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

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Před Vaším Letopočtem - Same -1991- (LP, Primus), Czech Republic

Although obviously there are many exceptions, the musical decade of the nineties in Eastern Europe (or the former socialist countries in Europe, as you wish) is largely the equivalent of underground music in the seventies and eighties in the west. Not only was it after the fall of the iron curtain that previously unknown and "illegal" bands were able to finally publish their music, also their influence trickled down into fresh bands of the beginning and mid-nineties. Because of a certain creativity that was mediated by or against political inlfuences as well as certain underground music traditions from before the communist system collapsed, the music was not always based on trying to be western or something hype. People understood how they related to their own national underground. Due to a slight delay in getting familiar with new genres and contemporary music finding its way randomly to Eastern Europe in the early nineties (and also before) the music there developed fragmented. Nevertheless, in result it was often taken a lot less shallow by the people than in western countries where there was a constant musical (production) overload combined with a constant competitiveness of setting the new tone. The nineties in Eastern Europe were musically an open field field of creativity, an explosion of freedom. It was a moment of hope, change and seizing the moment to harvest full creative potential.

Před Vaším Letopočtem was a Czech trio from Prague that consisted of Vlastislav Matoušek on bass and vocals, František Janče on guitar and vocals and Jan Jeřábek on keyboards and vocals. Musically they play a quite simplistic and repetitive rock music that thrives on wave-y patterns and occasional experiments encompanied by lyrics in Czech. Obviously they stand on that verge of the change of pollitical systems sharing some of their sounds with peer-bands like Půlnoc, Máma Bubo or Onkel Zbynda’s Winterrock (O.Z.W.). It also hints a bit to Czech synth band Betula Pendula (who made an album not really worth to listen to) and even to the Greek group Chapter 24.

It's not as groundbreaking as some of the stuff I am about to post from Eastern Europe the coming year on the blog, but it's definitely nice unclassifiable underground stuff that carries a free spirit and shows the Czech Underground in full effect. Před Vaším Letopočtem also released another cassette in the same period. If anyone could share that one I'd be very grateful!

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Yeti - Haw Hawaaaw -1994- (CD, Obi Music), Netherlands

Yeti was a one-off improvisation and free-jazz outfit from The Netherlands founded in 1994. It consisted of Jan Hans Berg on bass and vocals, Martin van Duynhoven on drums (ex-Group 1850, Theo Loevendie Consort etc.), Wolter Wierbos on trombone and American cellist Tristan Honsinger (who has played a lot with Derek Bailey). Basically Yeti brings together again some important figures of the Dutch impro scene and beyond.

The quite lengthy album showcases nice cinematic jazz and improvisation moments that are at times absurdistic as well as loosely inspired by the Nepalese Yeti-myth. It is quite a unique effort that somehow became rather obscure because of the medium through which is was released in its particular time period. The booklet actually shows a nice piece of hand-made DIY-art from the impro scene. Haw Hawaaaw sounds a bit like other things I've posted on the blog before like Ernst Reijseger, because of Honsingers cello-work or even Palinckx & Palinckx.

Another nice slab from the Dutch impro scene of the last decade of the previous century!

Get it HERE

This is the last post I prepared before I left home some time ago. Expect some new uploads on the blog somewhere later this summer since I am currently travelling around in Europe. The stuff that's coming to the blog later will be truly insane! Also in new directions with an emphasis on the Eastern-European underground from the 80's and 90's.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Arigret - Se Una Notte D'Inverno Un Viaggiatore... -1995- (CD, CMC Records), Italy

Continuing the blog on the track of improvisation CD-only releases from Europe's alternative 90's we have Arigret from Italy. Arigret was an adventurous Italian improvisation group that had a strong contemporary jazz foundation but also used some kind of Rock In Opposition approach with the great transitions in their compositions that were created by sax player Massimo Rossi (who would carry on with a contemporary Italian jazz outfit called Actis Band).

Se Una Notte D'Inverno Un Viaggiatore... was the only album by Arigret released through CMC records from Turin. It has great titles that are somewhat reminiscent of Zappa's. The vocals by singer Rossella Cangini contain nice eccentric lyrics and are a constant highlight when the jazz-patterns make way for the poetical absurdity on the album.

This is another great release from the 90's, specially for the more (free-)jazz-oriented music fans. It reminds me of Italian 80's groups like Ensemble Havadià, Mamma Non Piangere or the stricter impro-jazz releases one can find on Materiali Sonori records.

Get it HERE

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Malice In Wonderland - Violence & Passion -1984- (Tape, Wonderland Cassettes W.002), Netherlands

Malice In Wonderland was a classic underground new wave band from The Netherlands (we call that style Nederwave) consisting of Ronald Israëls (bass), Job Goedhart (guitar), Simone Koch (singer), Peter Jansen (keyboards, voice) and Michel Didier (drums). Their music has a distinct bat-cave type new wave style with punk influences that also reminds me of other Dutch groups like Qua Dance (posted before on the blog), WAT or maybe even Soviet Sex.

All tracks on Violence & Passion were recorded live at various Dutch venues that were mostly dedicated to the underground of the 80's in those days. Because of the female vocals, quite elaborated song-writing and the evident use of keyboards it even has something B-52's like to it, maybe something of X-Mal Deutschland too. It's a great relic from the prime of new wave in The Netherlands in its purest form when youth centre's were inhabited by Siouxsie haircuts, extravagant make-up and vleermuis fashion.

Violence & Passion was released on cassette in 1984 and came with an extensive booklet showing information on the different tracks, nice pictures and no-future poetry. Quite surprising that Malice In Wonderland hasn't been covered too much, even though so much new wave music has been given attention the last years. I couldn't find it on Discogs.

The cassette shows quite some white-noise since me and my friend found this tape in a quite dusty and old state, probably in the record store since 1984. Still quite some nice wave pop-songs on it!

Get it HERE

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Josef Novotny & Max Nagl - AMen # -1989- (CD, EX 96), Austria

Austrian free-jazz and improvisation knows a long tradition that traces back to acts like the pioneering Reform Art Unit that started out by the late sixties. In these musical themes there are distinct Austrian and European sound traditions that are sometimes combined with other musical influences like the eastern and Indian musical traditions, always in an improvisational and free way.

This album created by pianist and keyboardist Josef Novotny and saxophone player Max Nagl directly tries to incorporate the Austrian musical traditions and showcases a complex avant-gardist mixture of free-jazz, church organ and synthesized computer programs. In a way it resembles the German-Dutch album Free Music & Orgel that was posted on the blog a long time ago. On that album the church organ is also used as a free instrument in combination with improvised theme's. AMen # was released as a CD only in 1989.

From the liner notes of AMen #:

The music is a confession to the European, and more specific Austrian tradition, naturally influenced by many cultural currents with which we are confronted. It ranges from traditional church songs to the tonal shape of the Vienna school right up to Jazz Avant-Garde. The pieces are largely improvisations based on fixiated computer-programs and prefabricated sound combinations each of which determine the form and the process.

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Hein Pijnenburg, Ineke van Doorn & Paul van Utrecht - Barbaarse Dans -1994- (CD, GR 9409), Netherlands

This very obscure compact disc named Barbaarse Dans -in English- Barbaric Dance (not even on Discogs) contains great musical interpretations of poems by the Flemish surrealist and dadaist poet Paul van Ostaijen (22 February 1896 – 18 March 1928) and was recorded in 1994.

The music was made with voice, bass clarinet, guitar, saxophone, hammers and saws by saxophonist Hein Pijnenburg, Jazz-singer Ineke van Doorn and guitarist Paul van Utrecht. It was created to accompany Paul van Ostaijen's avant-garde sound poetry that was written in the early twentieth century in Dutch. The musical interpretation comes close to the Dutch performance artist and protagonist interpreter of abstract sound-poetry Jaap Blonk.

Even though Dutch is quite a non-important and often quite disliked language, Van Ostaijen was one of the most important people in the Dutch language territory who was inspired by the dada movement alongside the artist Theo van Doesburg. His sometimes onomatopoeiatic sound-poetry broke many barriers in the Dutch literary field and introduced sound-poetry as a performative and even visually experimental dimension in Dutch poetry in the early twentieth century. This album is quite special in the sense that it interprets his poetry. It's a unique musical example of the Dutch language literary avant-garde. It was released in a self-made fragile paper cover.

From the liner notes:

Barbaric Dance is a theatrical composition in which Hein Pijnenburg puts forward the poetry by the Flemish avant-garde poet Paul van Ostaijen. The musical work is shifting throughout the piece: at first the starting point is text and the music is composed with the text. Later in the composition this is reversed. The text: fragments of poems, words and seperate letters are fitted in the music. Hammers and saws are prescribed in the score to create two effects: to create a transition of rhythm and sound of daily life towards the silence of the theater and to increase the feelings of the listener and actor by physical powers. Furthermore the hammers and saws function as percussion.

Paul van Ostaijen was a Flemish poet who lived from 1896 to 1928. His work mirrors the changing and stirring zeitgeist of the first twenty-five years of this century: a hyper-sensitive Van Ostaijen found his inspiration amongst others in the First World War and the atmosphere of the Music-Hall (a precursor of the discotheque). He looked for possibilities to combine words, sounds and images in his poems. 

Barbaarse Dans is based on the poems: Barbaarse Dans, Angst, Fatalisties Lied, Asta Nielsen, Vers 2 en Vers 3 and Alpejagerslied.


Get it HERE