City Pages

Escape Mechanism - Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism

Let It Blurb

Rod Smith
July 21, 2004

Jon Nelson, sound collage evangelist and host of Radio K's widely syndicated "Some Assembly Required," gives his sidemen top billing on Cast of Thousands with Escape Mechanism--and not without reason. Nelson's focused spoken-word cutups would have sounded pretty thin minus the underpinnings his partners in playback (usually Gregg Bouliosa and Corey Hanssen) provided at the various Minneapolis venues where this live retrospective (1999-2001) was recorded. (Disclosure: After reviewing Cast of Thousands, I noticed that I was thanked in the liner notes; four years ago, I booked a show for the band. Fortunately, no one was harmed.) Especially beguiling is "Today," a snappy juxtaposition of fractured jazz-funk, processed crowd noises, and a comically edited contribution from perennial plunderphonic phavorite Jimmy Swaggert, who opens the proceedings proclaiming, "Brother, let me tell you something tonight/There's nothing to live (for)/What's the use?"