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?

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Various Artists - Music From The White House Volume 2: It's A British Treat -1987- (Tape, Exart EA029), UK/Netherlands

Here we have another (and also last) of the Exart compilations that had a country as their theme. Exart was the tape-label by Hessel Veldman aka Y Create. He used to be one of the key figures in the home-taping network of the 80's releasing and collaborating with numerous musicians. Besides the Y Create project he was in the band Gorgonzola Legs and did many collaborations with his wife Nick Nicole, Cora and fluxus artist and Dutch underground cult-figure Willem de Ridder.

De Ridder also had his Radiola Improvisatie Salon radio program which played a hugely important role for the home-taping scene in The Netherlands. The idea was that every tape that was sent to the radio show would be played without being heard in advance. A very unorthodox and adventurous approach that sometimes led to the discovery of jaw-dropping musical pearls of unknown musicians.

Music From The White House Volume 2: It's A British Treat consists of different English artists (as well as an Irish one) who were mainly active in the home-taping circuit. Most of the cassette comprises of projects by Steve Hartwell who played music under many different guises like The Dead Goldfish Ensemble and The High Tech Pagoda's. Then there is Dave Arnold (a multimedia artist from Essex who used to run the Dead Happy Records label during the 80's) under his project The Starkman as well as a track of his post-punk group Turn Blue. Also Rob Baylis is present under his disguise The Detective and many other artists.

Like many of the Exart compilations the A-side shows more poppy home-taping tracks and the B-Side more sonic experiments. Other Music From the White House volumes are here and here.

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Arf Arf - Clanguage -1996- (CD, Self-Released), Australia

Arf Arf was an important Australia based sound-poetry group that consisted of Marisa Stirpe, Frank Lovece, Michael Buckley and Marcus Bergner. Since the mid-80's they did over a hundred international shows. The members have been active in the Australian experimental music underground since the late 70's. Frank Lovece was an Italian born musician that moved to Australia as a child and played in the cult-group The Primitive Calculators. Michael Buckley and Marcus Bergner played in an obscure band called Too Fat To Fit Through The Door. Marisa Stirpe in groups like Thrush and The Cunts, The Take and The Egg. Most of these bands that were related to the Primitive Calculators were compiled on a CD in 2006. Marcus Bergner also made the cover art for The Boys Next Door's Hee-Haw EP (Nick Cave's first band before The Birthday Party and later The Bad Seeds).

Arf Arf's Clanguage brings together a variety of lo-fi sound-poetry tracks that are quite musical in their nature. We can hear gripping sound poems layering different narratives on top of each other. The artists are reciting poems as well as displaying the suggestiveness of poetic meaning within a sound-flow of cadence, the occasional use of musical instruments and different voice exclamations. It often leans to absurdism because of the peculiar communication between the voices and the non-languages they are using. It's really amazing stuff, absorbing the listener into the intimate world of the poets who were immersed in their practice. This immersion is also reflected in the way in which the notations of the poems were done, being actual little visual pieces of art in themselves. Take a look at them here.

Arf Arf is a nice example of Australian (sound-) poetry that played an important role in its underground music history, whether coming from a beat icon like Daevid Allen or the sound poems by Amanda Stewart.

Get it HERE

Monday, 17 June 2019

Ice Cream Blisters - When Nature Fails, Art Steps In -1986- (Tape, GGE Records), US

Here we have another nice tape from the American cassette-culture network of the 80's by Ice Cream Blisters. A band that came from Kent, Ohio that was founded by Mike Crooker and Chris Mezzolesta and friends, they also did the home-taping label GGE in Kent. Ice Cream Blisters made a couple more tapes and were for example also featured on the Exart compilation Music From The White House: U.S.A.. Their music is quite an eclectic mix-up of many different musical genres and styles like most of the weird American bands from that time.

When Nature Fails, Art Steps In definitely fits a no future mentality having a nice punk style and attitude combined with some deranged new wave sounds and pure sound experiments. It reminds me of other American bands like The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Blacklight Braille or Strange Fruit Abiku, ofcourse Pere Ubu that also hails from Ohio and probably also many other US bands I am overlooking now one can find in the Mutant Sounds archive. Nevertheless, Ice Cream Blisters has a signature of its own and the lengthy tape has many different musical highlights. From the demented violin infused Vivaldi to the nice lo-fi pop track Drive It Down.

I guess that the punk attitude of Ice Cream Blisters makes sense in the light of US (art-)punk in the North-Eastern and Mid-West states of the US that already had their own special punk-history since the 60's (think The Stooges and the Detroit scene etc). By the way, you can hear that a lot of effort was put in this release. Strange how they have remained so unknown, even after all the music that the blogs have been reviving for the last decade. Maybe some more of their music will surface with the time. It's really good! And not on Discogs.

"Don't be a cardboard celebrity that people pose next to. Don't live in fear of something you don't know really exists, think your own thoughts, they are worth more." 

This tape was kindly donated by the Y Create archive

Get it HERE

Friday, 7 June 2019

Various Artists - Views Beside... -1982- (7 Inch EP, Ed. Vogelsang), Germany

This is a rare artists' 7 Inch that accompanied an art book edited by Fritz Balthaus, published by Ed. Vogelsang in Berlin in 1982. Unfortunately I don't have the book, but according to information online it was an anthology assembling contributions by numerous artists: texts, photos, collages, drawings, an object (a pencil), and the six audio pieces on the 7", which was housed in a generic inner sleeve attached to the inside of the back cover of the book.

It's another nice example of the music experiments that were going on in the West-Berlin art scene and the galleries of the time in which there was dialogue, overlap (or colission as you wish) between the art academies and more established art world with the DIY underground of the time. Neue Deutsche Welle music and its performance aspects balanced on these two fringes, because of the often conceptual nature in the artistic approach. You can find certain examples of this in Berliner bands like Die Tödliche Doris, the whole Geniale Dilletanten happening in Berlin's Tempodrom in 1981 or the Berlin Super 8 DIY art-films that were being made by local experimental musicians and artists. On a sidenote, these type of happenings and musical output also took place in East-Berlin and other GDR cities like Dresden and Leipzig. There is a nice documentary in German about that here. These expressions were much more marginal and obviously not tolerated by the regime so at times quite dangerous for the artists in their practices.

On this little record there are various artists compiled from Berlin as well as foreign places: the first piece is made by Florence born Italian visual artist Maurizio Nanucci, who started to work with neon typography in the late 60's. His work deals with the relation between his research on linguistics and the visual experience of colours.

Then there is Berlin artist and writer Thomas Kapielski who also worked a lot with the important experimental musician Frieder Butzmann in the 80's. Kapielski is still active to this day. Also Fritz Balthaus is present, an artist that in his work dealt a lot with the mediation between architecture and design in (public) spaces. American composer Beth Anderson is compiled with a nice track that is also the most poppy on the record.

Lastly there is a piece by conceptual visual artist Rolf Julius based on a reel-to-reel voice cut-up of American female voice experimentalist Joan La Barbara and a piece by Fred Szymanski of the great New York band Ike Yard, which was the only band from the US to be featured on the Factory Records roster during the 80's.

Some nice sound-art pieces from Berlin's past.

Get it HERE

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Orkest De Volharding - In Het Woud Is Veel Te Doen -1977- (LP, Cineclub Vrijheidsfilm en Solidaridad), Netherlands/Uruguay

Orkest De Volharding (Orchestra Perseverance) is the oldest Dutch "Democratized" jazz and modern composed music orchestra that was founded in 1972 by probably the most innovative and important modern composer of The Netherlands, Louis Andriessen. He played together with many important Dutch jazz and improvisation musicians like Willem Breuker (who later also revolutionized Dutch free jazz with his legendary Willem Breuker Kollektief), Willem van Manen and Bernard Hunnekink and many others.

De Volharding was founded in the aftermath of the Nutcracker actions (Aktie Notenkraker): directed actions against the classical music establishment and its musical conventions. These conventions had to be cracked and hierarchical structures in music were criticized (for example getting rid of the conductor to give musicians their own space). During the late sixties and early seventies there were many emancipatory cultural movements and actions in Holland, in theatre there was Aktie Tomaat (Action Tomato: drama students going to the theatre to throw tomatoes at the actors). These sentiments partially derived from the legendary counter-cultural Provo Movement (1965-1967) that in its political urgencies, freedom thought and its critique of the capitalist state and economy (causing environmental problems etc.) can be seen as a precursor to Hippie movements worldwide. They pioneered the potential of happenings and subversive yet pacifistic actions to make political statements in The Netherlands.

Another reason for these cultural actions aiming at radically changing the values of society was the Vietnam War and the discontent with post-war conservatism. At that moment lots of people saw the direct results of the west-block (capitalism) versus east-block (communism) and for many young people in the west socialist and Marxist ideas became subversive, but also more appealing as a result of the cruel Western warfare and the undesirable excesses of capitalist society (environment, social inequality etc). Orkest De Volharding also had many musical pieces favoring the socialist side. They  did the music for many theatre plays of the left-wing cultural sphere.

In 1977 De Volharding did this album called "In Het Woud Is Veel Te Doen", meaning: "In The Woods There Is A Lot To Do" ("En La Selva Hay Mucho Trabajo Por Hacer"). The music was composed by Bernard Hunnekink and played by Orkest De Volharding. The music on this record is actually a soundtrack created for an Uruguayan Children's movie with the same title. On the A-Side of the record we can hear the instrumental version and on the B-side again the same piece accompanied by the Dutch lyrics (to my ears still less interesting than the instrumental, even though I speak Dutch).

The text is for children and it's about wild animals in the forest that are being captivated by a hunter that wants to bring them to the Zoo. Later they manage to escape by boat and the story concludes with the moral that says: "Nobody should be ever taken from his or her home. Never again like how it used to be before." Not sure if this is also a metaphore for something in the Uruguayan political history: probably.

The music reminds me of many Dutch modern composed records I posted in the first years of the existence of this blog. It even reminds me a bit of certain compositions by Ennio Morricone, who also should have had a small influence on Louis Andriessen. The album also reminds me of the "Alemania-Bolivia" tape that No Longer Forgotten Music just posted: strange conceptual music for, and partially by Children about the differences between a children's life in Bolivia as opposed to a children's life in Germany. Actually the German political Krautrock band Floh De Cologne also did a concept album about the Chilean coup d'état in the early 70's called "Mumien". There were many examples of albums that were conceptually and musically combining the Latin American and Western European world within their 1970's (political) context.

There are lots of nice drawings of animals for children included on the record cover that I cut up and all put in the video below. I end with the liner notes from the sleeve about them:

These drawings were not made to be published: Actually they were a sort of dialogue. The only way in which a comrade could think to break through the bars of his jail cell. As such he managed to send out a little black pigeon with a little red beak. And with a message of battle and hope it reached his little daughter. Every mother, every father everyone who is being incarcerated in a "Zoo" at the moment could have made these sketches. Every one of them hopes to see their children. They all know: "How much there is still to be done in the forest". To this parent and their children we dedicate this story. 

Not on Discogs.

Get it HERE

I was invited by students of the Amsterdam University and the EYE Filmmuseum to a private screening of this animation film and many other films from the Cineclub Vrijheidsfilm, cinema militante, archive. I will update the information about this release soon. You can watch En La Selva Hay Mucho Trabajo Por Hacer in its original Uruguayan version below: