Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Schismatics - Vazen Vol (Vases Full) -1994- (CD, AMF Music), Netherlands

The Schismatics were a Dutch Rock In Opposition and improvisation band that started in the 80's in the domain of the legendary artists squats of the Quarantaineweg in Rotterdam. Later they relocated to Amsterdam. The Schismatics is more or less led by Dutch singer, poet and musician Han Buhrs. He was involved in many musical projects like Nine Tobs, Encore + Plus Grande with member of the French RIO band Etron Fou Leloublan, Palinckx and many more. His latest project is the Amsterdam based group Rubatong.

At the time of this album, that was recorded at various locations in Holland in the early 90's, The Schismatics consisted of Han Buhrs (vocals, percussion), Jodi Gilbert (vocals), Beatrice van der Poel (vocals), Maartje ten Hoorn (violin) and Frank van Berkel (bass). The music on Vazen Vol is an interesting mixture of improvisation and avant-garde poetry with an emphasis on the role of the voice as instrument. The often absurd lyrics are a constant combination of both English and Dutch with the occasional use of other languages. The music reminds me of the Italian group Arigret, the American band Care of The Cow, the music of Maggie Nicols and Lindsay Cooper and many more acts of the rock in opposition world of Recommended Records.

This is another essential CD only release from the Dutch impro scene and probably one of the only Dutch groups that may carry the real label of the genre of Rock In Opposition. The cover of the album consists of a painting by Dutch artist Marjan Verkerk.

Get it HERE

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Kósa Vince - Berkoff: A Görög -1994- (Tape, Razzia Distribution), Hungary

This cassette is a solo effort by Hungarian musician and Industrial music protagonist Kósa Vince. Kósa played in the pioneering Hungarian industrial group Art Deco (posted a long time ago on the blog) as well as in the industrial group BP. Service. On this cassette he plays the music to the play A Görög (The Greek) written by English actor and playwright Steven Berkoff that was premiered in 1980 in London and performed in the Radnóti Theatre in Budapest in 1994. The Greek was a modern interpretation of the well-known ancient tragedy Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. The tragedy that also inspired Freud in his work to develop his concept of the Oedipus complex.

The music on the tape consists of two long pieces. The first side starts with rhythm based industrial  in combination with collaged music taken from classical music. Later the music tranisitions into a subaquatic dark ambient soundscape. The B-side is a slightly more interesting affair, where Kósa fully embraces a synthetic tribal ambient sound even ending up in some 90's beats. Nevertheless it still holds on to darker atmospheres.

A Görög reminds me of the 1983 piece Neveleiland by Dutch home-tapers De Fabriek. Furthermore, the music is really in similar realms as the Hungarian avant-garde album Private Exits by composer Tibor Szemző or Hungarian composer László Hortobágyi and his electro-acoustic music built on Indian cosmologies.

A rare cassette, often mistaken for a screenplay or spoken word. Great music and soundscapes from the early nineties and another piece of the Hungarian experimental music puzzle. Lots of Hungarian cassettes still to come to the blog!


Get it HERE

PS: I have an extra copy of this tape. If you would like to trade it for another nice record or tape feel free to get in touch.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Various Artists - Druga Liga Prvo Kolo -1995- (CD, Helidon), Slovenia/Croatia

Druga Liga Prvo Kolo -Second League First Round - is an essential cornerstone compilation from post-Yugo 90's Slovenia. It compiles both Slovenian and Croatian bands that were active in the early and mid-90's in their respective underground scene. Eastern European underground bands from this time were very weird and unclassifiable, playing a combination of both unskilled punk and hyper-complex rock in opposition drenched in a healthy amount of absurdism while existing within a genuine alternative culture based on communal uplifting activisim and desperate local divertissement. Also don't forget that the decade of the 90's in former Yugoslavia and the Balkans was heavily loaded with political tensions and war sentiments that needed an explosive creative output in one way or the other.

Slovenian bands in general, also before the fall of the iron curtain and the disbanding of Yugoslavia, were always very intriguingly weird. With Laibach as main national music reference you know you're in for a blast when digging into the Slovenian musical underground. Other great alternative bands from Slovenia I can think of are Miladojka Youneed, Begnagrad, Lolita, Strelnikoff or the later Pinja Dzazna (who has those files for me!?)

The Slovenian bands on this compilation are experimental group Mamojebac (of which their whole and only existing tape from 1995 Tko Je Ovdje Kome Guzica? is present), strange punk band Absent Minded and the great avantgarde art-rock band Žoambo Žoet Workestrao

The Croatian groups present on Druga Liga are the demented HC-punk group Why Stakla (of which almost their whole cassette Daj, Dođi! from 1995 is compiled) and the free punk no jazz band from Rijeka Plod Mirže (I'm curious if more of their music exists). These bands also remind me of the Croatian band SexA.

Essential uneasy listening of post-Yugo punk-noise-insanity from the underground!

Get it HERE

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Barbieri & Fabbri - Angeli -1988- (LP, Stile Libero), Italy

Next up is another album that connects to the previous post balancing on the thin line of alluring musical ambience and a generous pinch of cheesiness.

Italian Bass player Tiziano Barbieri and Guitarist Moris Fabbri made this quite obscure album of Mediterranean contemporary jazz and late 80's ambient sounds in 1988. Both musicians were not heavily involved in other projects but were definitely active musicians. Moris Fabbri still makes  remarkable experimental music today which you can find on his own Youtube channel.

The music on this album is pretty much divided: the A-side has three tracks of composed atmospheres thriving on Italian Mediterranean guitar, eastern voices and guitar-synths-scapes. Actually no real synthesizer is used on the album and all electronic sounds are coming from the processed guitar. These first tracks are maybe too slick, although you also have the feeling that you're familiar with those melodies already for an eternity. The impressionistic style is similar to the Swedish Vinterhjärta tape I posted some time ago.

The music on the B-side should be more pleasing for the improvisation and experimental jazz fans. Those tracks are more abstract and free-form, showing the cinematic and adventurous side of the duo. It reminds me a bit of the Dutch contemporary Jazz soundtrack Golven by Louis Andriessen, but it mostly reminds me of the biblical Risonanze series of Italian library music that I posted ages ago on the blog.

Maybe something different, but it's definitely the soundtrack of the current Indian summer channeling the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire while you reminisce of a summer that gently flushes away...

Get it HERE

Friday, 7 September 2018

Dionys Breukers - Koer Locale -1992- (LP, W139), Netherlands

This is a record with compositions by Dutch keyboardist Dionys Breukers. It was released through W139 which is a gallery and art space that is located in the center of Amsterdam. It was established in 1979 mainly to offer space to artists outside of the established art world in The Netherlands. W139 still functions today somewhat in the same way and places a large emphasis on art installations inside of its building. You can still find surprising exhibitions there if you want to escape the tourist inferno of the red light district.

From the liner notes of the record:

Koer Locale is the third project of the series called De Centrale, that is being realised by the W139 foundation in Amsterdam. Three artistic leaders are connected to it: Bas van Tol, Madje Vollaers and Pascal Zwart. In the spring of 1992 they created a hull from different elements a.o. a rotating wall, a cascade and a bar. Based on this composition various participants of different disciplines were asked to create a weekly new order by adding different "building blocks". One of these building blocks was provided by Dionys Breukers. In his contribution, to be heard on this LP, he led himself by the notion of background music: muzak. Basically this is opposite to the intention of the interior-project: to fill in a background was out of the question. But don't worry: the muzak of Dionys Breukers is not real muzak, but an original composition. During Koer Locale his musical building block was constantly to be heard from the bar (one of the art components of the space). - Jozef van Rossum, Amsterdam May 1992

The A-side of this album mostly contains compositions that are being played by Breukers himself while on the B-side there are also own compositions but often being played by others. A curious fact is that on the track Mais Non there is a guest contribution by canterbury legend Hugh Hopper, the great bass player of Soft Machine. Still I credited all tracks to Breukers to keep it simple.

The album indeed contains elements of experimental collage, cocktail music, Dutch jazz, a few maybe dated keyboard sounds and even funky notes. Sometimes it kind of hints to what would become known as Nu-Jazz during the nineties, but it also definitely has a lot of cheesy elements. Normally they would bother me a bit too much, but since the whole concept of the album revolves around the theme of muzak, maybe that was the whole point... I'd say: decide for yourself what to make of it! The record is a bit crackly but it was probably published in very limited quantities, I've never seen another copy.

Get it HERE

Sunday, 26 August 2018

BP. Service - Same -1990- (Tape, Weast CMC Agency), Hungary

This is the first in a series of Hungarian cassettes that I will slowly upload to the blog:

BP. Service was one of Hungary's important industrial music groups. Industrial music in Hungary did exist behind the iron curtain in the 80's but in very marginal forms. Some of the bands I can come up with are Art Deco (posted ages ago on the blog), CMC and Falatra(x). Basically it was not until the early nineties that industrial groups could publish their music regularly in Hungary and that also more groups started to exist.

BP. Service consisted of Szabó György, Kósa Vince and Orbán Balázs. Szabo György is subsequently known for his graphic design and creating many of the posters for underground concerts in Budapest before the fall of the iron curtain. Lately those posters have received renewed attention and have been compiled in a book. Kósa Vince was also the founder of the group Art Deco and can be considered as one of the pioneers of Industrial music in Hungary.

This cassette that came out in 1990 contains two lengthy tracks of classic industrial sounds. It conceptually takes on the big city or metropole (in this case Budapest) as a place of noise where traffic, construction, dirt, automation and industry are part of the daily urban environment. A concept that can be seen often in this particular vein of industrial music, tracing back most notably to Berlin's finest Einstürzende Neubauten, but ofcourse there are numerous examples. The music contains bleak Hungarian lyrics, sound-manipulations and the use of metal and other physical materials that are being used rhythmically.

Get it HERE

Monday, 13 August 2018

Zorah Mari Bauer & Tilman Küntzel - "Stipendiaten 1991" -1992- (Split-Tape), Germany

Since there is some catching up to do with regard to the frequency of uploads on the blog here is an obscure tape that I picked up by chance recently in Berlin:

Zorah Mari Bauer and Tilman Küntzel are both artists that are still active today in the realms of new media, cross media, art theory and sound. Apparently this cassette was released to accompany a catalogue for an exhibition they did at K3, part of the art center Kampnagel in Hamburg in 1992. It was released in an edition of 100 copies.

Zorah Mari Bauer takes one side of the cassette and plays two abstract pieces where musique concrète and voice experiments are the main components. It actually reminds me somewhat of the music of Laurie Anderson or the voice experiments of Dutch artist Moniek Toebosch.

Tilman Küntzel's side is called "Pinguin In Wonderland" and contains some interpretations of music by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It's midi and computer controlled music that he recorded at the Centre for Art and Media ZKM in Karlsruhe. It's quite an unusual collage of animal sounds, voices and instruments.

Strange art tape, nice music.

Get it HERE