The Onion On My Internet Belt

TrollBoy and The Crevice Creature: Definitive History

Time Line and Release Dates:
18 Inches of Quaint, 4/18/95
The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy God, 4/18/96
Butter and Produce, 4/18/97
S.A.H., 7/31/97
The DJ Aesthetic, 8/18/98
Another Monophonic Morning, 12/18/99
Fingers in the Danish, 9/18/00
Strawberry Speech Impediment, 6/18/01
STWNWHY Director’s Cut, 11/18/02
You’re the Hobbit, Paul’s the Wookie, 9/18/03
Then The Robots Started Dancing, 2/18/05
A Tribute to Your Addiction, 8/18/06
Monkeys of the Midwest, 3/18/11

Introduction and Background:

Taking and idea and running with it. That is what this series of mixes is. I took an idea that came about through conversation and hanging out with friends and ran with it… for sixteen years.
Back in 1993, Seth had an idea for a mix tape he wanted to do. As I recall his original idea was to take a series of songs and intersperse them with samples and sound effects. This was a pretty new idea at the time and was just starting to become a template for how a number of rap albums would be structured. His original mix was called Head On A Stick and he drew original cover art for it, and it was cool. He asked me for help (or I got cocky [a common occurrence at that stage in my life] and said I could tighten the mix) and we took his perfectly good mix and I kind of messed it up. However, during that process, I realized that A) I needed a mixing board and B) this concept could be expanded and revised in scope. A seed had been planted and was taking root…
Now flash back a bit. At the time we had a mutual friend who owned a pick-up truck. The three of us drove around in that truck a lot. Gas was cheap (like $1.10 a gallon) and we didn’t really have jobs so a lot of nights were spent driving around, hanging out, listening to music, and laughing a lot. Somewhere in one of these nights, near the concept of this mix, the name TrollBoy and the Crevice Creatures came up and stuck. I don’t recall how it came about, but it worked, and worked well because it made us laugh and gave us an in joke. We graduated high school in 1993 and went our mild separate ways. Seth and I went to our colleges while the guy with the truck did everything in his power to implode and waste his life. By 1995, Seth and I had become much better friends while things with the third guy had dashed on the rocks. He is credited on the first mix, but very shortly after we cut ties and never looked back. Also by 1995 I had moved from just making a lot of mixed tapes from random sources to owning my own mixer, DJing in college radio, and DJing at the club on campus. My access to new music was nearly unlimited, my ability to not just create a playlist but to meld beats and samples had matured (or at least grown substantially) and the name was still funny to us. Fertile ground for art.

So, starting in late 1994, I started to build a collection of songs that I wanted to share with people, new stuff from the wilds that I was now in. It seems natural that since I talked so much music and shared so much commonality in terms of taste with Seth that he would get a tape of the mix. Sending the mix through the actual post became a cornerstone of what was becoming a real project.

Once I had mixed 18 Inches of Quaint and played it for a few people, it became apparent that I would have to do another one. Folks liked it and I was proud of it. The groundwork was set and we were off to the races.

When I call this a project that is a good thing. I like projects and pour my heart into them. But to really be a project it has to have rules and boundaries. The ‘rules’ that define the TrollBoy and the Crevice Creature efforts (TBCC from here out) are as follows:
-New music is the focus. Not by calendar year of release, but to us.
-Don’t repeat artists. There is a lot of good stuff out there, why get narrow?
-Cover art. It is a dying medium and added another layer of creation to be audio and visual.
-Samples: Use ‘em! Recontextualization is my favorite artists tool.
-A layer of sexuality. Not only is it a strong vein of my personality, there are a lot of songs with such an overtone. If I’m building a fantasy world where I am an awesome DJ, I might as well go all the way.
-Send the mix by mail. Everyone loves getting post!
-Intro/Outro. These were often a challenge harder than the rest of the mix, but I thought they added a really cool and interesting narrative element. Again, recontextualization and clever fun are part of the game.
-Rarities as a focus. I am a deep tracks and obscurities lover. I’m a completionist and love remixes. That concept came through again and again, if not on purpose, then by practice. Most of these mixes were before mp3s and file sharing.
-Packaging. Each Mix left my hands with hand created art and full credits. I might sample and snip, but I give credit where it is due! The packaging moves these from mixed tapes to something akin to a gift (I hope).
-Titles from Seth: All of the titles (other than Another Monophonic Morning) came from conversations with Seth. They were often the inspiration and gave me gumption to keep at this again and again. He was the real audience for these mixes.
-Get the title into the mix somehow. This ebbed and flowed. When it worked it was a lot of fun.
If that seems like a lot of internal rules for something that is supposed to be fun, then you are very perceptive. It was an eventually I collapsed under the weight of all those self-imposed barriers. Nowadays I still mix music, but with less fanfare, no art, and distribute the digital files via email link. Times they have a changed.
What follows are specific pieces of trivia about each mix, the cover art, the full credits, and a link to the mix itself. They are loose and from memory and are in no way exhaustive. I thought it would be fun to provide a bit of behind the scenes context. Each effort can be enjoyed without wading through the trivia bits. After the name of each mix there is an indication that some of the samples or lyrics aren’t necessarily safe for work or delicate ears. You’ve been warned.

18 Inches of Quaint, 4/18/95 (Content Warning)
-The font for the title on the cassette spine is “Wedgie”.
-The swirling eyes on the cover, which didn’t come through that well given the photo manipulation software we had at the time, belong to my least favorite person that I have ever had to deal with in college radio.
-The cover photo was taken by a floor mate of mine and is the only picture on any cover that I didn’t take myself. The lights in the cover photo were from the dance club I DJed for on campus. The disco ball is a Christmas ornament.
– The inclusion of “Jenifa (Taught Me)” was as a musical criticism about the relationship of two people I was still in contact with from high school.
-The number 18 comes up a lot in this project. It is a very obscure and ridiculous reference that took on a life of its own. It always concerns a foot and a half in length but we noticed that the number eighteen is actually oddly common.
-The “Welcome To My Mind” sample that appears in “Revenge of the Gardian” was originally an accident. I thought that was super clever at the time and ran with it.
-There were only three copies of this first mix made. Remember dubbing cassette decks?
-The “Quaint” part comes from a very lengthy and amusing conversation about connotative and denotative meaning. Basically, “quaint”, in American English, means stupid.
-Digital Orgasm shows up in this mix. They re-appear in later mixed as Lords of Acid and Pragha Khan.
-The song “Lean to the Inside” by Electronic appears now to have been deleted from the catalog and is, I think, the most obscure song in all of the mixes.

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy God, 4/18/96 (Content Warning)
-The cover photo is a picture of a gas cap from an AMC Gremlin (1974 I believe) and a picture of a pink neon cross on a church in Glenwood, MN. The upside down cross is an artifact of the lens I took the picture with.
-This is the only mix where I don’t recall the conversation that spawned the title. The phrase itself contains every letter of the alphabet.
-The group Strange Cargo appears in this mix. That was the start of my love of William Orbit.
-The group Lemon Interrupt appears in this mix. That is a strange offshoot project by the members of Underworld Rick Smith and Karl Hyde. I didn’t know that at the time. This cut was very rare and I tripped over it at random and liked it.
-The Whigfield song was suggested and supplied by Barbara (nee) Minken. She is a good friend of mine to this day.
-A theme of sexual energy runs through the entire series. This mix solidified that as a recurring and intentional concept.

Butter and Produce, 4/18/97
-This cover took the most actual cut and paste work. I took the picture of the butter and apple and a picture of the studio monitors at the college radio station I worked at, cut them up (with a real scissors and rubber cement) and made that picture, then color copied it at a pro photo processing shop. I am still proud of the concept and execution.
-The title comes from a place in Glencoe, MN. Seth and I spotted it in the last delirious hours of a disastrous road trip. My (now, but then, future) wife was also in the car for that leg of the trip. Seth had worked in grocery and wife likes butter to a disturbing degree. It all comes together like that sometimes.
-The song “Samurai” is credited to the group Jungle High (as listed on the source album), but it is clearly by Juno Reactor. We have never figured out this labeling mystery.
-This mix is the first one to sample current things we were obsessed with (the video game Twisted Metal being the most obvious).
-This is the first mix to have named sides, an artifact of the cassette tape era.
-“Fire Like Dis” proved to be a contentious track and was where I learned that Seth doesn’t like harmonica that much.

S.A.H., 7/31/97
-This is the oddball of the group as it doesn’t really follow ‘the rules’. It was made as a workout tape for a friend of ours.
-I love the cover of this one too. The donuts are from a “Life In Hell” cartoon, the thought balloon is from a “Calvin and Hobbes” strip. Again, all cut and paste with actual scissors and rubber cement.
-S.A.H. stands for “Smooth As Hell”, but also are Seth’s initials.
-This is the only early mix where my voice doesn’t show up in some format.
-This is also the only mix where no song is altered.
-This mix and STWNWHY Director’s Cut are the only ones to repeat any artists. They fall outside the normal rules but fit the larger concept.

The DJ Aesthetic, 8/18/98
-The conversation that spawned this title took days and was revisited many times. We have had some great conversations.
-In terms of opening sequences, this one might be my favorite, or more accurately, I have the most affection for it. I’ve got a lot of love for the outro as well.
-This is the first mix that I finished, listened to, and then ran again. All the previous ones stood as they were unless there was a catastrophic mixing error.
-“Seven Pointed Star” contains a sample from the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Since I built that mix, I have heard that sample used many, many times. None of the songs I have found predate this mix.
-The remix name for “Blast” by the Crystal Method (a rare song it its own right) comes from the sample of “Post Modern Sleaze” that I used that comes from the even more rare limited edition Becoming RemiXed. 18195 is the numbered edition of Becoming RemiXed that I bought on my birthday the previous year.
-I have a hard time listening to the Mig 31 mix here. I tried too hard with the sample and it shows.
-“Burts” by Underworld and the remix of “Tied Up” by LFO (the Bell/Varley duo that stands for Low Frequency Oscillations, not the boy band of the same name) were, until the internet became a tool for music sharing, painfully rare. Both came back from London, England, with friends of mine who had taken trips or studied abroad. This affinity for rarities runs the whole series, I think, but really solidified for the first time here. Previous rare stuff was more accidental.

Another Monophonic Morning, 12/18/99
-The speaker on the cover is a 15” Realistic. It has a long and oddly storied history before it ended up on this cover including three separate owners and two attempts at being made into a subwoofer. This is the weakest cover. The original concept was a single speaker, the Moai, and an alarm clock in bed, but I just couldn’t get the picture to work. This was all in the days of film, so I hit my photo budget and had to give up.
-I mixed this sitting at the kitchen table of the apartment I shared with our friend Dan. I turned most of the kitchen into a coil of cables. The rig was so heavy it almost tipped over when Dan set a bowl of cereal on the wrong side of the table.
-The opening cut is still to this day a rarity. If I had kept that soundtrack (not sure what happened to the cd really) I would now own everything that Leftfield ever released.
-“No Need To Wave” comes from an album I bought at Media Play in Denver on the disastrous road trip that spawned the title of Butter and Produce.
-Late Night Beats (where the Jimi Tenor song comes from) was also purchased on that same trip to Media Play.
-The “Heavy Water” remix comes from an album I only saw once (and bought!). That was in Sioux City, IA, when visiting my now wife while she was in grad school. The first volume of Big Hard Disk having attained a sort of mythical status as both a dance album and inside joke at our friend Dan’s expense (he had it on tape, not cd).
-“Gumbo Ya Ya” comes from a cd that was bought at Tower Records in London, England, and carried back to me by a friend, as does “Oh Yeah” by Fluke. This mix might contain the most hard to obtain stuff. This was way before iTunes and the ability to find everything online, so a real crate diggers delight at the time.

Fingers in the Danish, 9/18/00 (Content Warning)
-This is the first mix in the series to be put on cd for distribution. The first cd burner I had was a Philips single speed audio burner (acquired for Christmas in 1998). That was used in this project. I made both cds and cassettes for people and sent them out.
-The man pictured on the cover is unknown to us. He was in a random shot (as in she didn’t later know what she was trying to get in the shot, it was too dark to tell) taken by my wife on a trip she and her sister took to Disney in Florida.
-No, I don’t know why I put a shark on the cover. I thought it fit there. Something about balance maybe. Yes, the whole cover is a dirty joke. Yes, I did eat that pastry after the picture.
-The side names are harbingers of the name of the next mix.
-The side intro/outros were very hard to build. It was the first time I really spent time bending WAV files to get what I wanted. The available (to me) technology was starting to catch up with my vision.
-This one has a good house/trance vibe that I am pleased with to this day.
-I really wish the Jack Kerouac sample in the last song had come through better. It’s a passage from “On The Road” and he says “The end of the continent, then, and the end of the road, and the end of all dulled out.”

Strawberry Speech Impediment, 6/18/01
-At the time of this mix I had the particular habit of trailing off my pointless stories by saying “Stuff… things, whatnot… and what-have-you”, or STWNAWHY at the end of emails for short. Seth pointed out that particular string of characters, if you don’t know what it is, kind of sounds like you are mumbling “strawberry”. A title was born.
-The picture on the front literally came to me as I took a nap on the couch. It was rushed but partly inspired by Tony Millionaire’s “Sock Monkey” comic I think.
-The side names are inspired by an actual place offering those two professional services together under one roof, in River Falls, WI.
-“Bionic Hippy” has one of my all-time favorite sample usages.
-The group T.D.F. is actually Eric Clapton and a producer who decided to try their hand in the electronic realm. It’s an interesting album if you can find it.
-Country Breakfast Studios started as a joke but became a real name for my mixing space all due to an errant grocery store sign. I still have the sign and use that designation for my home mixing space.

STWNWHY Director’s Cut, 11/18/02 (Content Warning)
-This is a sort of “best of” collection mainly built around songs from the previous efforts with some reworked samples, all with a naughty theme.
-The interior packaging is NSFW. Very NSFW.
-As a sign of the times, the package is a repurposed free AOL disc mailer, the tin box ones.
-The sanding of the metal mailers in order to get them ready to be painted (a black base with a maroon metallic overspray) took a really long time. It was likely the single most labor intensive packaging effort for any of the mixes.
-The number of these that were produced for any particular mix varied by how many people expressed interest. “18 Inches of Quaint”, for example, had a first run of 3. By the end I was making a little more than a dozen for distribution. I think only 6 of these were made.
-I think the samples from “Cannibal Women and the Avocado Jungle of Death” and “Bedazzled” are some of my most inspired.

You’re the Hobbit, Paul’s the Wookie, 9/18/03
-I’ve never met Paul. He was a coworker of Seth’s. He is tall and thin. You can figure out the rest.
-Thematically, this one was very fun to mix.
-In total I would say I spent five hours just on movie dialog samples alone for this mix.
-Madflava isn’t the name of the album I pulled “Rose Rogue” from. That is a typo. The real album is Tourist. No idea what I was doing there.
-“Needlejuice” as remixed here, brings a tremendous smile to my face even to this day. The movie “Despiser” is sooooo bad and yet the sample totally pushes that track into awesome territory.
-William Carlos Williams shows up because I had to get a literary sample into this thing. The speaking you hear, if you are unfamiliar with the poem, is the entirety of the poem itself. That poem was a major turning point in my early understanding of poetry.
-Yes that is me on the cover. I’m holding a copy of The Hobbit, and the bottle in front of Chewbacca (an original from my youth, cut and pasted into the photo) is a bottle Seth brewed. The background image for the top text on the cover is adult in nature.

Then The Robots Started Dancing
, 2/18/05
-The title comes from a Penny Arcade comic strip.
-This cover was built using MS Image Composer. Of all the covers, this one was the most fun to make. I giggled to myself the whole time. Collaging for the win!
-This is the first one in the series that didn’t come out in the following calendar year. It was the first time that I felt the weight of the rules I had put on myself as crippling the project. I was acquiring music at a different rate and my life was changing. This resulted in the shortest mix of the bunch. Most are an hour, this one clocks in at 48 minutes.
-I never flat out repeated the same band on any of the TBCC efforts (not counting STWNWHY Director’s Cut and S.A.H.), from end to end, but I was starting to rely on the same sources for samples (Tron, Willy Wonka…) and inspiration was getting harder to corral.
-This mix has the fewest altered songs in it (excluding S.A.H).
-“Rock Is Sponge” was fun to mix because what you hear is less than 50% of the original song. I spent a lot of time on the Numark CDN-88 cutting and looping and tweaking that one.
-We thank the inventor of Hot Wheels racing track because Seth and I went to a closing KB Toys, bought all the loose track they had, then built a race track that was, to scale, seven miles long.
-I love the solid and consistent electro vibe that underpins this mix. Short but very tight.

A Tribute to Your Addiction, 8/18/06
-So after all of the mixes I did and all the hassle the inside folded tracklist and credit information presented, I finally did one where the tracks were listed on the outside. Took me long enough!
-I got lazy with the proper crediting of source material here. The albums “#47c”, etc, are actually short hand for cds that I complied from other sources, like the radio, XM Radio, or iTunes, etc. If you really want to find the original songs, use the internet to do your research. It’ll be easy!
-The intro to this mix spawned the idea that I use to this day for the intro to my weekly podcast, “The Funkomaticjamtron Presents…”.
-In each series of “Thank You”s at the end of the credits, someone is listed by first initial and last name. In this case, “L. Cole” is Lloyd Cole. That represents a musician that one of us was heavily in to at the time of the mix.
-I mixed this one at night, in the deep dark, by flashlight and various colored lights. It was a DJ session tour de force for one. I totally had the groove that night.
-The cover is made up of obsessions/addictions that Seth and I face. They don’t all translate so well in the scan, and explaining them all takes the fun out of it, but there are roughly 18 things referenced in that cover. Bonus points to anyone who can name the Playmate.
-The “TrollBoy and the Crevice Creature” red and black text background image is of Seth. It’s a cool picture he took in college. It is his only physical appearance on any of these mixes.

Monkeys of the Midwest
, 3/18/11
-There was a five year gap between this, the last effort, and the penultimate one. Perhaps I should have let it go in that time, but I just couldn’t. During that time frame not only was the acquisition of music slow and random, I became a father.
-The title comes from an astute observation by Seth that squirrels are basically monkeys for the American Midwest. That was such a great title that I started to work on the concept right away, but stalled out many times. The biggest stumbling blocks were the intro and outro. Once the idea dawned on me to recontexualize my own work, it snapped together. I also had to finally buy a decent music processing and mixing program. That $100 was totally worth it.
-One of the things that kept this mix from simply fading into tenebrific obscurity is that I had ordered stickers for the front of the cd cases. That pile of a dozen stickers was a physical reminder that I had spent money and time on this. On the cover scan you can see the crest printed on the insert just to the top left of the round white sticker.
-The tape that the squirrel on the front cover is holding is The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Lazy God.
-Overall, I think this effort has the best and most consistent use of samples to remake the selected songs into new stories. I’m particularly happy with the “Junk” remix and the painstaking work that paid off with the “American Dream” remix (which I think is the perfect end to the series).
Wrapping It Up:
Looking (and listening) back, I think this series was a good use of my time. It was, in the realest sense, a labor of love year after year. I really do miss making the covers and the jokes in the credits, but times change and I’ve moved on. These mixes stand as a testament to a wide swath of my life and I am glad to have created them and shared them with so many people I cared about. Sure, some of them are a little clunky in the transitions, a few samples hard to hear, and some of the music is dated, but they are of their time as they should be and in the vast balance, I am proud to share them.

Enjoy, and thanks for having tuned in.


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