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Evolution Control Committee

Evolution Control Committee is one of the stage names of Mark Gunderson, a musician, performance artist, digital manipulator, and provocateur who has also performed as part of the Weird Lovemakers, the Mood Swingers, Gaga, Mellodeath, and DJ Pantshead.

Evolution Control Committee is the longest-lived of Gunderson's many projects, having started in the early '90s as a tape manipulation project. Gunderson used a cheapo double cassette deck and a four-track recorder to manually edit together the tracks for his early cassette-only releases Buddha Bleach (1990), The Last Mall (1991) and Gunderphonic (1994), which were modestly enhanced by his sampling keyboard and trusty Amiga. This early material was largely guided by the spirit of early Negativland: it was clever enough to make up for the lack of polish, and it was generally humorous enough overall that the occasional pointed barb was still well-received.

With the release of the Gunderphonic cassette, people started to pay attention, thanks to the inclusion of a pair of tracks that matched Public Enemy vocals up with Herb Alpert instrumentals. Many who are familiar with the "mashup" or "bootleg" genre (circa 2001/2002) credit Gunderson as one of the forefathers of the style; in fact, the ECC track "Rebel Without a Pause (Whipped Cream mix)" has appeared on several compilation albums, otherwise filled with tracks put together seven years later.

Following the minor stir caused by the release of these groundbreaking tracks, Gunderson capitalized on his newfound fame by, well, laying low. He played around Columbus under several different names, and with several different collaborators. Still, during the last half of the '90s, Evolution Control Committee released a video called The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized (a specially edited subliminal cassette that was either motivational or demotivational depending on which side you played), the Compact Discstructions cassette, and the first ECC CD release Double the Phat and Still Tasteless.

1999 saw the release of Evolution Control Committee's most contentious release, the "Rocked by Rape" single. The track featured several months worth of Dan Rather newscasts whittled down to just the most inflammatory and overwritten soundbytes, placed on top of a hacked-up version of AC/DC's classic "Back in Black." It was a track that had lawsuit written all over it, and soon afterwards, Gunderson was issued a cease-and-desist order from CBS News. Gunderson played the "fair use" card and the issue seemed to go away.

The incident got the attention of longtime ECC heroes Negativland, who not only wrote a letter to CBS in support of Evolution Control Committee, but also released Evolution Control Committee's second full-length CD, Plagiarhythm Nation, Vol. 2.0, on Negativland's label, Seeland. ~ Sean Carruthers, Rovi
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