Wednesday 25 December 2019

Various Artists - Bijna 2000 Jaar Geleden -1983- (Cassette, A.E.D. EMI Bovenmaats), Netherlands

Merry Christmas and an Archaic New Decade to all friends and followers of the blog!

Wait a second, is that Jesus? Portrayed as a punk? Well, that will always be a bit of a tricky analogy within punk circles and beyond. But anyhow! Bijna 2000 Jaar Geleden (Translated: Almost 2000 years ago) is a rare Dutch (hardcore) punk compilation from the first hour compiling different punk bands from smaller cities of The Netherlands. It was released by the Volendam based punk label Anti-Esthetische Dienst (anti-esthetic service) created by Niels de Wit who is also compiled on this cassette with his band Gepøpel.

Ironically Volendam, of all places in the Netherlands, is actually mostly known for the worst of the worst commercial sound of Dutch schlager pop-music of which I won't give any examples here. It's a tricky and fairly untrue statement but I would say that most real and influential punk from The Netherlands from the early days did not come from the big cities, but more so from small places. The Ex, one of Holland's most important real anarcho-punk groups also partially came from the village of Wormer, which tells us something.

Bijna 2000 Jaar Geleden came out as the alternative Christmas gift for the whole family for the end of the year holidays of 1983. It mostly consists of live recordings of punk bands that either sing in Dutch or English. The songs have typical punk subjects like anti-religion, anti-establishment and the opposal of the average daily life in society. Short and simple tracks often badly recorded as they should have been. One of the highlights is the track "Kortjakje" which is a famous Dutch children's song about Kortjakje, a poor and maybe alcoholic woman who is always ill throughout the week except for Sundays when she goes to church. The punks invert the plot of the song in the booklet and ask the question: why can't Kortjakje be ill on Sundays?!

This cassette came with an extensive booklet containing DIY collage, visual information on the lyrics of each band and ofcourse some drawings on the Christmas theme. As always I added the scans to the file below. This is another nice relic from the Dutch punk scene. More of the A.E.D. label and dozens of early Dutch punk tapes can be found in the No Longer Forgotten Music archive (it requires some searching).

Get it HERE


What an amazing ride it was musically in 2019. In terms of material it looks very bright for the blog in the next year. I might even have larger opportunities coming that would lead to a great amount of treasures of obscure music but we have to wait how that unfolds. But even now I can almost not believe some of the stuff that still lies around here, so I'm generally content. A decade ago when I was a teenager I was dreaming of creating a blog like Archaic Inventions and the surprising thing about it is that I managed to make it happen somehow.

An additional music discourse that I want to introduce to the blog in the next year is a.o. the attention for the underground origins of dance music, to retrace some of its autonomously conquered components and explore a bit of the ethics away from what became part or has always been part of the new era of neoliberal gentrified club culture. Also I felt I had to bring some more punk music to the equation as you can see, because I find that the music zeitgeist has been marginalizing some of the important DIY functions lately compulsively changing the view on the so-called creative conditions for a praiseworthy piece of music to exist. It's a tendency that also divides certain musical genres from their often common origins and polarizes the music scene more than it brings people together. The world has changed.

I'm working on a couple of reissues with great (reissue) labels (Discos Transgénero, StroomTV,  Futura Resistenza etc.) writing liner notes for them (more on that soon). Also I will publish a cassette of my own music (old and new) soon in the beginning of the next year and hopefully another album later on. Maybe I have one or two other surprises up my monkey sleeve. Anyway, I'm just doing what I can do, or something like that. I just want to say much love to you all and I'm grateful to all you listeners out there. And grateful for all you talented people in and out of music! Also for the great amount of creativity on the upperground, but realize that the underground has to receive some sustainable care too. Really more than ever.

So ofcourse (far away from this blog) a special thank you to the marginalized music multitude, the people showing local resistance, music activists and the unpaid or the unruly who keep organizing events and concerts, who are making their unorthodox music, who keep pushing under difficult circumstances. Keep it weird and feel comfort in the fact that you feel that you don't want to uphold an image publically (online), we're all connected.

A last special thanks to all the music blogs out there still doing what they do best. It's a huge effort, in free time, for the love of music. Respect!

Kitartás! See you in 2020!

Bence - AI

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Earth's Epitaph - Child's Play -1985- (Cassette, Bedroom Recordings), Wales

Earth's Epitaph were an anarcho new wave and post-punk group from the surroundings of the city of Cwmbran in the South of Wales created by Chris, Ray and Jayne. The band was formed inspired by bands like Crass and Siouxsie And The Banshees to which the members had been listening for years before starting their own band. Earth's Epitaph recorded two 'official' demo's of which Child's Play is their second one. They also contributed some songs to a couple of compilations during the mid-eighties.

The music of Earth's Epitaph has a more conventional new-wave sound, but is definitely rooted in the same political UK anarcho punk spirit of bands like Crass, The Apostles or Omega Tribe. Songs are criticizing the English government, injustices of society and politics driven by themes of environmentalism, animal rights, anti-apartheid and anti-fascism. The songs are somewhat reminiscent of the Young Marble Giants or of Dutch new wave band Qua Dance I posted a long time ago.

Child's Play was issued with a DIY fanzine on their music, political standpoints, vegetarian and vegan cooking recipes and interviews with other Welsh wave and post-punk bands from in and around the scene like The Enid, The Housemartins and Balaam And The Angel. Ofcourse I included scans of the fanzine to the file below.

Earth's Epitaph is another band that cared to involve their malcontentedness with social inequality, capitalism and environment in their music, based on the basic punk principle that starting a band doesn't take much. I might upload their first demo cassette in the future.

Get it HERE

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Seafood - Bait -1998- (CD, Link Beat), Netherlands

What we have here is a great obscure 90's release from Holland. Seafood was a short-lived group that consisted of four jazz and improvisation musicians based in The Netherlands: Canadian musician Alan Laurillard (saxophone, voice and sampler) and Dutch musicians JB Bollen (violin, voice, sampler, synthesizer), Michiel Scheen (voice, synthesizer) and Chander Sardjoe (percussion). All of them were heavily involved in the Dutch jazz and improvisation scene and have been releasing numerous albums throughout the years. Chander Sardjoe also collaborated with the Belgian ethno-avant-jazz trio Aka Moon around the same time when Seafood was active.

Seafood's Bait came out in 1998 in limited quantities on CD with a fishhook with coloured feathers attached to its cover and a small plastic fish in the jewel case. The group described their music in the booklet: 

Seafood is a new music group that creates a synthesis between culture and subculture, between improvisation and academism, between small brains and underbelly. Result: House-Techno-Hardcore-New Music-Jazz-Impro-Drum and Bass-Fusion.

Definitely an accurate description. This is a musical adventure that blends in so much musical talent and styles from worlds far beyond that I slowly realize that this could be one of the greatest albums from The Netherlands from the 90's in general.

Each track on the album is composed by one of the four musicians of the group. Seafood inventively tie together humoristic improvisation, future jazz, sample-mania and different electronic dance music styles into something of mind-boggling alien creation of almost Boredoms proportions. It's also reminiscent of Uwe Schmidt's (Atom TM) Lisa Carbon project of the 90's where latin jazz and rhythms were blended with electronic instruments and dance music. Obviously there are more examples of that 90's musical realm that often got labelled Future Jazz or Nu-Jazz back in those days, but this came to mind.

Moreover, Seafood is what I imagine to be the future sound of what great Dutch bands like Niew Hip Stilen or Kiem had been playing a decade earlier. This is some far out stuff! Another very little known album from Holland that deserves more attention!

Get it HERE

Saturday 30 November 2019

Various Artists - Sleepy -1980's- (Cassette, Self-Released), US

Here is another great tape from the home-taping cassette network, this time from the US. It's quite an unknown one that compiles 25 different artists from various genres with home-taping tracks created around the theme of sleep. Yes: sleep, dreams, snores, lullabies and other sleepytime sounds that are meant to keep you awake or to put you to deep hypnotizing sleep.

As for the artists I'd say that some of them are to be found more regularly on US home-taping cassettes like the mind-warping The Evolution Control Committee that came from North-Canton, Ohio or Hermanos Guzanos from Fairfax, California. But about most of the acts I have no clue who they were. I also don't know who released this compilation, how many were made or when it was exactly released.

Another interesting cassette in the typical American home-taping style, with lots of silliness, humor, cool electrified tracks, pop songs and experimental sounds. A perfect soundtrack to the time of hibernation during this winter that is commencing! Zzzzzzzz

Get it HERE

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Bodenpersonal, Tumorbeus, Siedlerheim ‎- Westhafen Plassette -1981- (Cassette + 7 Inch, Kompakt Produkte), Germany

About a year ago a couple of hundred of tapes from an old collection came into my hands. Most of them were self-recorded copies of existing albums, mostly vinyl, that someone had been copying throughout the 80's. The majority of the music on these cassettes did consist of weird new wave, experimental and industrial music. I started to devide the tapes into different sections, the exact recorded copies of albums I put away in one box and the unknown cassettes without any written information on them I stored away in another box to examine. I also threw away dozens of tapes that were poor in quality and had nothing to do with underground music in general. Even now I still have some bags left with the unknown cassettes. I still have to listen to them and figure out what is on there.

In-between all of this stuff there was a self-made series that consisted of overdubs of rare NDW cassettes all with typewriter style titles and tracklisting. Because of that information I could luckily connect this one here to its original: a release I had been looking for over at least a decade. Thus, the digitization of this is somewhat less sharp sounding because I had to use a copy as source. Nevertheless we should be very happy that someone copied this rarity in 1981 for us to hear today! It doesn't seem likely this will surface any time soon in any sound quality (also with regard to the collectors who do seem to have this).

The Westhafen Plassette (Platte und Kassette) is a true relic and highly important item of the West-Berlin underground music scene of the early 80's. Released in a scarse edition of only 200 copies this three-way split release, that consisted of a 7 inch vinyl and a cassette, compiled three underground groups hailing from Berlin: Bodenpersonal, Tumorbeus (Read: Tumorboys), and Siedlerheim. It came out on the obscure cult label Kompakt Produkte from Berlin. The music consists of some of the purest experimental minimal synth and DIY new-wave music in the tradition of the grey and wall-divided Berlin music underground of the time:

Bodenpersonal with their Zufallsprodukt Eines Langweiligen Wochenendes (Chance product of a boring weekend) was recorded in a factory in Berlin in 1980 and consists of great minimal synth and DIY-music improvisation. 

Tumorbeus create such abstract synthesizer driven atmospheres that the music almost becomes techno-like, mindblowingly ahead of its time to say the least. I really wonder whether they did more music in those days. They also remind me a bit of the Studio 12 bands from Haarlem, The Netherlands from the early 80's with bands like Nexda and Cargo Cultus

Siedlerheim seems to be the more traditional NDW group, but also ventures into electronic experimentation. They have more structured tracks with vocals and even incorporate the occassional saxophone burst. Maybe their sound is actually the most representative West-Berliner sound of the time. An energy that was also captured strongly in the Berlin Super 80 film, that gathered underground music and performance video's recorded on Super 8 Film by different artists from Berlin during the 80's (I will add that video below. Update: the video has been removed). Both Bodenpersonal and Siedlerheim have been re-released more than a decade ago by the great WSDP label specialized in rare NDW cassettes. Some of the tracks that are on the Westhafen Plassette were also compiled by WSDP, just not everything.

The Westhafen Plassette is partially a musical time-document but it also displayed its avant-garde vision of futuristic musical possibilities beyond the political barriers of the bleak urban landscape and society of Berlin at that time. It stands closely next to many other important underground bands from Berlin of the time like Kompakt Produkte peer band Thorax Wach, Notorische Reflexe, Die Tödliche Doris, Sentimentale Jugend, Malaria!, Einstürzende Neubauten, An Die Schwarze Kunst, Sprung Aus Den Wolken and many more. Both in instrumentation and energy very strong. Those analog machines in combination with this urgency to experiment really resulted in some of the greatest music in general it seems.

It's nice to post this on the blog since 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. If you would like to dig deeper into the theme of the underground music history of Berlin I really recommend the book Berlin Calling, A story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall and the Birth of the New Berlin by Paul Hockenos (2017).

A long story this time, anyway... could have saved this one for Christmas, but I have so much more to share on the blog... Enjoy! Sturm und Turm!

Get it HERE

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