Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Leo Cuypers (Maastricht, 1947) is one of Holland's most inventive and important pianists in the improvisation and Jazz world. He started out as a drummer but soon moved to the piano. As a pianist he developed a unique jazzy playing style by which he improvised many songs just by feeling, mostly in a rhythmic way based on moods and imagined titles. He was frequently playing with Dutch impro Saxophonist Willem Breuker (founder of the Instant Composers Pool and Willem Breuker Kollektief).
Leo Cuypers is probably most famous for his Zeeland Suite from 1977 also with Willem Breuker and others. Throughout the decades of the last century he did many scores and other soundtracks with Willem Breuker. Cuypers was the only person Breuker would trust with his opinion when showing new scores. Their work together keeps a unique place in the Dutch jazz and impro history. On the verge of the nineties Cuypers stopped collaborating with Willem Breuker. By then he had built a decades-long reputation as an impro pianist in a 'jazz world' of women, booze and other nightly endeavours. You can see a short documentary in Dutch with Leo Cuypers here. I love when he basically concludes that he didn't learn shit(!) during his time at the conservatory. This first album he made came out on BASF in The Netherlands, just like the Theo Loevendie Consort (of which Leo Cuypers was a member) as well as the Indonesia inspired experimental Jazz prog band Banten. Also he played on the most psychedelic album by Dutch cult singer Ramses Shaffy from Amsterdam, called Sunset Sunkiss.
From the original 1972 liner notes:
"Maastricht was a beautiful city to live in. People from the Conservatory, the Academy of Arts, painters, sculptors - they all made it a nice scene. But then the hippies from the western part of Holland moved in and things changed so much that many of the artists left." This is pianist Leo Cuypers Talking. Born in Heemstede (near Haarlem) on December 1, 1947 (his parents originally came from Amsterdam) he moved to Maastricht with his family when he was about nine. And he always wanted to study at the Maatricht Conservatory. But after three years he quit; in fact he was chased away after four months of absence. "I was frightened, you know. What was going on there at the time (1962-1965) had nothing to do with making music. One was trained to play one's part in a symphony orchestra - not to play too much out of tune - not to play too well - just to do the job. And nobody was really interested in that kind of music. After lessons the kids ran to their favourite drinking place to listen to pop music, that's what they loved. And besides that, I played jazz, I wanted to become an arranger. I played drums, piano was at first only an obligatory second instrument. I started on drums when I was six. We had a piano at home, but I liked the drums better. It was only when I had learned to play enough piano that I discarded the drums. One day my set was stolen. Or rather, I hoped someone would steal it. Which they did. So I just had to go on with piano. Anyway, at the Maastricht Conservatory the scene finally changed too. Two years after I was chased away I made a guest appearance there."
As for many musicians in this country, the competition that's been held every year since 1958 at the lakeside resort of Loosdrecht meant a big change for Leo Cuypers as well. He entered the 1969 competition, playing solo. It was the percussion element, an echo from his playing the drums. As Maastricht is way down south in holland and the music scene - or anyway the jazz scene - is in the west, by being at Loosdrecht and winning this competition he was heard. Drummer Pierre Courbois liked his playing and when working at the festival of contemporary jazz in Baden-Baden, Germany, he advised Joachim Ernst Berendt to let Leo Cuypers replace Joachim Kühn, who had had a car accident. It was there that Leo Cuypers met composer and reedman Willem Breuker, founder member of the Instant Composers Pool, and it was through Breuker that Leo got his first gig in Amsterdam. Where a little later Theo Loevendie heard him and asked him to play with his consort. So, today, with Misha Mengelberg and Kees Hazevoet, Leo Cuypers is one of the three most foremost pianists in the contemporary music scene. He lives in Amsterdam. - 1972
Get it HERE
Thursday, 4 May 2017
Time for another cassette by Hungarian cultband áPolóK (trans. The Nurses) after two of their other releases I posted on the blog before. áPolóK comes from the Hungarian city of Miskolc and started out in 1982. They are ranked among Hungary's finest weirdo avant-garde groups. They can be placed among other Hungarian underground bands from the eighties and nineties like A.E. Bizottság (Albert Einstein Committee), Kampec Dolores, Tudósok, Vágtázo Hallottkémek and many others.
Their humoristic hyper-intelligent lyrics combine the insanity of the Hungarian culture with great poetic depth and absurdity. áPolóK is a quite unique band in Hungary mashing up a Rock In Opposition sound that contains unorthodox transitions in zappaesque ways with a great punk attitude and alternative rock manoeuvres. It's a band that is very underrated and deserves a lot more attention.
Egyedül A Világon (alone in the world) was áPolóK's first album that was also published abroad as a CD in England which was translated to The One And Only In The World (get that one here!). The cassette was self-released on their own Artalom label (it's a word merging the words Art and Content with each other.) I think this album is one of the stronger releases and shows a more developed sound of the band. The musical quality is keeping the right pace with the showcased absurdity. Some of the members of áPolóK are still playing in bands in Hungary like the absurd punk group Büdösök. Again check out their other releases in the archive of this blog.
Get it - in all its original cassette glory - HERE
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Bewegingstheater (Movement Theatre) was a Dutch theatre group and Amsterdam based theatre school that was active from 1964 to 2005. In their existence they created 126 theatre productions. They worked with architecture, dance, music and poetry. In the late sixties and early seventies Bewth created numerous plays in which their happening-like plays were combined with psychedelic music and poetry.
The musical development started with voice experiments by the actors and were later replaced by compositions and music of the time like Pink Floyd and Arthur Brown. As the architectural element was introduced in the plays, more and more own music started to be created by some of the members, most importantly by: Peter Klencke, Walter Jaffé, Victoria Varekamp and Flip van de Pol. You can get an impression of a Bewth play in the late sixties by clicking here and here. This was a play called Bosche Bollen (1968), it starts with a still of The Garden Of Earthly Delights by Dutch medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch. Bosche Bollen are the famous patisserie chocolate balls connected to the city of 's-Hertogenbosch in the south of The Netherlands, also the birth city of Hieronymus Bosch.
In 1972 the record Over De Dauw Van Dit Land (On The Dew Of This Land) was realized. The greater part of the music was created by Peter Klencke. From 1968 to 1974 he used country and blues slide guitar and a saxophone to create improvised sound imagery that corresponded with the movement of the actors. Also he composed music to the poetry of Bewth-member Ben Zwaal that was recited during plays. The music from this period was compiled on Over De Dauw Van Dit Land. The record was only sold during performances.
The music and poetry on this record have a distinct feeling of the Dutch countryside, in as much as that exists within the mostly urban landscape of Holland. The fragile cardboard cover shows a person in what I think is a boerenkool field. A vegetable that is eaten in Holland in the winter and which traditionally needs a night of frost over it to be eaten (frost and dew, important in alchemy, paganism.. it's all somewhere in that realm isn't it?). Most of the poetry and the song titles deal with nature in its purest form, very much in a pagan fairytale sense. Also one of the songs has a Frisian title, embedding this marginalized language and culture of the Netherlands in the record.
The record is a pearl of Dutch avant-garde acid folk and jam improvisation reminding me a bit of the Dutch obscurity Surprieze - Zeer Oude Klanken En Heel Nieuwe Geluiden from 1973. It is a beautiful example of free-form theatre mixed with spaced out music from that era, comparable to the French Théâtre du Chêne Noir d'Avignon, the Japanese Tokyo Kid Brothers, Tenjo Sajiki, the Belgian happening films of Ludo Mich or even the 1960's Living Theatre in New York.
The Bewegingstheater later went on doing many other performances including in the streets of Dutch cities (like in Middelburg on the picture above). Eventually, the company evolved out of its hippie character while focussing more and more on the relation between theatre and architecture until seazing its activities in 2005. This is one of the most amazing hidden seventies records from Holland and we can only hope there is much more musical material still in archives. This could have easily been on the NWW-List. All images I used are courtesy of Peter Klencke and Bewth.
De Kikker (The Frog)
een zonnebloem / a sunflower
beloofde / promised
de sloot / the creek
haar kromming te vergeven / to forgive its curve
en de sloot / and the creek
huilde zo / cried so
de groene kikker / the green frog
was de kasteelman / was the castle owner
de hoogste van de sloot / the highest of the creek
altijd slapende / always asleep
op luchtige schalen / on breezy scales
vol wijdblad / on wide leaves
en zonder het minste / and without the least
ooievaargevaar / stork danger
de zonnebloem / the sunflower
kende ze allemaal / knew them all
en lachte soms / and sometimes laughed
als het zomer was / when it was summer
Get it HERE
Sunday, 19 March 2017
Wha-Ha-Ha released two amazing albums in the early eighties as well as an EP. Their material was also released in Europe on Recommended Records as a compilation. It's a weird combination of jazz, Rock In Opposition, Japanese melodies, pop songs, unexpected transitions and synthesizer sounds. They remind me a lot of Japanese RIO band After Dinner, also due to the female vocals. I recommend you to check out all the other Wha-Ha-Ha material.
The first song on this single was reissued as a bonus track on a CD in 2003, but the second song hasn't been re-released as far I know. Both of the songs do not appear on the albums.
Get it HERE
Friday, 3 March 2017
Time for another Minimal Synth cassette Jewel(!): Unovidual is the moniker of Belgian (Flemish) electronic music hometaper Henk Wallays. He was (is) part of the Micrart Group (a.o. Linear Movement, Twilight Ritual) and hosted an underground radio show called 'Stalhwerksynfonie' (after Die Krupps) in the early eighties. Wallays soon created the cassette label 3rio with Sandy Nys of Magisch Theater and Dirk Ivens of Absolute Body Control. Also he played in the band Tangible Joy and worked together intensively with US hometaping artist Tara Cross (featured on Minimal Wave's The Lost Tapes etc).
Vetganzen In Jacquet (Penguins in morning-coat jacket) is a very rare cassette that was published on the Dutch Stichting Stopcontact label, which was run by Ruud Kluivers (Doxa Sinistra). The label had legendary releases such as the Contactdisc compilation series and the Tranquil Eyes tape Walks (1985). I did not know there were more cassettes out there on this label, like the one here. I found out the cassette is from 1984 because of this catalogue.
The A-Side of this tape displays quite some dark wonky and occasionally humorous Minimal Synth sounds. It even contains a few songs with Dutch vocals. I do not know whether the pseudonyms (instruments?) written on the cassette cover were actually the collaborating Friends or that those friends are of a conceptual nature (probably he did work together with people). The B-Side starts with a lengthy track called Kankende Doctrines and has much heavier dancefloor potential. The last two songs La Romantise and A Thoughtful End are two amazing Minimal Synth tracks reminding me of acts on the Dutch Trumpett label (André de Koning, Ende Shneafliet), Asmus Tietchens his Sky Records series, but also Enzo Kreft, 5ive Ximes Of Dust, 18:e Oktober and ofcourse Autumn.
Vetganzen In Jacquet is great synth driven wave stuff complete with 808 drums, buzzing synths, home-crafted weirdness, ambient insanity, darkwave moods and more. A pearl from the Belgian 80's Minimal Synth scene everybody seems to be crazy about. What more do you want?
Hopefully someone can help us find Unovidual's other hyperrare cassettes! (Reissue labels?!)
Get it HERE
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Jacques Palinckx (1959, Tilburg) is a Dutch Jazz and Impro guitarist and composer. He played a.o. with Guus Janssen septet, Maarten Altena Ensemble, Beukorkest, Big Bamboozle and improvised with Free-Jazz and improvisation musicians like Fred van de Hove, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Daan Vandewalle, Peter van Bergen, Keith Rowe, Joseph Bowie, Gerry Hemmingway, Eugene Chadbourne.
During the early eighties the impro outfit Palinckx & Palinckx was established with brother Bert Palinckx (Bass), Frank van Oosterhout (Drums) and Hans Sparla (Trombone). This first album came out on the Dutch Traction Avant label, which was a sublabel of Eksakt Records. It was established to showcase the more serious Modern Composed and Jazz side of the label.
Maartse Buien is a Jazz album indeed, even more so Jazz in a very Dutch manner. Maartse Buien is the Dutch name for the typical Dutch rainfall during the month of March (and April). Because of the bad rainy climate of The Netherlands the rainfall during this period is often accompanied by hail and snow, creating different states of water pouring from the sky unexpectedly. The title track on the album reflects the mood during this period quite well, reminding me a lot of Louis Andriessens's Golven (Waves) soundtrack which is about the Dutch North Sea. It also hints a bit towards music on the Belgian Igloo label. Palinckx was included on this compilation I posted before.
The entire album consists of jazz that transcends into more experimental improvisational stuff, almost creating cinematographic pieces. Some of the pieces are quite beautiful. The improvisation scene of The Netherlands always merges trained classical and jazz music, with distinct Dutch melodies and anarchic improvisation (examples could be: Instant Composers Pool, The Ex, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Nine Tobs, Willem Breuker etc etc).
Although March is not here yet... it will come in a blink of an eye. We are bracing ourselves here in Holland!
Get it HERE
Thursday, 19 January 2017
This is a very obscure self-made minimal synth wave record from one Peter Roos from Sweden. He published this record of which the cover is hand-made out of cardboard in very small quantities. Some information written by Peter Roos I found on Discogs:
Hi, the thing is that I ordered 500 vinyls. only around 150 copies came out to market. Every single sleeve is handmade..most by me, but also my girlfriend and another friend at the time. Think we managed around 200. So I still have some left. In the late 90´s I threw away many(just the record)´cause no interest at all in many years and needed some space. Lately there has been some interest and have also given away to charity. Kind regards. Peter Roos.
This record has a very distinct "home-made" solo-project feeling to it. Some of the songs are quite experimental whilst others are a bit poppy. It does have something contemporary to it as well. Most songs have vocals in Swedish. It reminds me a bit of the Venezuelan private wave record by Vinicio Adames that I posted some time ago. I think that the drumcomputer used on Klimax has to be a Soundmaster SR-88, one of the greatest and most primitive drum machines from the early eighties (also used by The Actor for example).
Peter Roos made one other self-released album in 1984. His primitive electronic music can be placed within the Swedish DIY scene of the eighties next to Njurmännen, 18:e Oktober, Porno Pop Moon Family, Konduktör Records bands etc. It's just not as dark as many of those acts. Nevertheless a great album!
Get it HERE