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Some Assembly Required: Mash-Up Pioneer Dreams in Soundbites

By Elizabeth Held Email 12.22.08

Back in 1999, when a mash-up was something done only to potatoes, DJ and sound-collage artist Jonathan Nelson launched an online radio show called Some Assembly Required. Operating from a college station in Minnesota, it showcased cut-and-paste acts like the Tape-beatles and Evolution Control Committee, as well as Nelson's own mix of music, instructional records, comedy, and wacky effects, digitally sculpted into a one-of-a-kind sound.

Ten years later, his aural experiments play out on a syndicated weekly radio broadcast and a new album titled (Emphasis Added), recorded under the name Escape Mechanism and inhabited by a chorus of voices ranging from Wolfman Jack to motivational speakers. "These are the sounds in my head when I dream," Nelson says, "thanks to growing up in a media-soaked universe."