Two years ago I set aside performing to figure out how to share RADIO WONDERLAND in recorded form. DVD? Web video? Interactive game? The answer: all of the above—but a music album comes first. Because at the heart of this mashup of performance, props, theory, media and tech is the MUSIC.
So the work begins. On the RADIO WONDERLAND debut album. And I hope you’ll be involved.
Click here: RADIO WONDERLAND Album on USAProjects
This will not be your everyday debut LP (and believe me, they do come out every day). It’s the culmination of an experiment in randomness, improv, algorithms and dance grooves.
RADIO WONDERLAND proposes a kind of musical alchemy. But instead of turning lead into gold, I turn unpredictable found sound—from ordinary FM radio broadcasts—into actual dance grooves, live on stage. The dream of the RADIO WONDERLAND album is that my techniques—field-tested in clubs and concert halls all over the world—can yield recordings that stand up on their own as music. Staying true to the all-radio concept, for the album I’ll be working with many hours of live recorded audio, adding production touches only where necessary to keep it musical and danceable.
And if this works (works artistically, I mean), I consider it a breakthrough. It celebrates randomness in a way that’s utterly different from Cage. Chance choices can be simply better—in the right context. It validates my context, for if my algorithms-plus-improv are fit for random radio, they’re fit indeed, primal and essential. The more intelligible the process, the more people respond. And the funkier the music, the more that cutting up corporate media feels like subversive fun.
Considering the above, you might think me presumptuous enough to claim that I’m re-inventing sample-based electronic dance music. But it fact, most of my grooves are modelled after Techno, which champions simplicity. (A third of you have just stopped reading; another third is scrutinizing my terminology.) Ironically, then, my most ambitious concept becomes my most commercial project yet—a Techno record. But I haven’t turned my back on the so-called classical music I did in the ’90s; this is a return to a lifelong passion for dancing in clubs, and as ever combines found sound, improv, post-minimalism, performance art, and studio wizardry. Legally speaking, most of the RADIO WONDERLAND recordings aren’t identifiable as any particular song or voice (but they are recognizable as commercial media). Identifiable samples should be covered under the legal doctrine of fair use, but I am not afraid of any challenges.
So the album is to be released on vinyl—the way many bands do today (vinyl sales are up). In our age of easy downloads, if I’m going to charge money for anything, it’s got to be an analog, physical object. I’ve already gone through those 150 hours and picked a handful of concert recordings. Each one I’ll condense to under seven minutes, and remix just enough to make it dancefloor- and home stereo-ready. One much longer track will be an audio version of a complete RADIO WONDERLAND concert. I plan a first run of 1000 LPs, each with a coupon for a free download of the same material. In addition, I want to make 500 USB sticks, with high quality audio, artwork and bonus tracks, for sale at concerts. iTunes prices are set by Apple, but there should always be versions of RADIO WONDERLAND material downloadable somewhere for pay-what-you-will. Anything more restrictive just feels wrong.
I aim to crowd-fund the album through USAProjects. It’s like Kickstarter for artists, only curated. Crowd-funding or “micro-philanthropy” is that newish way of using the Internet to bring small projects to life with lots of small donations. I have until April 22, 2013 to raise $13,000 for mastering, manufacturing and production costs. And, as with most crowd-funding, if I don’t raise the full amount, the project gets nothing.
In the event we exceed $13,000, the additional funds would go towards better quality pressing, more copies, special extended mixes, and a music video.
If you can support this project with any size donation, even $1, together we might make the world safer for experimental media subversion that moves.
Spreading the word, here, really helps too, and costs absolutely nothing.
More about RADIO WONDERLAND, me talking about why an album now, and ways you can help, are here.
Giant thanks to those folks who have already pitched in. I’m continually amazed by how many people respond to a project which might seem utterly zany at first, yet is actually a serious exploration of new methodologies for…getting funky. And, oh yeah, did I say all donations are tax-deductible?
Come and take a look; I’d appreciate any kind of response.