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