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