Sunday, 18 September 2016

Software - Men Without Clothes -1981- (Tape, Bugle Records), UK

So apparently some really rare cassettes are being handled with museum prices. Sometimes it makes you think that they must be the most interesting ever or contain that secret gem which would wipe out anyone's music collection. I know maybe ten copies of them exist... but we stick to the DIY ethics through which it was created and no, we don't drive these prices through the roof.

Software were an excellent UK experimental minimal synth group belonging to the UK DIY cassette culture. They released this one album on the Bugle Records label which a.o. published the music of The Astronauts. It was one of the many iconic labels pushing the authentic post-punk sound from early eighties Britain. I could name numerous UK post-punk or minimal synth labels from the time, but we all know where to place this music. This is some great stuff.

Men Without Clothes showcases great inventiveness of synthesizer manoeuvres sometimes reminding me of Vice Versa or more primitive Legendary Pink Dots. The typical cynical empty yet humoristic post-punk is combined with more synthetic dance tracks and primitive DIY guitar usage. A truly authentic example of the English synth underground in its prime in 1981. Does this need a reissue? Yes. 

Finally some more very rare Minimal Synth music from oblivion!

Get it HERE

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Guus Janssen - Tast Toe -1981- (LP, Claxon), Netherlands

A year ago I posted an album by Dutch improvisation pianist Guus Janssen on the blog and here is a second one: Janssen is a frequent member of the Instant Composers Pool and the key figure in Dutch piano improvisation. He always breaks down different genres into an unclassifiable mixture. He plays jazz, classical music, circus-melodies, pop, but never really ends up in either one of these genres.

Tast Toe, meaning something like help yourself (it also refers to hitting the keys of a piano in a weird linguistic way) is another album in which Janssen rapidly creates his accessible impro tunes while dissecting free-jazz into carnival melodies while entering chamber music realms while simultaneously staying on all borders. I guess it's only to be noticed when giving this a more proper listen, because at first glance it's a bit of conventional piano play. Nevertheless this is another interesting piece of the Amsterdam based Claxon records puzzle. Claxon was one of the best Dutch labels for improvisation music active at the end of the seventies and the eighties. All these pieces were recorded live in Amsterdam in 1981.

Get it HERE

Friday, 19 August 2016

Vinterhjärta - Same -1987- (Cassette, Multimood), Sweden

Vinterhjärta, meaning Winter Heart, was an obscure impressionist prog outfit from Sweden that consisted of Peter Bryngelsson, Dan Jonsson and Lars Liljegren. Although summer is still here, maybe we can engage in these winter soundscapes in a less frustrated way than when winter is actually in full effect later on (at least here in Europe). I guess the Swedes aren't bad in translating these particular environmental circumstances into musical moods. I'm sure the outfit was actually inspired by the season of winter.

Vinterhjärta plays moodish pieces in which progressive rock elements, ambient sounds and gentle piano play is intertwined. The A-side is a 38 minute long track in which synthesizers and guitar create a dreamy world reminiscent of the more mellow releases of the French Pôle label in the seventies or of cosmic Heldon guitarist Alain Renaud. It is maybe improvised in a bit too conventional cheesy manner, but it still takes you into a certain world, because it doesn't change drastically or builds up towards more energetic heights or anything. It's an impressionist prog piece that's gets specially interesting when the synthesizers are more apparent.

The B-side has eight different shorter pieces, usually created with piano and synths shaping different moods and atmospheres. The pieces are gentle, spooky and dreamy at same time. It reminds me a bit the Dutch soundtrack made by Louis Andriessen named Golven (connected to the Dutch Noordzee) or Scandinavian ECM releases if they contained a bit more of the darkness from the eighties with electric guitar disturbance. All in all it's a beautiful and peaceful album from Sweden's eighties and fits in the current interest in more ambient musical works from the eighties.

Get it HERE

The blog had a bit of a hiatus lately because I was out of town and I was pretty busy. Sometimes there will be periods in which it's harder to keep up the consistency. Nevertheless some of the best posts are still to come. I've got quite some insane material for the near future!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Insecticide - Insect Human -1983- (Cassette, Insecticettes), Netherlands

Insecticide was a solo-project by René Paes who was also a member of Dutch underground group Solenoid (which was posted before on the blog). Another Insecticide tape was uploaded here. I'm very grateful that René shared some of his memories about this project with me:

Insect Human was created during a period when René was living in the Dutch city of Eindhoven where he locked himself in the house for a year, only leaving for groceries and an occasional visit to the pub. It was the last of six cassettes and issued in less than 10 copies.

During its existence Insecticide performed a.o. at art centre Het Apollohuis in Eindhoven, theatre Bellevue in Amsterdam and as part of the Holland Festival in Amsterdam where toy-instruments were used. Also there was exposure during the Holland Festival on the radio by Dutch cult-figure Willem de Ridder. The radio show was called Radiola Salon: a show very much dedicated to the Dutch hometapers movement. At Holland Festival 1983 a Radiola Salon happening took place where René played with manipulated sounds, trumpets and toy bird-sound-flutes. At the same time an experimental ballet by Annie Sprinkle took place: naked breast movements on hometaper sounds, amongst many other curious sound performances.

Sketches and notes for Insect Human: "A taperecorder is recording sounds. Rhythm box and bass guitar create the fundament. A cassette player plays trumpet bursts backwards with echo. The sounds gently disappear and come back invertedly, then die like a machette severing a head. A radio transmits noise into the room. A toy windorgan with tape holding down the basskeys creates a continuous harmonium effect. Insecticide fills the room."

Get this looped piece of Dutch home-taping history HERE

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Circles - The Third Cycle -1987- (LP, Einhorn Music), Germany

This is the third and last privately released Circles album that came out during the eighties. Circles is a Frankfurt based late-cosmic- krautrock and NDW band that consists of the duo of Mike Bohrmann and Dierk Leitert. Also they had a side-project called Das Organisierte Chaos. I posted their first album some time ago, but I recommend you to get your own vinyl copy since it has been beautifully reissued lately.

The Third Cycle is the most ambient and cosmic album of Circles. It moves away from the sometimes wonky chaoticness of the first albums and travels to much subtler electronic spaces to drift into. Still the distinctive Circles ingredients are present: Ash Ra Tempel like guitars, kosmische electronics and dark eighties sounds expected from the DIY tape-culture. Actually I think this album is a real classic and we can only hope it gets reissued too. Recently German label Bureau B has also issued a semi-unreleased album by Circles called Structures. I think it stayed somewhat under the radar so I recommend you to check it out.

Highly Recommended!

Get it HERE

Donated by SonicA

Thursday, 2 June 2016

P.E. De Oskars - Geen Strijdbijlen Maar Trommels -1984- (Cassette), Netherlands

The general worldwide consensus is that the Dutch language is quite an ugly one. I wouldn't disagree with that as someone who speaks Dutch. Even for native Dutch speakers (either in Holland or Flanders) music in which they sing Dutch is often hard to stomach. Luckily there are some exceptions in our world of the odd. For example: Belgian wave band Aroma di Amore, the third album of Dutch Ultra-band Minny Pops, Mecano-member Ton Lebbink and a list of stuff from the sixties etc. 

P.E. De Oskars is a highly obscure group that fits in perfectly with all the aforementioned bands. I can't find any information on them other than that they were from Rotterdam. I don't know if they ever made more music other than this. This cassette, which translates to "No poleaxes, but drums", is a cool and exceptional EP from Holland in which new wave, rock in opposition and some crypto-ska come together. Actually the saxophone and organ really make this music a treat. The lyrics are often political and poetical in the right squatting-mentality manner of Holland in the eighties. It also reminds me of The Schismatics, The Black Sheep and more bands that were based in Rotterdam and connected to the legendary artist squats of the Quarantaineweg in the eighties. Good stuff.

Get it HERE

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Kabouter Chismus Release and Message

So after some years I can proudly announce that this blog generated its first reissue. Belgian cassette-label Sloowtapes has reissued the legendary Dutch acid-folk hippie singer songwriter project Kabouter Chismus (1970) on cassette. I posted it in 2014 on Archaic Conventions (my oddity blog which moved to the youtube channel), which also turned out to be the record surfacing in the best condition.

If you want to know more about the release or get a copy yourself go to the Sloowtapes blog. Strictly limited to 100 copies.

As for this blog: lately I have been quite busy. I just started some projects at the museum of modern art in Eindhoven and I try to graduate this summer. This means that posts might become more irregular for the time being. I will try the best I can though. This blog won't be over until I run out of material and even I don't know when that will happen yet.

Bence - AI