Monday, 27 June 2022

Bicycle Repair Man - Recycling -1984- (Cassette, Red Rat Recordings), Netherlands

 

Bicycle Repair Man was a one-man home-taping project from the Southern Dutch city of Venray. I think it was a self-released project that was eventually distributed by the Red Rat Recordings cassette label from Utrecht that was created by Otto Grunbauer. The label had quite an extensive catalogue during its run, releasing many compilations as well as music by Merzbow, F/i and many others. However I'm not entirely sure how this cassette ended up on the label.

I assume the name Bicycle Repair Man was taken from a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, but who knows. The music consists of primitive analog electronics, Casio VL-Tone sounds, field recordings, cut-ups, radio fragments and other lost and found sounds in the the true home-taping spirit of the time. The opening piece Life In Berlin starts with John F. Kennedy's iconic speech from 1963 over some paranoid synth-patterns. Eventually the track alters into a cover of the Minny Pops' song R.U. 21? Minny Pops were a Dutch, Amsterdam based post-punk group and cornerstone act of the so called Ultra-scene. They were the only band in Dutch history that was signed to Factory Records during the 80's. The fact that songs by them were covered by home-tapers is another testimony to their influential music.

On the last track of this cassette by Bicycle Repair Man we learn that he also sent music to the Radiola Improvisatie Salon radio program which played a hugely important role for the home-taping scene in The Netherlands at the time. It was created by Dutch media wizard, fluxus artist and underground cult-figure Willem de Ridder. The idea of Radiola was that every tape that was sent to the radio show would be played without being heard in advance. A very unorthodox and adventurous approach that sometimes led to the discovery of unknown musicians and which simultaneously gave people who were playing music in their bedroom the feeling that their music was of importance because they were being played on national radio.

Bicycle Repair Man is another highly obscure project from the Dutch cassette culture of the 80's. It reminds me a bit of the electronic experiments by Arthur Berkhoff. 

From the collection Allard Pierson/NPI

Get it HERE

Friday, 10 June 2022

R. Murray Schafer, David Mott And The New Music Co-Op - Music As Transformation -1983- (Cassette, Musicworks 25), Canada

 

 

Here we have another cassette that was released by the Canadian magazine Musicworks that focused on Canadian avant-garde music since the late 70's. Musicworks was founded by Andrew Timar and John Oswald in Toronto. They released dozens of cassettes that accompanied the Musicworks magazine that published on the relation between science, technology, ecology, sonic environments and music.

Music As Transformation was assembled by composer and sound artist Tina Pearson in 1983. It features edits and excerpts by different Canadian composers involved with experimental music, field-recordings, abstract composition and also contains sequences of spoken discourses. Amongst some of the composers that are present are R. Murray Schafer, known for his concept of acoustic ecology, David Mott, a baritone saxophone player and composer from Toronto and Gordon Monahan, a Canadian pianist, visual and sound artist.

The compilation creates its own unfolding narrative blending natural field-recorded sounds with avant-garde composition within an existential or reflective framework based on the experience of environments and life-cycles. It takes the listener on a subtle transformative trip through sounds of folk traditions, water, rain, fire and other ecological elements weaving in and out of those sound-spaces constantly going back and forth from improvisation and electro-acoustic music into the dark yet sunbursting universe. 

A beautifully assembled piece that can't be titled anything else but Music As Transformation. It reminds me a bit of the music by Darren Copeland that was published on the blog some time ago. Even though the extensive tracklist is available, the cassette has been unindexed to maintain its natural flow.

Music As Transformation - The hypnotic focussing of the word mandala

Kindly donated by Matthew 

Get it HERE

Friday, 13 May 2022

Songs From Ward 6 - Self-Titled -198X- (Cassette, Slang Tapes), US

 

So I've posted something before that was on the mysterious Slang Tapes label, a US cassette label that was dedicated to strange humorous free-jazz and improvisation. That live improvisation cassette fell a little flat amidst all the home-taping music on this blog, but it was strange enough to share. I actually try to redefine that eternal crescendo of music posts of which one thing should be constantly better than the previous. In all actuality all of this musical output knows its own historical context, in its own place and time. There are different musical styles or approaches but a lot of it shares an underground ontology or a deviancy to whatever the dominant culture has been pushing. That's why it remains important that different types of music are represented on the blog. 

In any case, the previously shared Slang Tape release is very different from this one. That cassette came from Allentown, Pennsylvania, so I assumed that the label was based around that area as well. However there is no real confirmation. Also I don't know which musicians were actually part of the Songs From Ward 6 project.

Songs From Ward 6 is a stunning piece of American avant-garde music. It sort of balances on the minimal music tradition within modern composed music, jazz or other more trained musicianship traditions, but at the same time it's far out in its experimentation while displaying absurdistic lyrics and vocals. It also presents amazing crystal-like cosmic ambient synthesizer manoeuvres with a deep sound, creating different hypnotizing grooves. It eventually even ventures into some self-explored ethnic sounds. Not too far fetched from some of the more unclassifiable acts that were included on the NWW list.

I'm pretty sure that this was made in the early years of the 80's, but it clearly has some ground in the weird 60's or 70's music traditions too. From Silver Apples to Cromagnon and from Care of The Cow to the Los Angeles Free Music Society, the music by Songs From Ward 6 once again emphasizes the endless eclectic creativity and inventiveness of musical output that existed within the fringes of American underground music culture during the second half of the 20th century.

A great piece of lost music! Also any additional information on this would be highly appreciated!

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Friday, 22 April 2022

Liza N. Eliaz - Sensecruise Instrumentals Et Maquettes -1989- (Cassette, Self-Recorded), Belgium/France

 

Since this is the third time that I write about Liza N. Eliaz on this blog I will re-use some of the older texts:

Liza Néliaz (1958 - 2001) was an electronic dance music producer and hardcore techno (terror) DJ originally from Oostende, Belgium. During the late 70's Néliaz started out as musician part of different Belgian avant-garde and new-wave bands. In the 80's Neliaz become more involved with the international home-taping network and contributed her tracks to cornerstone compilations on pivotal cassette labels like Insane Music (Belgium) and Exart (Netherlands).

By the late 80's, Neliaz started to play a self-invented style of proto-dance music that somehow connected the DIY spirit of 80's home-taping with new beat and the upcoming rave culture that would later evolve into established genres like techno, hardcore and acid house. She was a pioneer (one out of many ofcourse) in exploring these new musical styles in which perhaps the most important element was musical continuity. From the 90's onward Liza 'N' Eliaz established herself as an important hardcore techno DJ in the free party spheres which granted her the underground title of Queen of Terror. The name Liza was adopted because in those days it used to be a nickname given to Trans people in Flanders. She used her abilities as a musician for her DJ-sets that were uncompromising, lethal and full of energy. Neliaz lived a nomadic lifestyle dedicated to music until the end of her life. She sadly passed away in 2001.

The cassette that has surfaced here is an odd one. It was dubbed on a blank tape and specially given to Hessel Veldman and his family by Liza during the late 80's when she resided in Holland. First of all it contains the instrumental versions of the first Sensecruise release (not sure if there are any non-instrumental versions since I don't own the "official" Sensecruise part 1 cassette, so can't verify - let me know!). The interesting part is that the cassette continues with some loose tracks that I can partially recognize by checking out other releases, but there are also some tracks that are unknown to me.

Still the fact remains that this is a remarkable set of songs from that late 80's Neliaz sound palette. Quite a treasure, because we repeatedly have no idea whether more music by Liza might be out there. You never know what survived on cassettes of her friends or whether some music was given to befriended DJ's from the time. Her later DJ mixes are still alive on many platforms on the web and seem to inspire many people today and beyond.

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Vermooste Vløten - Crankle -1996- (LP, Self-Released), Germany

 

Vermooste Vløten were a Berlin based female duo that consisted of Hannie Bluum and Libójah Shnukki that was active during the 90's. During the first decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall a new spirit reconnected the divided German capital giving birth to dozens of open spaces, buildings and (temporary) venues. Squats were still around as true city institutes, rent was relatively cheap, techno started blowing up, bars with GDR retro furniture in living-room atmospheres were created and gradually a whole new generation decided to start a living in the new alternative culture capital of Europe.

Within this new scenery lots of interesting local acts started to emerge out of Berliners and newly attracted Berliners. A living-room music movement unfolded fostering both the creation of music as well as concerts that were taking place in small circles. From lo-fi indie rock to punk to cut and paste DIY songwriting to simple und Schick toy organ electronics to surf, to bedroom pop or folk, anything was possible. This was a type of music that was in synergy with daily life, city vibrations, friendships, nightly leisure and so on, not so much with an aim to play big stages or to gain a larger audience.

Vermooste Vløten was one of those amazing bands from the time. Channeling a bit of the earlier underground sounds from Berlin in the 70's and 80's and backed up by Nikki Sudden of Swell Maps as the producer they made their first album Crankle in 1996. A really nice home-made indie album full of sweet melancholic songs, a rebellious attitude, Velvet Underground and Nico infused moods and delicate experimentation. Even John Peel picked up on them at the time. 

As a female duo they stand in a great tradition of other female underground acts from Berlin, from Nina Hagen to bands like Malaria!, Carambolage or 3 Tot in the 80's to Barbara Morgenstern or Cobra Killer in the 90's. All those sounds surely even created the subconscious fertile soil for a band like 2Raumwohnung later on. In past years it has continued in the Berlin underground with acts like Die Schiefe Bahn or As Longitude. But ofcourse there are countless other female acts to mention. Let's hope it will all carry on as it should. I'm sure it will though.

Vermooste Vløten made a second album in the 90's that is equally great and has more electronic influences. Reissues? Compilations of the Berlin living-room scene? 

Something more light-hearted during these tough times....

Get it HERE

Friday, 4 March 2022

Various Artists - Swamptape Compilation 2 - Swamp-To-Tape -1990- (Cassette, Hahamandad), Netherlands/International

Despite the recent ongoing tragic events that are taking place in an already dystopian world, the difficulty of finding the right answers and figuring out what to do I finally decided to keep posting music here anyway. Whether as a distraction, as medicine, as fuel to power up or to let off steam and anger. Some strange sounds might help to cope with a strange world. In any case, I wish everyone lots of strength and courage out there. -

The Swamptape Compilation 2 (Swamp-To-Tape) was assembled during 1988/89 and released by Hahamandad in 1990 with a magazine called 'Vision'. Hahamandad is a foundation and a label from the Southern Dutch city of Axel (in the province of Zeeland) that was founded by Messy and Amanda Man (Leo van de Velde) in 1984. The Hahamandad foundation also organized numerous festivals around alternative culture, art and played an important role in bringing together different international underground and home-taping musicians. They released dozens of cassettes of both their own music projects and international compilations.

The Swamptape Compilation 2 is a nice and varied release with some known and lesser known artists of the international cassette culture. There are some home-made minimal synth songs by Messy, Kees Beukelaar and Nostalgie Eternelle, some dark industrial pieces by Big City Orchestra, Clemp Yod as well as some dazzling hypnotic tracks by Ambulatorio Segreto, From Nursery To Misery and Mystery Hearsay. Also: much(!) more.
 
Get your tunes from the swamp HERE

Kindly donated by The Y Create Archive

Friday, 4 February 2022

Error - Show Off Your Mutants -1990- (Cassette, Self-Released), US

 

Error was an electronic music group from the small sea town (for American standards) of Corpus Christi in Texas. The group consisted of Geronimo (voice, keyboards, effects and programming), P. Poly (drums, percussion, programming) and Mr. Q-Pons (guitar). I suppose they were a home-taping group, but I don't think they were heavily involved in the more established cassette culture. Also since this cassette was released in 1990 the international cassette culture was ofcourse already different than it had been during the previous decade.

The music by Error is a nice cocktail of rhythmic electronic minimalism and EBM type tracks with lots of cut-ups and samples. Some fragments have religious Christian aspects, some are taken from unknown broadcasts and we even hear William S. Burroughs on one of the tracks. It's quite an interesting mix of tracks with a strange collage-like nature recorded in a peculiar but interesting manner. The production seems to be a bit weird at times, maybe somewhat dated, maybe recorded through some computer (Amiga?) from that time, but it does give a strange depth to the sound.

All in all some nice electronic music that reminds me of bands like The Genetic Terrorists (T.G.T.) or Severed Heads. I have no idea whether Error released more music or whether they were known for any live appearance.

Show off your mutants and get it HERE!

Kindly donated by the Y Create Archive 

Friday, 21 January 2022

The Unwillings - Diggin' Holes -1987- (Cassette, Servil), Germany

 

According to the review on the cover of this cassette The Unwillings were a duo comprised of the German born Steve and Pete who were working at Audi-Motors in the German town of Ingolstadt. Whether any of that is true remains unknown, however it really doesn't matter.

The Unwillings were a Velvet Underground influenced band that released only one cassette on the Servil label that was created by bedroom-pop and home-taping pioneers Fit + Limo from Altdorf, Bavaria. Their rhythm box driven neo-psychedelic fuzzy garage tunes are in line with other bands from the time like 39 Clocks (Also from Germany, later incarnated into The Phantom Payn), The Rest (from Naples, Italy), Hi-Fi (from Amsterdam, Holland) or any other brown sugar dripping, sunglasses after dark, vintage fuzz pedal to the metal, slowly burning cigarettes, shiny boots of leather bands. These guys must have had records by Spacemen 3 and The Monks at home too.

The Unwillings also play a cover of Amon Düül II's Archangel's Thunderbird which underlines their neo-psychedelic spirit. Actually, before Krautrock propelled the world into cosmic realms with musical innovation that we could have never imagined, many groups from Germany from the mid- and late 60's already heralded that near future to come. A series like the Prae-Kraut-Pandaemonium provides a great overview of that realm for those who are interested. With the neo-psychedelic revival of the 80's everything kind of went full circle.

Anyhow, as for now, here are The Unwillings for everyone who remains unwilling! 

Keep diggin' holes, long live the underground!

Get it HERE