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