Sunday 19 January 2020

Roy G. Biv - Yellow -1980- (Tape, Self-Released), Netherlands

Roy G. Biv (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet) was the home-taping project and sound & color improvisation band of Dutch musician and visual artist Robin Deirkauf who sadly passed away last year. I think the first tapes were solo-projects and later the project was joined by Edward Vunderink (guitars, voice) and Frans Evers (keyboards). Yellow is one of the first three tapes by Roy G. Biv from 1980 and just like some of Conrad Schnitzler's work it was dedicated to a specific color. The band also did a red and a blue cassette (I have never seen or heard the blue one). Here's a brief and interesting biography I found on Deirkauf's personal website:

"In his early childhood Deirkauf grew up in the Caribbean, where his father was an antiques dealer, mainly specialized in African and Asiatic art. The exotic colorful underwater world at that time and the antiques has had a profound influence on his later drawings and paintings.

Sign, symbol and script are recurring elements in his sometimes eclectic work, it is characterized by ancient, primordial pictoral power, mixed with modern constructivist elements and bright colors. After this period he turned to a more formal and conceptual way of analizing the image, resulting in the development of a matrix used to create a pictographic alphabet consisting of primary colors and forms.

During the late 70's and early 80's Deirkauf founded the experimental sound and color improvisation group  Roy G. Biv for the realization of the multimedia art project phase III with Edward Vunderink and Frans Evers, what resulted in 10 music albums."

Roy G. Biv's Yellow tape is a great improvised jam-session like endeavour of cosmic electronic soundscapes reminding me of Krautrock groups from the 70's like Agitation Free, Ash Ra Tempel and other Manuel Göttsching works. It's also highly influenced by minimal music and because of the color themes, the Conrad Schnitzler analogy remains a given ofcourse. Not too often do the early home-taping cassettes from The Netherlands lean more towards the psychedelic and cosmic electronic side of the musical spectrum instead of the more commonly found industrial or minimal synth tapes from those times.

It's nice to find out about the existence of different and more cosmic music from Amsterdam from a time when half of the city was filled with squats with punks and new wave had already arrived both in fashion and music. I suppose Roy G. Biv shows the musical transition from the 70's with its psychedelic sounds to the DIY sound approach of the 80's and carries both decades in its spirit. Maybe that approach is also interwoven into the story of the Dutch wave and ultra band Mekanik Kommando that later turned into the psychedelic group The Use of Ashes.

Most of the Roy G. Biv albums were uploaded on No Longer Forgotten Music some time ago. Wonderful stuff. And ofcourse rest in peace Robin Deirkauf. Maybe some reissues have to be done in his memory.

The red tape will also be uploaded to the blog one day.

Get it HERE

Friday 10 January 2020

Detachment / McMarian - Cienie (Shadows) -1988- (Tape, A.R.S.), US/Poland

Here's another obscurity from the Polish home-taping circuit from behind the Iron Curtain. This time it's a split-cassette between the American act Detachment created by Craig Coe from Dayton, Ohio recorded between '86 and '88 and McMarian one of Poland's great industrial home-taping acts created by Marcin Bednarski and Piotr Kalinowski from the city Kraków.

It's an interesting fact that this isn't just a Polish cassette and that the members of McMarian were somehow able to share and receive music material over the borders of the socialist state, even if the political system was in its very last stage before the collapse. The Polish home-taping scene had been created by necessity since these type of bands were unable to release their music officially, nevertheless one can see that they did have ties with the international cassette culture. Cienie, meaning shadows, is a vivid example of this mechanism, that through its "secret" distribution had much more meaning than just having a taste for particular music. It's part of an unclassifiable almost non-existing area where art opened up a place for individuals who could gain some autonomy through their marginalized practices to counter the political and cultural programming of the totalitarian regime.

I can't find much info on the Detachment project from the US, but it somehow reminds me of the minimal synth sounds of Patrick Gibson from Australia. A very nice combination of experimental sounds and rhythmic industrial minimal synth. The tracks by McMarian have an even stronger foundation in rhythmic industrial music creating loops of manipulated rhythms in combination with samples. Specially the last tracks on the tape remind me of the primitive era of Esplendor Geométrico from Spain or the early Australian industrial act Mesh.

Actually the music is quite nice, unfortunately it's buried under a thick layer of white noise. I tried to digitize this several times to get a better sound (dolby, no dolby, equalizing etc.), until I found out it will just turn out to be like this. With renaming files and cutting I've spent four hours on this tape. The opening track by Detachment also starts low in volume and then starts to peak later on. Anyway, that's one of the things with those obscure tapes from Eastern Europe from the 80's, the quality is not that high. But because of its background and totally different cultural and technical circumstances the music should be appreciated in its lo-fi nature as a testament of the underground. It actually sounds better directly from cassette, as if the music has become one with its medium.

This tape was limited to 50 copies.

Kindly donated by the Y Create archive

Get it HERE

Monday 6 January 2020

Angst - De Witte Villa -1980's- (Cassette, Geef Appel Neem Chocolade/Kubus Kassettes), Belgium

Angst was a project by Flemish writer, poet and musician Erik Vloeberghs (in this case in collaboration with Herbert Alkali). He also did projects such as The Firing-Squad, Kwajongens In Bloei and The Parts. Vloeberghs was closely related to the Antwerp based industrial and interdisciplinary art group Club Moral. Frequently he contributed to their art-zine/fanzine called Force Mental. His musical subjects mostly dealt with excess in all kind of forms adapted into musical concepts. The whole Club Moral sphere is known to have explored the extremes of human nature and deviant human behaviour within society, both in cathartic experience and conceptualization, a bit in a similar way to what industrial and power electronics groups like Whitehouse, Ramleh or Consumer Electronics did in England. Just somewhat less uniformic in sound (noise) with more influences from literary poetry and visual arts including performative aspects and multimedia elements.

De Witte Villa (The White Villa) is a cassette that came out both in Belgium and Holland,  respectively on the Belgian Geef Appel Neem Chocolade and Dutch Kubus Kassettes cassette labels. It takes a villa as its core reference, perhaps because the music was played at a villa during an intensive stayover (since the last field recorded track is called 'In The Kitchen of The White Villa'), perhaps because Vloeberghs used it as an aristocratic concept as another point of reference in the light of deviance and excess of society in let's say a Marquis De Sade type of setting. In any case, the music starts with Italian, maybe Napolitan song, mixed through distorted radio noise. Next up is a sort of minimal home-taping Marxist 'introduction to capitalism' explaining how human production powers lead to different classes in society and that capitalist fatalism causes tragedy in the face of nature as well as alienation of the self. The tape continuously thrives upon primitive field recordings with an industrial sound approach of eeriness and noise.

Some of the music is reminiscent of Italian industrial projects like the hyper-obscure work by Stefano Tamburini or the industrial group Tasaday. The field recording aspect of home-taping taking place as an integrated part of daily life also reminds me of music primitivists like the Gefährliche Klons I posted before on the blog. De Witte Villa is another rarity of the Belgian home-taping scene that didn't fear to sonically self-investigate and integrate darker subject matters into the recordings.

This tape was kindly donated by the Y Create archive

Get it HERE