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The BEST OMD (Online Music Distributor) for INDIES (MUST be - WE are there):


ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!


Improvijazzation Nation - Issue # 69

INTERVIEW with Joel Krutt



Zzaj:   Your show, “Pushing The Envelope”, has been a very cool underground station.  How long have you been doing the show?

JK:  Thanks!   The program airs on WHUS, the radio station at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.  My tenure with “Pushing The Envelope” started about 15 years ago.  The program started with multiple DJs in rotation, then down to two of us when I came on board, then about a year later I was solo behind the board.

Zzaj:  What got you started on the show?  Were you doing tapes when you started it, or only CD’s?

JK:  When I was in college many moons ago, I had always wanted to be involved with the station there, but it was very clique-ish and tough to get involved in without knowing someone.  WHUS is the exact opposite, involving both students and community members. In my case, I was driving around eastern Connecticut one day playing the ever-popular game, “radio roulette”, searching for some decent music. I wandered down to the left hand side of the dial and ran across WHUS and an announcement describing their training program.  The classes started the following week, and by the end of that summer in 1989, I was co-host of “Pushing The Envelope”.

At that time, I played some CDs, a lot of vinyl, (You remember vinyl?) and became increasingly interested in DYI independent cassette releases when I ran across a multitude of reviews in the late, great periodical “Factsheet Five”.  I still sometimes play some of the tapes I received back then.  One of my favorites is “Art Teacher” by a guy who went by the name of “Joy Before The Storm”.  Broadcast samples, dark ambience, and lots of imagination.  Al Margolis’ tape label “Sound of Pig” put out some very interesting experimental stuff.  He still has them available for sale at    Check it out.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tapes that you were kind enough to send my way such as “Riding The Lizard”, your collaboration with guitarist Eric Hausmann . (Check out the Zzaj Samples page for a taste.) 

Zzaj:  Digitization has certainly changed the “face” of the Internet, & now there is a lot of focus on INTERNET RADIO…. will (or does) “Pushing The Envelope” broadcast over the net?

JK:  WHUS has been simulcasting their air signal for a few years now.  Just log onto  and you can check out our programming in real time.  My show is on Tuesday evenings from 8 to 10pm, EST.  It’s nice that while the programming is on, you can instant message the DJ on the air using the screen name, “WHUSDJ”. 

Zzaj:  What kinds of changes have you noticed (especially in the last 5 years or so) in the quality of music being submitted for airplay?

JK:  The overall sonic quality of independently produced music has improved dramatically since the “bedroom tape” DIY efforts of the 80s vintage cassette and vinyl releases.  The advent of affordable computer technology, in both hardware and software, has allowed everyone the possibility of producing digital music in their own homes without tape machines, mixers, and other more involved equipment.  Digital music technology allows the creation of virtual renditions of all this equipment in the comfort of your own office.  (That’s where I work on my own music.)

While the “rough-edge” aspect of DIY releases are often still evident, and often quite endearing, with digital editing programs available to the masses for next to nothing, the artist can do some serious cleanup.  Less background noise, overall better sonics, and in the case of digitally produced electronically based music, extremely high quality due to the fact the source materials and processing remain purely digital, having never left the computer.  That being said, you can have all the high tech tools in the world and none of these things are a substitute for creativity and imagination.

Zzaj:  Is there anything particular that an artist should include (with his music) when submitting for airplay?

JK:  Some rendition of a one-sheet with some info about the artist and music is certainly helpful, though not mandatory for receiving airplay.  I would suggest including some reference to what type of music is being included on the release,  contact information, track times, and for those of us who are on the outside of FCC “safe haven” hours, if your release includes any “naughty bits”  that might be a legal issue if played at 10 in the morning. (Trust me; in the political climate of the times we live, this IS important.)

 Zzaj:  Are you “tired” of doing INDIE music on your show?  Is there a particular style of music or musician that does NOT get played on your show?

JK:  Tired??!!!!!  HAH!!!!  If the major labels were all to simultaneously get sucked into a giant cosmic wormhole and never be heard from again, I would be only marginally affected.  I would venture a guess that 98 percent of the music I play comes from independent labels.  Often these labels put out music by well-established artists who show up in the major label world, but often not their most commercial efforts.

To give a couple of examples, in the world of contemporary classical you’ve got Cantaloupe Music ( which puts out some beautifully produced and played stuff and is run by the folks who make up the Bang On A Can All-Stars. 

There’s the Innova label ( that puts out contemporary classical and more out there jazz releases that are of a consistently high quality.  Similar in scope and genre, but from a different vantage point, Al Margolis’ Pogus Production label (no I’m not on the dole from Al) puts out consistently high quality releases. (Check out their latest, “Kientzy Plays Johnson”.  It’s wonderful!)  In the progressive rock and outré-jazz world, there is always Steve Feigenbaum’s Cuneiform Records  ( which has always put out the most wonderful releases, many which exist as bought copies in my personal collection.

Now these are not from the DYI private release CD-R realm which show up regularly, but represent a sampling of current independent labels that have long been supporters and musical staples of programs such “Pushing The Envelope”.

Zzaj:  I’ve noticed that you’ve made a few CD’s yourself…. what is the focus of those CD’s?  Why are you doing them?

JK:   I’ll answer this by quoting my own “one-sheet” that goes along with my release “What Next?”

“There are times when you are exposed to something long enough that it works its way through your neural networks and finds its way back out again, filtered through whatever capacities you can bring to it.

For the past 14 years I’ve hosted a radio program, “Pushing The Envelope – Music Decidedly Left of Center” on WHUS, the radio station of the University of Connecticut.  During that time I’ve become quite partial to electronic music as well as classical minimalism.  From Brian Eno to Philip Glass, these styles have developed, first quite separately, then with the advent of computer technology, coinciding. (Check out John Adams’ “Hoodoo Zephyr” for a fine example of this.)

With the advent of sequencing and sound editing software for the “common man”, thousands of individuals have been able to express themselves musically, for better or for worse, for the first time.  I felt it was my time to jump into the fray.  From the early Steve Reich-ian homage, “BabyPhase” to the quiet ambience of “JimC”, I’ve distilled a lot of the music I’ve listened to and played for others into my own personal expression.  I hope something here works for you.”

If anyone would like to check out my music, the CD is available for free download at .  (Speaking of independently released DYI music, Soundclick  is an excellent source of music in any genre you can imagine.)

I also have a track on an interesting DYI compilation that was created under the auspices of a web-site called, “Projekction”.  This site is devoted to the music and related issues involving the band “King Crimson”.  They sponsored a project where participants were give a whole pile of instrumental samples and were required to use at least one to compose a piece of music.  If you’d like to check out or download that track, you can find it at (Audiostreet is a site similar in nature to Soundclick.)

Zzaj:  If you were able to have any artist (or group) on your show (live), who would it/they be?

JK:  Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview folks such as guitarist Robert Fripp, harmonic-overtone singer Jim Cole, reed player/composer Ken Field, and Canadian composer/guitarist Tim Brady, in addition to having had local live music in the studio.  As far as a wish-list, I’d love to have the opportunity to interview some of my favorite composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Riech, John Adams, or Alvin Lucier.  For live music, I’d go for King Crimson, any assemblage involving Bill Laswell, avant jazz-rock group Birdsongs of The Mesozoic, or maybe a couple of my guitar heroes such as Allan Holdsworth or Buckethead. 

Zzaj:  What will radio be “all about” (your call) in 10 years?  Will it be different, or pretty much the same as now?

JK:  The delivery method may alter a bit with commercial and public stations broadcasting digitally, which should result in better signal quality and the potential to include data information, such as song titles and artist info that your radio could pick up.  (This is already starting at some of the large commercial stations.)  Other than that, I’m not sure much will change as far as content. 

Larger college stations are already finding themselves in precarious situations in terms of how they “earn their keep” for the colleges and universities where they reside. There’s a battle going on right now at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where a college administrator with long-standing ties to NPR wants to transform the free-form station into an NPR affiliate.  There appears to be little concern about individual voices or creativity that independent radio can provide.

Also, I feel the moral tenor of current days will have an effect on content, the FCC will pick out stations they feel will make good “object lessons” in the evils of obscenity (read this as smaller stations who can’t absorb the financial hit a legal case or fine might incur) while larger media institutions will get a slap on the wrist, publicly make a big deal about cleaning up, then go back to business as usual.  It’s not going to be pretty.

Zzaj:  For aspiring artists in our readership, & from your perspective as a DJ – what are your “words of wisdom”?

JK:  There are so many creative tools at your disposal as an independent artist and increasingly diverse ways to get your music out to a listening audience.  Whatever the music you make, trust me, there’s an audience (albeit often small) who will be interested in what you do. 

What this means is, creatively; go where your mind and your heart tell you to.  You’ll have numerous false starts, moments of doubt, but keep plugging away until what comes out of the speakers provides the emotional response you were looking for.  If the music resonates within you, given time, you’ll find others on the same frequency.



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'k, alla' you hardcore D.I.Y'er's!  We've added a D.I.Y. forum board!  Simply click on the lil' button below to TELL US wot' you think...




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