Thursday 28 September 2023

M.A.B. - Words Never Told -1986- (Cassette, Anti-Musik Der Landsh, AML 5), Poland


Here's another relic from behind the iron curtain on the great Polish cassette label Anti-Musik Der Landsh that was founded by Mariusz Blachowicz in the small town of Łańcut. The label is another prime example of the hidden counter cultural expressions that were going on in the underground during the socialist times in Eastern Europe in the last century. In a nutshell, first there was state controlled cultural propaganda, then there were examples of youth culture expressions in music that were somehow allowed and then there were things like this, done by a handful of people somewhere deeply hidden in their small towns and basements with some recording equipment solely driven by their own need for expression and a need for artistic freedom. Usually also not really fond of the political circumstances, though never explicitly political. Just a feeling of being stuck, no where out and in need for something to do. Even if by the late 80's the situation had already somewhat softened, not being able to be properly classified by the authorities was potentially enough to somehow incriminate you.

Anti-Musik Der Landsh published a range of incredible Polish underground acts like R-27, Hiena, Reportaż, Rafael and KSU. Most of the music was free improvisation driven, a Polish signature that was also very apparent in the second half of the twentieth century in Polish jazz and contemporary composed music. But the other sonic side of the spectrum was already infused by punk and even more marginally so by industrial outings. Maybe some of those abstract sounds went along fine against the backdrop of some of the bleaker Polish urban landscapes.

M.A.B. was a project by Mariusz Blachowicz himself that was dedicated to his own experiments with tape loops, radio sounds, the manipulation of instruments and free improvisation. Three M.A.B. cassettes were released on AML and all three sound very different from each other. Words Never Told is a lo-fi primitive recording of cassette experimentation colliding with homemade anti-folk-rock; basically the sound of escapism and freedom against the weight of the last decade of a repressive political system that had Eastern Europe in its grip until the hopeful moment of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the gradual collapse of the Soviet Union. But unfortunately, whenever old problems dissolve, new problems rise. Or maybe the problems were never solved. Maybe it's time to grab that old tape recorder and that broken guitar again from the basement... Who knows. Te zabawki robią trochę hałasu i szkód. A ta była naprawdę prymitywna.

Get Words Never Told HERE

Friday 1 September 2023

Masaki - Tubo -1982- (Cassette, Stratosphere Music 001), Japan


Dear music friends, it has been a while! Had to adjust to some new life developments, couldn't come up with the right connecting piece (it's all in my mind obviously) and even thought to maybe quit this blog after more than ten years. I could go into everything that is going on out there in the world and fabricate some narrative about where we are standing in these common music fields, but everyone knows what's the situation, so why even bother. Another thing is I'm also not really in a hurry I guess. Let's just go for another run now that summer is over and see what comes next. Maybe a longer hiatus will just happen every now and then. So with that being said.

Here's a nice short cassette by Japanese home-taper Masaki 江口昌記 (Eguti Masaki). He worked on collaborations in the early 80's with Merzbow and the Italian industrial project Laxative Souls a.o. He also had his own label called Stratosphere Music of which the most iconic release was that 40 Days / 40 Nights picture disc compilation that was posted on Mutant Sounds ages ago. 

Even though I suppose that contextually one might feel that this music is quite on the noise and industrial side of the spectrum, I find it more playful and primitive. Maybe minimal synth-ish even. Great cut-ups with primitive drum machines, analog effects. Has a resemblance of a lot of stuff on Vanity Records (ofcourse).

Enjoy and Macht das auf!

Get it HERE

Sunday 30 April 2023

Vol Sec - Game Over -1981- (Cassette EP, Attrix Records), UK


It has been a while (for several reasons) but here it goes again. Vol Sec (originally Voluntary Sector) was a post-punk outfit from Brighton that emerged from the band The Parrots in late 1979 or early 1980. The band consisted of Les Phillips (drums), Brenda Robinson (vocals), Rick Blair (guitar, vocals, synth), Colin Murray (bass), Jay Derrick (keyboards, synth, vocals), Nick Wells (guitar) and Tom White (trumpet). Rick Blair was simultaneously running Attrix Records (which also was a record store).

Vol Sec was embedded in a larger local scene of punk, post-punk and new wave groups. The main underground venue for this music scene in Brighton was The Vault. Other venues where punk gigs took place were the Alhambra and the Buccaneer. Vol Sec's song Love (Sic) was used as the signature tune for Radio Brighton's weekly programme featuring Brighton bands, which went out during 1980-1981. The Vol Sec sound is a nice mixture of post-punk and new-wave funk. 

More information on the entire scene in Brighton at the time is to be found here.

Get it HERE

Saturday 11 February 2023

Various Artists - Musicworks 48 - Warren Burt, Rhys Chatham, Susan Frykberg -1990- (Cassette, Musicworks), Canada

Here's another Musicworks cassette compilation. Musicworks was a journal that focused on Canadian avant-garde music as well as music recorded during music meetings in Canada by foreign musicians. It was founded by Andrew Timar and John Oswald in Toronto. Numerous cassettes were released and accompanied by background information and different articles on music.

This volume includes:

France based American composer Rhys Chatham known for his orchestral works for electric guitars and compositions with guitar, trumpet, keyboards and electronics. He studied under electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and minimalist icon La Monte Young and was a member of Young's group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early seventies. Chatham also played with Tony Conrad in an early version of Conrad's group, The Dream Syndicate.

Composer, ethno-musicologist and percussionist Don Wherry who was also part of the improv outfit The Black Auks. Didgeridoo player, flutist and sound sculpture creator Susan Rawcliffe. Composer, performer, video artist, sound poet, writer and instrument maker Warren Burt and electroacoustic composer Susan Frykberg from New Zealand. 

More info on the different pieces in the included liner notes.

Kindly donated by Matthew

Get it HERE

Tuesday 31 January 2023

Error - Strange Universe -1991- (Cassette, Self-Released), US

So I never thought another cassette by Error would surface after stumbling upon their earlier Show Off Your Mutants tape, but I was wrong. Here it is! Error was an electronic music group from the small sea town of Corpus Christi in Texas. On this release it says that the music was made by Geronimo (voice/instruments) and Big Chief (instruments), however it might as well be a solo project, who knows.

Just like Error's previous cassette Strange Universe is an interesting collage of samples, electronics, drum machine patterns and EBM basslines. This album reflects a much more colorful 90's sound than the previous one that leans more towards darker EBM sounds. However Error definitely has a more humorous approach to their music in general which keeps reminding me of Severed Heads. The sound and attitude illustrate that the new dawn of musical styles of the 90's had risen. Unpolished, creative and fun cassette-making in hidden corners of the world during the global rave-olution. The Strange Universe of Error.

Kindly donated by The Y Create Archive

Get it HERE

Next month this blog will be 10 years old and there might be some sort of project celebrating that. I will give an update on that once I know more in February. Simultaneously this might be the last year of doing this or maybe I can't let go and will keep going. I don't know. Maybe it's time for other priorities. Probably what is still to come combined with the pace of this blog will be already more than a year of material. Some stuff I kept in the vaults for years. So let's keep it organic and see!

Sunday 15 January 2023

Dust And The Minds Featuring Brenray - Prosperó Año Nuevo (PAN) -1985- (Double Cassette, Egmondse Klank Opsessie E.K.O. 06), Netherlands


Let's start the new year with another special cassette by the Dutch anarchist, free-form home-taping group Dust And The Minds. The band hailed from the surroundings of the small village of Egmond-Binnen and 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.

Prosperó Año Nuevo (PAN) is an extensive release with over two hours of pure DIY no-wave, post-punk and anarcho-punk sounds that was released for the new year of 1986. Apparently it's a mix between Dust and The Minds and a band with a slightly different line-up called Brenray. The cassettes were housed in a larger book-like case with information on the recording dates and line-up etc.

The output on the Egmondse Klank Opsessie has been vast and mind-blowingly authentic and home-made. The entire surroundings of Egmond and the smaller towns and villages in the province of North-Holland were always a very important fertile soil for (anarcho)punk in The Netherlands. Places like Wormerveer, Koog aan de Zaan, Heiloo, Castricum and their surroundings are some of the birthplaces of the typical Dutch punk sound that incorporates detuned improvisation and noise elements. This in contrast to the usually more structured sound of HC punk or the classic three-chord punk songs.

Some wonderful DIY sounds from 80's Holland. There is a lot more to say about all of this, but it's better to just give this a listen.

Knock knock who's there? I'm not. 1986.....

Get it HERE