Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Al Mati - Some Shit -1981- (LP, Private Pressing), Netherlands/Portugal

Al Mati was the mysterious pseudonym project by Portuguese musician Alberto Mesquita who recorded this album in 1981 with guest appearances by Victor Enes on Guitar and Yolanda Mesquita (the voice on 'Love You Baby'). The album was privately issued here in Holland. There is nearly no information to be found about this album whatsoever but apparently the musicians were immigrants from Portugal that had settled in The Netherlands during the early 80's.

Since this record is fetching some astronomical prices online and happened to cross my path I thought it was only right to digitize it to demystify this a bit. Unlike the title "Some Shit" suggests in combination with the crazy artwork, the music on here is not too adventurous and quite average. The music consists of pretty much conventional pop music and classic 70's folk with some rock 'n roll slows by way of electronic adaptations. Musically not that special, aside from the couple of enjoyable tracks that are more intricately composed or the ones which are sang in Portuguese.

However I still think that Al Mati has its place in the world of obscure private releases and the home-recording history, specially in the Portuguese context and ofcourse even more as a Portuguese music relic issued in The Netherlands. Nevertheless it's not as interesting as the great One and Poli album on which Portuguese musician Zé Salvador participated which was issued by the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam in 1985.

Anyway, the record was a bit crackly, but I guess no other copy will surface in the near future. The music reminds me a bit of the Peter Roos album I posted before or the Venezuelan private pressing by Vinicio Adames from ages ago, although a little less weird though...

So instead of spending a fortune on a copy, just put this on during a lazy morning. And make up your own mind about its value.

(Who can direct me to some interesting Portuguese stuff from the 80's? Tape culture for example. There must be more than what I could find so far! I would appreciate it!)

Get it HERE

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Art Moulu Tréfin - Self-Titled -1985- (Cassette), France

Art Moulu Tréfin were a Rock In Opposition band from France that consisted of Jean-François Welter, Jo Thirion, Maurice Ott, Olivier Masson and Richard Antez. Their sound obviously has something akin to Magma, which is basically the start for most French bands with complex intrumental structures in their composition, but they also remind me of the French band Komintern from the 70's. Ofcourse Art Moulu Tréfin is a product of the 80's and had an own signature to their music with strange lyrics, humor and zig-zagging compositional manoeuvres. The band was also compiled on one of the Recommended Records quarterly series.

The music on this self-released cassette EP from 1985 was recorded on a Fostex 8-track recorder thus sometimes a bit lo-fi in quality. Nevertheless, it consists of some top-notch humoristic RIO complexity that fits a similar musical realm as the French Rock In Opposition band of the first hour Etron Fou Leloublan, the Swiss group Debile Menthol or the Estonian outfit Ne Zhdali.

Finally we can hear Art Moulu's music from the early times after Mutant Sounds published their equally great live album from 1990 over a decade ago. Another essential piece of French RIO history.

This cassette is not on Discogs.

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Various Artists - Polish Road, Vol. 1 & 2 - Alternative Polish Scene -1989- (2x Tape, Organic), Poland/France

Here we have one of the pivotal compilations covering the Polish underground from behind the iron curtain during the 80's. It came out right before the change of the political system in Eastern Europe in 1989 on a French label. Obviously many of these bands only released their music marginally in their own circuits. They had to operate in the underground because of their subversive nature and artistic expression directly or indirectly opposing the socialist regime. Poland had a longer history of underground bands and artists fitting that realm already in the early 70's, with examples like the mythical psychedelic band 74 Grupa Biednych and improvisers like Grupa W Składzie. The Polish music underground has always been heavily inspired by Jazz and improvisation. Also more known bands from Poland that were accepted by the regime during the 70's like Niemen or SBB were quite experimental in their approach. Polish jazz played a hugely influential role behind the iron curtain during the 60's and 70's and became a trademark of adventurous quality jazz. 

During the 80's a broader underground had emerged in different Polish cities. The improvisational groups were now accompanied by new wave bands, punks, industrial noise makers and everything in-between. Quite a strong grey and bleak accent was being put in the music, reflecting the last bleak decade of communist totalitarian repression. More and more Polish music was slowly finding its way to the west by cassettes that were swapped as well through Polish dissidents that made their way to the west of Europe. One of the greatest post-punk bands that had a Polish singer (Andrej Dziubek Nebb) was Holy Toy from Norway. Their first album Warszawa (Warsaw) still stands as one of the strongest experimental new-wave albums from the 80's and incorporates a strong Polish component. 

Now that I think about it, even Joy Division was called Warsaw at first ofcourse. In the imagination of wave bands and punks from the west during the 80's Poland was definitely the epitome of bleakness and a symbol of the east-west schism that was casting its darkening shadow over Europe including the threat of nuclear warfare. This was pushing the no-future mentality even further in the heads of many youngsters. Subsequently theme's like the Warsaw-Pact were often used by western wave bands from the 80's. But let's get back to this release:

Polish Road was one of those important compilations for Polish bands to be heard in the west  spreading their underground sounds. It's a very nice, although heavily fragile, recording of different bands ranging from punk, wave, industrial and improvisation groups. It was released as a double cassette in a VHS case. The first volume consists of more experimental and punk groups, while the second volume has more improvised and electro-acoustic bands on it of which Reportaz might be the most known. The music was all recorded between 1985 and 1988, often containing live recordings. I won't go into every band separately because it's too much work, although from some bands I will upload more tapes in the future of the blog. 

Polish Road can be seen as a critical undermining of the socialist regime and a time document of what was going on at that time in the Polish underground, while Solidarność was already making big leaps and the change of political system was very near. Please note that I'm putting this music in a political narrative, but a lot of this music was just artistic expression and didn't have any political agenda in itself.

After the communist period a hopeful time arrived to Eastern Europe during the 90's (apart from Yugoslavia), but nowadays we know how much political difficulties we are facing yet again. It slowly fosters the realization that this music and its urgent character, pushing through all possible limits, whether having no audience, no listeners or the lack of technical production or musical skills, yet giving expression to the inner spirit and the need for change in society, could still be perfectly inspiring today.

Many more obscure Polish cassettes will be uploaded to the blog with time.

Get it HERE

Friday, 27 September 2019

Loek Dikker - Love Cry And Super Nimbus -1970- (LP, Private Release), Netherlands

Finally I tracked down one of the last mythical lost records from the Dutch free-jazz and avant-garde 70's realm that I tried to find for many years. I have never seen a copy of this record before, probably also not many copies of this private release were pressed. It's also not listed on Discogs. I only knew that it existed somehow, but had no idea how it sounded nor what the cover looked like. I apologize in advance for the somewhat vague pictures I took, since the record comes in a very fragile and quite large foldout poster that was hard to scan (the cover reminds me of Soft Machine's first album cover). It's a hyper rarity that could have easily been included on the NWW-List (which is receiving some increased attention at the moment, with yet unknown consequences).

Love Cry and Super Nimbus was one of the first efforts by Amsterdam born jazz pianist Loek Dikker who was supported by a group of great Dutch musicians (posing like some sort of football team on the record cover). Loek Dikker would become more famous later in the 70's with his Waterland Ensemble that played very intricately composed jazz suites. He would also start composing for cinema in a later stage of his career.

For this particular recording, still hailing from the cosmic provo and hippie high-times in Holland, the line-up is Loek Dikker (piano, percussion) Erik-Jan Kromhout (violin), Aimée Versloot (alt-violin), Indonesian-Dutch musician Wim Essed (bass), Ralph de Jong (drums) and Pierre Courbois (drums). Courbois is also known from his amazing experimental progressive rock and free-jazz group Association (P.C.).

The record starts with a recording of an old gramophone recording of Gloomy Sunday (Hungarian: Szomorú vasárnap), also known as the Hungarian suicide song, a piece composed by Hungarian pianist Rezső Seress in 1933. The urban myth was that many people that commited suicide had been listening to the song and it also became an exemplification of the widespread reputation of the Hungarian people having a melancholic nature. The piece was popularized due to the interpretation by Billie Holiday.

When the actual music starts we hear a varied effort mostly leaning on heavy improvisation and  deranged classical music meeting the modern composed "avant-garde". Not only are instruments used unconventionally, the record also uses collage, found and existing sounds, backwards played Indian singing and has a piece where the listener is encouraged to be in control of panneling the music from left to right on his or hers stereo listening equipment. We have entered a world of musical deviance and playful provocation where cosmological tuning and cucumber drums are reigning. What the music actually means we read from the liner notes:

"Side 1

Trauriger Sonntag (Gloomy Sunday) is the attempt of a semi-authentic reconstruction of a much loved 78-rpm record.

Cosmoligical Tuning 1: a summary of more than an hour. Collage. Ralph de Jong handles the drums.

Cucumbers is a work by bass player Wim Essed that was written for the Calvé quartet. Ralph de Jong on drums.

Smooth Triangular is a graphic piece by Loek Dikker, mostly written in triangular shaped notes. Pierre Courbois: percussion. Followed by a commercial and non-fitting accompaniment.

Side 2 

Cadmium Primrose is a little musical work by pianist Dikker. Pierre plays drums.

Emptiness is a full Concert Hall is a strong example of desk work by composer Loek Dikker. The writing time of the piece has costed only slightly more time than the execution. Aimée Versloot is playing alt-violin here.

Vioolkonsert in A van J.S. Bach is being played in the ever popular "choose your music"-version. With the help of the balance knob on your stereo amplifier you can make what you want. Have fun with Ralph and Johann. 

Cosmological Tuning 2 a version with Pierre Courbois

Souer Grapes by W. Essed is based on problems with starting and archetypes"

So much can still be said about this album! Another missing link of the Dutch cosmic free-jazz and improvisation history. ps I just realized almost 50 years are between the birth of this release and that I'm posting this here today.

Get it HERE

Monday, 16 September 2019

Survival Instink - Self-Titled -1988- (Tape, Self-Released), GDR

Survival Instink was a project by German musician Bernd Jestram, perhaps recorded together with others, perhaps not. There is a little child singing on one of the tracks on the B-Side. Jestram is one of the important underground musicians from East-Berlin who played in many iconic punk and experimental bands from the other side of the wall surviving the German socialist regime. Among others he played in Rosa Extra (aka Der Schwarze Kanal) which was probably East-Berlin's most important punk band that had formed already in 1979. He founded his own band Aufruhr Zur Liebe in 1984 and later joined another important experimental band called Ornament & Verbrechen. Aside from this he played in numerous other bands and did many solo works. You can find a lot of those bands and related material over at Tape Attack. Obviously none of these bands in the DDR had proper chances of releasing anything so their music circulated on tapes in the underground. They spreaded their common experience of bleakness due to the repressive totalitarian regime as well as the daily derooted alienating feeling of misplacement in a city that was torn apart by warfare and corruptive political powers.

Survival Instink was another nice project by Bernd Jestram, although a somewhat later project from 1988. I couldn't find any information about it whatsoever. It's also not listed on Discogs. It's a very loud (!) lo-fi cassette that contains some heavily distorted cyber garage-punk dedicated to urban dystopia. Lots of raw guitar sounds, manic drum machine clattering, and dark distorted vocals. The music probably appeals to fans of Chrome, Strafe Für Rebellion or Second Layer and even reminds me of equally obscure stuff like the rock era of Salò Mentale or Spalanzanis Töchter.

Get it HERE

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Pablo A. Gimenez - The Work In Progress -1988- (Tape, STI: Sindicato de Trabajos Imaginarios), Spain

I'm very happy and enthusiastic that I can announce the first guest contribution to Archaic Inventions by a fellow traveller in music and music selector Juan Vacas, who is also one of the representatives of the Madrid based music collective Real No Real. Some rarities from the Spanish tape culture (and perhaps beyond) will be occasionally presented by him to the blog. Starting with this incredible one! -

Pablo A. Giménez is still one of the great unknown Spanish composers of the 1980’s. He was predominantly based in Zaragoza, with an occasional stay in Paris. During the early 70’s he was involved in a group dedicated to the study of electronic music (Estudio de Música Electrónica) along with Luis Fatás, M. Medalón and Luis Colomer. While in Paris, where he studied philosophy and sociology, he refrained from making music for a few years. Short time after his return, his reconciliation with music began after he was offered to compose for amateur film works. Far from having studied at a conservatory, Pablo A. Giménez belonged to the band Casablanca during the late 70’s. Casablanca was described to be something like the band of a hippie commune that established itself for several years in Logroño. The band was composed by more than seven members and generally leaned closer to progressive rock but with numerous influences which ranged from salsa to jazz, being heavily influenced by bands like Gong, Frank Zappa or Hawkwind. 

Casablanca live in the 70's, Gimenez on sax

Several years after the dissolution of the band, Pablo A. Giménez started working with magnetic tapes, he became interested in the use of computers and eventually worked with simple low budget machines (not that he seeked for this cheapness in any way, but for a lack of better mediums) mixed with professional saxophones. Among his influences, it is easy to highlight great figures of the contemporary music world like Edgar Varèse or musique concrete pioneers Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry.

His works have been, for the most part, published by the Zaragoza based label STI (Sindicato de Trabajos Imaginarios, translated: Syndicate of Imaginary Works) that during the 80's mainly focused on avant-garde and homemade music, ranging from noise, to sound poetry or industrial music as well as being involved in mail art projects and run by Javier Cinca. His three first albums vary from more electroacoustic compositions, to more pop and dreamy sounds as well as darker sides mixed with spoken word.

The Work In Progress is his first album published on cassette by STI where he reveals bright saxophone melodies intermingled with subtle drum machines and electronic sequences on the first side, and more abstract compositions during the second half. - Juan Vacas

Pablo A. Gimenez

"Perseguidos por las sombras
caminamos apresuradamente
hacia el olvido..."

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Dust That Collects - Black Water Delirium -1991- (Tape, Self-Released), Canada

Dust That Collects was an explorative electronic sound project by Canadian artist Ron McFarlan. McFarlan had been involved in the home-taping culture of the 80's and started his project Dust That Collects around 1990 when opening for Illusion of Safety at the Music Gallery in Toronto. A brief autobiographical summary of McFarlan's musical history can be found over at Don Campau's Living Archive.

Black Water Delirium is a nice cassette bringing together four pieces of post-industrial soundscapes of noise, mechanical sound manipulation, field recordings and drone. You can hear almost ambient psycho-acoustic atmospheres that are indeed somewhat reminiscent of Illusion of Safety, or maybe even something of the Hafler Trio, Empirical Sleeping Consort or Zoviet France (many examples obviously exist). The last 22-minute track Black Water Delirium is a nice highlight where some sort of tenniscourt sounds are being manipulated into dark aquatic and swirling depths that ultimately culminate into their own sonic deconstruction.

The sound fidelity and certain parts of the tape are still very much rooted in the cassette medium and culture. Later this type of dark ambient soundscape music transitioned almost in its entirety to CD and became very inherently clean in production, even if the music was noise. This was the first self-released cassette by Dust That Collects, maybe some other tapes will surface with the time.

Get it HERE

We still have major issues with Zippyshare as an external file-hosting server since it is being blocked in many different countries. You can bypass it by using proxy servers though, which is what you should do. But still, where are we migrating to with the files? Any suggestions?