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

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Minafra, Reijseger, Bennink - Noci...Strani Frutti - Live at Europa Festival Jazz -1991- (CD, Leo Records), Italy/Netherlands

This is a rare CD-only release of a live concert of Italian jazz trumpeter Pino Minafra with Dutch Cellist Ernst Reijseger and Dutch drummer Han Bennink. It took place at Europa Jazz Festival di Noci somewhere in Puglia on the 14th of July, 1990. Because a lot of information is already in the booklet (click on it) I keep it short:

Minafra is an important figure in the Italian free-jazz and avant-garde improvisation scene. In 1990 he founded the Italian Instable Orchestra (IIO) to bring Italian jazz musicians closer together since many of them never played together because of the big distances between the northern and southern part of Italy. Minafra and the IIO can be compared to the Dutch Willem Breuker Kollektief (only less of a constant entity) and were a.o. indeed influenced by the Dutch improvisation and free-jazz scene. Hence this great collaboration with Ernst Reijseger (of whom I have posted other albums on the blog) and legendary impro-drummer, Fluxus artist and ICP Orchestra founder Han Bennink.

A nice slab of European free-jazz! Specially the voice parts.

Get it HERE

Friday, 5 January 2018

Various Artists - In Keller -1997- (CD, Gold Coast), Netherlands

This is quite a very nice compilation around artists that performed at the Galerie Keller in The Hague during the nineties. Also it's the first CD that I ever post on the blog. Lately I did some searches and found some CD rarities in my house that I will start to post at times.

In Keller compiles some important Dutch experimental acts. One of them is Kapotte Muziek, founded in 1984 by Frans de Waard who is still active today today with this project as well as many more. Kapotte Muziek is one of the pinnacle electro-acoustic, found and recycled sounds, noise, industrial and everything in-between music acts of the past decades in The Netherlands.

Then there is also living legend techno act Unit Moebius that emerged as the great anti-hero force of the DIY and squatting scene of The Hague's underground and punk minded rave culture of the early nineties. The unit is also responsible for the whole Bunker Records legacy. One of the Unit Moebius' founders Jan Duivenvoorden (a.o. Leuk & Ko, Shitcluster, Salò Mentale) is also included once more on this compilation under his moniker Nimoy.

Furthermore on In Keller there are installation sounds by Icelandic artist Haraldur Karlsson and experimental guitar drone by Ultrasound (Robert Ovetz and Kirk Laktas). Lastly present on here is sound artist Anne Wellmer and a few unknown hero's like Marcel Kaars with Didi Fire and Stephane Brys.

In Keller was released in a limited edition of 50 self-made copies. It was put together with a lot of care which subsequently resulted in an incredible album of experimental music. 

Get it HERE

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Blacklight Braille - The Carbonek Album -1991- (LP, Vetco), US

Merry Christmas and an Archaic New Year to all followers of the blog!

Blacklight Braille was an ever morphing band from Cincinatti, Ohio led by musicians Owen Smith and Doug Knight. The band claimed their own style called "Fringe Rock". Once they described it in a very good and thorough interview from 1993 as:

"Music created by rock musicians, yet not quite meeting the classical definition of rock' n' roll. It differs to the degree that it might be said to fall within an entirely different location, fringe rock. When we started, we were doing a music that was so far out on the fringe that the beauties were cryptic or hidden. It is highly improvisational music created with the available technology, and it searches for new and different musical instruments and sounds, You can't dance to it, but it does have elements of rock music."

Blacklight Braille made numerous albums on their own Vetco Records and started out in the mid-seventies as a collective of street performance artists and musicians under the name Bitter Blood Street Theatre. They acclaimed some underground fame in Cincinatti for their weird shows. Eventually they created the project Blacklight Braille with their first totally demented and experimental collage album Electric Canticles Of The Blacklight Braille in 1981. 

Later on Blacklight Braille was also picked up by the international deviant music scenes through the many albums that they distributed to radio stations worldwide. Besides their Fringe Rock music they also started to incorporate the somewhat occult fascination for British King Arthur and the Arthurian Legends. The musical influences became even more diverse and were now being accompanied by oral stories and poetry, regularly dealing with the Arthurian Legends.

The Carbonek Album, (Castle Carbonek is the place where supposedly the Holy Grail is kept) is a strange Arthurian concept album in which the world of Arthurian legends unfolds. About ten different people are part of the band for this occasion and the album goes into many directions, ranging from electronic ambient synth sounds to the new age sounds of fountains to dark experimentation with spoken tales. It has a humerous yet serious approach always keeping the pace with the Arthurian atmospheres with tracks like The Fountain Falling From The Ace Of Cups, The Gift For Galahad and Guinhwyvare The Tall And Fair. It might remind me of later work by Legendary Pink Dots, although more demented in approach. Also It makes me think of Big City Orchestra and their vast discography of albums.

Blacklight Braille is another one of those great US bands that is very much overlooked considering their unique music and the efforts they have put in their albums. Look out for the rest when you can!

Path to the Holy Grail over HERE