Stock, Hausen & Walkman In-depth Biography
It's close to a sure bet that, at least in the field of electronic music, no other artist's name makes quite as much sense as Stock, Hausen & Walkman -- a triple pun embracing pioneering electronic composer and theorist Karlheinz Stockhausen, the '80s pop-by-numbers production team Stock, Aitken & Waterman, and the ubiquitous portable cassette player manufactured by Sony. The sampling duo of Andrew Sharpley and Matt Wand appear to have been influenced equally by each of the three, resulting in bizarre collisions of cut-and-pasted pop songs, noise, tape-hiss, and a perceived avant-garde sensibility regarding the sampling technology (and legality). While humor has never been completely absent from electronica, the pair also helped deflate the pomposity of the usual cast of navel-gazing bedroom producers, whether it's releasing a seven-inch single consisting of 42 locked grooves, packaging cassettes in Rice Krispies bags, or including pictures of pornographic playing cards with their Organ Transplants album.
At the time of the group's formation in the late '80s, they were an experimental/improv quartet consisting of Sharpley and Wand plus cellist Dan Weaver and guitarist Rex Casswell. They played at Derek Bailey's request in 1990, but began to fracture when Casswell left and Weaver began taking recording time-outs to perform for dance and theatre as well. The trio formed their own Hot Air Records and began releasing a wide range of albums (considering their sample base), from plunderphonic easy-listening organ music to death metal. The debut LP Giving Up with Stock, Hausen & Walkman was released in 1993, followed two years later by Hairballs -- packaged in a fake-fur wrapping and including photos not intended for cat lovers. Weaver left around this time, though Wand and Sharpley continued on with an album-per-year release schedule (not including the live LP, 1995's Stop!). The Beastie Boys became fascinated with Stock, Hausen & Walkman's idiosyncratic approach to recording (in a similar fashion to their interest in Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings) and asked the duo to remix the Grand Royal group Buffalo Daughter. Sharpley also records for Hot Air in the more dance-oriented Dummy Run. ~ John Bush, Rovi