The Art of Music Mashups
Jon Nelson

Jon Nelson (Photo: Kate Iverson)

Mashup music isn’t new. All the way back in the ‘60s, fans were remixing Elvis and “Blue Suede Shoes.” Eminem — Slim Shady — laid his vocal track over AC/DC and Vanilla Ice.

But we’re living in a mashed-up musical world right now. From the mainstream to the underground, songs are being sampled, pulled apart, remixed, mashed up. If you’re a fan, you know that Girl Talk does it. Danger Mouse. DJ Spooky. Negativland.

And it’s not just music. My guest today, Jon Nelson, mashes music and found sound — from old movies, laugh tracks, the news — to make what he calls the audio dreamscape of the media age.

This hour, On Point: Music, dreams, and the mashup.

You can join the conversation. Are you a mashup fan? Do you mix your own? What does it say about our era that we’re so into the recycling, layering, mixing of sound? Tell us what you think — and what you’re listening to.


Jon Nelson joins us from Duluth, Minnesota. A pioneering sound collage/mashup music artist, he’s hosted the radio show “Some Assembly Required” for the past ten years. Most everyone in the underground world of collage and mashups has come through his show, from Evolution Control Committee to the current mashup phenom Girl Talk. His new album, under the name Escape Mechanism, is called “Emphasis Added.” You can listen here.

And joining us in our studio is Tim Riley, music critic and editor of the Riley Rock Index, a new music site. His latest book is “Fever: How Rock Transformed Gender.”

More links:

U.K. sound artist Vicki Bennet records and remixes tunes, often with a surreal twist, under the name “People Like Us.” California-based sound collage artist Jon Liedecker, a.k.a. “Wobbly,” has a long record of creative tracks. And Turnstylz, an emerging act from New York City, is mixing up a wide variety of genres, with a hip-hop focus.

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