I recently digitized over 100 cassette tapes from my old late-night radio show, Technological Retreat. These podcast programs are collections of the live mixes, or Sound Collages I enjoyed making in the middle of the night, way back in the 20th century. These weren’t sample or dance based mixes. More like soundtracks from the subconscious that could last moments, or stretch on and on into that place when darkness turns into dawn.
Now available in conveniently sized travel packets, Technological Retreat is online through the help and assistance of KFAI. Now you can take a Technological Retreat with you when ever and where ever you go. It’s the kind of thing you might have heard before, but not really. Be sure to try some today!
Check out the complete listing below.
These recordings and more of my stuff is available at archive.org
These episodes were all presented on one of KFAI‘s digital streams in 2021, and there are still traces.
If you use Spotify, the first 18 shows are listed here.
Episode one begins with a station ID and two mixes from January 13, 1986. Welcome to episode one of the Technological Retreat podcasts, with three of the Sound Collages that I would spin into the night with. The station ID and intro are done by Larry Englund. Recently departed and much-loved person within the KFAI worlds. This recording was made when KFAI used a boombox to record air checks with. It sounds like it wasn’t tuned in very well that night. This first mix began around 2:20 AM, the second mix featured began around 4:40 AM. Mix 3 was was a listener request to hear Jimi Hendrix backwards. Now-a-days one can do this with an option in your free, downloadable audio editing software. Back in the middle of the night in 1989 that wasn’t an option. What I did was record the track onto a reel to reel tape in the production room and then play the backwards tape live on the air. I still think it turned out very well.
Mix 01 01.13.1986 Length: 26:58
Mix 02 01.13.1986 Length: 21:49
Mix 03 1989 Length: 3:20
Welcome to the second episode of the Technological Retreat podcasts, presenting the live radio mixes that I referred to as Sound Collages. That’s what I called these mixes, but I don’t think I necessarily invented the term. I had done late night radio in college before moving to Minneapolis in 1985, and enjoyed having a lot of time to play a lot of different music. Having an overnight show on KFAI let me stumble through and experiment with this style of sound design, and to be able to really stretch the mixes out. What was essential was the feeling of being artistically free to create. The first two mixes were broadcast on January 21st, 1986. The first one started around 2:20 AM and is about ten minutes long. The second began before 3 AM and is under 20 minutes.
In 2005, INNOVA records, the record label for the American Composers Forum contacted me about the potential of releasing a CD of these radio mixes. I’ll never forget the phone call. The person at their office asked if I was this guy who had done this show back in the 1980’s on KFAI. At this point it was over 15 years after the show went off the air, so to say that I was surprised is a serious understatement. So I said that yes, I was that guy, and then he said:
“You’re kind of famous but no one knows who you are.”
I took this as a great compliment for a radio DJ, and said I wanted to put that on my tombstone. Something I’ve always liked about radio is the anonymity involved. People know you through listening to you. They like you or don’t like you because of what you are doing. What you look like or what you are wearing is not important. What you are doing and what you are saying and sound like are important. Anyway, I bring this up because the first ten minutes of the following mix appeared on that CD. This mix was originally broadcast in February of 1986 and started around 2:30 AM.
Mix 01 01.21.1986 Length: 9:53
Mix 02 01.21.1986 Length: 18:22
Mix 03 02.00.1986 Length: 30:31
This is the third episode of the Technological Retreat podcasts. One of the things I enjoyed most about late-night radio was the creative freedom. More often than not, the radio stations were just thankful to have people up there let alone caring what they did. As long as it followed FCC guidelines and decorum of course. This was before the age of robot DJ’s and audio software. The three mixes in this episode are from the same night, February 3, 1986. The first mix is from 2:00 AM, and begins with a live recording of Charles Bukowski reading his own work mixed with South Indian vocal music. The second mix started around 2:45 AM and the third around 3:15 AM.
I started this show saying there would be patters of talking. Visual patterns are perhaps similar to audio rhythms in the creation of a larger structured work, as with a collage. I can remember playing around with these sound collages, sometimes reusing the same sound sources – emphasizing and eliminating portions of the mixes to change how and where they went, experimenting with what worked best. Here is a visual analogy this time using a series of prints. Here is one with primary colors, here’s a duo tone, here’s a grey scale, etc. Some of these will be more successful than others, and each piece is unique but also part of a series. They can be enjoyed individually or taken as a whole. Maybe not. Maybe I was getting tired and just repeating myself, and this is a better sounding explanation.
Mix 01 02.03.1986 Length: 38:05
Mix 02 02.03.1986 Length: 16:09
Mix 03 02.03.1986 Length: 9:10
Is it a cacophony or a symphony? Is it noise or nuance? Sure it is. Welcome to the fourth episode of the Technological Retreat podcasts. In one of the featured mixes I talk about sensory overload and having to pay attention to too many things at once, which is a feeling I was trying to create or recreate with the sound collages. The first mix from February 17th 1986 features a long example of Sound Mobile recordings in the background. The Sound Mobile was in my basement at the time and was like a giant wind chime that you could walk through. Bicycle frames, tanks and resonant metal things hanging from the ceiling by guitar and piano strings. Cheap contact microphones in the ceiling joists. You could bang and clang & plunk and plink. It was a lot of fun and no one ever got hurt when things fell. I would often have TV’s and radio’s playing in the background while knocking around in there. The second mix is from March 10th 1986 and starts with an excerpt from the Technological Retreat theme, which I will be including by itself in an eventual podcast.
Dialog 01 01.13.1986 Length: 0:42
Mix 01 02.17.1986 Length: 20:26
Mix 02 03.10.1986 Length: 34:24
Dialog 02 01.13.1986 Length: 0:58
I’m presenting these radio mixes in chronological order with exceptions, like the first mix in this program. Welcome to the fifth episode of the Technological Retreat podcasts. This radio tape was undated but begins with an early Reel to Reel tape loop experiment from 1985. Using Ravi Shankar’s voice and repeating it into itself while manipulating speed. The other three mixes are from March 17th, March 23rd, and April 21st, 1986, and contain strangely meditative sounds, some nice classical salad, and live uncensored sax in the studio.
Mix 01 Unknown Date Length: 6:33
Mix 02 03.17.1986 Length: 16:26
Mix 03 03.23.1986 Length: 10:09
Mix 04 04.21.1986 Length: 24:21
Number 6 is a number in a sequence, not a man in this case. This is the sixth trip into what the world sounded like to me, a melodic noise. This episode features mixes from two nights in May of 1986, the 5th and the 12th. What many people don’t realize is that May 5th is Shoe Day, and we are fortunate enough, perhaps, to have this aural documentation of what a typical, late 20th century shoe day celebration sounded like.
Mix 01 05.05.1986 Length: 22:04
Mix 02 05.05.1986 Length: 10:24
Mix 03 05.05.1986 Length: 8:03
Mix 04 05.12.1986 Length: 8:42
Mix 05 05.12.1986 Length: 2:12
Mix 06 05.12.1986 Length: 4:29
Proceed with Caution! Episode 7 contains volatile and unstable recordings from a significant part of KFAI’s history, covering the time that we first went Station 2 Station. The first recording is from May 26th of 1986, and was my last broadcast from KFAI’s first physical home, which was in the tower of the Walker Church. The next two recordings are from June 1st, and are from my first show in our then new home on Lake Street, which was known at the time as the Butler Drug Building. The last two recordings are from November 30th. I have no tapes from June through November except for this one. I’m surprised to still have as many of these tapes as I do, but don’t worry kids – there’s still 1987, 8 and 9 to listen through.
Mix 01 05.26.1986 Length: 17:45
Notes: Last recording from Walker church
Mix 02 06.01.1986 Length: 5:26
Notes: First recording from Butler Drug
Mix 03 06.01.1986 Length: 6:23
Mix 04 01.30.1986 Length: 5:49
Mix 05 11.30.1986 Length: 19:12
Within the 100 or so cassettes from this show, there are only 6 tapes from 1987 and mixes from three of those tapes are here, in Episode 8, with a special bonus prize included. Mixes two through six in this podcast are all from one night, March 28th, giving a nice example of different places I could go in one evening. Mix seven, the last in this episode is an unknown date and was featured on my first home made CD of this material, called “Music to Vacuum By”. Named for all those old, schmoozy orchestrated records, like “Music for Dining” or “Music to Sleep To”, well, mine was Music to Vacuum By.
Mix 01 02.16.1987 Length: 9:36
Mix 02 03.28.1987 Length: 2:41
Mix 03 03.28.1987 Length: 10:00
Mix 04 03.28.1987 Length: 7:27
Mix 05 03.28.1987 Length: 6:44
Mix 06 03.28.1987 Length: 2:41
Mix 06 06.07.1987 Length: 13:39
Mix 07 Track 9 from MTVB Length: 2:20
Podcast number 9 contains the final recordings from 1987. The first two mixes are from April 13th and were made for and given to my Mom for her birthday that year. Using a lot of the music she enjoyed from light jazz to classical to Broadway show tunes with a lot of messing around in between. I can’t imagine what her reaction could have been? “That’s really nice Greg, how about next year getting me another cat or a video tape recorder, hmm?” The other three mixes are from June 21st, and almost sound like what a bunch of drunk robots on laughing gas in the studio might have sounded like. Almost.
Mix 01 04.13.1987 Length: 25:42
Mix 02 04.13.1987 Length: 8:12
Mix 03 06.21.1987 Length: 9:58
Mix 04 06.21.1987 Length: 4:57
Mix 03 06.21.1987 Length: 13:11
This is the tenth podcast in the series. Technological Retreat was 5 hours long and I spent a lot of time playing great music by itself which isn’t the focus of these podcasts, I’m focusing on the sound collage mixes that I think are worth listening to. The two included here are from January 11th, 1988, and are each about half an hour long. I was having fun that night and the mixes go all over the place. Thanks for coming back and staying tuned. We’re just scratching the surface.
Mix 01 01.18.1988 Length: 31:00
Mix 02 01.18.1988 Length: 30:40
Here is episode number 11, and like the number 11, these ones are fun. These recordings are from January 11th, 23rd, and February 22nd, 1988. The set of voices beginning the second mix belong to Graham and Steve, the hosts from Baghead Dreams. Later on, in this episode I’m joined by my very good friend Alice Phoenix. Alice hosted and DJ’d a KFAI radio show focused on local, Minneapolis punk rock and all the variations thereof. It was called New Day Rising, after the Husker Du song and it is such a treat to be able to hear her voice coming out of speakers again. Here is a picture from the City Pages of me and Alice at 1st Ave at a Husker Du show. She’s in the center, I’m on the right. RIP Alice.
Mix 01 01.11.1988 Length: 15:34
Mix 02 01.23.1988 Length: 3:06 Baghead Intro
Mix 03 01.23.1988 – 01 Length:13:08
Mix 04 01.23.1988 – 02 Length: 13:08
Mix 05 02.22.1988 Length: 14:31
Mix 06 02.22.1988 Length: 4:52 With Alice Phoenix
Mix 07 DOB: 02.22.1988 Length: 2:32 With Alice Phoenix
Welcome to the twelfth podcast. The original broadcast dates of these four mixes were from March and June of 1988, and overall give me the feeling of Celestial Chatter. AKA, what the world sounded like to me back then. Imagine if you will, on your cosmic radio the badly tuned-in music of the spheres passing through and passing out of our solar system, riding sound waves on an audio cycle always heading out. Or imagine whatever you like while you stay tuned and listen in.
Mix 01 03.14.1988 Length: 6:38
Mix 02 03.28.1988 Length: 23:46
Mix 03 06.06.1988 Length: 12:24
Mix 04 06.27.1988 Length: 14:46
Welcome to the Thirteenth Technological Retreat podcast. Thanks for staying tuned and coming back. The five mixes presented here are from July of 1988. The first two are from the fourth and the other three from a tape that just says July ’88. This episode is action packed and full of nuts: Angry self-help teachers, freaked-out religious fanatics in DUB, classical nightmares and helpful literary advice from Captain Caffeine, among other late-night tales.
Mix 01 07.04.1988-01 Length: 9:31
Mix 02 07.04.1988-02 Length: 17:36
Mix 03 07.00.1988-02 Length: 1:39
Mix 04 07.00.1988-03 Length: 21:40
Mix 05 07.00.1988-05 Length: 5:29
Hello and thanks for tuning in. Podcast 14 contains 3 minutes from July 4th that didn’t fit in the last episode, and almost 56 minutes from August 22nd. It sounds like there was a lot going on up in the studio that night. Lots of little sounds making bigger sounds in these long mixes. Listening to these shows again has reminded me of that unhindered creative energy I felt and how much fun it was to do these shows live. I hope you are enjoying these as well.
Mix 01 07.04.1988-01 Length: 3:07
Mix 02 08.22.1988-01 Length: 6:25
Mix 03 08.22.1988-02 Length: 18:37
Mix 04 08.22.1988-03 Length: 30:53
And the sounds keep coming. Podcast number 15 contains 5 mixes from 3 nights – and that equals 15… Three summer nights from 1988 to be exact. Listening in to these old radio shows again has been enjoyable. I’m actually impressed with how contemporary these sound collages sound. Maybe the noise in this world is finally catching up to the way the world sounded like to me back then. Listen in for spacey ethereal feedbackery, crazed dialog and a completely over the top homage to William Shatner performed by Cap’n Caffeine himself, an irregular regular caller-in to the show if there ever was one.
Mix 01 08.29.1988-01 Length: 10:11
Mix 02 08.29.1988-02 Length 2:14
Mix 03 08.29.1988-03 Length 11:56
Mix 04 08.29.1988-04 Length 7:54
Mix 05 09.05.1988-01 Length 13:29
Mix 06 09.18.1988-01 Length 10:25
Here is podcast episode number 16. Several years ago, I digitized over 100 cassettes of these old radio shows and have been taking the sound collages or mixes, and putting them together in 1-hour presentations.
Sound collage is the live layering and mixing of different audio sources to create new pieces. Similar to the creation of a visual collage. Not an idea that I invented, but one I certainly played around with. My stuff never was sample based or a dance mix, more like a soundtrack for the subconscious. Radio & TV chatter, ambient city sounds and musical beds all mushed up. Now it’s called mash up.
Mix 01 10.24.1988-03 Length: 2:58
Mix 02 10.24.1988-02 Length 5:12
Mix 03 10.31.1988-01 Length: 2:32
Mix 04 10.31.1988-03 Length: 5:07
Mix 05 10.31.1988-02 Length: 2:49
Mix 06 10.31.1988-04 Length: 3:26
Mix 07 10.31.1988-05 Length: 1:30
Mix 08 11.07.1988-01 Length: 6:28
Mix 09 11.07.1988-02 Length: 5:55
Mix 10 11.07.1988-04 Length: 6:10
Mix 11 11.07.1988-05 Length: 5:09
This is the second episode in this set of 1-hour re-broadcasts, but the 17th overall. All of these sounds that you’ll be hearing were originally broadcast in October and November of 1988, somewhere in the middle of the night. During this period, I was making lots of background audio tapes of radios and TV flipping from channel to channel. Enjoying the static and fragmented dialogs along with pieces of popular mass media bouncing source to source. A lot of this was noise, sometimes very sweet noise, sometimes not. I would use these as sound beds, layering more and more into them, like a visual collage.
Mix 00 10241988-01 Length: 3:39
Mix 01 08221988-01 Length: 3:41
Mix 02 09051988-01 Length: 4:17
Mix 03 09181988-01 Length: 2:16
Mix 04 09181988-02 Length: 1:45
Mix 05 09181988-03 Length: 3:54
Mix 06 10101988-02 Length: 4:27
Mix 07 10101988-03 Length: 5:42
Mix 08 10101988-05 Length: 0:31
Mix 09 10171988-01 Length: 4:51
Mix 10 10171988-02 Length: 9:34
Mix 11 10171988-03 Length: 4:18
Mix 12 10171988-04 Length: 6:53
Mix 13 10171988-05 Length: 1:52
Welcome to the 18th hour long episode of Technological Retreat, an audio experience like no other! This program contains 9 mixes and / or Sound Collages, five of which are over 9 minutes in length, so you can really hear ideas develop and change over longer periods. These sound collages are basically playing more than one thing at a time, often with audio effects. Remember that there is No Logic in technological. I would do this and also play sets of music. I mean, it was a five-hour program, that’s a lot of time.
For anyone from a certain age, like the 20th century, we used cassettes joyfully and at the time we all thought they were great. Within my boxes of radio and production tapes is the box for unmarked tapes. Those with no label or I.D. on them. I have been presenting these radio podcast episodes in chronological order, however, all of the recordings in this one-hour program are from five unmarked tapes. One of the tapes is from 1986. I know this due to a cultural reference, but besides that, they are mysteries, I hope you enjoy them.
Mix 01 198X – 01 Length: 9:40
Mix 02 1986 – 00 Length: 12:28
Mix 03 07.00.1988 – 01 Length: 5:21
Mix 04 1986 – 01 Length: 8:54
Mix 05 1986 – 02 Length: 9:01
Mix 06 1986 – 03 Length: 10:20
Mix 07 08221988 – 02 Length: 1:13
Mix 08 10101988 – 01 Length: 2:21
This 19th episode of Technological Retreat features mixes from three nights in November of 1988. Lots of varied sounds that go around in this hour. Tibetan Monks & Humpback Whales in dub – Stravinsky & The Marx Brothers & John Michael Jarre fight it out – Muhamad Ali battles Mr Tooth Decay in an alternate reality – more media manipulations and somewhat witty banter. Thanks for tuning in and checking it out.
Mix 01 11.07.1988 – 01 Length: 9:24
Mix 02 11.07.1988 – 02 Length: 12:02
Mix 03 11.07.1988 – 03 Length: 4:32
Mix 04 11.14.1988 – 01 Length: 7:01
Mix 05 11.21.1988 – 01 Length: 7:26
Mix 06 11.21.1988 – 02 Length: 3:49
Mix 07 11.21.1988 – 03 Length: 5:39
Mix 08 11.21.1988 – 04 Length: 1:36
Mix 09 11.21.1988 – 05 Length: 5:53
These eight recordings that make up episode 20 are from November and December of 1988. This episode also wraps up the calendar year of available recordings. Now on to 1989! There are some little quiet sound mixes in here. There’s some long and loud bombastic stuff too. Something I realized that I should share with the listening audience: All of the times and telephone numbers mentioned in these recordings are no longer correct, and you should not call-in or plan your day according to them.
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Welcome to the 21st episode of the Technological Retreat podcasts. All of the mixes in this program are from January of 1989. Exciting news is presented on KFAI’s “Brand New”, AP news machine. The kind of thing that used to continually print the news on a long roll of paper. This episode starts with a remix made of me that some listeners under the name of “Circle of Bring” sent in.
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Welcome to the 22nd Technological Retreat podcast. All of the mixes in this program are from February of 1989. One of them contains the station ID from the previous show “Baghead Dreams”, with Steve and Graham. I was fortunate that I enjoyed the company of the DJs before and after my show. One of the many enjoyable parts of this overall project has been finding recordings of people and bands talking. Listening back, it seems like this was a noisy month. Like everything is in motion kind of noisy. Like Stravinsky noisy, like John Zorn noisy and Glenn Branca noisy. A busy sort of noisiness. Good or bad, who knows? I’m not going to be placing any judgement on myself. I mean, what did you sound like at 3 AM?
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Welcome to the 23rd Technological Retreat podcast. February and March of 1989 are presented to you in all their fuzzy, buzzy and scuzzy late-night glory. Some of these mixes are 10 minutes or so, really giving the mixes a chance to stretch and change and do all those things.
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Welcome to the 24th Technological Retreat podcast. These radio recordings are from March and April of 1989. Among other samplings and soundscapes are some recordings made at amusement parks while on a family vacation. Another neat surprise is a long promo for the KFAI show Little City in Space. The (very) creative forces behind Little City in Space were very kindred spirits of mine. KFAI has always been very supportive of and has had an exceptional edge of weird in its programming, and I’m so proud to be a part of that.
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Welcome to the 25th Technological Retreat podcast. These radio recordings are from April, May and June of 1989. While listening through and editing these recordings I’ve sometimes been completely stumped as to what the hell I’m listening to. I was recording (pirating) so many sounds from so many media sources: Cable and broadcast T.V. & broadcast and shortwave radios. I’d also make recordings of family vacations like most people took pictures. We hear some fragments of these too, along with pounding hippie drum jams, a bombastic Rasputin mix, backward spinning things and a KFAI promo from Mike Watt of Firehose.
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This is what the world sounded like to me, and now you can hear it too. Welcome to the 26th Technological Retreat podcast. This show is from two nights in June of 1989, the 11th & 19th, and from what I can tell by listening in, I was having a pretty good time 32 years ago this month. Two of the three mixes are over 20 minutes each, the second one nearly 30 minutes long, so you can really hear and feel how the weird could stretch out through the night. The first mix is a sorta jazz salad with a big helping of noodling. TV Space themes and celestial classical music slowly devolves into Humpback Whales, a freaking out Jerry Falwell and a Johann Sebastian Liabach kind of thing. Kind of. The last mess is a variation on a theme of The Flintstone’s in dub with a Wim Wenders soundtrack…
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Time to take a Technological Retreat into a few summer nights of July and August, 1989. It sure seemed like a hot time in the ol’ town those nights. The first piece contains a lengthy spot with some of KFAI’s notoriously wacky radio theatre producers for an upcoming epic evening of programming entitled “Weather Proof Windows of the Mind”. It was bittersweet finding this piece because it contains, among others, the talents of Jerry Modjeski – a long time KFAI talent, good friend and definite kindred spirit, who recently passed away.
During this podcast production I’ve had the experience of hearing the voices of several friends and KFAI colleagues who are no longer with us. The memories that audio can release are pretty amazing. Other mixes in this 27th episode include lots of little sounds, a taxi ride through NYC, otherworldly flights, and a description of Bill Wyman’s potential family tree. Welcome back to 1989, thanks for tuning in.
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The Technological Retreat radio show excerpts presented here originally aired in June, August and September of 1989. I’ve been presenting these sound collages – radio mixes, in chronological order, for the most part throughout the series of 28 podcasts. I wanted to preserve that particular flow of time. However, all the good, bad and ugly things that exist in time, run out of it eventually. Whatever “It” maybe, it is finite. In one of the mixes included I announce the upcoming end of the show. It was interesting to hear that after so many years. There are ten more tapes (actually digitized recordings of the old tapes) to go through, so my guess is there will be enough material for three – four more of these Technological Retreat podcasts after this one. Thanks for tuning in.
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This is the 29th and last, one-hour presentation of Technological retreat Sound Collage audio mixes. The material was finite to begin with, and here it is.
Thank you all for participating in this experiment.
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