Rift Magazine

Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism

Full Disclosure: Escape Mechanism's Jon Nelson, the proprietor of Recombinations Records, is a colleague of mine. He hosts a weekly show on Radio K (KUOM) called "Some Assembly Required" that features tape manipulators, turntablists and sample-based music in general. That said, the collection of live found-sound jam sessions captured here with Cast of Thousands is simply incredible, and I would state as much even if he were not a friend of mine. (Nelson at one point was roommates with another member of Cast of Thousands who also was a DJ at Radio K, so Nelson is not entirely blameless in this affair, either.) Furthermore, the so-called plunderphonic scene is so tiny and fractured as it is, the level of incestuousness at work here is not really all that surprising.

The tracks featured on the disc also give you a taste of the peculiar freeform live shows the improv group turned out from roughly 1999 to 2001 at various tony art galleries. Like Splatt, this quirky brand of "audio art" definitely stretches the boundaries of what you might normally classify as "musical" per se. Moreover, if you read RIAA press releases, it is also "stealing intellectual property." I, for one, simply refer to it as the best thing I've heard in months. NH