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Splices That Bind

One half of the abstract electronic duo Twine, Chad Mossholder talks about long-distance collaboration and the hectic life of a sound designer.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Twine is two musicians who live across the country from one another, but who record and, in a manner of speaking, perform as one.

Their names are Greg Malcolm and Chad Mossholder, and their unique collaborative situation has as much to do with their personal history as it does with the Internet’s power to, potentially, make the issue of location a concern of the past. Malcolm lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where Mossholder was also living until a year and a half ago, when he relocated to Boulder, Colorado, to take a job doing music for a video-game production company.

Mossholder consented to an interview while on a brief tour of the southern U.S. He was initially scheduled to perform a June 2002 date with Malcolm in New Orleans, Louisiana, but the dual bill didn’t work out — Twine didn’t meet. Mossholder carried on solo, as both men have learned to do since Mossholder’s move, and on a Saturday afternoon the day of the New Orleans show, he talked at length about his working relationship with Malcolm, the pair’s growing discography, the tools of a video-games sound designer, and much more.

“A lot of the secrets,” says Mossholder, “aren’t necessarily in the software. Well, actually, some of them are — in how you use the software, and how you try and use it in ways it wasn’t intended sometimes, to get specific results.” Elsewhere in the conversation, he sums up the efficiency of a particular piece of equipment: “I can shape the noise.”

Twine’s music, as most recently evidenced on the Recorder album (on Bip-Hop Records, which is based in Marseille, France, further complicating — or, depending on your perspective, decimating — matters of geography), is a fast-evolving thing. What was first apparent, in 1998, in the band’s initial MP3 files, was their concern with pace and fragmentation, with the scattered beats that make contemporary experimental electronic music so compelling for many listeners — especially music such as Twine’s, which rarely if ever loses sight of a pop-minded audience. The new CD also includes a video, produced by Phase04 (the pseudonym of another Cleveland resident, who is involved in the project spearheaded by Ninja Tune Records and the London-based label’s founders — another eminent electronic duo, Coldcut). A series of Twine records (first on Ad-astra Records, a small local label, and later on, among others, Hefty Records, the Chicago-based label) charts the duo’s progress to Recorder, which has a sonic depth and rhythmic ingenuity only hinted at on the group’s earliest music.

To listen to “Factor,” a track midway through Recorder, is to be surprised by a most unlikely kind of funk, to be hit with a series of sonic bursts that jump back and forth across the stereo spectrum. The final track on Recorder, “There Is No One Else,” is as throbbing and sullen as “Factor” is lively and brittle, and when a familiar voice pops up — familiar at least to fans of David Lynch movies — the effect is at once comforting (the voice is almost immediately recognizable) and disconcerting (the dialog is threatening, the music even more so).

Of special interest is a pair of audio sample sets Mossholder and Malcolm recorded for ACID, music-making software from the Sonic Foundry company. Twine has produced two commercial sets of loops intended for sale to musicians who utilize the software. Mossholder talked about the ACID project in the interview, and that subject led to related but broader subjects of authorship, both in terms of software programming and music composition. He talked about the way that much music-making software shares certain aspects with the open-source movement — and about the sense of community that binds electronic music makers, including such Twine associates as musician Horchata and media-studies figure Mark Amerika, not to mention Chad Mossholder and his partner in sound, Greg Malcolm. What appears below is a lightly edited transcript.


Distortion and Distance: When the Equipment Fails and a Job Calls

Marc Weidenbaum: When we were talking yesterday, you mentioned that you’d had to rethink your live set on these recent performances because your guitar distortion pedal had gone bad.

Chad Mossholder: I like to open by re-creating the first track on the Recorder CD, because the clean guitar is just a nice opening. That’s why we chose it to open the record. I no longer have the synthesizer that I used on the recording. I sold it a long time ago. So, in order to reproduce it, what I’ve been doing is getting the guitar looping, using an effects pedal, and then I have a distortion pedal, which I can get pretty close to the same tone of the synthesizer that I was using. So, I was using that to play that over the top of the looping guitar.

Weidenbaum: So, to be clear, the sound that you’re trying to estimate on your guitar is a sound that originally didn’t have anything to do with a guitar?

Mossholder: Well, yeah, just the rhythm, the rhythm on the track. Yeah, it’s funny, because the first track on the Recorder disc is over a year old. I wrote it before I moved to Colorado, when I lived in Ohio. It’s mostly composed — at the time, I was working with guitar, synthesizers and feedback. A lot of the stuff that’s on the recording that sounds like synthesizer is a Sherman Filterbank feeding back on itself. So I can shape the noise.

Weidenbaum: The track you’re describing is “None Some Silver.” There’s a lot of static on there — at first I was doing what people frequently must do, which is to check my speaker, see if there was a problem. It reminded me of this Peter Gabriel record I have that Robert Fripp produced, where there’s this buzzing on it. First time I heard it, I thought it was bum vinyl.

Mossholder: Robert Fripp’s awesome. He was my idol when I was playing guitar in the ’90s.

Weidenbaum: I’m a big fan, too. The “f” section of my record collection is larger than most people’s.

Mossholder: Him and Frith, Fred Frith.

Weidenbaum: Anyhow, let’s get back to the distortion pedal.

Mossholder: So, I’ve been using this set up to open the show, right? Last Saturday night, my guitar pedal stopped working, the distortion pedal. So, I had to make a quick change. I had the guitar looping, the main rhythm, and I was trying to play the lead part just clean — I was like, I’ll just play it over it with a different tone, using a different pickup. It was really mushy. The place I was playing at, the sound system was really bad.

Weidenbaum: This was in Shreveport?

Mossholder: Yeah, in Shreveport. The sound system really wasn’t very good. I basically ran the guitar that I had into my computer, took a sample of it, and then I started morphing it, in the computer, so I could get out of that particular piece. It was a little sloppy. I thought it was sloppy. Nobody else noticed. Then I was kind of in an irritated mindset —

Weidenbaum: While on stage, performing, in front of people.

Mossholder: Yeah, and I’m trying to work this out. And what further complicated this was trying to fight with the sound system. I kept trying to find a frequency range that would work within the sound system and not distort too much. That was really tough. By the end I had all my bass totally killed, because it was …

Weidenbaum: Just fuzzy and muddy?

Mossholder: Yeah. I even threw my mids down, so by the end, my mids were down and my highs were right in the middle and my lows were totally off, so at least it sounded cleaner.

Weidenbaum: I don’t think people — by which I mean people who are intrigued by electronic music — yet fully comprehend the kind of improvisation necessary to put on a good show. Ben Neill, the electronically enhanced trumpeter, has talked about how the technology just seems to do different things on different nights. There’s a sense of an electronic musician needing to be attuned to the equipment.

Mossholder: Yeah, definitely. I change up my set up quite frequently, because I don’t like to do the same performance every time. I very much like Miles Davis and other jazz people, and it’s the same thing — you’re just using a different set of instruments. And you’re just one person, so you’re not vamping, or improvising with other performers. You’re jamming with yourself, which has its drawbacks, too, because it can get stale. And that’s what I try and avoid. I go back and forth between using a Mac and a PC. I use both.

Weidenbaum: That’s a digital-era ambidexterity.

Mossholder: Definitely. I switch up software. I’ve got like three main pieces I use. Mostly I use Live, which is brand new software from Ableton, which is just fantastic. It’s really made the ability to use music loops in a way that they no longer feel repetitive. You can morph it and change it. You can change loop points within the piece that you’re working on, and layer things and affect things. It’s amazing that the computer has gotten powerful enough to do this. I mean, it wasn’t too long ago that you’d never even think about doing it like that.

Weidenbaum: A time back when you’d have limited samples because you only had so much memory, and the speed and processing weren’t there.

Mossholder: Absolutely. So, I change up software. I use Live, and I use Reaktor, and those are the two main pieces, and I also use a mini-disc recorder, which I use for field recordings and then I shuffle them. And I’ll bring those into the mix. And then I can run that into my computer, and take pieces of it and adjust it.

Weidenbaum: It sounds like you’re almost purposefully overwhelming yourself, when you have that much going at the same time.

Mossholder: It is sometimes. The biggest problem — I’m still learning, still learning what I’m doing, like we all are — and one thing that I find myself doing is I’ll be running something, and I’ll be thinking about where I want to go next, and it’s almost overwhelming. I’m going through sounds. I’m previewing them, finding the perfect thing to mix in, and I never set up a pallet. I mean, I’ve got my folders, and I’ve got everything organized, but I never, like, lay it out — like, This is what I’m going to do tonight. The only thing I do is I get my opening, and then I go with it. I hope that it comes together and makes some sort of sense to the audience and to myself. And that it’s enjoyable but challenging. But I don’t like to do what a lot of artists do, where they get so abstract and, you know, academic that not anyone can just enjoy it. I love that music — I love [the 20th century composer Iannis] Xenakis, for instance — but not everyone can sit down and enjoy Xenakis. I don’t want to ever do that. I want to present something that has elements of that, like anyone can sit down and find something to relate to.

Weidenbaum: So, when you say “academic,” you’re not using it as a synonym for, say, austere. It’s more than austerity — it’s …

Mossholder: How do I explain it? Like, John Cage: you listen to a John Cage piece, it’s hard to listen to, right? But if you analyze it and you understand what’s he’s trying to accomplish, then you’re like, OK, well, I see what’s he’s doing, so this makes more sense to me now.

Weidenbaum: So, “academic” music is part of a literature where it’s of great value to the listener to understand the literature before approaching a single piece?

Mossholder: Yeah, because if you understand — it’s a weird thing. I even struggle myself about it, because if you over-analyze it, and you figure out exactly what they’re doing, then are you really experiencing the music for what it is? You know what I mean? But then, if you’re really experiencing the music for what it is, and you don’t like it, and you have to go read about it to like it — and I think a lot of people have that problem.

Weidenbaum: What have you learned over the years just in terms of the more performance aspect, the “entertainer” aspect of what you do when you’re up on stage?

Mossholder: There’s so many things, just from the point where I used to work with — when Greg and I were performing together, it was a totally different setup. We used hard gear. We used keyboards, and samplers. We didn’t use computers, right? So, everything was totally different. But it was still improvisational because when we were working with the gear, and we weren’t using laptops, I would still have sequences from songs that I had written, and those would be plugged into my sampler. Well, I would load up random banks of samples, right, and then have the sequencer trigger those. And I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, and then I could flip through them as it was playing, and everything was in sync, MIDI-sync. And Greg would have his sampler, and he would load up things, and we would just sort of work these things out and hope they gel.

Weidenbaum: Like a dual or tandem DJ sort of thing.

Mossholder: Sort of, yeah. We’d just try and bring it all together. We created some really apocalyptic, noisy sets — dark and ominous, and that was a lot of fun, and we played — we used to do some raves, to make some extra cash, and we would play their chill rooms, like their ambient rooms. And people would be like, oh you do ambient, OK. And we didn’t really fit in, but we would do like three-hour, four-hour sets to fill the space, and that was a learning experience. That was no computers, that was all hard gear, and just mixing any possible sound we could get. One time we were performing in Pittsburgh and it was a psychedelic trance rave, so you have psychedelic trance in the main room, and we were in the ambient room, projecting some stuff that was kind of twisted. And we’re playing this really dark set and this kid comes up, while I’m performing, and he’s like, You call this ambient music. And I was like, Yes. And he just stood there for a little bit, and I was like, You need something? And he was like, Well, this isn’t very … it’s not very pretty. I was like, I dunno — I’m trying to play here. That was the kind of response we got sometimes: This isn’t very ambient; this is really disturbing. So, that was a funny thing. We weren’t gonna adjust what we were doing for the crowd.

Weidenbaum: Or for that one guy.

Mossholder: Other kids were enjoying it. That was an experience. But after I moved to Colorado, two years this November, because I got hired doing game-design music, which I couldn’t pass up because I’d been trying to get into that for like two years — so I moved to Colorado, and Greg and I were like — how are we going to do our shows. We had already decided, well, we didn’t have to be in the same place, we can still work on music together. We can still perform as Twine, each in our own respective area, right? So, we’ll do twice as many shows and people will figure it out. But the problem was: gear. Like, OK, what gear do we use. So, we decided we’d do laptops, that’s the way to go. We’d been using lots of computer stuff, desktop computers, and we knew what software we could use live. We just didn’t want to drag this stuff out. So, we bought laptop computers, and that just changed everything. That’s the revolution. It’s so affordable and nice. It’s a beautiful thing. Laptops are almost as powerful as desktops. It’s amazing. I think it’s amazing, because now anybody can make music. A lot of people are, like, It’s horrible, but I think it’s great — we’re adding to the idea pool. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff that isn’t what you listen to, and there’s all this other stuff, but the great thing is it’ll all mesh together, and it’ll evolve quicker, because everyone’s injecting their thoughts.


Open Source: Looking for MP3s, Feeding the ACID Loop Pool

Weidenbaum: How does someone pursue a career in all this. I remember the first time I got a Matmos CD, a self-release on their own label, and a few years later they’re recording with Bjork, and they’ve on Matador. Another one: Jake Mandell, he puts some stuff out, sticks to it, and a couple years later, he’s touring Europe. You guys: in 1998, I find some MP3 files, after endless disappointing hours of surfing, and now you’re touring, you’ve got associations with museums, you’re doing remixes with other people. How does that process happen?

Mossholder: I think — I don’t know. I think anything you want to achieve, you just work for it. You put all of your energy toward that thing. You make connections. You talk with people. I mean, as far as being a musician, it’s all about what you listen to. The more music you listen to, the better musician you’ll be, because you’re gonna know what the cliches are, you’re gonna know what to do, what not to do. That’s how I approach it.

Weidenbaum: None of those examples I gave are from major metropolises — not from L.A. or New York, London or Paris. Matmos is from San Francisco, Jake Mandell was in Minneapolis, Twine are from Cleveland.

Mossholder: That’s just the power of the computer. You can make this stuff, and if you have a desire to seek it out, you can seek it out on the Internet no matter where you’re at, you can download the music and it’s much easier to be exposed to more hard-to-find materials.

Weidenbaum: I’m intrigued by how the remix serves as a meeting point for electronic musicians. There can be a misunderstanding about the remix, because it’s really an economic and marketing tool in pop music — how to approach different niche markets, the Latin remix for one club, techno for another. In the realm where you work, the remix is a formal dialog, a document produced by two parties, like that Horchata release you did, Resource, where Twine and Horchata remixed each other’s music.

Mossholder: We did the same thing. We surfed at the time, found his stuff, I thought it was really cool. It was different from what we were doing. It was more downtempo, but we thought it was really well produced, and we just, you know, emailed him: Hey your stuff’s really cool. And the record label at the time we were working with, which was very small, Ad-astra, just a local guy who was helping us put stuff out at the time, which was really cool, we were like, Hey this guy’s stuff’s great. Can we remix his stuff and vice versa, and would you put it out?

Weidenbaum: I loved the format. You gave him some stuff, he gave you stuff, and the listener ends up with varying perspectives on both your work.

Mossholder: It was cool to see what he’d do with it. That’s another reason we went into the ACID loop realm, releasing that stuff, because it means taking all the pieces of our stuff and giving it out to people: Here, you can have it, you can work with it, play with it, do what ever you want with it.

Weidenbaum: I was fascinated by the variety. Mick Fleetwood, from the band Fleetwood Mac, has drum loops up there among the ACID downloads.

Mossholder: And they’re just wav files, you can download them and mix them.

Weidenbaum: How did you hook up with ACID?

Mossholder: I had the idea that this was a very postmodern thing. You can go out and make your own sources, but then there’s the sources that other people are making and that’s what we’re doing anyhow when we sample other people’s music, so why not have sources, like ACID does. I went to Sonic Foundry’s website, I went through their catalog of what they had put out, and I didn’t see anything like what we wanted to do, so I emailed and I said, You know, I’ve been through your catalog, you don’t have this, we’d like to do it. And they emailed me back and were like, here’s our contract … put it together, you’ll send it to us, we don’t have to buy it, and if we like it we’ll take it. And so we did it and they bought it.

Weidenbaum: You’ve done two ACID loop sets. The first one was called Twine Components. I love the name. It’s a great, techy fetishism, like we just plug you into our stereo system. Was that how you felt about it?

Mossholder: All our titles — I always put a lot of thought into the titles. Like, our first release was called Reference, because I think that’s what a sample is, a reference to something else. You’re taking it out of context and referencing this thing. And Resource — taking source material and re-sourcing it. And, also, you’re a resource. And Components was the obvious solution, because there are all these pieces. And the new ACID one, Build, is funny, because that actually comes from my job, because we make so many builds of these games. Every day we get the new build. I thought that was funny, but not obvious, because you’re building songs out of these components, but it has this extra meaning. Recorder — I just thught, given the more organic way electronic music is going now, and Recorder gives you that feeling, but also has the pun: we’re recording this material, an electronic recorder, we’re recording information. There’s so many ways you can read it. I always like to go for that in titles — a double meaning that is relevant to what the product is, the music is, and then also whatever else you can think of. And Circulation, I came up with the title because that was one of our bigger releases: it’s getting us into circulation, and it was a record, so it circulates.

Weidenbaum: That’s the one that just came out as an LP?

Mossholder: Yeah.

Weidenbaum: I want to ask more about your titles later, but to stick with Sonic Foundry’s ACID software for a moment. It seems like a good precedent for that system is breakbeat albums, where DJs are provided with albums of beats and other material ripe for scratching. Did you have any such precedent in mind when you did your first ACID set?

Mossholder: When we sat down to do the ACID loop disc, we were taking apart our songs. We took pieces of everything we had constructed. We said, We’ll need rhythms, bass lines, melodies, abstract effects — and we organized all the things we would want if we were gonna create a song. The one thing we struggled with was how much to affect the sounds, because we wanted to leave room for people to affect them themselves. But then we just decided — you know, it’s Twine, they’re gonna get our sounds and do whatever they want with them, so we just affected them a lot.

Weidenbaum: It’s interesting that you intended them as a set of complementary items. Within both your ACID loop sets are these different components that together can comprise a song. Other ACID sets are more along the lines of a set of similar sounds, like drum loops, or blues guitar riffs, or sound effects. For you, it’s more like a Lego set: all the pieces you need to make a song,

Mossholder: And Greg did most of the drum material, he’s much more … when we work — this has kind of been secretive, but I guess everyone pretty much knows his stuff is more rhythmic-oriented, where my stuff is more melodic and abstract and textural, because I come from the guitar background, and his background was in DJing. I like beats and I use them, but he does it so well, that I let him do most of the beat stuff, and we’ll trade off. He’ll send me beat stuff, and I’ll texture it, and I’ll send him textures and he’ll … well, you know. When we did the new ACID loop disc, Build, Greg made all these variations on these drum rhythms. Which are great. I use them all the time when I play live, because you’ll have like five different variations, so when you’re playing off of loops, you can change ’em up very easily, without a lot of editing, and it sounds like it’s supposed to be that way. And with the guitar lines and things I did the same thing, where I would make variations, and work that way. We were thinking in terms of someone playing live: what would they want, because they won’t have time to work on it.

Weidenbaum: They need the starter set.

Mossholder: Exactly. And I use other people’s loop discs. When I play live, I’ll play techno loops, or whatever, and use ’em and twist them up, because that’s what it’s there for.

Weidenbaum: You could say, in a broad way, that up until Nirvana came around, people got involved in garage bands for the fun of it. Nirvana’s success, in some ways, suggested to people that playing in a garage band could make you successful, could lend you the sort of cultural clout that made it possible to get signed by a big record label, whereas previous to Nirvana, the opposite had been the case. That may not ever be the situation with electronic music, so the result is that for a lot of people who make electronic music, the impetus isn’t economic; the impetus is to participate in a musical community.

Mossholder: I think that’s true, definitely. I love talking to people that are into the music, talk about who you’re listening to, what they’re doing. The only thing that sometimes gets tiresome is when lots of people come up who are new and they’ll ask you every question about what you did exactly. I don’t mind giving away information, but some things are tricks of the trade. Do you tell someone, Well, we sort of developed this and it took a long time to develop, so I don’t want to tell everything. But I’m always willing to give out what software I’m using, because that’s just a tool.

Weidenbaum: That’s like the laptop equivalent of classic activity for DJs, where you’d hide what you’re playing by ripping off the vinyl’s label.

Mossholder: Definitely. A lot of people worried about it when the software Live came out. And people were like, Oh, no, everyone’s using it. And I’m like, So what, it’s a tool. I mean, everyone plays guitar, but everyone plays it different. Somebody — this guy who’s pretty prominent in the electronic scene — was complaining about this program called Audio Mulch, which is in Max/MSP. Max/MSP is a visual music language, and you connect modules to create your sound. A lot of it comes out like a very granulated, random sound, and he was complaining that everyone who uses this software sounds the same. If that is, it’s by choice, because, you know, Miles Davis plays the trumpet, and lots of people play the trumpet, but nobody plays it like Miles Davis. You take the tool, you take the instrument — the computer’s an instrument, like guitar or trumpet — and you stylize it.

Weidenbaum: Have you gotten better at explaining what you do?

Mossholder: I think so. A lot of the secrets aren’t necessarily in the software. Well, actually, some of them are — in how you use the software, and how you try and use it in ways it wasn’t intended sometimes, to get specific results. But the main thing, though, is the way I wire things together externally, which allows me to do many of the things I want to do. And that’s one of the main tricks, to be able to do that. As far as helping people out, in Shreveport for instance, this young lady came up to me and was very enthusiastic, and she wanted to get involved, and I pointed her to the Ableton website, where you can get a free download of the software I was using and you can demo it. It’s fantastic software, that’s a good place to start, and we talked about it. I showed her on the screen how it works: This is how you get sound to come out. That’s all very intuitive. It’s not like Max/MSP or Reaktor, where you have to actually know something about how synthesizers are constructed — to work in Reaktor, for instance, because you’ve got all the modules that you would need to build a real synthesizer, and you wire ’em together. Or, if you want to build an effects processor, you’ve got all the different things you might need and you just virtually wire everything together. And that takes a lot more work. I’ve been working with Reaktor and I’m still an amateur. I couldn’t sit down and build a modular synthesizer from scratch. I can sit down and experiment on my computer, and more often than not with Reaktor — well, the beautiful thing about Reaktor is, once you buy the software, you can go to the user pool and everyone uploads things they build. You can download it, dissect it, take pieces of what you need. It’s almost like open-source code. You take what you need, you plug it into your thing, and you customize it for what you want to do.

Weidenbaum: How do you credit people? Do you thank them?

Mossholder: I think it’s just understood. I haven’t thanked anybody for software or other people’s patches, which is what they call them. I think it’s just a given. Even in programming, you would take pieces of code off the Internet and you’d debug it, plug it in, and you wouldn’t give credit — I guess. If I used someone’s complete thing that they built, I would credit them, but I would never just use somebody else’s material, unless I had a really good reason to, or if I was “covering” a track, something they had written. Then I’d give credit. But as far as taking pieces — no, I wouldn’t credit, and I wouldn’t expect someone to credit me, if they used Twine ACID loop discs. If you put it out there, someone’s gonna use it, and you just expect that.

Weidenbaum: When you put your music out there, it may get used by other people, and you have no control over it. At a simpler level, do you have a sense of, say, when someone listens to your music, the volume level they listen to it at? When you get a harpsichord record, there’s a volume at which it’s intended to be listened to. But with an abstract electronic album, it isn’t clear.

Mossholder: We don’t think about it like that, but what I do do, when we finish all our tracks, and we put them together the way we think we want them on the CD, I listen to them in every possible place, and make adjustments accordingly, depending on how I perceive it.

Weidenbaum: In the car, on a Walkman …

Mossholder: And I do worry, to some degree, because I like to use some degree of dynamics, so you do have bursts of noise and soft parts, and even when I’m listening to the record, I find myself turning it up on the soft parts, and destroying the dynamics, but that’s just habit: you’re not always in an environment where you can get it at that volume and still here the quiet parts, and let them be quiet without any background interference. I guess the best environment is always headphones in the dark. Even for performances. I know Greg likes to use video, because of our friend who lives back in Ohio, who does all our video. I still like to perform with the lights as down as possible. So, he’s doing that material, and working with Greg, since they’re both in Cleveland, and I still like to perform with the lights off. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen, when the Mego people were on tour, the guy who does — he uses a lot of rock drumming, and guitar, and does a lot of untitled stuff. I’ll think of his name — Francisco Lopez, that’s it. We opened for him in Pittsburgh, and he came on and just had his Macintosh, and turned all the lights off. There were couches, so everyone was just sat back, and it was the best experience I’ve ever had at a concert. It started off so quiet, so you really had to listen, and that drew you into it, and then he started building it and layering it. And he’s famous for things that build for 20 minutes to this wall of noise, and then he’ll kill it, and that’s the performance.

Weidenbaum: I saw Carl Stone live recently, and likewise by the end it was visceral.

Mossholder: There’s a big trend with the Mego people. That was beautiful, though. It was noise, and after awhile it just sounded like cascading sheets of glass crumbling, and you realized, as he started pulling back the layers, like curtains, that it was rock drums being processed, and by the end it was just this storm of drums. And with the lights off, you’re visualizing all these things. I think sometimes, it works either way. Sometimes the visuals can enhance a show, like when I saw Plaid, their visuals were fantastic, and they really enhanced it, but when I saw Francisco Lopez, in the dark, that was the best experience ever. I love Lopez’s work. His recordings are all varied, everything’s different.


22 Khz: Business, Separation Anxiety, Hearing Voices

Weidenbaum: At a basic level, does it concern you that people are listening to your music as MP3 files, where the sound quality is often nowhere near as good as a CD or LP?

Mossholder: Nah, I don’t worry about it. I think people are aware, they know. When I download a song, I know this is at 22, whatever, kilohertz, and then I just wanna go buy it. We’ve gotten into debates with people about downloading music and how the record companies are all up in arms about it. I think it’s silly, it’s futile. It’s gonna happen, and if anything it really encourages music buying. I’m never happy with MP3 discs. I want the packaging, I want everything.

Weidenbaum: Especially when it’s an act like Twine, where you’re so involved in the packaging.

Mossholder: The whole thing should be an experience, the CD, like when you go to a movie and you get the whole experience. Same thing with music — you want the credits, and all of it.

Weidenbaum: It’s almost unusual that you have not started a record label yourselves. So many electronic musicians have their own small labels.

Mossholder: I’m not as interested in business. We’ve thought about it. When you first start, that’s the first thing that comes to mind: we’ll start our own record label and release our own music, but you can’t do that, because if you’re just having a record label to release your music, no one takes it seriously anyhow. So, we’re interested in making music and putting it out, so we’re not gonna do our own label; we’re gonna find other people that are interested in what we’re doing and will help us distribute. The biggest thrill for me is going to the record store and seeing our records next to Autechre and people like that.

Weidenbaum: Whose records are your records next to in record stores?

Mossholder: Electronic sections are always so small, we’re near everyone. Telefon Tel Aviv, Tortoise, if they’re mixing in post-rock. I’m trying to think of “T” bands.

Weidenbaum: The next question may be a little odd, but I need to ask: When a fan of your music looks around the web, searches for Twine on the web — I’m not sure if you know where I’m headed with this, but one finds repeated mentions —

Mossholder: James Bond.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, the soundtrack to the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough, which was apparently abbreviated T.W.I.N.E. or TWINE in article after article.

Mossholder: It sucks, I know. It bothers me, ’cause I go on to look for reviews, and I can never find them.

Weidenbaum: And that movie’s old.

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s been a problem. I dunno. That’s just unfortunate.

Weidenbaum: There are people out there who would have done something about this situation — a James Bond parody or something. I can imagine what the folks at, say, the Tigerbeat6 label might have done if this had happened to them. Have you had any interest?

Mossholder: I haven’t really thought about it. It’s a good point. It’s interesting. It’s a good idea.

Weidenbaum: You’d said before, when you’d initially moved to Boulder, the question for you and Greg was: Is this over?

Mossholder: Greg and I grew up together. We have the same aesthetic sense, or taste. And, there’s the ability to exchange sound files. So, if I’m building stuff here, I can send it to Greg and he can use it in his live performance, just like I use Greg’s beats even though he’s not there. In essence, when I perform, Greg is performing — and vice versa.

Weidenbaum: Is the way you work more akin to the remix model. Has remixing others provided a model for how to participate in each other’s creative activities from a distance?

Mossholder: That’s a weird thing. We’re adjusting all the time. Like, the Recorder album is on the whole Greg’s tracks and my tracks, with a little bit of overlap. Some pieces, I would borrow from Greg and vice versa, but it flows. And nobody can really tell it’s two separate people composing music, but again we’re using each other’s sound files, so — well, the next CD, we’ve already discussed, we are definitely going to be: Here’s what I’m putting together, and I send it to Greg and he works on it, and we’re going to do that back and forth, and we’re going to make this a more collaborative effort.

Weidenbaum: A couple tracks off this album I want to ask about. “None Some Silver” is clearly you, because of the guitar.

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s mine.

Weidenbaum: Then “Factor,” since it’s so funky, I’ll assume it’s Greg’s.

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s Greg’s.

Weidenbaum: That’s a great track.

Mossholder: It is.

Weidenbaum: It’s fantastic. It’s just funky, funkier than Autechre, who can surprise you with their funkiness.

Mossholder: Greg has really developed his rhythm thing he does.

Weidenbaum: “There Is No One Else” I assume is you —

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s mine.

Weidenbaum: Just a couple things about that track. First, the static, which I mentioned earlier. I’ve mentioned how I think that we often try and associate abstract sounds with something tangible, and the static on that song I immediately associated with rain.

Mossholder: Hmm.

Weidenbaum: It’s sort of to the left side, like it’s in the background of what’s happening, like an isolated activity. What was the purpose of that dimensional decision?

Mossholder: Yeah, it’s hard to say. For me, when I’m writing a track, I’m very aware of spatial things, and how deep the music is, how much depth, and I’m always going for lots of depth, so you can almost reach back into the music and pull elements out. The static, because of the high frequency range, gives that sheen over the top of everything. So you feel like there’s something behind the curtain.

Weidenbaum: It’s like 3D MSG. It just immediately lends this sense of dimension to what you’ve made.

Mossholder: Yeah, definitely. A lot of it comes from my love for My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless album, which is just a wall of noise you really have to listen through to get to the details, like a Glenn Branca piece. There’s all this beauty in the overtones. It’s fantastic stuff. For me, the static does that. At first it’s abrasive, harsh, and then when you settle into it, it’s very soothing, I think, and it makes you work a little harder, to listen.

Weidenbaum: There’s a sample of a voice in there — is it from Twin Peaks?

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s from Twin Peaks.

Weidenbaum: At what point did you deicide to use a vocal element, since it tends to stand out from the music. Was it the launching off point? Did you want to just throw it in later? Did you want to create a background track for that specific phrase? How did that happen?

Mossholder: I’m just a big David Lynch fan. I love David Lynch’s work, and that part I just liked the way she said it. I listened for the texture of the voice.

Weidenbaum: Is it Lara Flynn Boyle?

Mossholder: Yeah, the dark-haired girl, the best friend. It was her talking to her mom. Her mom says, “You woke up crying,” and she’s like, I don’t remember that. It’s from the first episode, after the pilot. People are like, Don’t you worry about getting sued for using the sample, and I don’t think — what we release isn’t big enough to worry about it, but I would love if David Lynch’s lawyers came to us. I’m like, Yeah, I want to talk with David Lynch, I want to talk to Dave. I think he’d like it. But, yeah, that’s what I look for — the cadence, the quality of the voice, if it fits the mood, and for me it sums up the album: “I feel like I’m having the most beautiful dream and the most horrible nightmare all at once” — and that’s sort of the feeling, the tension that I want in the music. I really like this but, wow, it’s really tense and dark, but soothing at the same time. It’s a great reference to pop culture. People hear it and immediately associate it, because we’re so media driven. You hear it and you can pick it out. It’s nice because you can take something out of context like that and make it into something totally different, and give it a totally different meaning, but still in the back of your mind you get the whole feeling of Twin Peaks in that song from that sample, and it’s its own thing also.

Weidenbaum: Hearing a voice like that makes me think of surveillance, especially the music of Scanner.

Mossholder: Absolutely.

Weidenbaum: Is that someone whose work you look at —

Mossholder: Oh, yeah. Robin [Rimbaud, aka Scanner] came to Kent State when I was there, and performed at our homecoming, which was awesome. We had really cool people on the homecoming board, so they brought in Robin and DJ Spooky, because they were on tour at the time. I was working for the paper, so I got to interview him. He’s such a smart individual, really cool guy. I was a fan of his work, so I was really excited. And that was funny — them performing, and you have a lot of fraternity people. A lot of people were into it and lot of people were just confused by it. Robin was really funny. He wasn’t having much luck getting anything on the scanner that evening, so he just started dropping a lot of beats, and people got more into it.

Weidenbaum: Not enough population density?

Mossholder: Yeah, I think so. Kent’s pretty small, and there’s not a lot going on there. Yeah, hearing him use the scanner, I was like, I’m gonna use that for my stuff. I use a lot of phone tapping stuff, and even on our ACID loop disc there’s phone tapping, which is funny because I don’t think even Sonic Foundry realizes that’s what it is, because I don’t think they’d let us use it. I just sent it to them — whatever, no one’s gonna recognize it.


Random Data: Old MP3 Files and Source Material

Weidenbaum: I have a couple of random MP3 files of yours that I have found, which don’t seem to originate on any albums, stuff one just finds floating out there, with no explanation. I’d like to ask you about them individually. One is titled “Light Rain.”

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s gonna probably come out soon, on a real recording.

Weidenbaum: It’s great. It has voices. Is that the phone tapping you’re talking about?

Mossholder: Totally, and tonight I’m gonna play a version of that live, and I have all the files which I’m gonna mix up and rearrange, and I have a whole folder of source phone recordings, ’cause I have a scanner.

Weidenbaum: Another track I found: “Theatre”?

Mossholder: “Theatre” is one I put together. It may come out on something eventually. It’s an old track.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, your stuff’s richer now; this is more austere.

Mossholder: Well, that’s good to hear. I think we’ve gotten better at using the technology, and better at organizing sounds.

Weidenbaum: Another called “Ful”?

Mossholder: That’s really old. I think that’s a Greg track.

Weidenbaum: One more track: “C Song”

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s one of mine.

Weidenbaum: It’s got this Gregorian sound to it, very monastic, with the vocals.

Mossholder: That’s the way that I used to write, and I still write a lot, like John Cage tape cut ups: musique concrete. Just taking pieces, affecting it, pasting them together, except digital now, and that’s — I’m a big fan of Arvo Part, and I use a lot of his …

Weidenbaum: Is that where that material’s from?

Mossholder: A lot of it is from that.

Weidenbaum: I’m a huge fan — Tabula Rasa, Litany.

Mossholder: He’s fantastic. When I was at Kent State, I took composition with a guy who had known Part, and he turned me on to him.

Weidenbaum: When I was living in Sacramento, Paul Hillier, who has worked with him extensively, lived in the area.

Mossholder: Yeah.

Weidenbaum: He was a professor at Davis, a nearby university, so I got to speak with him occasionally. I’m intrigued by the association between Part’s music and electronic work, between a similar sense of timelessness, music that is both ancient and conteporary.

Mossholder: I like the simplicity of Part’s work. The way he does his voicings is just beautiful. It’s beautiful music. He sets up these very simple, you know, choral pieces and they sound — they sound modern, even though they’re ancient. He’s really impressive. Very passionate music. He’s very religious, and I like the passion behind it. The space that he utilizes, the reverberation in the recordings, I can turn that on really loud and just get absorbed in it, get lost in it. It’s fantastic.

Weidenbaum: It’s not a coincidence that he records for ECM Records, which has its share of electronic, digitized music, like Bill Frisell, who has taken the guitar deep into the realm of electronic. [At this point, I show Chad a document, a booklet for music instructors to use to teach musique concrete, published in the early ’70s. It has detailed assignments for practicing splicing audiotape.]

Mossholder: That’s funny, because what used to take so long you can do in minutes now. It’s just a better tool. Again, it comes up, a lot of argument with rock musicians, about how using the computer is cheating — and I’m like, well that’s like saying, I only cook with fire, I don’t use my microwave.

Weidenbaum: Have you seen the audio-game on the Bip-Hop site?

Mossholder: Yeah.

Weidenbaum: Does that appeal to you at all, a self-enclosed audio tool, a kind of toy? It seems like a natural move from the ACID loops, especially the sets of loops Twine has constructed.

Mossholder: It’s interesting. I think it runs the risk of coming off gimmicky. I don’t know. I don’t ever go and play with them much. It’s interesting, if it’s a way to get people involved. Whether people do or not — there’s so much Flash content on the web. But when we decided to build our Twine website, which we have our friend, Matt Mercer, do — he’s a great designer, and the designer of the Recorder cover — we told him, keep it simple, don’t put anything flashy.

Weidenbaum: You have a track called “Player Piano” on Recorder, which it clearly is not. What were you trying to get at with that title — it is one of the earliest forms of mechanical music.

Mossholder: Basically that, that it’s playing itself, that only part of it is piano, and it’s Alfred Schnittke that I sampled, except for the end, there’s part that I played — the very last part is me playing piano, and it’s processed, but the beginning is Schnittke. I also like Kurt Vonnegut’s work, so I thought it was a funny reference to his work. It’s like you said, an early version of electronic music, and it’s a process thing — it’s not really a player piano, and it’s not really a piano, so to speak.


Screen Gems: Music for Video-Games and Movies

Weidenbaum: Talk about your work as a professional in the videogame industry.

Mossholder: Initially I was hired on to work on NightCaster, which came out for the Xbox, the game is out and available — I was hired, not as a composer, but as a sound designer. When I first applied, I was told, send me your work, don’t send me any music, just send me sound effects. So, I constructed a six-minute — basically, it was a Twine song, this sound environment. So, instead of saying, These are sound effects I have designed, I just put them together as if you were going on this journey through these sounds. They flew me out for the interview. I got hired, and did all the sound design for the spells — in the game NightCaster, you’re a spellcaster, and so I did all the spells, which was pretty fun, because it was very abstract to begin with: these runes spinning on the ground, fire shooting out.

Weidenbaum: Much different from making machinegun sounds.

Mossholder: Exactly. And that was a lot of fun. I was also in charge of all ambient sounds you hear as you walked through the levels. It was really fun, because the programmers provided me with these tools that basically let me import all my sounds into the level, and to walk around the level. Like, say there’s a giant windmill, and I want my windmill sounds here [he signals a spot in space with his hand], so I just make a 3D emitter, pop it in, can move it around on the screen and place it, and then the computer will interpret and do all the sound spacing for me from that position.

Weidenbaum: So, to be clear: in the 3D space in which the game designers are working, you pinpoint from where the sound emanates, and an algorithm applies itself to your sound and tells the computer how to fill the space.

Mossholder: Yeah. And the other nice thing is I could assign packages of sounds, so for the windmill it wouldn’t just be one loop. I would make, like, ten sounds for the blades spinning, ten for the squeak, and I would tell the computer to make these “random unique,” so each time it picks one it’ll pick a different one, and I can tell it how long to play the loop before it moves to the next piece, and then crossfade in between.

Weidenbaum: Is that game available for the GameCube?

Mossholder: No, but the new game — we are doing a GameCube game. I guess I can’t really tell you the titles, but they will be coming out before Christmas. There’s a whole subgenre of people who just make music on the Commodore 64 still, which I used to totally do. That was my first computer. Well, I had a Commodore VIC-20, then a Commodore 64, and I used to use the SID programmer.

Weidenbaum: You referred to the material you provided in your job interview as a journey, which is important to me, because part of what excites me about electronic music is when it has narrative. Has your game music work informed your Twine music?

Mossholder: The only carryover from games is, like, titles, but more there’s an influence on the games from what I’m doing with music and sound design. The philosophy and ideology behind the games I think about, but for the game we’re doing for the GameCube, I didn’t do sound design for that, I did some techno music, so it’s not music like I would normally write, which is challenging. So, that’s been a learning experience, and from that side of techno I’ve been performing techno live at raves to make some extra money. It’s still kind of a twisted, like it’s basically Twine music underneath techno beats. It’s what’s underneath that defines the difference.

Weidenbaum: What name do you DJ under?

Mossholder: Twine.

Weidenbaum: There was a bit of a techno-ish sound on the track “Curved” on Recorder. I though it had a taste of Underworld’s song “Rez.”

Mossholder: That’s one of Greg’s tracks.

Weidenbaum: Music in games had been so simple once upon a time. I’ve been playing the old Doom game again lately, since it was ported onto the Gameboy Advance, and it’s amazing how much is accomplished just with footsteps, a rhythm track, and little spooky sounds here and there. At some point, videogame music got more complicated, but it was mostly used to introduce new levels of a game, and to play in the background like the soundtrack of a movie. Music in games now seems more integral than ever to what’s going on, because the games aim for immersive states. What kind of challenge is that, to make a seamless composition that goes in different directions, depending on the player’s decision-making.

Mossholder: We use DirectX Music and Interactive Music, so you set up regions in your game, where the computer will say, Right now, if we’re not fighting, and we’re just walking through this area, I’ve got this list of pieces that I can pull from. And all these pieces, when you compose them, all fit together, no matter how you put ’em together, and so the computer can grab ’em and it’s always organic and changing, but it feels like a composition. And if you encounter an enemy, the computer’s like, Oh, battle mode, and it switches to a different pallet of music. In different regions, you paint, basically, the surface of the ground, and where the character steps the computer checks a table and it says, I’m on ice, so I get to play this sound.

Weidenbaum: How about the transition between those different elements?

Mossholder: There are transition pieces that you build, and the computer knows to grab one of those.

Weidenbaum: This sounds like a great creative opportunity.

Mossholder: Yeah. It pretty crazy. It gets really busy, trying to make all the stuff. More than once I have spent the night at work, you know, crunch times, because we have milestones and we’ve got to meet them. I mean, my ultimate goal, from here, I want to move to Los Angeles and do film, because I’m a huge film fan, more than I am a videogame fan. There are a few games at work we play that are addictive, but when I’m at home, I’m always working. Occasionally I’ll sit down and I’ve been playing a game with my roommate on the weekends, which is fun. I definitely like games, but I’m really into film and what film can deliver.

Weidenbaum: Are there composers you like in particular?

Mossholder: Well, I like Angelo Badalamenti. Howard Shore is amazing.

Weidenbaum: Yeah, his work with David Cronenberg.

Mossholder: Yeah, I love Cronenberg. One book I’m reading now is called Sound-on-Film, which is just interviews with sound-foley artists. They talked to the guy who did, like, THX 1138?

Weidenbaum: Walter Murch?

Mossholder: He says the coolest —

Weidenbaum: Have you seen The Conversation? It has a separate DVD commentary track not just for the director, Francis Ford Coppola, but for Murch as well.

Mossholder: Murch talks about the static on the phones lines in the book.

Weidenbaum: If Scanner were a movie, he would be this movie.

Mossholder: I’m gonna pick it up and see it when I get home. That book is really inspiring to me. I’ve been talking to a friend who has done a lot of sound design — on JFK, and Natural Born Killers, and he just did Shrek — so, I was asking how to get into film, and he was telling me that I have to move to where they’re making movies.


Six Strings: Getting the Guitar Out of the Closet

Weidenbaum: You played guitar before you recorded as Twine, but you didn’t use guitar initially with Twine. Now you do.

Mossholder: It’s funny, it’s weird. When I started doing all the guitar stuff, the reason was, back before I even moved to Boulder, because the tools we were using electronically, I felt, were just too … I couldn’t get an organic enough sound that I wanted, and morph it enough. Whereas, with a guitar I could take it and twist it with other effects, guitar effects, so I thought it was a great texture. We started using that live, and then started incorporating it into the tracks. It’s funny, after we started doing that, and then, before this album came out, Fennesz releases his album [Endless Summer], and we were like, Aw, people are gonna think we do what Fennesz did, but we recorded it before that. It’s a simultaneous thing.

Weidenbaum: And the Greg Davis album, Arbor.

Mossholder: Ah, Greg Davis is awesome.

Weidenbaum: We’re at a phase right now where most people who make music had at some point played guitar. This is not some lost, ancient instrument. It’s more like people are taking it out of the closet and using it again.

Mossholder: Yeah, that’s where I started, playing guitar in the late ’80s, played in punk rock bands, and then math rock.

Weidenbaum: Trans Am-ish?

Mossholder: Nah, not really electronic, like Trans Am has more electronics, more like — like Ruins, the Japanese band. I was really into Massacre, the Fred Frith band. I wanted to do that.

Weidenbaum: How about Fripp, whom we talked about earlier.

Mossholder: I got into Fripp because I was into King Crimson, so I got into Robert Fripp, which got me into Brian Eno, because they worked together. I sought every Robert Fripp album, so I got ’em all, so I got into Brian Eno, and then I got the Eno ambient box set, and in the booklet he talks about John Cage’s Silence, so I went out and bought it, read it.

Weidenbaum: You haven’t done a ton of remixing.

Mossholder: We did the Horchata, we’ve remixed [Hefty owner] John Hughes’ material. I guess Greg’s been doing quite a few in Ohio, and I lose track of what Greg’s doing. Like, I’m working with Mark Amerika and have to keep Greg informed on that — it’s weird, the distance. We’re working on trying to get to work with the Silver Mt. Zion people. They’re members of Godspeed You Black Emperor, and they’re on Constellation Records, which is in Canada. I love everything they release. They’re very provincial, though. They won’t release anything that’s not Canadian. We keep talking. I love their stuff so much. I’m like, If there’s anything, like if you do a remix album. Because that’s what I want to do, not to get something released, because we have venues to do that, it’s just that I love their artists, I want to work with their music.

Weidenbaum: Legally.

Mossholder: Yeah, exactly. We’re working on more remixes, but we haven’t done a huge amount.

Weidenbaum: The Fripp and Eno stuff is much of the earliest ambient music I listened to. It’s also an early example of live processing of sound, especially the stuff Fripp did under the name Frippertronics.

Mossholder: It was very cool. I hunted down all that stuff. I even have the stuff he did with Andy Summers. It’s funny, I have a Reaktor patch that is Frippertronics. It’s got two modes for the guitar, like a guitar-pointilism type sound and then the [makes a slow, buzzing sound] and it goes through this huge delay that you can set to, like, ridiculously long, and it just cycles back.

Weidenbaum: Was Fripp involved in this patch?

Mossholder: No, somebody built it, I downloaded it. I’ve been playing with it. Haven’t used it live or anything. It’s just sort of funny for me to do Frippertronics on my laptop. I read a book that had a lot of his philosophy in it. John Cage said something about Glenn Branca, that he thought it was evil because he didn’t think anyone should have that much control over other people. And I think Cage would have the probably felt the same way about Robert Fripp. I even wanted to get the same guitar Fripp uses. I never did it, because I didn’t have the money to do it, but I was really into that. And I used to play with delays, much shorter, and do these arpeggiations, using tritone scales that Fripp uses.

Foreign Affairs: A European Online Project, and Making Music with Mark Amerika

Weidenbaum: About the DataSquare project, sponsored by the Paris museum Centre Pompidou and featuring Scanner, Coldcut, Autechre, Oval — and Twine?

Mossholder: I haven’t been keeping up with what they’re doing too much. That was through Philippe [Petit, proprietor of Bip-Hop Records], he got us involved in that. He’s just really motivated, got a lot of connections, and is really into what we’re doing. We’ve been pushing our stuff on everybody. I don’t really know a lot about it. I’ve been on the website.

Weidenbaum: It’s intriguing how much of a role modern-art museums are playing in disseminating electronic music — the Whitney, the Tate, the SF MOMA.

Mossholder: Definitely. Are you familiar with Mark Amerika? He lives in Boulder, and he and I went to Switzerland together and did a music and literature festival.

Weidenbaum: The Alt-X guy —

Mossholder: Yeah, he did Alt-X. We’re working on a project called FilmText, where he grabbed all this material and he’s putting it together — it’s hard to explain. It’s a narrative form of writing that encompasses a website, art installations — we just displayed at the ICA in London, and I did the whole soundtrack, which was all guitar manipulated stuff — and he was just in Australia displaying at a photography museum down there. There are all these elements. There’s an ebook, and then there’s the film, and we’re doing an MP3 disc. I’ve got lots of samples of Mark reading, which I manipulate. I’ve written several tracks. We’ve got about eight tracks now that I’ve done with Mark. He’s a really cool guy, always thinking. He teaches at Colorado University in Boulder, he teaches new-media-studies type stuff. Before I moved to Colorado, I was talking to Mark over the Internet, and he sent me this Phon:e:me disc he did, which is very cool, a lot of vocal stuff. I sent him a disc, which he really liked. When I moved I said, Hey I’m moving to Boulder, you should show me around, and he said, Oh, yeah definitely. I met him at a coffee shop, and as soon as I met him he said, So, do you want to go to Switzerland? He presented to me what was going on — he’s, like I know you do live music, can you do a live performance with my voice?

Weidenbaum: And your new job was cool with that?

Mossholder: Yeah, I had started, and I said, I’ve got this opportunity to go to Switzerland — like, paid — can I do it? And they were totally cool. Even this year, I’m going back to Switzerland, and we’re probably going to Japan, and we’re trying to go to Australia. I told my boss I need to do all these things and I don’t know if I have all the vacation time. She’s like, don’t worry, we’ll work it out. That makes me really happy. Mark’s great, and working with him has been awesome, because he’s really involved with new media. When we performed in Switzerland, he did “live writing,” where he’d go on the Internet, search for the subject matter he wanted to write about, go to the first link, find a paragraph, copy it, paste it, rearrange it, morph it into his own thing.

Weidenbaum: And the audience saw this happen?

Mossholder: Yeah, while he was doing it, so they saw the process, and I was doing the same thing with the voice, sampling from my bank of recorded Mark Amerika material and rearranging.

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