Negativland just topped Eminem for creepy things that come packaged with albums, but it’s for a reason other than selling stuff. Earlier this year Em was selling bricks from his childhood home along with the a reissue of the Marshall Mathers LP — the same home where all of that crazy shit went down that he raps about on the album. That pales in comparison to what Negativland are doing, but it’s pretty touching once they explain.
The experimental music jokesters have unfortunately had three deaths in the past two years as longtime member Don Joyce, founding member Richard Lyons, and former member and longtime friend Ian Allen all passed away. Their new album, The Chopping Channel, was completed before the deaths of Don and Richard and it has a specific theme:
The Chopping Channel which is Volume 9 in the ongoing series of albums edited from our long-running livemix radio show, Over The Edge. Atop an atomized mix of thousands of fragmentary samples, remulched into one continuous and time-saving stream of music, the salesmen (and woman) of the Chopping Channel dare to sell you the music you’re already listening to, as well as the flesh-and-bone essentials you’ll need to survive in the global years to come.
So it kind of makes sense that the album would come with two grams of Don Joyce’s actual cremains and one of Joyce’s handmade audio tape loop “carts” used in the creation of Over The Edge and Negativland live performances between 1981 and 2015. But for all of you who are still kind of creeped out (like me), the band adds:
This is not a hoax. We’ve decided to take the Chopping Channel concept to its logical conclusion by “productizing” an actual band member. It is also a celebration of the degree to which no idea in art was ever off-limits to Don, and offers a literal piece of him, and of his audio art, for the listener to repurpose and reuse. We are pretty sure he would have wanted it this way.
Like most Negativland projects, the album’s audio themes and packaging are deeply connected.
And if you still don’t get it, watch this video that their “good friends at General Injectibles and Signals, Inc. have produced” for further edification.
Here’s a photo of the “Don bundle” that comes with the album:
The Chopping Channel is out 10/21.