I originally did my radio program, Some Assembly Required, as a two-hour show. The second hour was an hour of what I called, 'live improvised media collage,' and we did it for over two years with what seemed like a cast of thousands, as there were many different participants over time. So, when we would occasionally be asked to play out, that's what we would call ourselves - Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism - as I was the only consistent member of the group, and much of the material I used was material I was working with as Escape Mechanism.
When I started syndicating the show, I shortened it to an hour-long program, keeping only the first hour, where I play recordings by sound collage artists from around the world. We would still occasionally play out at art galleries and performance spaces around town, and Cast of Thousands became more of a live extension of my studio project, Escape Mechanism.
Our studio sessions involved anywhere from 1 to 6 people, and more equipment than I can remember. A typical set up would usually include a couple of minidisc players, a turntable or two, a cd player and a sampler. On one occasion, we had two minidisc players, three cd players, five turntables, and a sampler going all at the same time. It really didn't matter how few or how many pieces of equipment were being used. The best sessions were when everyone was feeling glad to be there and willing to work together. It was a lot of fun.
- Jon Nelson