Sunday, 13 May 2018

Josef Novotny & Max Nagl - AMen # -1989- (CD, EX 96), Austria

Austrian free-jazz and improvisation knows a long tradition that traces back to acts like the pioneering Reform Art Unit that started out by the late sixties. In these musical themes there are distinct Austrian and European sound traditions that are sometimes combined with other musical influences like the eastern and Indian musical traditions, always in an improvisational and free way.

This album created by pianist and keyboardist Josef Novotny and saxophone player Max Nagl directly tries to incorporate the Austrian musical traditions and showcases a complex avant-gardist mixture of free-jazz, church organ and synthesized computer programs. In a way it resembles the German-Dutch album Free Music & Orgel that was posted on the blog a long time ago. On that album the church organ is also used as a free instrument in combination with improvised theme's. AMen # was released as a CD only in 1989.

From the liner notes of AMen #:

The music is a confession to the European, and more specific Austrian tradition, naturally influenced by many cultural currents with which we are confronted. It ranges from traditional church songs to the tonal shape of the Vienna school right up to Jazz Avant-Garde. The pieces are largely improvisations based on fixiated computer-programs and prefabricated sound combinations each of which determine the form and the process.

Get it HERE

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Hein Pijnenburg, Ineke van Doorn & Paul van Utrecht - Barbaarse Dans -1994- (CD, GR 9409), Netherlands

This very obscure compact disc named Barbaarse Dans -in English- Barbaric Dance (not even on Discogs) contains great musical interpretations of poems by the Flemish surrealist and dadaist poet Paul van Ostaijen (22 February 1896 – 18 March 1928) and was recorded in 1994.

The music was made with voice, bass clarinet, guitar, saxophone, hammers and saws by saxophonist Hein Pijnenburg, Jazz-singer Ineke van Doorn and guitarist Paul van Utrecht. It was created to accompany Paul van Ostaijen's avant-garde sound poetry that was written in the early twentieth century in Dutch. The musical interpretation comes close to the Dutch performance artist and protagonist interpreter of abstract sound-poetry Jaap Blonk.

Even though Dutch is quite a non-important and often quite disliked language, Van Ostaijen was one of the most important people in the Dutch language territory who was inspired by the dada movement alongside the artist Theo van Doesburg. His sometimes onomatopoeiatic sound-poetry broke many barriers in the Dutch literary field and introduced sound-poetry as a performative and even visually experimental dimension in Dutch poetry in the early twentieth century. This album is quite special in the sense that it interprets his poetry. It's a unique musical example of the Dutch language literary avant-garde. It was released in a self-made fragile paper cover.

From the liner notes:

Barbaric Dance is a theatrical composition in which Hein Pijnenburg puts forward the poetry by the Flemish avant-garde poet Paul van Ostaijen. The musical work is shifting throughout the piece: at first the starting point is text and the music is composed with the text. Later in the composition this is reversed. The text: fragments of poems, words and seperate letters are fitted in the music. Hammers and saws are prescribed in the score to create two effects: to create a transition of rhythm and sound of daily life towards the silence of the theater and to increase the feelings of the listener and actor by physical powers. Furthermore the hammers and saws function as percussion.

Paul van Ostaijen was a Flemish poet who lived from 1896 to 1928. His work mirrors the changing and stirring zeitgeist of the first twenty-five years of this century: a hyper-sensitive Van Ostaijen found his inspiration amongst others in the First World War and the atmosphere of the Music-Hall (a precursor of the discotheque). He looked for possibilities to combine words, sounds and images in his poems. 

Barbaarse Dans is based on the poems: Barbaarse Dans, Angst, Fatalisties Lied, Asta Nielsen, Vers 2 en Vers 3 and Alpejagerslied.


Get it HERE

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Various Artists - Tecnologie Del Movimento -1989- (LP, HAX 01), Italy

Tecnologie Del Movimento was a cornerstone compilation of the late Italian Industrial scene that showcased some of the first sounds that were later to be established into the ritual and dark ambient techno styles of the nineties. The Hax label was run by Marco Milanesio who is also the mastermind behind the group DsorDNE from Turin, a group also featured here on the compilation.

Another Italian Industrial act on TDM is Officine Schwartz, that started out in 1983 in a classic industrial style using unconventional instruments as well as scrap metal and such. Then there is Gerstein, moniker of Maurizio Pustianaz, who published many experimental music and noise cassettes since 1984 and even had a release on the British Harsh Noise label Broken Flag in 1987. Furthermore there are a few unknown acts compiled: Alberi Per Debra, Unga and La Deviation.

The successor Tecnologie Del Movimento II was released on CD in 1992 and already moved into more dark ambient techno realms, also containing more outdated tracks. This first compilation however, really showcases a fine collection of industrial sounds with nice analog electronic sequence loops, ambient collages and musical theme's that even resemble those of Coil at times.

Get it HERE

Saturday, 17 March 2018

De Reizende Verkoper - Aguardiente -1999- (CDr, Self-Released), Croatia/Netherlands

De Reizende Verkoper (Dutch for The Travelling Salesman) was an obscure freak jazz improvisation band created around Croatian avant-garde musicians who settled in Amsterdam during the nineties (maybe late 80's). The band consists of guitarist Razorblade Jr., drummer Marc and sax player Kafka (Damir Prica). Some members were a.o. also involved in the no-wave group Blisters and the highly recommended experimental group Pink Noise Quartet.

During the 80's and the 90's there were quite some Eastern European underground musicians that came to live in Holland. Many of them came from Ex-Yugoslavia. An example could be the great Croatian experimental punk band SexA. All these musicians brought a new energy to the Dutch and mostly Amsterdam local underground and improvisation scene. I know a lot more about this scene because I knew some people in person being a child, but I rather keep that personal.

Aguardiente is a great album of experimental improvisation and no-wave with free-jazz freak out moments. It was recorded in a matter of a few hours in an Amsterdam basement in 1999, probably with some good quality aguardiente involved. It's a pure example of the vivid Yugo impro scene that had an important influence on what maybe can be viewed as the last real vibrant time of music in the Amsterdam underground. At least it's a scene that was never properly covered or given the right attention in music history. Luckily some of the protagonists are still active!

Obscure impro greatness all over!

Get it HERE

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Details At Eleven - Same -1986- (LP, Dossier), US

Details At Eleven was a New York based experimental avant-garde outfit that consisted of Lin Culbertson, David Humphrey, Ken Heer and Katie O'Looney. They fit in greatly with the New York style improvisation groups of the time creating complex drum rhythm and saxophone fueled experimental theme's even with synthesizer additions. The sound is also quite close to the work of multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp who also is being thanked on the record cover.

Details At Eleven was released through the German Dossier records, which is a great record label that somehow always stayed somewhat under the radar, because of the strange groups it managed to gather, from impro-jazz new wave to industrial. Details At Eleven also contains some new wave influences, specially during the vocal parts of Lin Culbertson. She is a visual artist, graphic designer and multi-instrumentalist who played with a lot of musicians from the impro-experimental scene like Zeena Parkins, Thurston Moore and many more.

Details At Eleven deserves some more attention in my opinion as it really sounds weird and fresh. Similar to Niew Hip Stilen from Holland, New York's Semantics (with Elliott Sharp) or the Berlin band Stan Red Fox that I posted on the blog before.

Get it HERE

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Yasui Kazumi (安井かずみ) - 空にいちばん近い悲しみ -1971- (LP, Philips), Japan

*Archaic Inventions 5 years anniversary post!*

Yasui Kazumi (安井かずみ) aka ZUZU was a known Japanese essayist, fashion model and poetess from Yokohama. At a young age she started to translate and write poetry, learn French and write many songs. In 1970 and 1971 she released two records through Polydor and Philips. Her first album "ZUZU" was named after her own nickname and was a classic japanese female pop, bossa nova, enka album that was quite chic but still also quite traditional. One of those tracks got compiled on the excellent Nippon Girls compilation series.

In 1971 she released the album 空にいちばん近い悲しみ (Sora Ni Ichiban Chikai Kanashimi) meaning something like The sadness closest to the sky. This album featured an overview of her poetic work on top of a variety of musical theme's: from a French chanson style to hippie-esque fuzz jams. Even though I cannot understand Japanese, it's clear how she gives an insight in her mind through poetry while being indulged in a life of decadent travels, fashion, hippies, melancholy and isolation. Sora Ni Ichiban Chikai Kanashimi was also published as a book aimed at girls and apparently she decided to adopt it in a musical format the same year.

The book was illustrated by the famous Japanese graphic artist Aquirax Uno who was also related to the psychedelic and tripped out theater group Tenjo Sajiki. He was known for his utterly psychedelic erotic and surrealistic drawings that are to be found all over Japan's hippie scene from the early seventies as a visual trademark. He also did many posters for experimental film. 

By the late sixties Kazumi had married a businessman in Rome and divorced a year later in New York. Just a few years later she found herself already in Paris and returned to Japan in 1971. On the album it's clear that she was travelling a lot and lived a cosmopolitan life. There is the Arc de Triomphe on the inner sleeve and many musical signs of Paris. Other places that are mentioned are India, California and New York where she probably was also finding her way into hippie scenes as well as celebrity insanity. Check out a translation of the tracklist:

The sadness closest to the sky
Voice comfort
Seaside dialogue
Young people's notes
For example, likes and dislikes
Five people in one person
Love in a beautiful city · · · white water drops in the morning
Returning from India - New York 29, April - Light of St. Moritz - Spring in California
Deauville's determination

Still you can find a lot of melancholy on this album that she displays poetically in her fragility and theme's. Kazumi died in 1994 after becoming quite famous in Japan. Most interesting is this part of her music and life when she was merging a decadent life with a hippie mind and created this beautiful concept album that catches a certain time, lifestyle and the feeling of being far from home coming from another culture. Even though I don't speak Japanese I can still kind of appreciate it. Sometimes she namedrops something from popular culture like Rosemary's Baby. It gives me a bit of a Gainsbourg and Jane Birking feeling, but also hints towards other Japanese singers or music like Harumi

Anyone that knows Japanese or more about ZUZU should feel free to add some information in the comments. Also I have an original book copy of The sadness closest to the sky for sale, since most of it is just Japanese verse with a few Aquirax Uno drawings and I cannot read it. I included all the interesting scans and pictures in the file and video below. Get at me in the comment if you would like to get the book. The rip is from a 90's CD, although it was originally released on vinyl in 1971. Here's a nice crooked poetry translation excerpt to end this with: 

I am getting tired of being deeply rooted now, trying to think that I am improving after thinking about everything and thinking that it is wonderful.

I do not have the time to think about someone who I do not know, I feel so tired anyway.

It's really sad, the more I want to have fun, the more sad the depression is.

I wonder if that is the closest thing to the sky

Get it HERE

Monday, 5 February 2018

Broken Paws - Same -1986- (Tape, Self-Released), Canada

Broken Paws was a solo project of one Richard Reynols from Calgary, Canada. On this only self-titled cassette he plays a variety of different instruments in combination with electronic drum computers and synthesizers, creating over an hour long cassette full of minimal synth and experimental home-taping tracks.

I guess in a way some tracks carry a similar zeitgeist of other minimal synth artists from Canada in the eighties like Ohama, Ceramic Hello, or Lou Champagne System. Still I think that Broken Paws has a much stronger experimental DIY approach to it, not afraid to move far away from the common sounds of the overly known corporate analog gear doing a new wave pop-song (although some tracks come close).

There is a lot more insane manipulation, cinematic sound improvisation and the creative blend of instruments in the form of analog synthesizers with a clarinet or a music box. In a way atmospherically it stands much closer to the tape-album of Canadian artist Edie Steiner but it also has a feeling of stuff like Unovidual, Á Suivre or Brobat Enema.

Anyway, it's still quite a good and varied release with some nice minimal synth, new wave and home-taping experiments. Also it has a lovely art work. The cassette has been digitized before as part of the Noise-Arch Archive, but the first ten minutes of that particular tape were damaged and absent, so hereby I can present it in its entirety!

Get it HERE