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Album Wed Oct 01 2008
Minnesota's Jonathan Nelson, whose radio program Some Assembly Required has been heard on WLTL LaGrange, waited ten years to release the follow-up to his debut album as Escape Mechanism. However, his timing could not have been better. His self-titled debut, recorded in part in Chicago while attending Columbia College, was released 1998, and featured a style of sound collage composition utilizing only 100% recycled parts. The result was an incredible journey in sound using dialog, found sounds, and music samples. It was around that same time (January 1999) that Nelson started his radio show, Some Assembly Required, that to this day is dedicated to "artists and groups who work with bits and pieces of their media environments, and giving something back to the cultural landscape from which they so enthusiastically appropriate".
His new sound collage album, (Emphasis Added), was released yesterday, and carries a message that is unmistakably a product of the current state of our government, economy, and our attitude in general as consumers. I've thought for a while now that more can be said in a well placed sample then in a well-written song lyric, and Nelson proves that idea to be correct. Taking chunks of audio from what sounds like motivational tapes and various movies, Nelson is able to tackle consumerism and politics, but also adds a great deal of humor and wit. With a line like, "People are worshiping sunglasses and orgasms", you realize quickly "What's Happening". He is calling for change, and at same time telling everyone to lighten-up, relax, smile, take a look around and then start moving in the right direction. My favorite track is called "Oh Well", and is just a fun little romp with coral swing singers, Susanne Vega samples, and a doo wop back bone. It's just plain fun!