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