopardy! episodes, old and new, not excluding Rock & Roll Jeopardy!, Jep! (which is the kid's edition of Jeopardy!), and the Jeopardy! video game sound files, all 450 of them! Many times you'd hear contestants giving the right questions, only to hear Alex Trebek say "No, I'm sorry, that's wrong." Other times we'd hear the wrong questions, yet Alex would insist, "You're right, congratulations!" Some moments were rather eerie as we'd hear the various sound effect and musical elements of the Jeopardy! show fragmented and looped to create ambient soundscapes that Brian Eno would be proud of. A couple times we broke away from the theme to discuss with callers the fact that Paul Ryan is a giant green spatula while every man had difficulties with the upside down bathtub on his head. Things got a little crazy there for awhile, not to mention noisy, and having very little to do with Jeopardy! Of course, we eventually got back to the theme...despite our callers continuing along the lines of bong hits and green spatula-hood. We didn't mind, finding them a nice contrast to Alex Trebek's rather conservative game show voice. If you order this show, we'll include a prequel which never went on the air but was recorded in the production studio while we were hooking up our equipment. It was a hilarious and somewhat rare Q&A between Alex Trebek and a few all too devoted fans. Not sure why, but we never used this during the live broadcast.
Episode 209: Mystery Children's Theatre 3000 (07/09/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) This was by far our most listener interactive show to date, despite its heavy psychedelic directions. Vaguely similar to Mystery Science Theatre 3000, we mixed in parts of over a dozen recorded hours of a 10 year old girl reciting the words she memorized to all her favorite movies, including Beetlejuice, Clue, and all three Look Who's Talking films. We wonder...was our collaging THIS particular material true copyright infringement? Her voice was layered, with different sections of her audio in both the left and right channels, sometimes pitched differently, other times left alone. Her voice would spin around the room if your stereo speakers were far enough apart from one another while listening. Just when it began to get so trippy I could have sworn my own shoes walked across the room by themselves, we started getting bombarded with the most bizarre phone calls. Some of them were watching movies and making their own smart comments in vintage MST3K style. Others were obviously first time listeners, but bothered to not hang up for several minutes as they screamed "HELLO!" repeatedly. Then they started talking about pot and LSD for awhile, so we mixed in some of our own studio songs dealing with the same subjects. At one point they got really perverse, particularly this one woman who convincingly brought herself to several orgasms on the air! This was an ideal transition as we crossed over to the third hour of our show...for we learned the next DJ forgot to show up! On the bright side, this gave us an additional hour of programming, but only half that hour got taped. If anyone caught the last 30 minutes of this on tape, let us know!
Episode 210: Meditation Chronicles Part 1 (07/16/01):(every man, solo) They left me all by my lonesome this week. No fret, quite a bit was prepared. Out of this three hour show, about 2 hours of it was a pure live mix of Indian chants, yogic bells gonging slowly, panned in stereo, and very off-the-wall self-help spoken word getting mixed in...not sure how that happened. It was one of the most beautiful sounding things I've ever done, filled with harmonies, pitch shifting, and similar layers of unrelated meditative chanting melodies. Another hour was some interesting transition stuff. It wasn't an hour by itself, but an hour's worth of transitions happening during the live mix...some of it came from our "God the Devil, and J.R. "Bob" Dobbs" trilogy, some of it was Phineas Narco's "Midnight Voicejail," and other sections were just me doing a self-help, how to relax, how to lose weight, and how to meditate live mix, trying to spice things up with a bit of spoken word to contrast the the mostly sound-based Meditative sections.
Episode 211: Human Nature (Cries of Prejudice) (07/23/01):(every man, solo) Loosely based on material dealing with life during the turn of the 20th century, this was a super-heavily prepared for solo live mix addressing issues of African American slavery, Native American Indian preserves, Nazi Germany, old Cowboy and Indian tales, an in depth examination of the history of guns, Jewish persecution during World War II, and the effects the invention of electricity had on us all. Source materials included extremely old recordings of actual African American slaves describing their experiences, obscure songs about freedom, obscure songs about racism, political comedy pieces about immigration and prejudice, a two hour video I found about the history of gun usage in the Old West, traditional Native American Indian "folk songs", tradition African American drums and chants, a far more general video I found about the history of guns in the USA, various recordings about the Native American Indians losing their land, academic classroom lectures on the history of slavery of all kinds, more academic classroom lectures on the history of human ethics, a funny book on tape called "Give War a Chance" written by PJ O'Rourke, and finally, another lecture on the meaning of "Revolution." There was also a lot of stuff I used about the history of the USA, but only in brief snippets. There was more, but they were barely used or I just can't recall them. Overall, this was somewhat of a powerful tear jerking show, but presented a quite complete and in depth examination of "human nature."
Episode 212: Cleaning Up the Ashes (07/30/01) (Full Staffed + King Wilson & Dr. David Dixon) Fresh back from their wild, wooly, musical tour of the Midwestern states, (finally) the FULL STAFF returns to the Button studio that we call home, and we decided to bring some friends along. King P. (stands for ‘punctual’) Wilson, all the long way from Chi-town, and the redoubtable Dr. David Dixon (don’t call him ‘Dr. Dave’) from the very seat of higher learning called Marquette, exploded onto the radio waves with more laptops than you’d find in a Gateway Country store and 5, count’em 5 mixers. Some of which we even knew how to use. Dr. Dave (oops) answered the science questions the callers put to him, Every went into the pertinent details of the Burning Corn Music Festival, many of which will come out in the later trial, King and Dr. (‘just don’t call me Alphonse’) Asbestos poured out a thick bouillabaisse of yummy electronic goodness, and Paul Ryan kept interrupting with marches, polkas, bongos, and ‘Mousercise’, whatever the hell that is. Sounds erupted, scientific ethics got discussed, as did how to really burn CD’s. . . using a microwave (5 seconds, half power, not more) Paul Ryan and Every discussed Cheese and Pants Theater, and some girl kept calling, about something, but that too may also come out in the trial. In the words of every man: "One of our weirdest shows ever."
Episode 213: The Audio Family Album (08/06/01) (Full Staffed) Over 30 hours of family and friend tapes, many taken from ten year old 8 mm film, layered into a super three hour montage. We give you a trippy voyeuristic view into our past, our friends, and family, many of whom are no longer with us today. This was presented using heavy stereo separation, allowing for a total of four constant audio tracks....two per each channel, also giving us the freedom to immediately switch to 4 completely different tracks of family tapes on stand-by. Quite thick in concept, but pleasantly ambient in execution. This was a surprisingly immense pleasure to listen to, just for the mild psychedelic cacophony that ensued on both sides of our heads. Humor took the helm a few times as we heard our old friends referring to us by our given names during our college years, followed by hysterics as we heard every man inline skating through a rough downhill obstacle course. Without the video, the audio painted all sorts of interesting pictures in our heads. This never got to the point of resembling indecipherable crowd noise...rather at times it was more reminiscent of an intense and confused dream. So we share with you all these great gifts: our dearest memories.
Episode 214: Going to Mexico in a Time Machine (08/13/01) (Full Staffed) Someday, you have to repent. Everybody does. Even Press The Button. See, a long time ago, at a radio station far, far away, there were the prototypes of the radio madness that you hear today: ‘Transmit-O- Matic’, ‘The Vegetable Kingdom’, and a much younger Paul Ryan and every man [then called DJJ] doing all sorts of things, in the middle of the day, I might remind, on the radio, that simply couldn’t be done today. Like Sending Every on a trip with a Walkie-Talkie to Aliens breaking into a newspaper publisher’s Building with a Chainsaw after they leapt from a Spaceship christened ‘Fried’m Zone’’, or selling recording of the very broadcasts of the program, as it was being aired, naming both the price and the address to send your money to, on a nonprofit station, [side note from Paul Ryan; ‘During that time, I racked up so many infractions, that had I been caught, the fines would have been in the $4.5 million range’] or ‘Dead Air Radio’, or the ever popular sell off of the Country of Mexico for the low-low price of ‘Sews my Pants!’. Yes, that's right....'Sews my Pants!" was not a typo. You see, it was a different time then, and values were also different. But now is the time to reveal our sordid past to our adoring public, discuss, repent, and be better Radio Personalities for it. A crazed agglomeration of sound from the past, a full 3 ½ hours, too, through the trick to guess whether our number is 3682208, or 824-2261. Quite trippy in places, often humorous, and more often frightening. Note: the last 20 minutes were cut off, since our digital home recording equipment assumes we're off the air at 3 am, and never considers whether the next DJ is going to be late. We'll probably go more into that lost material next week.
Episode 215: Barnyard Animal Giveaway (08/20/01) (Full Staffed) A continuation from the radio show last week, offering a collage of the most popular sketches we did from the VERY earliest available Transmit-O-Matic recordings (we forgot a disc last week) up to the oldest ones from the WMCE days in Erie, PA when Paul Ryan and every man attended college together. This week featured more complete sketches and less narration on our part. It was also much more of a collage, too.
Episode 216: Burning Mixer / We Will, We Will, Wok You (08/27/01) (Paul Ryan and Dr. Asbestos) Once again, every man has escaped from our Utah compound to be last seen heading to Nevada with Nobody in an attempt to placate the natives on the playa where the Man Burns. Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Dr. Asbestos feel a little left out. So, since King Wilson isn’t here to chide us for recreating the wonderful uniqueness of the Burning Corn Button Bonanza, we did recreate our Burning Button Bonanza, complete with actual live drum circle, with live, actual drums played by a live actual drummer. Additionally, if King Wilson [who is truly a great guy] would be professionally peeved by a Burning Corn Re-Exhibition, then he’d really go to the moon over any of those Daft French Robots, in Pants. So we did. Rhythms caught, were hooked, and squeezed through our electronic sausage stuffers, making a dense, fat sound, rollicking through your speakers. Looking to make it denser and fatter, we brought out the accordions, bagpipes, dish bells and the “Wok of Ages”, a truly immense thing, [it’s like 8 feet across, hanging from this big Portobello stand] and Paul Ryan grabbed the mallet and wound up. Truly it was, the very sound of God’s Own Doorbell. But our complicated, all-digital mixer took one look at that input signal and said: “Oh, Goodness! That will never fit inside me, it’s too BIG!”, and fell away in a quantum faint. There’s a lot of resonance to that Wok, so it took a while for The Doctor and Paul to recover. You will notice our own 18 ½ minute gap. Soon enough, order was restored, and we did the pants dance again.
Episode 217: Tape At Home For Fun And Profit (09/03/01) (Paul Ryan and Dr. Asbestos) While every man remained at large, last seen with Nobody, Paul Ryan and Dr. Asbestos got back to the Orthodox roots of the whole Found Sound movement: Home Tapes. Where a much younger Dr. Asbestos reads Britannica’s world history timeline, [Benito Mussolooney?] and an equally youthful Paul Ryan takes his first steps as a broadcaster [as “Wilfred” (?) DJ’ing “The Song of the Five-Seconds”]. Meanwhile, teenaged girls catch up a grounded-for-the-entire-summer compatriot with all the latest gossip, plus the many trials and tribulations that is volleyball camp, Martha Stewart imitators attempt to describe teddy bear construction techniques: stuff the joint, insert the stick past the fur and into the slit all the way up to the balls, and so on. In the third hour, in tribute to the Grand Master of home taping, David Wills, Paul and the Good Doctor recreate every man’s very first interview with David, using the original questions. While the threads of the meta-conversation were a bit shaky to begin with, talking about the difficulty and danger in getting to space, and the Second Viking Conference, callers started to appear well into the third hour, throwing the direction of the show wildly askew; though we did finally determine once and for all that there is only One Mustache, the Goat in Space in fact controls The Cheese, and Alex Trebeck really is a Viking after all. A truly mind-blowing ending to a show that was a little bent to begin with.
Episode 218: Recycled Bicycle (09/10/01) (Full Staffed) Steve.
Episode 219: Burning Man 2001 - The Initiation (09/17/01) (Full Staffed) After returning from Black Rock City, Nevada, every man dispersed his field recordings among the Press The Button staff. Mind you, this year every man arrived at Burning Man several days earlier, left a day later, and was armed with digital (not analog like last year) recording devices. The outcome was an awesome collection of over 100 hours of Burning Man found sound, including a three hour radio show every man performed with Hollywood's very own "Nobody", who used to be a frequent guest host of ours when he lived in Chicago. Also noteworthy were a couple of improvisational stage performances (Dysfunctional Family Theatre) that every man did with a few members of his village. On tonight's radio show, we included a great deal of Burning Man beat poetry, fireside conversations, sounds of the heavy desert winds, drunk people, several stereo systems blasting electronica music, fire trucks, mobile theremin noisemakers, and endless amounts of walkie-talkie conversations. The collage was educational and entertaining for those who never made it out to the Burning Man event, and filled with good memories for those who have. In fact, most of those who attend always come back with completely different experiences because they all explore entirely unique directions. Despite all the content, we barely tapped into the source material, so you can safely assume we will perform a couple more Burning Man 2001 shows within the year.
Episode 220: Limited Time Offer (09/24/01) (Paul Ryan and every man) For some reason, Dr. Asbestos couldn’t reschedule his “House Beautiful Magazine” interview, so it was up to Paul Ryan and every man to pull the levers and press the buttons to crank out this week’s program. This Week: The infomercial. Just buy that house with no money down, or buy that 347-piece ratchet set, or “Diamonique”, whatever the hell that is. VERY CONTENT RICH! Perhaps the most heavily produced live show we did in our existence, and easily the most interactive! With over 30 hours of prepared material (most of it we went through and marked), this was sure to at least be one of our most surreal shows satirizing our modern (especially recently) consumer culture. We all should BUY BUY BUY and shoot that economy back up to Never Never Land where it once was.... Using 4 separate mixers and 5 processors, Charlton Hesston pitched his Holy Land audio books, and cookware, or perhaps cook wear, was being pitched at almost subliminal speeds. But what puts the show over the top was the callers. For 3 solid hours, the lines were lit up like a Christmas tree direct to you for only 9 easy payments of $19.95. People were dancing on other people, singing, playing guitars and drums, imitating sheep and airplanes, thickening the program almost like magic. A leaping, snorting, bucking bronco of a program.
Episode 221: Just Shoot Us! (10/01/01) (Paul Ryan and every man) Since it's such an ideal sitcom for sample-collage, given all of its one-liners that work their silliness and absurdities into your brain in, or OUT, of context -- not to mention all of the exaggerated personalities in the show, and the often starkly contrasting guest stars, we decided to cut-up and mix over a dozen episodes of "Just Shoot Me!" starring ex-Saturday Night Live member, David Spade (and probably other noteworthy people.) As surreal as it may sound to do this, it's not unprecedented. In September of 2000, Dr. Asbestos and Paul Ryan did something similar with Will & Grace, though for completely different reasons. It just seemed like a really great idea to collage a sitcom, and as popular as that show was/is...it remains one of the more obscure ones in terms of celebrity voice recognition. Sure, if you're a big fan, you'll recognize them in a flash....but your average passerby wouldn't recognize Grace from George Burns's "Gracie." That makes the show flow better, since the "average listener" won't be mentally interrupted with familiarity. This time, we just adored how easy it was to cut up all of the one-liners from "Just Shoot Me!" We adored all the more how fluid they were mixed together in practically any order...even for a whole three hours! We received half as many calls this week (compared to last) not that you could tell. They were having fun communicating with the samples for awhile, and then just kinda went surreal on us...in fact, I swear they were trying to culture jam the culture jamming. They started playing news recordings of local drugs busts that were 30 years old, and if that wasn't creepy enough, they would continue this onslaught for a good 45 minutes straight! It didn't dominate the audio content, maybe confused it for it bit....but didn't cause any harm, either. After all, three straight hours of NOTHING but "Just Shoot Me!" collages would probably make you take the title far more seriously than intended. The breaks in thematic content more intriguing and mind expanding, as opposed to relieving or necessary. We had a great deal of fun doing this one, and it showed....or rather, it "exclaimed" as mysterious voices were chuckling in the mud from time to time. We were mixing a sitcom after all, but it was difficult to tell what was more funny...the one-liners themselves, or our exploitation of the fact that "Just Shoot Me!" is entirely composed of them.
Episode 222: I Love Lucid (10/08/01) (Paul Ryan and every man) Paul Ryan and every man try their hand at some emotional engineering: Found sound collage easily lends itself to this kind of manipulation, and we intended to prove it. Simply put, we encouraged our listeners to fall asleep with their radios on, right from the very first hour of the show. What did you dream? Asking the listeners to get comfortable, relax, close their eyes and empty their minds, we attempted to refill them with thoughts of our own making. Soft sounds, from nature and the artificial world, meditations, wandering rhythms, soft suggestions and jumbled phrases percolated their way through our listeners' minds. Abrupt changes occurred on a random basis to stir the mental pot, and thunderous applause leapt in at the end to wake them so that they would remember. If you heard it, write to email@example.com with your experiences.Tthis is the first of a series of such dream related shows we plan to do in the future. Since we had a recording accident, we only have this show available in 56 kps mp3 format.
Episode 223: The Invisible Zen Chakras (10/15/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) A fan's email proclaimed this as "the most artistically accurate dreamlike radio show we've ever performed to date." Overwhelmed by such a compliment, we'' try to do our best here to document what exactly this particular show was trying to do. To build last week's theme, we wanted to create a listening environment that would send us, The Button, into a captivating trance-like artistic zone with no escape..a zone that we wouldn't actually be aware of until the show ends. We've thought about this for a long time throughout our many years of collecting found sound material, but only recently found a home for what used to be some of our more obscure findings. From athletic training tapes to healthy mind & spirit subliminal message programs, over time we've gathered a rather impressive collection of odd ball recordings, all with inconsistent themes, but also had one thing in common: the music and voice overs on these recordings sounded like they were coming from different dimensions. We're not sure if this was intentional, as in many cases this sonic element was highly inappropriate given the context of what these recordings were. Examples: How about a hypnotic baseball coach who never yells, he whispers? A dietician requiring your have a quadraphonic stereo system to hear his head spinning advice on what you should eat? Learn to swim NOT by vocal instruction, but by the sound of electronic pulses? Environmental natural sound records with AUDIBLE yet supposedly subliminal daily affirmation messages embedded within the recordings? We found that last one made the most sense, but until now had no other recordings to associate it with. After a few weeks effort into our ource material hunt, we obtained over 100 recorded hours of material to choose from! We meticulously picked the most appropriate samples to make each hour uniquely surreal, relaxing, mind numbing, thought provocative, and at least one person agreed to call it "dreamlike." The first hour's focus was an escape from reality through meditation, the second hour's focus was spiritual self-awareness through the yogi philosophy, and the third hour's focus was "the Art of Zen," which should NOT be listened to unless you're sober....and apparently shouldn't be listened to while driving (if the caution statements written on some of our recordings are to be believed.) Of course, there was SO much more than just a basic focus to each section. For instance, each hour had its own unique and thematically appropriate music, pre-produced and mastered by The Button before the show aired. Sometimes for a drum beat, we modified the sound of a tennis player practicing his swing, or a baseball player in the batting cage. We also intermixed many subliminal message tapes from hour to hour (these were the ones that said "don't listen and drive")...sometimes as many as 4 at a time, which is nothing if you consider that throughout this entire show there were consistently 16 inputs going at the same time at various volumes levels! All I'll add to this is one more thing...this is the FIRST time neither of us remembered anything about the show until we listened to it afterwards. Once the show ended, we almost instantly forgot what was going on for the last three hours, other than that it was some kind of amazing trip...we had no specific recalls whatsoever. Consider yourself warned.
Episode 224: To Jam A Culture Jammer (10/22/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) A three hour collage of the entire discography (at least, all that I have) produced by my favorite underground contextual manipulator, Wayne Butane. His short attention span appealing low humor cut-and-paste approach will surely amuse you, if you've never heard his work before, and we even took it a step further by manipulating HIS context! Pushing our studio to its limits, we methodically used all 5 of its CD players to cut-and-paste the "cut-and-paste master" himself, creating a whole new humorous work of art out of his many. As we expected, the show was so dense it was impossible to identify which albums we were mixing, since all of his albums have a remarkably familiar continuity about them, and many use the same samples repeatedly. Still, it was utterly hilarious! And if that wasn't enough short attention spanned racket for you, for the first time ever in radio broadcast history, we invented a new radio format mixing in the ambiance of internet voice-chat! Yes, we were the first radio show ever to collage and text-manipulate an internet chat room live! They were totally shocked with what we were doing at first. We told them they were being broadcast, but it took them nearly twenty minutes until someone checked it out for themselves and found WRUW's netcast! All they could talk about for the next hour was why they could only hear "bits and pieces" of themselves "mixed with music and weird noises." It was pretty amusing, but we eventually got them to understand what our format was all about. Hey, we can't complain. After all, we got them to say "Wayne Butane" twice!
Episode 225: Crossfire International (10/29/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) This was the first radio show we've ever done requiring ALL of our patch cables, in addition to four mixing consoles, and our usual truck load of media sources. We collected about 20 controversial and uncensored hours of debate from people all over the world; mixed into a chef's salad of totally unmoderated debate on current issues. We emphasize a point here to eliminate potential confusion: these were tape recorded "conversations" (most of them in English) from foreign countries...NOT foreign talk shows. We always hear the talk show format where the "host" directs the conversation and has the final say on when it should change, but we haven't heard people (particularly non-North Americans) talking amongst themselves about the current issues in the Middle East in ANY broadcast medium....until now. Comments varied from informed and thought provocative to ignorant and racist. Participants were from all over the world, including the Middle East. Locally, our phones were ringing off the hook as our listening audience mistook our source material for live callers. Beneath all the insanely chatty collage were insanely mixed records and CD's of rare Arabian music and Short-wave broadcasts. This incredibly dense program might be best described as an explosion of thought summarizing the hidden global sentiments which the biased media would sooner ignore than admit. We had a 20 minute late start because of the elaborate equipment setup.
Episode 226: An Eastern Experiment Up The Middle (11/05/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) An experimental approach to cutting and pasting rare Arabian music for the first hour, to an even more surreal collage of Islamic lectures for the second hour. Each channel had its own collection of unique layers of lectures, entirely different from the other channel in both content and artistic approach. The third hour contained a great deal of telethon begging, since the first show of the telethon comes on right after we're done. Please note: The third hour has been omitted from the recording, so a purchased copy will only be two hours.
Episode 227: Telethon Collage: Volume One (11/12/01): (every man & Dr. Asbestos) Throughout most of this show, we were required to read off show specific telethon premiums and ask for our listeners to pledge to WRUW's annual telethon. We played several tracks from our discography, as well as the entire The Button...For Dummies album. For one hour, we had prepared a collage of WRUW DJ's begging on the air in the previous week; two begging sessions in the left ear layered on top of two more begging sessions in the right ear, all going on at the same time. It was hilarious! Twenty seconds couldn't go by without the phone number being mentioned. If you order this show, you will only receive our telethon collage mix, which was only one hour long.
Episode 228: The City (11/19/01):
(Full Staffed) Imagine you could go back
in time, to, say, 1966, and listen in on everything that is happening
in New York City that the time. The shows, the demonstrations the water
rushing to the city via cut-and- cover aqueducts, all sort of appearing
out of ether, wherever we happened to point the microphone. Visit Greenwich
Village, see the sights, take in an off-Broadway show, maybe even one
with Martin Sheen in it, wear cotton clothing, listen to the beat poets,
learn what to do during a nuclear attack ["put out the fires, and get
the invalids out of town!"] and see the dam, which holds back the water,
or take a sample of the water, put it in a pan, with a culture medium,
and while we're at it, with all this talk of water, where the hell is
Aquaman? Yes, this show includes Aquaman, and vintage New York City
from the 1930's to the 1960's, with many references to the past New
York City World Fairs.
Episode 231: Burning Man 2001 - Act Two (12/10/01): (Full Staffed) Since we've barely tapped into the hundreds of hours of Burning Man material recorded this year, we thought we'd try it again. The bulk of it was played straight this time, since we hand picked source material that was extremely ecclectic on its own. Of course, we still did *some* effects here and there, not to mention a great deal of mixing in the audio onto itself *and* the many phone callers we got this week. We also mixed in a live-mic recording of a radio show every man performed while he was in the studio. You'd hear people walking in and out, paying compliments, asking questions, setting up for the next show, eating, cleaning, filing, and talking on the family radios (which are a substitute for telephones at Burning Man.) Some accoustic folk music got mixed in, some lounge music from a Tiki-lounge theme camp we came across, and various bits of electronica music could be heard while we walked the playa late at night. Lots of sounds of other people's conversations, footsteps, chainsaws, hammers, wind, and many cheers as the man finally burned. For more information on Burning Man, go to http://www.burningman.org
Episode 232: Welcome to the Onomatopoeticium (12/17/01): (Full Staffed) Depressed from the roller-coaster-like ride of the previous week attempting to lay hold of musicians from Oblerin College, every man, Paul Ryan and Dr. Asbestos did a header off the high board into a giant pool of noise, much of it explainable. It was our first attempt ever to make "noise," and we mean REAL noise. For the most part, it was successful, though at times the noises became coincidentally musical. Nevertheless, it was clear that the show's focus was to exhibit a large variety of sounds. Sounds taken from real life, ordinary and otherwise innocuous, were cranked down upon by keyboards, samplers, Dr. Asbestos not merely scratching, but clawing madly at records, and very hot microphones, extruded a symphony of the season, no, not that season. . . The season called "Winter"; cold and dark, the fag-end of the year in the deep past the twilight. In the words of one of listener's feedback: "It's very hypnotic and entrancing. Actually I am pretty sure after listening that I was put under your radio show's control. Is this all part of your master plan to take over??" Very deep listening, for the deepest part of the year.
Episode 233: A Christmas Commercial (12/24/01): (Full Staffed) Our very first Christmas themed show, when the holiday was actually relatively near. (I think last time we did one, it was in June?) We played a variety of cutup Christmas songs (even "ambient" Christmas songs!), several of them were the same song played by different artists being layered on top of each other. Intermixed between songs were modern toy commercials in their entirety, setting the stage for the next hour. We also announced the songs we were playing in proper DJ style...well, sort of proper. We poked a little fun at local talk show hosts, which I'm not entirely certain if even the local Clevelanders picked up on. In hour two, we played a one hour pre-produced piece "A Christmas Commercial" centered around the consumerism aspect of the holiday in contrast to the lives of those in less fortunate circumstances, who cannot buy/receive gifts in masses, featuring many US and British soldiers who were at war during the holidays many years ago. The timing for such a collage piece seeemd appropriate, given that at this very point in time there will be many soldiers overseas without their families who won't have the convenience of buying gifts at a local shopping mall. We finished the last hour playing our unedited Burning Corn performance, mostly uninterrupted by phone callers (as always, when the phone stops ringing, your voice is live on the air, whether we like it or not.) With what little time we had remaining, we played more "ambient Christmas music" by request.
Episode 234: The Record Playa (12/31/01): (Full Staffed) Eager for at least the illusion of warm weather, every man broke out the complete recordings of his on-air extravaganzas at the 2001 Burning Man with Nobody, occasionally referred to as "Uncl Rus". Dense and very, very dirty, these broadcasts were created live at the Man, on one of the many dozens of low-power radio stations that had been set up there, only this station was in Gigsville, of all the largest Burning Man villages for several years in a row. Snippets of noise, patches of rhythm, and extended suites of "adult themed" books on tape stampeded swirling like the dust storms that whipped across the playa, and as varied as the many settlements within Gigsville. If it could be compared to any other Button material, think "The Button. . .For Dummies!". Numerous callers added to the fray, talking along, or merely gurgling, matched the recordings so well that they sounded like part of the original broadcast. Almost all the recordings got played in their entirety, except for about 12 minutes worth of every man's farewell broadcast to Burning Man, which was often improvised in a beat poetry fashion by himself and three others who were professional writers of fiction. Though we only had three hours to squeeze it all in, this show packed a dense fist of playa dust hitting your right ear only to spill out of the left, in true spirit of the menwho burn there each and every year. An engaging listen.