BoingBoingBoing podcast 12: Q-Burns Abstract Message

The long-awaited episode #12 of the Boing Boing Boing podcast is out! Sorry about the long delay since episode #11, but these homemade audio krafts take many fortnights for our tree-dwelling legion of squirrel-helpers to fashion from acorn husks and pine needles! Please direct complaints to our customer service manager!

In podcast episode #12, we talk with DJ and independent music producer/publisher Michael Donaldson, also known as Q-Burns Abstract Message (Website | MySpace | Amazon link to buy CDs).

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Podcast Feed, Subscribe via iTunes,, Listen at Odeo, Direct MP3 url, iTunes link to this episode.

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In the realm of dance music, there are few producers that thrive on blurring the boundary between eclectic experimenter and populist ass-shaker as much as Q-Burns Abstract Message. Equally comfortable covering Krautrock legends Faust or dropping his favorite chunky house grooves into the mix, Q-BAM–known to his parents as Michael Donaldson–is indeed the rare auteur. Whether globetrotting as a DJ, co-running the Eighth Dimension Records label, remixing artists like Rabbit in the Moon, Fila Brazillia and Mazi & Collete, or recording his own original productions, Donaldson is all about the coaxing the maximum soul out of the machine.

Based in Orlando since the early-'90s, the former record shop owner and college radio DJ has spent the past two decades developing a sound that is obsessively devoted to the funk. His animated, vodka-soaked DJ sets have won audiences for the well-traveled Donaldson from 
San Francisco to (literally) Siberia, and landed him primo opening slots for GusGus, Chemical Brothers and Meat Beat Manifesto.

In addition to his ongoing nonstop (no, seriously) worldwide tour schedule, he has a new mixed CD out (Agave Nectar Vol. 1, on Agave Records), and a new record label that produces nothing but 12" vinyl releases. That label is known as EIGHT-TRACKS.

(total duration — 38:20)

  • How did Michael Donaldson end up going from major label artist to DRM-free DIY? Hint: it's all about chance, and it had to do with an ill-advised album title, and 9/11. (section begins at 17:41)
  • What is up with the internet fracas over "swiping" allegations surrounding artist Todd Goldman (previous BoingBoing posts). When exactly does inspiration, remixing, or borrowing become creative theft? (section begins at 00:27)
  • What is the dealio with Arnold Schwarzenegger and that curious photo EULA? (BB post) (section begins at 08:20)
  • Why did the mayor of Boston ban BoingBoing over boobies? (BB post) (section begins at 13:00).
  • What cool things might we experience at the Maker's Faire on May 19-20 in San Mateo, CA? (BB post). (section begins at 11:09)
  • What do cutups have to do with creativity, and why is a copy of the epic William Burroughs/Brion Gysin tome, The Third Mind, worth paying $200 for if you can find it? (section begins at 27:47)

  • Where did Q-Burns get his stage name? (section begins at 34:27)
  • What was New Wave Theater, and is it true that the show's murdered host Peter Ivers wrote and performed "In Heaven Everything Is Fine," in David Lynch's classic nightmare film, Eraserhead? Oh, the hell with it, yes. (section begins at 36:25)
  • MUSIC:
    The tune you hear in this podcast is by Q-Burns Abstract Message — his remix of "Angel Soup" by Cold Hands, recently released on vinyl and digital via
    Blunted Funk Records. Listen to the whole thing here.

    In this podcast episode, you'll hear the voice of Matt Plumb, who won Mark's BoingBoing Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation voicemail contest.

    We recorded this podcast as a Skype conference call, and captured it with AudioHijack. The audio was later edited in Apple's Garage Band, after some help from Levelator.

    1 (Mr. Jalopy, master craphound), 3 (Gareth Branwyn, cyberculture writer), 4 (Chris Anderson, WIRED editor-in-chief), 5 (George Dyson, tech historian), 6 (Steven Johnson, author), 7 (John Hodgman, humorist and PC), 8 (Merlin Mann, productivity guru), 9 (Matt Haughey, MeFi), 10 (Bonnie Burton, Lucasfilm), 11 (Noah Shachtman, defense tech reporter).

    [Link to larger image.]