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Sidsel Endresen / Jan Bang: Hum (Confront)

Using sampler, dictaphone, and voice, the duo of Sidsel Endresen and Jan Bang improvise and interact to create unorthodox hybrids of fractured electronics and articulated word, as edgy and engaging as it is unusual, captured live at Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene, in Oslo, Norway in 2016, a great followup to Bang's "And Poppies From Kandahar" Samadhi album. ... Click to View


Don Cherry: Home Boy, Sister Out (WeWantSounds)

Trumpeter Don Cherry recorded this funk album in France in 1985 with a set of multi-ethnic Paris players including Elli Medeiros and produced by Ramuntcho Matta, the songs crossing funk with jazzy vamps and rock roots and modern approaches, reissued with new liner notes and 5 bonus tracks including the cult 1983 single "Kick" featuring legendary Brion Gysin. ... Click to View


Don Cherry: Home Boy, Sister Out [VINYL 2 LPs] (WeWantSounds)

Trumpeter Don Cherry recorded this funk album in France in 1985 with a set of multi-ethnic Paris players including Elli Medeiros and produced by Ramuntcho Matta, the songs crossing funk with jazzy vamps and rock roots and modern approaches, reissued with new liner notes and 5 bonus tracks including the cult 1983 single "Kick" featuring legendary Brion Gysin. ... Click to View


Small Cruel Party: ἡσυχασμός (complacency) [CASSETTE] (Banned Production)

The first new release from William Key Ransone's Small Cruel Party, two 12 minute pieces, the first a work of subtle noise that ebbs and flows in subliminal ways; the second a work of strong tone combinations with distracted percussion and unusual tonal interruptions, a unique album of atmosphere and tension. ... Click to View


Charles Noyes K. / Owen Maercks w/ Henry Kaiser / Greg Goodman: Free Mammals [VINYL] (Feeding Tube Records)

A great example of open-minded West Coast free improvisation around the late 70s from the quartet of Charles K. Noyes on percussion & saxophone, Owen Maercks on guitar, Henry Kaiser on guitar, and Greg Goodman on piano & percussion, side A from a live concert in Berkeley recorded by guitarist Henry Kaiser, side B from sutdio sessions in San Francisco. ... Click to View


Toshimaru Nakamura : Re-Verbed (No-Input Mixing Board 9) (Room40)

Tokyo-based electronics artist Toshimaru Nakamura's 9th album of No-Input Mixing Board music, elucidating sound from the mixing board without any audio sources, showing the amazing evolution of his approach as he turns this "empty" "instrument" into an amazing source of rhythmic and assertive sound that's both surprising and wonderfully musical. ... Click to View


Paul Flaherty / Chris Corsano: The Hated Music [VINYL 2 LPs] (Feeding Tube Records)

Gary Panter's artwork is updated and the format is vinyl this time for this welcome reissue of the 2000 Ecstatic Yod CD from the now long-running duo of tenor & alto saxophonist Paul Flaherty and drummer Chris Corsano, a superb free jazz album of great invention and seriously deep playing, from hard attacks to introspective musing, really impressive! ... Click to View


Mako Sica / Hamid Drake: Ronda [VINYL 2 LPs] (Feeding Tube Records)

The long-running Chicago free-rock trio Mako Sica currently comprised of Przemyslaw Drazek (trumpet & guitar), Brent Fuscaldo (guitar) and Chaetan Newell (drums & piano) are joined by free improvising legend Hamid Drake on drum kit, tablas and frame drum for a beautiful and rich album of genre merging, spiritually warm, primarily instrumental music, inclusive and persuasive. ... Click to View


Sebastien Beliah : Nocturnes (Umlaut Records)

Sebastien Beliah is a Paris-based double bass player, a member of Umlaut Big Band, The Coquettes, Un poco loco, &c., here ina solo album of bass noir, dark and resonant tones evoked through strong bowing, finding harmonics between the strings and from the instrument itself, creating beautiful passages in a mirage of engulfing deep timbre. ... Click to View


Musaeum Clausum: Musaeum Clausum (Umlaut Records)

Musaeum Clausum is a French-German trio that features Louis Laurain on cornet (Die Hochstapler, Umlaut Big band, ONCEIM), Hannes Lingens on drums (Obliq, Konzert Minimal) and Sebastien Beliah on bass.(Un Poco Loco, Ensemble Hodos, Umlaut Big Band), in an album of patiently developing improvisation giving each player freedom and flexibility within a composed framework. ... Click to View


Mako Sica / Hamid Drake: Ronda [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

The long-running Chicago free-rock trio Mako Sica currently comprised of Przemyslaw Drazek (trumpet & guitar), Brent Fuscaldo (guitar) and Chaetan Newell (drums & piano) are joined by free improvising legend Hamid Drake on drum kit, tablas and frame drum for a beautiful and rich album of genre merging, spiritually warm, primarily instrumental music, inclusive and persuasive. ... Click to View


Axel Dorner / Jason Kahn: For Berner Munster (Confront)

The pairing of German trumpeter Axel Dorner, and NY-born experimental artist Jason Kahn living and performing in Zurich, brings the tradition of avant free jazz and nonidiomatic improvisation into an unusual merging of techniques and approaches, each applying their advanced virtuosity to this intense concert, recorded during Hamburg's Zoom In festival, 2017. ... Click to View


Douglas Benford : For Now (Confront)

Sprawl Imprint label leader Douglas Benford developed this fascinatingly layered composition with a diverse set of instruments, objects, and field recordings from recordings made at the Stockholm Music Museum and at performances in Lithuania and England between 2009 and 2017, assembling them to create this exceptional odyssey of concrete, ambient and ethnic sources. ... Click to View


Isotope Ensemble: Barium (Creative Sources)

Large scale improvisation of the most subtle nature from Portugal's Isotope Ensemble led by Ernesto Rodrigues, 17 musicians slowly unfolding this beautiful work of consonance and dissonance dedicated to element atomic number 56, recording live at O'Culto da Ajuda in Lisbon with instrumentation including acoustic reeds, strings, brass and percussion, and electronics. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Andrew Lafkas / Bryan Eubanks: 0 Minutes And 0 Seconds (Creative Sources)

Lisbon-based viola player Ernesto Rodrigues joins three Berlin-based musicians--cellist Guilherme Rodrigues, with double bassist Andrew Lafkas and electronics artist Bryan Eubanks--merging the lowercase approaches of Creative Sources groupings with experimental electronics for a 5-part album that ranges from the subliminal to assertive tones and momentum. ... Click to View


Sergio Merce: Three Dimensions Of The Spirit (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Conservatory trained Argentinian saxophonist Sergio Merce uses a prepared tenor sax and a microtonal sax to create rich harmonics and slowly moving tonal works, layering aberrant and alluring tones in restrained configurations that allow each stratum of sound to be distinguished and appreciated, creating mesmerizing compositions of elusive and illusionistic sound. ... Click to View


Beuger.Boon.Susam: (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Pianist and composer Dante Boon performs his own work "Years, Numbers", alongside Antoine Beuguer's "Pour Etre Seul(e), Sans Reserve" and Taylan Susam's "Tombeau", and Bueger's "Nov. (piano)", four works of graceful and introspective beauty using minimal approaches to tone, chord, or spaciousness, recorded live at University Of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2014. ... Click to View


Cyril Bondi / d'Incise: Kirari-Kirari (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

A sextet of Cyril Bondi (vibraphone), d'Incise (metallic objects), Magnus Granberg (piano), Anna Lindal (Baroque violin), Anna-Kaisa Meklin (viola de gamba) and Christoph Schiller (spinet) perform two works composed by Bondi and d'Incise, recorded by Simon Reynell of Another Timbre, works of repetition with distinct variations that evolve as each piece progresses. ... Click to View


Johan Lindvall: Giraffe (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Fourteen pieces for solo guitar from Norwegian composer Johan Lindvall, sparse yet warmly spaced pieces that focus on the individual notes or simple chords in intimate ways, meditative yet warmly evocative; two sections are presented in multiple movements, with "five songs for voice and guitar", Rasten singing words written by Marianne Moore; lovely and refined. ... Click to View


Stephen Cornford : Battery Acid [CASSETTE] (Banned Production)

UK Sound experimenter Stephen Cornford took the bare wires of two microphone cables and submerged them in the cavaties of a large but run-down car battery, plugged it into a mixer, panned hard left and right and recorded, adding a 12 Volt trickle charger to the external terminals of the battery and made a second recording, the results heard here unchanged. ... Click to View


The Rita: Vice Baron [CASSETTE] (Banned Production)

The Rita, the duo of Sam McKinlay and Arlie Doyle, made samples from 1930's pre-code exploitation films, focusing on the sounds made in the changing rooms of female prostitutes depicted in those films, and manipulated the sounds to make these two tracks, inscrutably crunchy and static filled manifestoes with a sense of age and decay from the period captured. ... Click to View


Golia / Kaiser / Moses / Smith / Walter: Astral Plane Crash (Balance Point Acoustics)

The West Coast Plane Crash trio of Henry Kaiser (guitar), Damon Smith (bass) and Weasel Walter (drums) is extended with Vinny Golia (reeds) and Ra-Kalam Bob Moses (drums) for two absolutely impressive improvisations that show forcefully restrained and coherent playing that follows an intuitive narrative only possible from such skilled and virtuosic musicians. ... Click to View


Pascal Niggenkemper : Sound Within Sound | Wuppertal Diary [2 CDs] (Fitschgetau)

Adventurous double bassist Pascal Niggenkemper was artist in residence at Wuppertal in the fall of 2017, presenting concerts with a diverse set of masterful improvisers from Europe and the US, excerpts of which are meticulously programmed in this 2-CD collection, organized by artistic endeavor and intent, from the spacious/introspective to wildly lively encounters; recommended. ... Click to View


Mahobin (Fujii / Anker / Tamura / Mori): Live at Big Apple in Kobe (Libra)

Continuing the celebration of pianist Satoko Fujii's 60th birtday by releasing one CD each month, this quartet brings an excellent set of electroacoustic improvisation to the collection in a quartet with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, New York saxophonist Lotte Anker, and New York electronic artist and former DNA drummer Ikue Mori, performing live at Tokyo's Big Apple in 2018. ... Click to View


Ahmed (Pat Thomas / Antonin Gerbal / Joel Grip / Seymour Wright): New Jazz Imagination [VINYL] (Umlaut Records)

Ahmed Abdul-Malik was a jazz bassist and oud player, a member of bands led by Art Blakey, Earl Hines, Randy Weston, and Thelonious Monk and whose own albums fused aspects of Arabic and East African musics; the band Ahmed of Pat Thomas, Joel Grip, Antonin Gerbal, and Seymour Wright revisit and rethink his compositions and influence, as heard in this massive and elucidating recording. ... Click to View


Trio La Soustraction des Fleurs (Vrod / Aurier / Lemetre): Airs de Moyenne Montagne [2 CDS] (Umlaut Records)

Combining folk and ethnic rhythms in traditional popular forms, the Trio La Soustraction of des Fleurs of Jean-Francois Vrod on violin & voice, Frederic Aurier on violin & voice, and Sylvain Lemetre on zarb & voice focuses on the music of the mountains of the Massif Central, melodic music with unique timbres, forms, pre-texts, and a richly complex set of musical objects. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani : Yama Yaki (Nakatani-Kobo)

Recorded in his home state of New Mexico, Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani presents a 46 minute continuous improvisation of acoustic percussion, a perfect reflection of his solo performance sets, Nakatani alternating between extremely rapid interactions and reflective and atmospheric environments, always creative and quick-witted through staggeringly impressive playing. ... Click to View


Mark Weaver / Tatsuya Nakatani: Weaver Nakatani (Nakatani-Kobo)

A live recording of a 2018 improvisation between Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and tuba & dijeridu performer and THE ROOST Creative Music Series concert organizer Mark Weaver, through eleven concise dialogs illustrating the unique and diverse approaches of each player, finding middle ground through unusual technique and compatible creative drive. ... Click to View


The Bertch Quartet : For Oumuama (Creative Sources)

Guitarist Henk Zwerver, bassist Raoul van der Weide and percussionist George Hadow, frequent collaborators in the Amsterdam free improv scene, join with Berlin saxophonist & clarinetist Edith Steyer to make up the Bertch Quartet, their debut album a great and embraceable example of subtle, collective free improvisations that merge traditional and non-idiomatic forms. ... Click to View


Colectivo maDam / Ernesto Rodrigues / Miguel Mira: Coluro (Creative Sources)

The Spanish free improvising quartet Colectivo maDam of Ruben Gutierrez on electronics, objects, Tomas Gris on acoustic guitar, Guillermo Torres on fluguelhorn, and David Area on electronics are joined by Lisbon improvisers Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Miguel Mira on cello for this 3-part work, the first recorded live at Espacio B, Madrid, the 2nd & 3rd recorded in the studio. ... Click to View


The: Astra Choir Morton Feldman; Will Ogdon; Pauline Oliveros; Earle Brown; Warren Burt; Robert Carl: We, Like Salangan Swallows...: A Choral Gallery of Morton Feldman and Contemporaries (New World Records)

Melbourne, Australia's Astra Choir directed by John McCaughey use choral voice and appropriate instrumentation to interpret and present music from mediaeval to modern electronic and post-minimal music, here taking on compositions from Morton Feldman, Will Ogden, Pauline Oliveros, Warren Burt, Earle Brown, and Robert Carl. ... Click to View


Toshi Ichiyanagi with Eye Music: Sapporo (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Written in 1963 for up to 15 peformers plus a conductor who may also make sound, Japanese composer and Fluxus artist Toshi Ichiyanagi's score has 16 pages marked with combinations of lines, dots and letters indicating duration, number of events, and moments of restraint, each player using a different page, with certain options of switching pages with another player during performance. ... Click to View


Marianne Schuppe : Nosongs (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Marianne Schuppe continues to reimagine songs and their relation to tone and melody, here in a series of 11 songs realized with voice, lute, and uber bows, creating delicate accompaniment to her lucid movements between pure sound and words, singing and speaking her lyrics of succinct phrases rich in subtle intimation and evocative imagery; beautiful. ... Click to View


Tim Feeney: Burrow [CASSETTE] (Marginal Frequency)

Meridian percussionist and frequent collaborator with Vic Rawlings and Annie Lewandowski, Tim Feeney presents a fascinating solo album of "four improvised poundings" using "a drum, a pair of sticks, a metal plate, a pair of dowels, a heavy cymbal, a large room, a small squirrel, a static listening, a punishing listening, a boring listening, a quickening listening". ... Click to View


Lisbon String Trio & Eduardo Chagas: Tactile (Creative Sources)

A live performance at O'Culto da Ajuda in Lisbon from the Lisbon String Trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Alvaro Rosso on contrabass, joined in this concert by Creative Sources frequenct collaborator Eduardo Chagas (Variable Geometry Orchestra, IKB, Suspensao, &c), a large work of microscopically detailed and concentrative acoustic improv. ... Click to View


Free Music Septet: Meandros e Vertentes (Creative Sources)

A live recording from the acoustic septet Free Music 7tet of Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Luiz Rocha (clarinets), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Eduardo Chagas (trombone), and (piano), Hernani Faustino (double bass) and Paulo Ferreira Lopes (drums), performing at O'Culto da Ajuda, for five improvisations from active free improv to lowercase exploration. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Eduardo Chagas: Holes and Cracks (Creative Sources)

A lowercase duo of intense focus and concentrative dialog from Creative Sources label leader Eernesto Rodrigues on viola and trombonist Eduardo Chagas, a member of IKB, Variable Geometry Orchestra, Suspensao, &c., through five recordings using primarily extended techniques and close proximity miking to create unusual textural and alien soundcscapes of great tension and release. ... Click to View


Jacques Demierre / Anouck Genthon: Teyerit (Confront)

A series of unusual compositions originally written by Jacques Demmiere and Vincent Barras, here reworked by Demmiere and violinist Anouck Genthon, each piece focusing on sounds, breaths, frictions, silences, vowels and consonants, weaving and complementing each other through a mix of traditional, extended and unconventional techniques; fascinating. ... Click to View


Felicie Bazelaire / Bertrand Denzler: Basse Seule (Confront)

A series of etudes and pieces for double bass composed by Bertrand Denzler specifically for Paris-based cellist and double bass player Felicie Bazelaire, presenting 7 etudes and 2 named compositions based on systems that require Bazelair to reveal the complexity of certain characteristics of the double bass within the framework of a solo performance. ... Click to View


Andrew Coltrane : F.T.W. [CASSETTE] (Banned Production)

Detroit sound artist Andrew Coltrane recorded this work of complex noise and feedback in Detroit in 2011, recording to 4-track cassette with instrumenation including saxophone, flute, bowed strings, voice, synthesizer, tape loops, short wave, field recordings, and electronics, creating a thickly detailed album of unpredictable yet uniquely organized sound. ... Click to View


Sissy Spacek: Basement [CASSETTE] (Banned Production)

The Los Angeles grindcore/noise band of Charlie Mumma, John Wiese, and Phil Blankenship in a cassette of brutal noise performed at Bronson, in Los Angeles California in 2014, both tracks using a similar explosive approach to sound, "Deja Vu" having more space between events while "Unfolding Universe" adds a thick noise floor that approaches white noise at time. ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
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  Freedom of Suppression  

A week of copyright infringement in New York City


By Urania Mylonas 2002-12-30
Concert photos by Urania Mylonas
Food chain Barbie photo by Tom Forsythe


Mark Hosler
"Illegal art?" John Filker, a New York-based photographer and painter grew incredulous when asked what he thought about using someone else's work without permission. "It's wrong! You can't just copy someone else's work and then add your name to it! You can't use another artist's images or other work without their approval. That's not right." But when asked about using corporate images or sounds illegally, his response was far different. "Oh, well it's OK to fuck with corporations, it's not like a corporation is an artist" he said.

Even an employee for a large advertising agency in New York City, who works in the art department (but didn't want her name or firm to be disclosed), didn't seem to mind that the Illegal Art Festival, which had its New York run from November 13 to December 6, and was organized by Stay Free! magazine, was making use of some of the corporate images that her company might have made. "This sounds like great fun," she said. "I'm tired of large restaurant chains using my good work. Let someone else use it and turn it into real art!"

Christian Marclay
So is stealing from the "big guys" OK? Is it fine to make art out of corporately owned culture? Or someone else's work? Artists like Mark Hosler of the audio-collage group Negativland would tell you it is OK. He might even say that it's not stealing, that it's "transformative re-use," as he called it in a recent lecture at Anthology Film Archives. Using fragments of one thing to create another, potentially more interesting, work is a part of artistic freedom and shouldn't be silenced, Hosler said. What the Illegal Art Fest is exploring is the illegal use of images or sounds; mostly corporate or at least owned by corporations like record labels, toy companies and other media giants, and how they are being reinterpreted by artists.

In a society where creativity is to be rewarded but free and open access to ideas -- from music to journalism to art -- allowed, a conflict can arise, leaving lawyers to sort out questions of ownership and compensation. What are the copyright issues and who do copyrights really protect anyway? And, in the case of illegal use of images or sounds, who is actually getting hurt by the copyright laws?

At a recent short film showing at Anthology Film Archives, Hosler presented some (very) illegal short films he and the other members of Negativland made for some of their recordings. The screenings included a short called Gimme the Mermaid, which was made with help from Disney animator Tim Maloney, who created the film using Disney's equipment after hours. Mermaid combines the sound of a music industry lawyer with the voice of the Little Mermaid and Negativland's cover of Black Flag's "Gimme Gimme Gimme," Former Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn was part owner of SST Records, the label that tried to force Negativland to pay the entire legal costs associated with a lawsuit brought on by Island Records regarding illegal use of a song by Irish megastars U2, which almost broke the band financially.

The U2 piece also included unauthorized a recording of Casey Kasem, a bootlegged outtakes from his American Top 40 show in which, during a dedication to a dead dog called "Snuggles," he cursed the sound engineer and insulted the band U2, saying, "these guys are from England and who gives a shit?" The piece -- featuring manipulated and deconstructed segments of the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- was called "U2: Special Edit Radio Mix" and included on of Negativland's album "Negativland: U2," an album that U2's label, Island Records, thought looked a little too much like an actual U2 album since the letter "U" and the numeral "2" were featured far more prominently than Negativland's name. The 15-minute long album had barely been arrived in stores when Island Records slapped the group and SST with a lawsuit. And while Kasem didn't file a lawsuit, he and his lawyers did threaten Negativland with one if they tried to release the track again or in any way use the unauthorized outtakes of Kasem from the show.

This move may have seemed hypocritical, however. While being interviewed during a concert that was part of a protest against nuclear weapons testing outside Las Vegas in 1992, Kasem was asked about the Negativland record, and he wasn't going to take action against the band and that he was against censorship.

"No, I'm not going to complain about it, it's a free country and we have the First Amendment, so...no problem," he said. "I'm against censorship of any kind...Nobody should be censored."Negativland chronicled the saga in their book Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2.

Legal actions aside, the song was one of the first, and certainly one of the most prominent, of a wave of art that steps on the toes of copyright control.

At CB's 313 Gallery in New York City, artists and photographers made creative use of corporately owned imagery. One of them, Tom Forsythe, stuffed the beloved Barbie doll in a blender and a martini glass and messed up her hair for good measure in his series of photographs entitled Food Chain Barbie. Forsythe received a letter from Mattel claiming the series of images he had posted on his Web site infringed on its copyright and trademark. Forsythe wasn't making any money from the images and decided to fight the case with help from the ACLU. A federal court ruled in favor of Forsythe and Mattel immediately appealed. A decision is pending in May, 2003. Freedom of expression is OK, but don't mess with Barbie.

Canadian copyright laws are even stricter than in the US and while our neighbors to the North enjoy other freedoms, fair play, the Canadian equivalent of fair use, does not allow for parody, as artists Diana Thorneycroft and Michael Boss discovered when their series of drawings Man, Dog, Husband & Wife, Dinosaur, Man with Large Nose, Mouse -- which portrays Marge and Homer Simpson, Barney Rubble, Burt of Sesame Street, Barney the Dinosaur, Goofy and Mickey Mouse in various stages of bondage and victimization -- was rejected by Gallery 1CO3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the advice of the gallery's lawyer. The artists eventually showed their work at another gallery in Winnipeg and have not been sued as of yet.

While Thorneycroft and Boss were subverting known cartoon characters to bring to light the face of violence, Brooklyn-based artist Heidi Cody wrote the word "subvert" in letters from corporate logos. The piece is part of a larger work called The American Alphabet and not only has she not heard complaints from those corporations, but some advertising agencies have even paid Cody to use the letters, seemingly allowing some freedom of expression and perhaps freedom to profit.

When artist Kembrew McLeod decided to copyright the term "Freedom of Expression," he got his wish and 10 years of exclusive use of the term for his zine. McLeod, with the help of a friend posing as the publisher of an imaginary punk rock magazine also called Freedom of Expression, pretended to sue the magazine and even had a lawyer send a cease and desist letter to the "offending magazine." McLeod was later interviewed by a local paper, which quoted the frustrated copyright holder as saying "I didn't go to the trouble and expense of trade marking 'Freedom of Expression' to have someone else come along and think they can use it whenever they want."

Luckily for most artists, McLeod was just kidding, since freedom of expression and freedom to express yourself using many, many samples, was the thing at a night of music that was part of the Illegal Art Fest at Tonic in the Lower East Side.

Musicians and sound manipulators put on performances that would be a copyright lawyer's dream (or nightmare, however you choose to see it).The experimental music duo Spin-17 used noisemakers, toy horns, and electric pianos, a turntable playing sounds from science fiction movies like Godzilla and recordings from space shuttle launches. Motoko Shimizu sang from operas, while Ed Chang played guitar during their performance. "No genre is safe and the boundaries between art and doleful indulgence are blurred," the duo writes on their Web site.

The Thimbletron, an invention created by the one-man band Evolution Control Committee, could be considered the ultimate indulgence for an artist who likes to use samples. The group claims to have discovered the science of Thimbletronium, as well as its relevant subatomic particle, Superdupertron, and to begin the show, Mark Gunderson donned Thimbletron: a pair of gloves with wires and thimbles attached which trigger samples from a laptop when touched together. After applying olive oil to the thimbles "for conduction purposes," Gunderson, with his wild white hair and white jumpsuit, pressed his fingers together, but no sounds ca m e out. Afte r much fumbling and the further application of olive oil, the device sprang to life and the sounds ranging from AC/DC and Dan Rather to instructional records and meal menus pumped out of the speakers.

The quirky band is better known for their controversial single "Rocked By Rape", which features samples of Rather and resulted in a lawsuit against them by CBS and the record being pulled. Even in cases where a song might be protected as parody or freedom of expression, artists can scarcely defend their work against deep-pocketed corporations and their Philadelphia lawyers.

Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University, said copyright laws have reached a level of control where even an educator, wanting to use a three-second clip from "The Simpsons" is required to pay $25,000 for the privilege.

"The problem is their insane rules are now being applied to the whole world," Lessig said in a speech he gave this past summer at the Open Source Convention in California. "This insanity of control is expanding as everything you do touches copyrights."

But is having a low profile, like Evolution Control Committee, the only way to get around the radar screen of the lawyers and avoid paying hefty usage fees? Are artists like Beck, Public Enemy and Beastie Boys and countless other "mainstream" artists who have the money to pay for rights (and lawyers) the only ones who can use sampling in their music? Not as long as Negativland and Evolution Control Committee and other "underground" artists continue to keep the samples and the music and humor coming, in hopes that the next piece of mail isn't another subpoena, but a fan letter.



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