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News : Frequently Asked Questions
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Thanks to Jim Allenspach, Peter Conheim, Jon Leidecker, Brian MacDonald, Phineas Narco, and Marc Plainguet.

Snuggles and most of its assorted randomness is hosted by the very cool folks at Sensory Research

Contents

1. What is Snuggles?
2. Who/what is Negativland? (includes Discography link)
3. Where can I find Negativworldwidewebland?
4. What is Over The Edge?
5. What happened with U2?
6. What was the HelterStupid prank?
7. Are there other artists like Negativland?
8. Where is Contra Costa County?
9. What is a Negativland concert like?
10. What does "Seat Bee Sate" mean?
11. Should I buy SST's NEGATIVELAND (sic) - LIVE ON TOUR release?
12. What about the hard-to-find NEGATIVCONCERTLAND double-CD? Is that a bootleg, too?
13. What is NegativFANBOYland?
14. What is Snuggle This?
15. What is Droplift?
16. What is Dictionaraoke?
17. What is Free Speech For Sale?
18. How can I make appropriated music too? Is there software available?

Answers

1. What is Snuggles? Why is it called Snuggles?

Snuggles started life in 1996 as a listserv (that's a mailing list), run by Brian MacDonald, where fans could discuss various Negativland releases, ask questions, report on live shows, clarify any misunderstandings on the whole U2 affair, find out what the Weatherman's favorite cable channels are, etc.

It was named after the dog in the Casey Casem dedication on the U2 album (see below). A cute little inside joke for a small mailing list that only was interesting to fans of Negativland.

Then something weird and wonderful happened. The band was not really touring very much or producing many new albums, so the talk tended to wander. It focused on Over The Edge (see below) and the various ways that people could create content for the show to be piped in live every Thursday night. Soon the creation of weird sounds for their own sake became a topic of conversation. Then a compilation of Snuggles-participant tracks was traded around. Consequently, when digital sound manipulation tools and cd-burners became easily available, the Snuggles folks were primed and ready to pounce on them. Soon, strange distorted samples and off-kilter beats were being traded around as MP3s and the focus of the list was rarely on Negativland at all. Droplift (see below) featured over two dozen tracks by Snugglers and they paid for its pressing themselves. Then came Dictionareoke and Free Speech For Sale and the Snuggles Media Collective was off and running.

So, what is Snuggles? Its a mailing list. Definitely. It is somehow related to Negativland. We all are really excited when Don Joyce graces us with a message. But it is a lot more than that. It is about the legal fight over copyright. It is about how to make weird sounds and music and sound collage. It is about how to make the damn technology we depend on work right. And more. And it is changing. It will change.

Come find out where it is going next. The most exciting part is that it is friendly, mature (usually), and willing to entertain any perspective. Disagreement is strong and willful and polite (usually). And we only yell when we don't mean it. Snuggles is now hosted by Pan of the Sensory Research Network. You can subscribe to Snuggles here. You can reach the person managing the list at snuggles-owner@sensoryresearch.com.

For a different way of answering the question, listen to the track What is Snuggles? by The Piss.


2. Who/what is Negativland? (includes Discography link)

Negativland is a band which has been releasing albums since 1980 which push the envelope on the use of found sound, including sound found on the airwaves. Members include Don Joyce (who produces Over the Edge), David 'The Weatherman' Wills, Mark Hosler, Richard 'Pastor Dick' Lyons, Chris Griggs and Peter Conheim. The name was taken from an album by the (then) obscure electronic band Neu.

Lineup of the band:

negativland album cover points album cover
The first two albums ('Negativland' and 'Points'): David Wills, Richard Lyons and Mark Hosler.

big 10-8 place album cover
'A Big 10-8 Place': David Wills, Richard Lyons, Mark Hosler and Ian Allen.

escape from noise helter stupid free dispepsi
'Escape From Noise' to 1999: David Wills, Don Joyce, Richard Lyons, Mark Hosler and Chris Grigg.

In 2000, Peter Conheim joined them on tour to wonderful effect. It is pure speculation who the current lineup is until the next album comes out (or someone tells me). Stayed Tuned!

But REALLY, the insanely detailed discography at http://www.negativland.com/negdisco_detail.html is the place to look for the kind of minutae that only the band can provide.


3. Where can I find Negativworldwidewebland?
It's easy! Just go to http://www.negativland.com. Includes information on Copyright Violation (it's your best entertainment value!), building a teletour, and ordering Negativland stuff from Negativmailorderland. Also includes audio samples, Pastor Dick's RealAudio Jukebox, and info on Over The Edge.


4. What is Over The Edge?

For over twenty years, Don Joyce and the members of Negativland have been running a radio show on KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley. One of the central pieces of this crazy mixed-up show is Receptacle Programming, where listeners call in and are added live to the mix (NO DELAY). When the phone stops ringing, you are on the air. Don't say 'Hello'. Call (510) 848-4425 on a Thursday night between Midnight and 3:00 AM Pacific Time, and you can listen and contribute.

For tapes of Over The Edge, contact either Don Joyce directly, or
Check out Phineas Narco's List (includes Subgenius tapes as well).


5. What happened with U2?

u2 fair use
For the full story, buy the book 'Fair Use' (available from Negativmailorderland). The short version is that the members of Negativland were given a tape which had been circulating for a while and which contained out-takes of Casey Casem swearing and complaining about how his show was being run. One of his rants targeted U2. The boys at Negativland had barely stopped laughing when they decided to do a song using the out-takes and (of course) incorporating U2 samples. Well, when they released the album, it had Negativland in small letters and U2 (the name of the album) in big letters. The folks at Island Records (apparently without even contacting U2) got wind of this and demanded that the records be pulled and destroyed. SST knuckled under and ended up taking all of Negativland's profits to pay off the law suit. As I said, if you want the full scoop, 'Fair Use' contains all the legal documents, letters, etc. as well as a very cool CD. The upshot, however, is that Negativland left SST and formed their own label, Seeland.

So, DON'T BUY SST VERSIONS of NEGATIVLAND ALBUMS.

It is often tossed around that the real suit was about the trademark infringement of the cover art rather than the actual sampling. This is downplayed in the FAIR USE book.

In response, Don Joyce had this to say on 12/20/00 (posted to Snuggles):

We did spin the fair use for content idea, only mentioning somewhere that the major offense (in Island's mind) appeared to be based on the cover art, with the unauthorized sampling only thrown into the suit (They always throw in EVERYTHING that may be illegal) to prove the point that we were bad guys. But since it was in the suit as being equally illegal, we wanted to argue THAT case, the one that actually gets tried in so many other cases. We did not argue for the right to simulate another's trademarked brand. We agree that this is not a very good right to have. One simply hopes that litigation will voluntarily be refrained from in the case of obviously "art" jokes that want to do this. (As opposed to mass counterfeiting) One has to wonder if Island would have sued us if it were not for the cover, but since they did, (We did NOT try to get sued, feeling our usual safe selves in releasing collage sampling, and knowing next to nothing about trade mark law at that time) we took up the fight we wanted to fight there, but our cover was intending to simulate a possible U2 cover. Big Joke, ha ha. So much for jokes in the marketplace. But then again, we offered to change the cover to their specifications if they would let us reissue it, and they refused. They were mad about the music too, and how U2's fans might be fooled and corrupted if they listened to our "lyrics" thinking it was U2. Not sure how that would work or what would be "wrong" about that...


6. What was the HelterStupid prank?

Buy the HelterStupid album to get a full understanding of this, but the basic story is that Negativland exposed the laziness of the media by issueing a press release stating that they were cancelling their upcoming tour because their song "Christianity is Stupid" had been implicated in an actual murder case where a teen-ager killed his parents with an axe. This was a total fabrication (although the song and the case were real), but many stories ran in print and on the television reporting the facts exactly as Negativland had reported them in the press release! A truly scary/hilarious album resulted.


7. Are there other widely distributed artists like Negativland?

Yes. Snugglers seem to like John Oswald's super-sampled and then insanely-folded pieces. Most notably 'Plexure', a 20 minute CD with samples of 2-4000 pop songs. See the video 'Sonic Outlaws' by Craig Baldwin for more info on other folks who do this. And of course there is a long history of experimental music (John Cage, Stockhausen, etc.) which could easily be considered pre-cursors to Negativland.

Also great:

The Evolution Control Committee
Operation Reinformation
Escape Mechanism
Bob Ostertag
Public Works


8. Where is Contra Costa County?

In California, north and east of Berkeley.


9. What is a Negativland concert like?

The first one I went to (Reed College, 1990 - where the infamous Casey Casem tape was passed on to the band, by the way) featured raw meat being thrown into the audience, toast being toasted until flames leaped from the toaster at center stage, Don Joyce going crazy on two Cart machines (used in radio until the dawn of the digital age), a video of the Weatherman doing the Playboy Channel, and a great deal of sonic mayhem.

The show I saw at The Lab (where they performed as 'Positivland') was very similar to Over The Edge in many ways. A strong emphasis on sample collage as well as a number of live instruments. The Weatherman gave a great little demonstration of how to make noise with various items like a barbeque grill.

For a review of that tour, check out what Sonicnet said.

In May of 2000, the guys went on a US tour, adding Peter Conheim to the lineup. It was very well received and featured some very nice razortapes as well as lots of cool live sample-mixing. Hopefully we will see a live album of this tour very soon!! Especially noteworthy were the cutups of "My Favorite Things" and the sample of Ethel Merman singing "I'm stealing...stealing...stealing..." I believe you can still find details on this little adventure at www.negativland.com/tour/.


10. What does "Seat Bee Sate" mean?

It is unclear. However, here's the answer supplied by Jim Allenspach:

  The following answer is given by The Weatherman on a tape called "Personal Hygiene & Beautification", which was an OTE-type show put together by Chapel Hill, NC radio station WXYC, in conjunction with the band Silica Gel (whose day-byoo album "50) Noisy Children Party" was co-released on Seeland, and the band's own NC record label, Wifflefist).  > "When I was a little kid, I used to ... get out an old box, > a cardboard box, and stuff it full of blankets, and then I'd > crawl into the box, get onto a hardwood floor, and try to > bounce my way along the floor. So I just named that, I call > it 'seat bee sate'. ... It was just a little game I played, > just to see if I could move myself along the floor in the > cardboard box. That's all it is."  I also recall hearing from someone (maybe on snuggles) that David also used that term to mean masturbation. And I also seem to recall that the original spelling made 'seatbeesate' a single word, instead of three. But that's all hearsay.  The tape itself is still available from Wifflefist; goto www.wifflefist.com and check out their catalog. It costs $5, and includes a moist towelette (several years before Sex Dirt did the same thing!). 


11. Should I buy SST's NEGATIVELAND (sic) - LIVE ON TOUR release?
Definitely NO. This release, which was issued by SST to compete with DISPEPSI in late 1997, is a bootleg in the worst sense of the word. It is _not_ authorized by Negativland, and flies in the face of Nland's "yes-please- tape-us" edict for many reasons.

LIVE ON TOUR is based on what _would_ have been a legitimate Negativland "live" CD called LIVE STUPID, which was legally contracted for as part of the SST/Nland settlement over the U2 fracas. Instead of issuing LIVE STUPID in 1992 as planned, Greg Ginn (SST) sat on the finished tapes and artwork, which it was his perogative to do (although rather stupidly, since it could have sold very well and made Ginn a lot of free cash had he issued it then). Nothing came of it.

In 1997, when faced with the imminent release of a major Negativland work on the band's Seeland label, Ginn rushed LIVE ON TOUR out in a vain attempt to cash in. Unfortunately for everyone, though, Ginn chose to not only RE-EDIT and shorten the LIVE STUPID master tape (without consulting Negativland, of course), change song titles at random, throw out the original artwork and replace it with a generic cover, and misspell the band's name in a snide nose-thumbing, but he didn't even use the DAT master tape for it...LIVE ON TOUR is generated from a hissy-sounding cassette dub! And if that isn't enough, it retails for $17.98.

So what did Negativland do to counter the release? A neon-colored RIPOFF ALERT letter was sent to major retailers and distributors, the word was spread rapidly, and SST's sales have been appropriately low. Even before the mass- mailing of the alert letter, research indicated that most retail buyers smelled a rat and avoided the release.

Thanks to Peter Conheim for this answer.


12. What about the hard-to-find NEGATIVCONCERTLAND double-CD? Is that a bootleg, too?
Yes, but no. NEGATIVCONCERTLAND was issued in 1993 by a pseudo- anonymous pseudo-benefactor, and portions of the sales of the release were donated to the band. As a document of post-U2 live tour material, it's great. Unfortunately, though, the disc is generated from a DAT recording made with open mics in the club and not from a direct line-in source. Thus, listening to NEGATIVCONCERTLAND is somewhat akin to listening to a band from back by the pool tables in a mid-sized venue, complete with appropriate ambience. Listeners familiar with Negativland's customarily extreme attention to audio detail will be very disappointed in this release, but folks who were at that particular concert may enjoy hearing themselves whoop and cheer for familiar material, competing with the recording of the performance.

Negativland does have plans for a "legitimate" live CD release, which will be a generous package with much unreleased material featured in excellent fidelity, but it's in line behind more immediate reissues, such as THE WEATHERMAN and DICK VAUGHN Over The Edge releases (originally SST cassettes), and newer works still in production.

Thanks to Peter Conheim for this answer as well.


13. What was NegativFANBOYland?
This was the Negativland zine, as featured in Fact Sheet Five. When Fact Sheet Five died, it went the way of many many cool zines. Originally manned by a guy named Bob Nelson, it was eventually turned it over to Don "Don-O" Fields, out in California.


14. What is Snuggle This?
The Snuggle This! compilation is a collection of music made by members of the Snuggles mailing list available in MP3 format.

Listen.


15. What is Droplift?
The Droplift Project is a cd compilation of illegally sampled material that originated on the Snuggles mailing list in 1999 and finally culminated in the 'reverse-shoplifting' of copies into record stores all over America and beyond. It was part media-prank, part protest, part desperate attempt at national distribution. It gained some amount of fame and notoreity for the Snugglers involved. For more details as well as press reports, check out the Droplift Project Website. In fact, you can download the whole album including the artwork from that site, burn your own cdr copies and droplift it yourself!


16. What is Dictionaraoke?
The singing dictionary! Those crazy kids over at Snuggles found the recorded samples of all the words to their favorite songs online at a dictionary site and the rest was history. Gotta hear it to believe it. www.dictionaraoke.org.


17. What is Free Speech For Sale?
Instead of complaining about advertising, we decided back in 1999 to do something more unique, artistic, and interesting. You can see the amazing website and listen to the MP3s at www.freespeechforsale.com.

For all the different projects, past, present and future, check out The Snuggles Projects Site.


18. How can I make appropriated music too? Is there software available?

Yes! You too can make appropriated collage music from your own desktop or laptop!! Just record some sound from the world around you, slice and dice, and you are a creative genius...or at least you've created something. So what software is available? Here's a quick list...

PC Software
Goldwave
Granulab
Buzz
Protools Free
CoolEdit 2000
Audiograbber
Sweet Midi Arpeggiator
Audacity
sound editor - free
granular synthesis - free
multitracker - free
VERY GOOD multitrack editor - FREE!!!!
sound editor - $69
cd-ripper - free
midi arpeggiator - free
sound editor - free
Macintosh
SoundEdit 16/Deck II
ProTools Free
MAX/MSP
MSPPlay
soundfile editor/multitrack editor - obsolete
multitrack editor - free
synthesis programming language - expensive!!!
runs MSP patches - free

These are just some of what's out there. If you use something else and love it, especially if it's freeware , let me know.

Actually, this list pales in comparison to the one put together by Tom Erbe of Cal Arts for
Mac Sound Programs

And for other platforms, check out:

Windows - CompMusPC.
Windows - Pc music.
Linux - Linux MIDI & Sound Applications.
IRIX - Audio and Music Applications for Silicon Graphics Systems Also:
Sonic Spot -- synths
Sonic Spot --- sound generators


ovenguard
NOW GO MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!!!!!!
OWN OG AKEM OMES OISEN!!!!!!!!
WOW GOM MKEM OSME NOISE IS NOISE IS STUPID IS GOOD!!!!!!!
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