Saturday 25 April 2020

Betty Arden - Movements -1985- (Cassette, Sound On Sound), Netherlands

Betty Arden is an Amsterdam based musician and home-taper who released a couple of cassettes during the 80's. As a skilled multi-instrumentalist her musical output has been a combination of folk, new wave, minimal synth, ambient soundscapes and gloomy pop. I'm not sure whether Movements was her first release but I do know that some other cassettes came out later than this one, like her album Music for Films. In 1986 she also contributed a track to one of the mythical Oscar's X-Mas Carols compilations, which were created and compiled by Dutch music journalist and cassette expert Oscar Smit. During the 80's he wrote informative reviews about newly released cassettes for the Dutch music magazine Vinyl.

On Movements we hear great inventive and gloomy compositions (she plays all instruments by herself) quite reminiscent of the ethereal sound of groups on the 4AD label (Dead Can Dance etc.). That sound is comprised a.o. of electronic atmospheric elements, melodic acoustic guitar structures in combination with melancholic songwriting and other folk elements. It's a certain new wave sound of the 80's that was more composed in its musical approach, but also found different interesting ways of merging the atmospheric pieces with songs and composition all together on one album.

In that light Betty Arden's music also incorporates those elements, but she also shows she can be playful with her melodies and the usage of minimal synth sounds. Her compositions remind me somewhat of The Durutti Column or Deux Filles, but also of the Dutch new wave group Qua Dance I posted years ago. But ofcourse there are many examples in that musical realm.

It's always good to shed light on a female home-taper of whom we didn't hear much so far! I had to take a picture of the inner cover from a certain angle to reveal the information, because I couldn't get a right scan of that peculiar golden cover.

From the collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get it HERE

News and message:

I'd like to take the opportunity to inform you about a few developments related to music, the blog and my own activities.

Next month on May the 22nd a stunning vinyl compilation is being released by the Belgian StroomTV label that focuses on the musical output of Dutch home-taper Hessel Veldman (Y Create). I'm honored that I was asked by both the Label and Hessel Veldman to write the liner notes for this particular release. Hessel Veldman is also of great help to this blog and someone I consider as a musical mentor so I hope some of you will keep an eye on that release. Pre-orders are here:

Next month on May the 25th another vinyl reissue will be released by the new and highly promising Futura Resistenza label. It's the first ever vinyl reissue of Jacques van Erven's Tunes & Scenery (Hard To Whistle). Van Erven is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist and artist who made this unclassifiable and incredible cassette in the 80's. Also in this case I am very honored to have written the liner notes. Definitely keep an eye on the future releases of this label too. You can pre-order your copy here:

My long time friends Oscar Olias and Matas Labašauskas from Berlin and Vilnius (creators of the Empty Brain Resort, Sucked Orange Gallery, Braille Satellite Festival and what not) have started a new label called Bigbandalone. They just released a marvelous double vinyl by the German home-taping duo Delta-Sleep-Inducing Peptide (Dieter Mauson and Siegmar Fricke) that existed during the late 80's and early 90's. These recordings show another missing link of music that was bridging the gap between the home-taping culture and the psychedelic dance-trance infusion that was rapidly seeking its way into the nervous system of the 90's. The vinyl compiles 28 tracks selected from 14 tapes. Find it here:

Lately, by the kind grace of others, but also because of years of doing this blog I got a great opportunity to share yet more material with all of you. But because most of this material is Dutch, the overall consistency of the blog will perhaps be less varied. Ofcourse I will do the best I can to keep Archaic Inventions as international as possible in terms of content, but don't be surprised to see more Dutch tapes passing by here: I don't think it will underwhelm.

But enough with the talks. Enjoy the music! Stay safe and sane out there! - Bence AI

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Markenzeichen XY - Da Kommt Die Braut -1983- (Cassette, BestesBänder BB5), Germany

We continue our April fool's journey with another rarity from a far away galaxy of the Neue Deutsche Welle universe. If I'm correct Markenzeichen XY was the first solo release by Uwe Linke from the city of Marburg. He was a delegate of some of Germany's craziest and wacked out Kassettentäter groups of the 80's which he formed with his partner in crime Exo Neutrino called Die Gefährliche Klons (Dangerous Clones) or Different Klons or FunTastiClones or MicroClones etc. I posted their very first cassette some time ago.

Inspired by The Residents and the legendary Hamburg based NDW band Der Plan they started to create their different musical groups of Clone incarnations as well as recording many solo projects. They founded their own cassette label called BestesBänder or Wir Wollen Nur Dein Bestes Bänder (We only want your best tapes). The music was heavily inspired by non-musicianship, the usage of found objects, toys and primitive electronic instruments and synthesizers. The mysterious Clones (or maybe just Exo Neutrino alone) also published a record during the 80's called Unpop under the moniker Lustige Mutanten. It was a 7 inch single inside of a regular LP sleeve containing lots of different demented little tracks. It's still a great album in my opinion, at least it had a big influence on me when I found it as a teenager.

Markenzeichen XY's Da Kommt Die Braut (There Comes The Bride) also displays a collection of short tracks in the typical absurdist clones style. It's a wonderful short tape with the information nicely written all over the cassette box. Maybe there was some inlay or side publication to it displaying the track titles, but I don't have it, so all tracks are untitled for now.

In any case this is a great NDW tape again that was released in the scarce quantity of 111 copies.

More Dangerous Clones stuff still to come!

Get it HERE

Friday 17 April 2020

Unovidual - Parianoia -1985- (Cassette, Stichting Stopcontact), Belgium

I'm very happy to present another Flemish minimal synth gem by Unovidual aka Henk Wallays. I posted his other cassette Vetganzen In Jacquet three years ago on the blog and I notice that I wrote so much contextual information that it's hard to add something there. But let's try nevertheless.

Unovidual was a project by Henk Wallays who made electronic home-taping music during the 80's in the small Flemish town of Aalter. Under the Unovidual moniker quite some cassettes were released and he contributed to numerous international tape compilations. Wallays was also involved with the Micrart Group that included bands like Linear Movement and Autumn that have become iconic for the Belgian electronic wave sound of the 80's and far beyond. Aside from his solo work Wallays had an intensive and special music exchange with American home-taper Tara Cross with whom he recorded a couple of great songs.

Parianoia is another wonderful collection of minimal synth tracks by Unovidual and it's also one of his lesser known releases. It was distributed through the Amsterdam based Stichting Stopcontact label that was responsible for releasing some legendary tapes by bands like Five Times Of Dust, Tranquil Eyes and S.M. Nurse as well as the Contactdisc vinyl series. Parianoia reminds me a bit of a library music album in the sense that it collects many short tracks that each have their own mood or atmosphere. It also sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a videogame at times. Some nice anolog electronic tracks of which some are more ambient, but most are comprised of experimental elements and some collages.

Some of these tracks seem to sound quite ahead of their time. I think this is another example of minimal synth home experimentation of the 80's that plays its part in the history of electronic music in general. A sound reminiscent of Ende Shneafliet, John Bender or Das Ding to name a few. Minimal synth galore!

Kindly donated by Orpheu The Wizard

Get it HERE / Mirror link

Monday 13 April 2020

Arthur Berkhoff - Spectrum Analysis At The Computer -1983- (APB5, Cassette), Netherlands

Arthur Berkhoff was a Dutch representative of the international Neoist movement who was heavily involved in mail-art and the home-taping culture. Neoism is a specific art movement that was based on playing with collective identities, the reproduction of artworks as well as the usage of fake art and plagiarism. Most of the neoist artists create and publish under the name of Monty Cantsin, a name that was created in the late 70's and mostly adopted by the Hungarian artist István Kantor as the identity for an "open" popstar to be used by others. Actually neoism has a great concept that could be applied even today to topics like the dissolvement of identity, open source platforms, collective art projects, copyright etc.

Neoism and its Mail-art output ofcourse also flourished within the home-taping circles and many protagonist home-taping artists have used neoist concepts and contributed to the movement. From Graf Haufen to Monte Cazzaza and from GX Jupitter-Larsen to Vittore Baroni just to name a few. Dutch artist Arthur Berkhoff was making art and cassettes in Amsterdam during the 80's through which he established his own futuristic "Pregroperativism" movement. It was a strange one-man mythology that consisted (from what I can tell) of a mix of space, technology, cybernetics and neoist art concepts. All the music was recorded in his Orguna Laboratory and most of the tracks are long improvised experimental electronic pieces with voices and noises.

Spectrum Analysis At The Computer is another great cassette from the Dutch home-taping culture of the 80's and a real alien piece of music. The music also reflects Berkhoff's strong dedication to his Pregroperativist universe. Some of his other works can be found over at No Longer Forgotten Music and check out a collection of his conceptual films over here.

This is some cyberpunk avant la lettre (or at least an early example). 

From the collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get it HERE

Friday 10 April 2020

Ice Cream Blisters - + / Or -1987- (Cassette, GGE Records), US

Here's another cassette by Ice Cream Blisters, a band from Kent, Ohio that was formed by Mike Crooker and Chris Mezzolesta with the involvement of friends. These same people also created their cassette label GGE Records that played an important role in the American home-taping circuit, releasing own and other US home-taping acts as well as collaborations with foreign home-tapers. As far as I know Ice Cream Blisters released about five tapes. I posted their When Nature Fails, Art Steps In cassette from 1986 last year on the blog.

+ / Or is a much more experimental release by the group containing lengthy synthesizer adventures, guitar manipulation, wind and brass instrument improvisation and fine field recordings. Along the way topics like Second World War and Christmas are touched on with a genuine love for absurdism. It's another great example of the free spirited American home-taping scene that had an uncompromising drive to create music. It also represents the distinct American music tradition based on the expression of the weird and the wacky. The approach and sound of Ice Cream Blisters keeps reminding me of Blacklight Braille, but ofcourse there are plenty of other strange American bands from that like-minded realm that existed during the 80's (and actually well before that), specially in the deeper abyss of the home-taping universe.

Maybe more Ice Cream Blisters will surface in the future. At least here's another one!

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE