Wednesday 24 June 2020

Too Beauty & The Beast Cooperation / Adult Attack - Self-Titled -198X- (Cassette, Fools Extra Kollective), Netherlands

Here is a cassette by the obscure Fools Extra Kollective that hailed from the south-western Dutch city of Terneuzen. The geographical location of Terneuzen makes that the city has creative influences both from Holland and Belgium. The entire Dutch province of Zeeland where Terneuzen is located has an own history within The Netherlands being known for the preservation of old Dutch folklore elements, having an important relation to the Sea and for sheltering a rich modernist art tradition. The province has also been a subject in the Dutch Free-Jazz tradition.

The Fools Extra Kollective consisted of different bands and musicians that were building their own little music scene in city of Terneuzen. Inspired by rock and roll, home-taping, art, punk and other music the collective was formed and they started to publish cassettes at the beginning of the 80's. I haven't seen many of them in my life and although I am writing about this, the entire scene with all these different bands remains somewhat mysterious.

In any case the cassette presented here is a beautiful example of 80's home-taping art with an eye for artistic detail: from the typeface on the cassette to the cover and texts on the different inserts. The cassette is a split release between the bands Too Beauty & The Beast Cooperation and Adult Attack. Both groups have a nice lo-fi post-punk sound sound that reminds me of bands like The Raincoats (UK), Doof (UK) or Die Salinos (Germany) with a bit of a Velvet Underground touch. No year is mentioned on the release, but it was probably published around 1981/82.

The favourite music of Dr. Frankenstein with the daughter of the B-52's on vocals according to the inserts. Nice stuff!

From the Collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get it HERE

Friday 19 June 2020

Eulipian - Heetseeker aka Eulipian#3: Leisure Fear -198X- (One-Sided Cassette, Self-Released), US

Here's another highly obscure cassette release from the American underground. Out of a mixture of lagging electronics, dark vocals, minimal synth experimentation and flashy guitarwork arises the world of Eulipian. By the end of the cassette we learn that the name Eulipian was taken from a Rahsaan Roland Kirk suite called Theme For The Eulipions. In any case, the music of Eulipian definitely belongs to that American underground feeling of the 80's where the nightlife soundtrack consists of a cocktail of no-wave, disco, punk, Detroit techno, industrial experimentation,funk etc.

Somewhere in that underground we meet Eulipian who slowly turns us into Eulipians with an intimate and hypnotic mix of tracks that comprises of fatalistic underground punky-junkie beatnik mumbling over dark and sleazy synthesized dream-realms with lots of weird electronics, experiments and collaged sounds. It all grows into each other and the entire cassette can be seen as one long trip. The Eulipian one man project kind of resembles Foetus, but is musically closer to an American home-taper like John Lafia.

I have no idea whether the title of this is Heetseeker or Leisure Fear, but let's use them both. I also don't know who was behind the Eulipian moniker or to which part of America this belongs. I left the one-sided cassette unindexed as I felt that the continuity of the music was intentional.

It would be nice to know if more Eulipian music exists. Mysterious, strange and atmospheric. Probably also the good stuff when listening under the influence.

Get it HERE

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Various Artists - Spagna - Messico - Italia -1988- (LP, 3ViTrePAIR), Italy

Here we have another sound-poetry compilation that was assembled by the Italian sound-poet and artist Enzo Minarelli. He created a series of these compilations that were each dedicated to the exchange of sound-poetry between Italy and other countries and their languages. Spagna - Messico - Italia was the second record in this series and focused on neo-latin roots in modern sounds combining elements and intersections of the Italian and Spanish language through sound-poetry and music.

Although the compilation was published in 1988, the pieces come from different periods. The oldest piece, composed by Mexican poet and actor Guillermo Villegas, is from 1974 while other pieces are from around 1988. It's remarkable that some pieces have a more theatrical aspect and that others have a more musical approach resembling home-taping sounds from the 80's. An artist like Luca Miti on this compilation can be seen as a bridge between those worlds as he also made cassettes.

One of the highlights on this compilation is a piece by Mexican artist Laura Elenes who composed a computerized poem that translates itself into repetitive Casio patterns based on color schemes. Not only can it be seen as an example of sound-poetry, but also as an important piece of Mexican electronic music. The last piece on this compilation is done by Minarelli himself where he creates an intense poem based on different patterns with the words of the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) and other associative words.

"The method of sound poetry, apart from the single, specific characters, can associate acts of research, I dare say international, towards the exploitation of voice and oral word, which are the true protagonists in the poetical progress at the end of this century. The geographical distances are put at zero, as each author, feeling the weariness and strain of the written poetry, composes his own phonic style by similar co-ordinates (orality, musical involvement, signifying rumour, electronics), with different outputs due to different levels of probing and sensitiveness, but belonging to the same effort of getting over the written page for a pure sonority." - Enzo Minarelli, 4th of April 1988, Cento, Italy

Get it HERE

Sunday 7 June 2020

Persona Non Grata - Persona Non Grata (P.N.G.) -1994- (Cassette, Self-Released), Hungary

Here we have another obscure cassette from Hungary's underground belonging to the alternative 90's. I won't make it a habit to intertwine my personal history with the music I present on the blog, but in this particular case it's inevitable.

Persona Non Grata is a band from the small Southern Hungarian town of Szigetvár that in its longest consistent period consisted of Kaszper „René” Gyula (guitar and vocals), Bodor "Gizi" Ákos (bass guitar), Rosta „Kakas” Béla (Trumpet) and Balogh Tamás (drums). The band sometimes involved other musician friends and has been morphing into different line-ups until this day.

The band was formed in 1990 by a couple of friends living in the same building who were not specifically musically educated. They decided that a band had to be created and each person had to pick an instrument. No sooner said than done, Persona Non Grata came into existence and hours and hours of try-outs took place. In the beginning the band had an unorthodox punk sound of which the attitude was loosely reminiscent of the music approach of Dutch DIY punk band The Ex. Not long after that they started to grow into different directions and incorporated various music styles. The punk attitude became more of a point of departure than the main sound of the band.

Within the Hungarian music landscape of the 90's a protagonist band and label was Trottel (Stereodream Experience), another example of a band that started a decade earlier as a punk band within the context of totalitarian communist repression and developed a new more ethno-pychedelic sound later on. They created an important underground distro infrastructure and were a center point for contact information on different alternative bands in Hungary. PNG soon caught the attention of Trottel Records and some cassettes were released through their label and distributed across the Hungarian underground circuit.

PNG became a band I got close to during childhood in the 90's. My grandmother had moved to Szigetvár after the collapse of the communist system and my father was finally (communism collapsed) able to travel back to his native country after fleeing to Holland in 1980. Arriving to this unknown place it was almost miraculous that such a great band that had almost no other reference than itself had established itself in this small Hungarian town. My father became friends with these young musicians and an intensive creative music exchange took place. After some years past the guys of PNG had a rehearsal space in an old socialist shoe factory in town where a parallel universe existed to the regular quite poor and rough life of the Hungarian countryside. For me it was an introduction to a sort of communal setting where music and alternative leisure (people getting wasted) was the daily routine. As a child I was present at many of the rehearsals and concerts of the band. It was the first time being 5, 6 or 7 etc. years old playing drums or holding a bass guitar. I was fascinated with the whole scene and I knew they were my friends. It was life changing from the perspective of a child.

In Hungary, historically, most bands (attitude not sold separately unfortunately) come from the capital Budapest. There has always been a sort of weird bias against bands from the countryside. Nevertheless PNG did something incredible for their region and kept true to their city, identity, political stance and were not intimidated by public opinion nor popularized their sound. The music represented something of its own and proved to be of international quality (Kisvárosi Psycho). Gradually they started to play every year at the big Sziget Fesztivál in Budapest (that has an alternative origin, but corrupted into one of Europe's biggest commercial summer festivals) and they started touring abroad from Holland (a.o. OCCII Amsterdam) to Italy and from Croatia to Germany. They did so many gigs, organized many local festivals and did many other projects in their home-town Szigetvár and beyond. Eventually they developed a tight experimental nu-jazz and trip-hop infused art rock sound akin to 90's/early 00's bands like UK's Red Snapper or the underrated Polish band Robotobibok, yet maintaining an alternative edge.

I'm fortunate enough to have witnessed and grown up with this band during the entire 90's and beyond. This cassette is Persona Non Grata's first ever release from 1994. In April this year their drummer Balogh Tamás, one of Hungary's greatest drummers in general sadly passed away. I found out that the band had been looking for their first cassette in an attempt to gather their entire discography, but they couldn't find a copy anymore.

Here we are in this insane year of 2020 during their 30 Years Anniversary and I'm happy that I can recover that first cassette (my father's copy from an old dusty box here, maybe the only one that survived?). It brings back endless memories of Hungary in the 90's. Such good times. Probably those days are never coming back again but the legacy continues...

In loving memory of Balog Tamás and as tribute to Persona Non Grata (30 év!).

Get it HERE