Tuesday 22 September 2015

Various Artists - Opus '71 -1971- (LP, Radio Nederland), Netherlands

After Opus '70 which I posted a while ago here's Opus '71, another showcase of modern composed Dutch composition this time from the year 1971. The Opus series started out in the mid-sixties and went on all the way to the end of the eighties. They were promotional copies send to foreign radio stations to show contemporary developments in Dutch music. For this reason every composition has an introduction in English. The Opus series were not regularly for sale which makes them quite hard to find.

The featured composers on Opus '71 are Ton de Leeuw, Peter Schat, Jan Vriend and David Porcelijn. Their pieces are quite freeform and spacious resulting in unexpected sound movements and strange sonorous adventures. I like these compositions because I can listen to them in a less rigid way than regular classical music because of their improvisational components. Also due to the use of electronic instruments and electric guitars in some of the pieces a multi-layered sound is created. Especially programme 2 is very weird and takes on some strange imaginative conceptual ideas in music which you can read about on the insert.

It's remarkable that even here in Holland there isn't that much public interest or exposure for this type of Dutch music and composition. The Opus series create a great opportunity to dig into the surprising world of Dutch modern composed music of which many compositions are already quite forgotten.

Get it HERE

Saturday 5 September 2015

Édouard Magrin-Sofreson - Essai Sonore Sur L'Érotisme -19XX- (10 Inch, Private Pressing), France

This is a French 10 inch record based on the theme eroticism. It came out in limited quantities in a gatefold red linnen cover. I suspect this record to come out of the early sixties, although it hints towards the fifties too with its sleeve, also the music could have been made much earlier. I can't find any additional information about the artist Édouard Magrin-Sofreson nor about the release date.

On this Musical Essay on Eroticism Magrin-Sofreson wants to cover sounds associated with eroticism and human nature in a very ritualistic manner. The music is a sexual evocative trip of two long pieces comprised of primitive drumming, sounds of birds and nature, gentle electronic sounds, Brazilian carnaval rhythm and ofcourse some stirring female heavy breathing. I guess you could call this a library record, but I think that this is much more a concept album than just some sounds one could use for generic applied purposes. Actually the whole intention and sound reminds me a lot of ritualistic industrial groups of the eighties that had a large emphasis on sexual magick, like Sleep Chamber, Psychic TV or Coil. Maybe this can be seen as some sort of predecessor of such musical intentions.

On the inner part of the sleeve Magrin-Sofreson points out that a lot of (French) artists, poets, philosophers, authors etc. have always been fascinated and engaged with the theme of love and eroticism throughout history. From the work of Marquis de Sade, to the work of poets like Guillaume Apollinaire to the philosophy of Georges Bataille (who wrote specifically about eroticsm), almost all of these expressions had enormous influences on popular and non-popular culture. They sought attention for the understanding of human nature and its relation so sex, love or eroticism and their transcendental qualities for human beings.

Get it HERE