Friday, 13 January 2017

A decade of deviance: an ode to MUTANT SOUNDS

Hello all welcome to my blog that i was forced to do after "thrown away" from LOST IN TIME blog....This things happen ....You will find here all my posts from LOST in TIME ,along with many new ones.The blog is dedicated to the obscure ,unknown and underrated musiK.Here we gooo....

That's how it started exactly 10 years ago. I remember the Lost in Tyme blog vividly. Apparently Jim  Mutantsounds was kicked out of this mainly soft psychedelic oriented blog which was being run by a variety of people.  Maybe Jims music taste was too unorthodox. He decided to start an own blog, called MUTANT SOUNDS, which caused a revolution.  

Somewhere in 2007 when I was 16 years old I was starting to become really familiar with underground and deviant music of all sorts. Aside from growing up quite in the middle of alternative music, Dutch squats, old Hungarian anti-establishment freaks, a record collecting dad (who also worked in Staalplaat), industrial culture heavyweights, a close relation to the early techno of Bunker records, I ofcourse needed my own initiation with all of this weird stuff. As a child I had seen many concerts because of my young parents that would always take me everywhere. Also during the nineties many CD’s of labels like Warp, Ninja Tune etc etc entered the house. Jazz had always been there, as well as Eastern European jazz rock. Trip-hop, the lounge scene and the rediscovery of Italian library music made its impact around the change of the millennium. After seeing the original 1969 Stooges in 2006 at the Sziget Festival in Budapest and the riots that broke out, I asked my dad what other music was in line with something like that: I got MC5, The Monks and Spacemen 3. A few years earlier my mother had died very young and unexpectedly so I was living with my dad and his record collection since I was 14. The bands he told me of were amazing. I was looking for new meaning in life that surpassed the daily routines and entertainment, because my concerns were often somewhere else than my high school peers. I started to look for 60’s garage punk music on strange forums. Back when they still had codes and passwords of the forum when you downloaded the album. 

Later on my musical taste evolved and the cold eighties started to make a big impact. Besides Joy Division, New Order, Soft Cell, Fad Gadget the link was soon established with Throbbing Gristle, Current 93, Coil, Psychic Tv, Laibach, Death In June. You name it. Also the Dutch psychedelic anti-establishment movements of Provo and other kinds of international hippies were important. I started listening to Gong and  Zappa next to Bauhaus and Tuxedomoon so to speak. More importantly all this stuff was already on the shelves at home. The whole occult side of music seemed appealing since my Father prohibited me to get involved in Crowley, because of people in the eighties losing themselves in suicidal adventures. Soon I started a band with my close friends which resembled a bit old F/i, old Cabaret Voltaire and relied heavily on a Spacemen 3 and Stereolab sound. All recorded at home on cassettes within the realm of a few square meters. Later I started my Formatory Apparatus project out of love for analog synths, minimal synth music and Gurdjieff. Anyway, simultaneously I was finding out more and more about strange groups and DIY cassettes searching the web for inspiration. Then it occurred to me that many crazily obscure bands were all in my father’s record collection and that during the years they kept popping up on this music blog called Mutant Sounds.

In the beginning it was the time of Rapidshare.de and the long hours of waiting after you downloaded  just one file. I started to see the whole interconnected spiderweb of bands that were so obscure or nationally underground that it was almost impossible in pre-internet times to know about all of them. Different continents, different political regimes… etc. Together with other blogs Mutant Sounds alo uncovered many artists of the legendary Nurse With Wound list. Basically the base for everything avant-garde, art-prog, krautrock, modern composed, weird, cult and incredible, plus yes, long before internet. Unbelievable. The consistency of Mutant Sounds was mindblowing and the uploads came about with such a rapid speed that it was hard to keep up. At a certain point I started to download everything which became a day job after coming home from school (not to mention from all the other blogs).

Later in the existence of the blog Eric Lumbleau of the great odd Vas Deferens Organization became part of the blog who eventually was the one keeping Mutant Sounds alive for its last years. The Rock In Opposition and NDW style bands on the blog exploded and new perspectives came to the fore when the blog collided European with North-American uploaders. The blog was mind-boggling and Eric’s review writing made it even better. Mutant Sounds’ musical synaesthesia was somewhere in-between a drug cocktail and watching The Holy Mountain, Planete Sauvage, Liquid Sky and Sweet Movie at the same time. So much stuff from all over the world was compressed on the blog and finally got its deserved attention. Finally due to the format of the blog, music history could be altered and forgotten artists got their recognition. There is so much content on the blog that it’s hard to start anywhere discussing it in dept. 

Nowadays so much music that was initially posted on Mutant Sounds is reissued or will be reissued. Many labels know that they found the music there. Fortunately these labels made the second step and actually tracked down the artists to bring back this music. The blog can still be used as one of the most extensive archives of avant-garde, prog, post-punk, rock in opposition, NDW, psychedelic, modern composed, minimal synth, zeuhl, noise, industrial etc. music .
I didn’t mention that it was also kind of prohibited to talk about the blog. I remember that people did not share the website so much because of its hermetic knowledge haha. The same happened at first when I moved to Berlin right after high school and got to know friends in the Sucked Orange gallery I was part of. Later Mutant Sounds became part of our ethic and our religion, but that’s another long story! ;)

I usually don’t like to talk so much about myself in a time in which everybody wants to prevail. I wrote this today as fast as I could in a super raw manner, because it’s the exact 10 year anniversary. It’s not a piece trying to tell how blogs changed music or how cool I am and it’s not well written! It’s a personal take on Mutant Sounds. It had to be written!

Thank you Jim and Eric (plus VDO) for running a blog that changed my life and many life’s forever. Thanks in the name of so many of my friends scattered around the world that owe much of the knowledge to the blog. Thanks for the basic purple lay out and thanks for turning me onto so many amazing artists (for example Nine Circles, Catherine Ribeiro, ADN’ Ckrystall, Igor Wakhevitch, Stratis etc etc). Also hope that you guys are doing well in your personal life! Thank you for the inspiration to start an own blog! (as well as No Longer Forgotten music, but that will be another story too). I had to continue marginally when the heavyweight blogs stopped.

Mutant Sounds forever! Check out the Mutant Sounds radio show on Dublab which still exists! 

Bence – Archaic Mutant Inventions. 

Another article I wrote on the importance of blogs: http://occii.org/knik/nl/filing-the-underground/

5 comments:

  1. great piece! I've lost count of all the great stuff Mutant Sounds introduced me to.

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  2. For me also Mutant sounds was an incredible 'earopener'! Probably the best blog ever...
    Jan (Netherlands)

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  3. Seriously cool tribute to the best blog ever! Thank you Bence for the very interesting personal history as well. Man what an upbringing. My son has zero interest in his fathers insane record collection & I always wonder what will happen to it when I'm gone. What a treat for your father to watch his sons musical education unfold.

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    1. Thank you! Don't draw conclusions too fast, maybe one day he will show interest. Disinterest happens when you're young. Maybe cheap thrills get boring after a while as well. Aside from that it's not a big deal if someone doesn't exactly copy his parents' interests. Luckily one always and inevitably looks at where he/she comes from during a lifetime!

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  4. Best blog ever sums it up for me.

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