Jon Leidecker has been producing music under the name Wobbly since 1990. Releases include the album 'Wild Why' for Tigerbeat6, 'Live 99>00' for Phthalo, as well as the 3" CDs "Regards" for Alku, and "Playlist" for Illegal Art. Recent festival appearences include Sound Unseen / Plunderphonia in Minneapolis, Ether at Royal Festival Hall in London, Sonar in Barcelona and CEAIT at CalArts. He is also a member of the musical group Sagan with Blevin Blectum, Jay Lesser and Ryan Junell. Ongoing studio, radio and live projects involve collaborations with People Like Us, Thomas Dimuzio, Aelters, Tim Perkis and Matmos.
Greetings, CD, GISI, 1996
Radio, 3 CDR set, Ovenguard, 1999
Regards, 3" CDR, Alku, 2001
Playlist, 3" CD, Illegal Art, 2002
Live 99>00, CD, Phthalo, 2002
Wild Why, CD, Tigerbeat6, 2002
Minneapolis Summit, Escape Mechanism/Steev Hise/Tape-beatles/Wobbly, 3" CD, Staalplaat, 2002
Wide Open Spaces, Matmos/People Like Us/Wobbly, CD, Tigerbeat6, 2003
Selected Reviews of 'Regards'
1, vital weekly review
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 17:37:22 -0400
From: Vital [email protected]
Subject: Vital Weekly 296
WOBBLY - REGARDS (3"CDR by Alku)
Oddysey or oddity? Regards is probably both: a bitstreaming journey into pop humour detritus with electronic shards and digital woodshavings. Running at just over 20 minutes, its fourteen short tracks range from the sensational to the vaguely sensorial. Regards references everyone from the Andrews Sisters to the Residents, via Hecker and Xenakis, its flickering pieces aetherised before you've even realised they were present in the first place. Most startling of all is a lift of an Anton Batagov rendering of the fifteenth 'Regard' of Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jesus set to a click-hop beat and 4/4 bassline and with additional blistering binary information/augmentation. Just one of the most emotive pieces of new electronic music I've heard recently, mixing the sacred and profane (mundane?) to great effect. This little disc is well worth sensitive investigation. And anyway, it's difficult to resist any release which incorporates the anthem: "Hard, Like Duck". (BL)
2, Splendidezine.com, 7 June 2002
review by george zahora
Like Wobbly's Playlist, Regards is a collage of samples -- but the material here is mostly musical, making Regards a far more "straightforward" affair...relatively speaking, of course. Borrowing snippets of everything from the Andrews Sisters and John Coltrane to Xenakis and Ice T [sic], Wobbly carves out a series of densely rhythmic compositions; he's an expert at sculpting cohesive harmonies out of seemingly disjointed fragments. While a few cuts sound as if Wobbly is doing little more than running his hands up and down the keys of a cheap Casio sampler or fast-forwarding through a CD (see "Old Dirty"), most of the individual pieces are so short that they have a hard time wearing out their welcome. The EP hits its stride in the minimal "Gled Ledley", and offers a few real gems -- the disjointed, midtempo "Dental Horse Floater", the Aphex Twin-meets-Oval warm-glitchery of "Islets of Langerhans" and pretty much everything that follows it. The disc-closing "Vingt Regards (no. 15)" actually sounds like it belongs on a Ninja Tune sampler -- very dark and jazzy, and full of unidentified clicks, pings and pops. This is Wobbly at his poppiest, and it's quite a treat.
3, Aquarius Records, San Francisco
New Arrivals #132, 8 March 2002, Highlights
WOBBLY "Live 99>00" (Phthalo) cd 10.98
Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) cites Dilated Peoples, Goran Bregovic, Julio Iglesias, Stilluppsteypa, Dr. Dre, Montell Jordan, and Daniel Miller as the most 'blatant' samples found within this documentation of his mutated electronica live performances around the Bay Area during the past couple of years. To him, this is an apology to the audience for using such obvious source material; but even to these ears at Aquarius, such citations are far from obvious and do more to compound the densely layered puzzles of plunderphonia. Just where the hell is that Stilluppsteypa sample in "Stillupsample Birds"? I sure can't hear anything related to those Icelandic weirdos, other than the common revelry of being over-stimulated by mediated sounds / images and trying to articulate that hyperactivity in the form of sound.
Wobbly's plunderphonics were born out of his work on Negativland's weekly "Over The Edge" radio show on KPFA; and have developed into a distinctive sound fitting roughly in the Negativland comedy / commentary style of media cut ups. His work never smacks of provocation, as he has been very keen on disfiguring his pop culture references to stand clearly within the parameters of "fair use." As can be inferred from a couple of those aforementioned references, Wobbly's recent work has been venturing into hip hop, but not as another whiteboy ironic appropriation. Rather, it's an exuberant decontextualization of all of hip hop's hyperboles: scratching becomes so excessively technical as to lose all recognition of the rhythm, diva vocals wail and wander through impossible notes for an eternity, breakbeats are decimated into ungroovy robotic anti-funk. Wobbly's closest comparison is in how Matmos performs surgery on house music, sewing everything back together with ample semantic and compositional counterpoints.
What is also amazing about Wobbly's live shows is that they involve no laptops, no sequencers, no midi. He edits in real time using just a mixer, a couple of cd players, and several cheap samplers. With an album coming soon on Tigerbeat 6, Wobbly's definitely one to watch!!!
(Also; 'Wild Why', records of the week, New Arrivals #146, 20 September 2002)
4, The Wire, Issue 219, Electronica Soundbytes by Ben Borthwick
Phthalo PH29 CD
reviewed by Ben Borthwick
Built from three sessions in 1999 and 2000, Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) brings on the plunderphonic live mix mayhem he has been practising since 1987 using either a dual cassette deck or a CD player, various low grade samplers but never MIDI or laptop. It would be pointless to try and characterise any of the sessions because the range of material they draw on is so diverse that the tracks are constantly changing direction. The album opens with "Thanks Violent". Blasts of beats, drills and feedback give way to a heav ily cut up vocal sample that loops until the chaos opens onto an Ambient soundscape. And this is all in the first minute. "Die Peeps" and "Die Peeps / Henry Skip" use Dialated Peoples breaks which are cropped so tightly they are reduced to piles of beats, scratches, stuttering syllables and HipHop's interstitial reflexes "yeah" and "uh huh". HipHop and spartan R&B loops play tag team wrestling with Balkan composer Goran Bregovic (who scores Emir Kusturica's films) in the brilliant "Hello Underground". Elsewhere, dodgy wine bar jazz, the smarmy ladeez man styles of Montell Jordan and Julio iglesias, delicate funk breaks, and incontinent streams of beats and frequencies all rear their ugly heads.
5, SF Weekly, October 9, 2002
Wobbly - Wild Why (Tigerbeat6) by Mike Rowell
Wobbly is the recording and performing moniker of Jon Leidecker, a San Francisco sound-collage artist who has lurked within the Bay Area experimental scene since the '80s. He's performed solo and in myriad collaborations, most notably with Negativland's Don Joyce on the KPFA radio show Over the Edge. In recent years Wobbly's work has garnered increased attention both locally and internationally, due in part to his ongoing Wild Why project.
Almost four years in the making, the Wild Why CD is Wobbly's sixth solo effort and a concept album of sorts. Taking inspiration from "plunderphonics" deconstructo-sampler John Oswald, Wobbly has fashioned intricate songs from home recordings he made of Bay Area hip hop radio broadcasts, which he subsequently microedited into a daunting blizzard of sonic shards. Kicking off with a hilarious assemblage of rappers saying "Yo!," the album ebbs between jagged beats and blustery roar, with plenty of odd interludes and very recognizable samples. Whimsical, strangely musical, and frequently jarring, this release -- on electronic Wunderkind Kid606's Tigerbeat6 label -- pays homage to hip hop's innovative production while simultaneously poking fun at its many archetypes and clichés. Wild Why serves as both dadaist social commentary and a mad-scientist remix of Frankenstein-like proportions.
From dense swarms of skittery glitch to hoochie harmonies, Jay-Z grunts, and Eminem non sequiturs, Wild Why is booty music turned on its head. You could probably even dance to it, if you were given to spasms. And while the 27 discrete tracks on this disc could be considered a textbook example of difficult listening and an endurance test at 45 minutes, closer examination does unveil a smartly assembled, tongue-in-cheek collage with a mother lode of hidden gems. After all, who wouldn't want to sing along to such lines as "They brain trans-move young boys who sport" and "There's no bedroom in the shower"?
While much of the experimental community has shunned contemporary hip hop, Wobbly has embraced it in his own peculiar fashion, and for that alone Wild Why should be given props. Certainly, this CD isn't for everybody, but adventurous noise mavens and extremely open-minded fans of urban radio should find its fractured take on pop music highly amusing.
6, The Wire, November 2002, Issue 225
Soundcheck Review by Philip Sherburne
Tigerbeat6 MEOW055 CD
San Francisco's Wobbly, aka Jon Leidecker, has succeeded in upending capitalistic monopolies where American regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission have failed miserably. Wobbly's 'Wild Why' mines the airwaves of the Bay Area's two urban radio stations, both owned by the notorious Clear Channel corporation, and dissolves their restricted playlists of mainstream HipHop and R&B into a dizzying blur of yelps, warbles, wobble and fizz. It's far more abstracted than Kid606's appropriations or similar bootleg borrowings, but stuttering vocal clips ("Yo, yo, yo") point immediately to their sources. African-American music may be predicated upon the beat, but Wobbly's method melts rhythms into viscous masses of static ridden digital signal processing. Where he samples full breakbeats, he sets them into skittering repetitions that quickly slip out of time, and the portions of his songs that do maintain any kind of time-keeping, for five or 10 seconds at best, seem more designed to subvert the structure of the beatless parts than to develop anything like a groove. The way Wobbly manipulates rapped and sung vocals, they come to seem more like instruments than echoes of a speaking subject, but the included lyric sheet suggest a kind of Dada impulse in the chopped up texts, like this one from track five: "You got a jingle, ain't people / Status is ego / Gus con gets constiplayer (yeah) girl / Constipate players, say uh, ah, it's over." The net result is a funny, bewildering, and yes, funky reimagining of the sonic potential inside even the most commercial product, heard as if in a hypnagogic state where the radio dial slips uneasily between broadcasts of Burroughs and Funkmaster Flex.