Friday 24 December 2021

Boxghosts - Innovations Legères -198X- (Cassette, A Moving Mentality Product, Move 001), Netherlands


Merry Christmas and an Archaic New Year to all Friends and Followers of the blog!

So here it goes, the last post of this year:

Boxghosts is a project I don't know much about. It seems to have been a one person home-taping project that was created in the Dutch town of Venlo in the southern province of Limburg. During the 80's Venlo was home to a small but lively squatting scene around the recording studio and music venue Bauplatz which was also connected to the town's most important punk and home-taping cassette label called Limbabwe. During those years many different national and international underground bands played the Bauplatz venue like Einstürzende Neubauten, De Brassers and The Ex. 
The Boxghosts project however, doesn't seem to have had a notable relation with Bauplatz or Limbabwe Records other than that it was just a home-taping project from the same town. The only trace I could find about Boxghosts is a track that was included on the Seventh Dimension Quasette compilation series that were issued by Zimbo Tapes, a Dutch home-taping label that was about home-made electronic music and (casio) keyboard experiments.
Boxghosts' Innovations Legères (Light Innovations) was packaged in a nice grey carton box with a religious touch to its visual presentation (the south of the Netherlands is known for its catholic history). It has some dark and minimalistic music that consists of short atmospheric electronic pieces played on synthesizers and keyboards. It might hint a bit towards the otherworldly electronic music of Enno Velthuys, just less polished. Boxghosts should definitely be another little highlight of the Dutch cassette culture of the 80's.

De argeloze, wereldse beroemdheid
Z'n uren zijn nu geteld
Berustend in z'n onoverkomelijk lot
Wetend, verlangend, hopend
De overleden kunstenaar
De ouderdom eiste hem op...

The naive, worldly celebrity
His days are numbered
Resigned in his inevitable fate
Knowing, desiring, hoping
The deceased artist
Old age claimed him...
 -From the collection Allard Pierson/NPI-
Get it HERE

Friday 10 December 2021

Gijs Hendriks Band - It Takes Time -1974- (LP, Private Pressing), Netherlands


Gijs Hendriks (Utrecht, 26 februari 1938 - Utrecht, 21 mei 2017) was a Dutch saxophonist and clarinetist who played an important role in the Dutch jazz scene from the 50's until his passing in 2017. During his vast career he played in dozens of different jazz outfits and also contributed to Dutch national radio broadcasts and theatre productions. In 1974 he recorded a groovy album with a supergroup of jazz musicians under the name Gijs Hendriks Band.

The Gijs Hendriks Band consisted of Gijs Hendriks (soprano-, alto-, tenorsax), Leo Goudriaan (trumpet and bass), Lex Cohen (drums), Willem Kühne (electric piano), Daoud Amin (percussionist from New York who also played with Burton Greene), Nippy Noya (percussionist from Indonesian-Japanese descent who also toured with psychedelic band Group 1850) and Nico Langenhuijsen (bass). Many of these musicians played their part in the Dutch jazz scene of the 70's. A scene that wasn't immune for the Dutch hippie revolution (which was kickstarted by the Provo movement during the sixties), the orange free state "anti-monarchy" mentality and the rise of psychedelic substances.

During this period - also in Holland - (like throughout the global "happening" music scenes) - psychedelic jazz and psychedelic rock were combined in free-form music styles, sometimes leaning more to the jazz world and sometimes leaning more to the rock side of the spectrum. Free-form jams could consist of groovy jazz music, fuzzed out guitar tripping, electronic experimentation or any type of combination of these elements. As I write this, the idea here is not to dive into a global encyclopedic overview of the entire world moving and spacing out at the same time, but to open a tiny window to look at these specific musical dynamics in The Netherlands at the time.

Examples of great bands from those days in Holland were a.o. Association P.C. (Dutch-German supergroup led by Pierre Courbois), Ahora Mazda (house band of the Amsterdam hippie venue Fantasio), Hans Dulfer And Ritmo Natural (famous Dutch Jazz saxophonist with a Surinamese rhythm section) and Banten (another Dutch supergroup including notable musicians from Indonesian descent, also on the NWW List). And ofcourse - there is so much more to mention...

The Gijs Hendriks Band is another one of those groups that spontaneously created a recording in the 70's which captured those special times. Nevertheless the album has stayed somewhat under the radar since then. Maybe because of its tendency towards more conventional jazz or maybe the self-released vinyl wasn't overly distributed at all. Whatever the case may be it's quite a nice recording of mostly own compositions where not only Dutch musicians play a role but where musicians like Nippy Noya and Daoud Amin also add musical influences from their cultural background giving this a nice and groovy edge.

Get it HERE

Tuesday 23 November 2021

The Swingin' Love Corpses - Stooge Warriors For Wotan -1992- (Cassette, Insipid Music), US


The Swingin' Love Corpses were a spontaneous jam outfit from Lakewood, St. Louis, Missouri connected to the Church of the SubGenius. The band consisted of Dr. Philo Drummond (saxophone and vocals), Col. Sphinx Drummond (trumpet and vocals), Baba Ray Hay (guitars and vocals), Elvis Hemingway (keyboards), Mojo "Skippy" Butcher (drums), Lafe Kowabunga (bass and guitar), Pope Cecil X. Nixon (trombone and vocals) and Dr. Winston Torquemada (synthesizers, percussion, trombone).

Philo Drummond, one of the key figures of the band, was founder of the Church of the SubGenius together with Reverend Ivan Stang. The church represents a parody religion that mocks popular as well as lesser known belief systems. It also has an own mythology created around the ficticious 1950's salesman J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, who saw God on a televison set he created. He is used as the symbol and epitome of the recurring American capitalist dream and is also depicted here on this cassette cover as some sort of sci-fi warrior. 

In 1988 Ivan Stang and others published the book High Weirdness By Mail that was a compendium of all kinds of strange fringe-organisations, visonaries, UFO worshippers, political extremists, Jesus-freaks, weirdo's, conspirators and other pseudo-religious groups. Included were their mail-adresses or other contact information and descriptions. People were thus able to communicate with these groups and started to correspond.

Through the mythology and tactics as well as the complex systems which imitated their subjects, the Church of the SubGenius functioned as an organized form of Culture Jamming. Media culture and cultural institutions were ultimately being disrupted through a clever Church scheme of playful anti-consumerist protest. It's as if they were giving media, the mainstream culture and consumerism a bit of its own medicine and used their own mechanisms against them, whether in the form of mockery or as direct disruption. 

In any case a lot of the activities of people involved with the Church of the SubGenius were also related to music. A radio show called Hour of Slack, hosted by Ivan Stang, has been going on for decades and can still be heard to this day. The Church had interest for music that was manifested through home-taping culture and mail-art. Those were often people either using media in an autonomous way or people who were actually manifesting recordings from their self-created fringe-world away from the mainstream. 

The Swinging Love Corpses were one of the bands of the Church of the SubGenius that played over thousands of hours of jam-sessions. They also played many live gigs and released cassettes that were distributed thoughout the global home-taping circuit. In a way they come from a similar realm of American mockery and/or weird groups using absurdism or culture jamming like The Residents, Negativland, Frank Zappa, Butthole Surfers, Blacklight Braille and many others. Ofcourse Pop-Art seems to have been one of the first manifestations of this kind of post-war capitalist mockery and reversal of media powers in general.

I guess there's a lot to check out more elaborately for yourself within all of this, specially regarding today's perpetual digital media simulacrum trip and the post-reality virus age...But for now here are The Swingin' Love Corpses providing their great mutoid funk, zappa-esque manoeuvres, space jazz and trippy jam explorations for the end of the world détournement party which was already recorded some 30 years ago.

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Monday 8 November 2021

The PamelA Mind B.and - 3rd Side Experiments -1996- (Cassette, Self-Released), Wales


Next up on the blog is this quite mysterious project from the 90's called The PamelA Mind B.and which was created by Mark Reeve. I'm guessing that he hailed from Wales because one of the tracks was recorded live at the "Bell In" in Gwynedd. The music is quite noisy and consists of long improvised electronic soundscapes and radio cut-ups combined with other distorted sounds generated through various pedals and machines. The music is being introduced at the start of the tape as a sonic search for a so called "third shadow side" of the cassette through the exploration of its sounds, hence the title 3rd Side Experiments.

Even though a lot has been done in this particular field of music it does have a dreamlike and surrealist touch to it. It reminds me somewhat of the Canadian act Dust That Collects that was posted on the blog some time ago. The PamelA Mind B.and was featured on a tape compilation during the 90's but I'm not sure whether more material was released.

In any case another fine DIY cassette with some nice plunderphonics-bruitist-table-full-of-equipment-noise-music from the last decade of the last century. 

Enjoy it HERE

Saturday 16 October 2021

Clock DVA - 1610 83 - Live At De Gigant Apeldoorn, 16-10-83 (Tape, Unofficial Release), Netherlands/UK


On the treshold of the end of this 16th of October I thought it's nice to share this Clock DVA live rarity that was recorded in Holland on the 16th of October of 1983. 

Clock DVA is ofcourse the brainchild of Adi Newton, a subversive band from Sheffield named after the Russian gang-slang influences in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. A band that was very impactful and influential in the shaping of the English (industrial?) sound of the 80's. They started off by releasing home experiments on cassettes in 1978 and gradually evolved into a proper band with members that had played with Cabaret Voltaire, members that later joined Heaven 17 as well as The Box to name a few bands. Throughout various periods in the 80's Clock DVA played dance powered new wave and post-punk music guided by feedback, dark vocals, tapeloops, a complex rhythm section as well as treated trumpet sounds and other experimenation. From 1983 Newton founded a new band called The Anti-Group (T.A.G.C.) that was even more about sonic experiments, audiovisual elements, clustering self created industrial jazz sounds, electronic extremes, technological research, psychology, human nature and different unusual cosmologies with each other. By the late 80's and even the last decades of this century Clock DVA returned with mostly EBM and electro sounds accompanied by various hypnotic audiovisual live experiences.

During the so called "band-phase" Clock DVA played many concerts throughout Europe. In The Netherlands they found quite some following and played many gigs including the first edition of the legendary Pandora's Music Box Festival in Rotterdam. Apparently the same year they played a concert at the venue De Gigant in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, which was nicely recorded and unofficially, yet beautifully, released on a self-designed and hand-painted limited cassette that came with different unique photographs of the gig.

On this occassion the band consisted of Adi Newton (Voice and Trumpet), John Valentine Carruthers (Guitar), Paul Browse, (Saxophone, Keys), Dean Dennis (Bass) and Nick Sanderson (Drums). The recording vividly captures the pre-show ambience of the night, the live concert and a vibrant audience. A nice relic and another rarity that might be of interest to Clock DVA fans of all sorts. 

Get it HERE

Friday 1 October 2021

Die Dancing Chromosomes - Was Ihr Wollt -1985- (Cassette, Refiuti Records), Germany

Ever since Mutant Sounds posted their first cassette Kleine Gelben Tierchen (Little Yellow Animals) in 2007 I tried tracking down the second Dancing Chromosomes cassette. Finally after more than a decade here it is...

The Dancing Chromosomes were a NDW and New Wave band from Munich that consisted of Ralf Bremer, Philipp Meyer and Christian Türck (& Fraenk S. and Peter Spies). (Members of honor: Lutz Möller, Steffen Haller). They released two cassettes in the early eighties and ran their own cassette label called Refiuti Records.

On this second cassette Was Ihr Wollt the band continues where they left off with the first one, although in a slightly less minimalistic way. Some light-hearted rock 'n' roll inspired tunes are interspersed with synth experiments and darker new wave songs with melancholic atmospheres.

The Dancing Chomosomes were not absurdistic like many of their NDW peers, but they focused more on their song-writing. Some of the tracks contain certain Sehnsucht love theme's that resemble Dutch minimal synth act The Actor. Their less serious tunes also remind me of Bavarian home-tapers Fit & Limo or the mysterious Tenk Ric Snach project I posted some time ago. All in all there is an elegance of the music on display through mood and emotion.

Another essential tape from 80's Germany, the Munich DIY scene and the missing piece of the Dancing Chromosomes discography. Maybe some labels are brave enough to reissue them one day!

Get it HERE

Monday 6 September 2021

Various Artists - All Bare Or Dead Forms Under Sunlight Cast Mysterious Shadows On The Snow -198X- (Cassette, Epitapes), US/International


Here's another nicely assembled international compilation cassette on American Epitapes that was established by Mike Tetrault from Belchertown, Massachusetts. Throughout the 80's dozens of these compilations were created. Each compilation was given a poetic title, sometimes even in the form of an entire sentence. Some tracks were taken from existing releases while others were sent specially for these tapes. You can read an interesting interview about these cassette series with Mike Tetrault over here. 

All Bare Or Dead Forms Under Sunlight Cast Mysterious Shadows On The Snow is a compilation that covers the theme of “surrealism”. Artists were free to interpret that as they pleased which resulted in a diverse range of sounds. The tape starts with a nice song by the new wave and dreampop group Area that consisted of Henry Frayne, Lynn Canfield and Steve Jones. Continuing the A-side there are a.o. tape-loops by Croiners aka James Levine, electronic home-taping sounds by No Unauthorized and minimal music by The Dead Goldfish Ensemble.

The B-Side starts with Dutch home-taper Odal and furthermore displays a broad variety of music with the avant-garde violin sounds of Adam Bohman, strange soundscapes by Nigel Jacklin (the guy who convinced his music teacher to book Throbbing Gristle in his school Auditorium in 1980 and created the Alien Brains project as well as Verdenskang), surreal sounds by Berlin manipulators Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, improvisation by Italian clarinetist Fabio Martini (part of The Zint Group and collaborator of the great RIO and impro band La 1919), some organ music by Los Paranos and many tracks in-between.

All in all quite a nice compilation with some known and lesser known protagonists of the international cassette culture network of the 80's and a classic of the Epitapes series.

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Dust And The Minds - Mind Blow -198X- (Cassette, Egmondse Klank Opsessie E.K.O. 12), Netherlands


I guess it's time for another very special cassette by Dutch anarchist, free-form home-taping group Dust And The Minds. The band from the surroundings of the small village of Egmond-Binnen was created by the brothers Fred and John Valkering who were accompanied by a lot of different other musicians. The Valkering brothers established their cassette label Egmondse Klank Opsessie (Egmond sound obsession/on session) to release their different musical disguises like Dust And The Minds, Comrades Creating, Hafre as well as solo works. During the 80's they released dozens of cassettes of which many were beautifully created and released with DIY booklets, drawings, posters, unusual packages etc.

The music on the Egmondse Klank Opsessie label was truly authentic and true to itself, even within the Dutch home-taping and punk circuits of the time. Within the wider region there were many punk groups active in their own space but not all villages were naturally connected and not everyone was pushing punk into more abstract forms. The punk influence however seemed an important starting point from which further experimentation and free-music forms were explored by some of the groups. Dust And The Minds clearly combined all those different elements.

Mind Blow is quite an exceptional album that was released as a pack of tobacco, including a pre-rolled cigarette, dust-and-the-minds rolling papers, a DIY booklet and ofcourse the cassette. Having heard different albums by the band, Mind Blow is probably one of the most elaborate and complete ones they did. It combines dark post-punk songs, free impro no-wave tunes as well as dub sounds brought with an uncompromising energy to play music. It has a sound that might be a bit reminiscent of early Cabaret Voltaire, perhaps Bourbonese Qualk or even Bauhaus (you know the stuff from the time), yet there's this natural will to create present in the music that gives a real animated feel. I feel that everything they did is deserving some revaluation and appreciation. Who knows if we can make something happen eventually...

I intended to index the tape, but sometimes the tracks flow into each other, so I decided that it's better to hear it as an ongoing cassette without cuts. More Dust And The Minds in a previous blogpost and perhaps more to come in the future.

Graveyards are made for the living
to remember the lifes of the death
A rotting place of
poisened bodies
Dangerous as pesticide
where can I go
when I'm dead and gone
Throw me in the sea,
the fish you eat
will burn your guts
burn me, the smoke
will torture your skin
I'm a nuclear soul
Eternity at last.

From the Collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get your mind blown HERE

Monday 9 August 2021

Darren Copeland & Company - Living It Out In The Dead Air-Space -1988- (Cassette, John Doe Recordings), Canada

Living It Out In The Dead Air-Space was the magnum opus cassette album release by the Ontario based composer, sound-artist and electronic music producer Darren Copeland. The music was realized over the course of half a year during 1987 and 1988 together with a larger group of Canadian experimental musicians: Ron McFarlan (also to be found on the blog under his project Dust That Collects), David Edwards, John Marriott, Michel Flock and Lhuke Shier. 

The pieces create a conceptually hollistic space that consists of dark ambient electronic soundscapes, spoken word, field-recordings and ethno-tribal influences. It carries different properties that on the one hand seem to carefully invoke the void of space (a dead end space) with its dark and silent chaos of endless probabilities and on the other hand it displays human consciousness and rational forms of understanding that are defying the dead end space from an existential point of view. The sounds of the dark untamable and alienating universe have an eternal presence in the natural and urban environment on earth. Alienation and the presence of the unknown are of great influence on life existence.

Living It Out In The Dead Air-Space is another beautiful work of Canadian experimental music that is perfect for a deeper listening experience. Simultaneously it works well as an invocation for different existentialist questions on a scientific, natural or spiritual level.

Through the further development of technology in later decades sound explorations from scientific standpoints have obviously become endless and have elaborated into many realms. Yet on this recording we can experience the scientific exploration as a subject of the music rather than that scientific approaches are being used to create the music.

Considering the year of the release, ofcourse Mr. 'Star Wars-program' and buffoon-president Ronnie Raygun is depicted on the cassette cover, but I suppose we could all think of other people suitable for the cover in today's world.

Kindly donated by The Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Monday 12 July 2021

Ken Thomas - Beat The Light -1980- (LP, Fragment), UK

As some of you might know the important English record producer and recording engineer Ken Thomas has sadly passed away a couple of days ago. After some reflections on his legacy and talking with a blog friend we decided to give attention to an obscure solo album that he released in 1980. It wasn't really to be found somewhere and after a bit of searching somebody was kind enough to provide the album.

Ken Thomas had an important role working as a recording engineer for a wide range of influential bands from the 80's onwards. He was involved with bands like Psychic TV (Force The Hand Of Chance, Dreams Less Sweet - which he recorded Holophonically), 23 Skidoo, Clock DVA, The Cocteau Twins, The Sugarcubes, Sigur Ros and many many more. Some of the early music he worked on was released through the British Fetish Records. A music label that started out by re-releasing Throbbing Gristle's The Second Annual Report and later publishing iconic tribal industrial and post-punk bands from England. 

The fact that Thomas created an album of his own in 1980 is somewhat lesser known, specially in the light of all the music productions he was involved with. Beat The Light is a collection of minimalist electronic and experimental tracks that he recorded between 1973 and 1979. It's another example of the early industrial, electronic experimental sound from England. The music is reminsicent of a.o. primitive Cabaret Voltaire, the experiments of Thomas Leer and Robert Rental, early Clock DVA or even some of the cassette works by Colin Potter. A nice obscurity of British DIY music.

In commemoration of Ken Thomas.

Get it HERE

Thursday 24 June 2021

R-27 - Activity 1987-1988 -1989- (Cassette, Anti-Musik Der Landsh), Poland

R-27 (initially Fragments of R-27) was an underground improvisational and experimental avant-garde music group from Kraków that was active during the second half of the 80's. They were comprised of Rafael Kozub (keyboards and percussion instruments, singing, compositions), Damian Kozub (drums, voice, piano, compositions), Rafał " Walek "Walczowski (bass), Piotr" Buzer "Łabuzek (trumpet, voice, synthesizer) and Pawel" Rudy "Ochel (guitar, voice). The band gave many concerts in their native Kraków (Klub Podwawelski, Nowohuckie Centrum Kultury, Klub Wola Zoo, Dworek Białoprądnicki etc..) as well as some concerts in other Polish cities.

The Polish underground from the 80's was generally influenced by two traditions. One side was the jazz tradition that was very developed in Poland after the Second World War during the communist period. There was a large output of Polish jazz and international jazz artists came to play many annual festivals. From there on jazz-rock and prog-rock cross-overs opened the doors for even more abstract and stranger forms of music that due to their nature were not banned and identified as clear political revolt. Towards the 80's the jazz and improvisation traditions kept evolving in the underground with bands like Reportaż, Kirkut Koncept or 13 -11

The other side of the spectrum consisted of new music influences that gradually had found their (secret) way into the Polish underground. The improvisational groups were now also accompanied by new wave bands, punks, industrial noise makers and everything in-between. Quite a strong grey and bleak accent was being put in the music, reflecting the last bleak decade of communist totalitarian repression. Obviously some small cracks in the totalitarian regime were already showing and there was a bit of a decrease of cultural repression to be felt, but nevertheless general society was still rough and gloomy during late 80's Poland. A series like Dekalog by director Krzysztof Kieślowski gives an interesting insight in the depressing existential crisis of Polish society at the time. A feeling that in a way was commonly felt in different countries behind the iron curtain. The musical underground can largely be regarded as non-existent compared to that dominant society, that's how marginal things were.

To return to R-27 we can hear some of this existential crisis in the music. The band was formed by amateur musicians that combined different elements of free-jazz, electronics and poetry based on their own subtleties, feelings and expressions. The mood, the state of mind and inspiration came from their own environment: the underground community of Kraków. R-27 released a couple of cassettes in very limited quantities. Most of the recordings are very primitive and lo-fi in quality reflecting their technical means at the time. 

Activity 1987-1988 was released on the legendary Polish underground cassette label Anti-Musik Der Landsh in the limited quantity of 30 copies and was dedicated to Charlie Mingus.

I'm living Still
At once time, I come
here, but I didn't know,
where I went
At once time I came
here, in order to take
a rest in the shadows
of the trees
And now we ask
What for I'm living
And that only I'm
living still,
although my soul
chose the shadow
And so, how can it be
so... - Buzer

Get it HERE

Thursday 3 June 2021

Arthur Berkhoff - I Know Fiction At Space 13 -1983- (Cassette, APB5), Netherlands

Here is another cassette by Dutch home-taper, neoist and multimedia mail-artist Arthur Berkhoff. Neoism is an art movement that was based on playing with collective identities, the reproduction of artworks as well as the usage of fake art, plagiarism and mockery. Most of the neoist artists created and published under the commonly used moniker of Monty Cantsin. Neoism became strong within mail-art and cassette culture circuits throughout the 80's because of the relatively easy way of combining various media and the possibilty to create and publish artistic expressions anonymously.

Arthur Berkhoff created many cassettes during the 80's based on his self-envisioned 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 and multimedia art concepts. All the music connected to it was recorded in his Orguna Laboratory in Amsterdam.

I Know Fiction At Space 13 is another lost piece of Berkhoff's alienating music. It consists of different longer pieces of analog experimental electronics containing processed casio keyboards in combination with dark and eerie synthesizer sounds. I tried to index the cassette but gave up eventually.

Korm Plastics D has recently released a nice reissue of the industrial cassette Katacombe Vol.3 (1984) which also features Arthur Berkhoff and many other Dutch cassette culture protagonists.

From the Collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get it HERE