More talking heads

Rather late but I have been asked to talk about ‘working independently’ as a musician in a twenty minute lecture/performance/film thing next thursday. As of yet I have no idea what I will do. Maybe I’ll play a concert, show a short film, or do a powerpoint presentation on Korm Plastics, under the all unsurprising title of ‘State Of Independents’. Its organised by the Nijmeegs Ontwerp Platform, of whom I never heard. If you follow this link then you’ll read that the ‘fourth speaker will sign his own tune’: that must be me, added rather late to the programm. A more formal announcement here

New releases

Ben Gwilliam/Jason Zeh – Brombron 16: Dots
Korm Plastics kp 3036
CD only
Korm Plastics is proud to present the sixteenth release in the Brombron series. Originally a co-production between Staalplaat and Extrapool, it is now hosted by co-curator Frans de Waard. In the year 2000 Frans de Waard and Extrapool started the Brombron project. Two or more musicians become artists in residence in Extrapool, an arts initiative in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, with a fully equipped sound recording studio. These artists can work in a certain amount of time on a collaborative project; a project they always wished to do, but didn’t have the time or the equipment to realize.

Jason Zeh, a magnetic cassette tape composeur and xerox artist from Bowling Green Ohio, creates music that successfully combines elements of drone, electro-accoustic and noise. Zeh’s work relies on the creation of intimate social encounters through the use of extreme quiet punctuated by steep inclines toward moments of extreme loudness. Live shows combine a mixing of previously recorded source sounds with real time manipulation of cassette tape through the use of modified tape decks and dismantled cassettes. The relationship Zeh has to the cassettes and tape decks used to record and manipulate the sounds is not unlike that of many laptop artists in terms of the meticulous sculpting of sound that is employed in order to create emotionally charged and aesthetically dynamic compositions without the stifled and overly technical feel of some electronic music produced by computers.

Ben Gwilliam (b. 1980) is a sound artist active in the fields of sound installation, curation, improvising new music and performance. He describes his practice as drawing attention to those sounds between things, be it objects, spaces or recordings. It is these sounds and their contexts that reveal visual and musical processes of listening and looking. It is from this curiosity about sound-making/recording/finding and how abstract/descriptive that sounds can be, that he makes parallels and similarities unpicking the relationship between those uncovered sounds and moments of primary experience. In 2004 he was awarded an AHRB Postgraduate Award. In 2007 he was nominated for the Jerwood Artist platform Prize. His work has been featured on Resonance FM, and has work in several CD and Publication Releases. His has performed with artists such as Claus van Bebber, Espen Jensen, Helmut Lemke, Lee Patterson, and Jez Riley French, Rhodri Davies, Phil Durrant, Matt Davis, Hainer Woermann, Chris Heenan, Michael Vorfeld, and Sascha Demand. Since 2004 he has curated several experimental music and sound exhibitions including ‘re:sound’ 2005, UK, ‘Sculpting with Air’ Liverpool Biennial 2006 (co-curated with Lee Patterson), ‘then the silence increased’, 2007 UK (co-curated with Helmut Lemke). In 2008 he was Artist in Residence at Artist Unlimited, Bielefeld, DE.
This CD contains music that was created using sounds ‘derived from prepared tape, related machinery and othe magnetic sourcing including posting, freezing and puncturing tape’. Matsering by Jos Smolders.

Price: 10 euros

KK Null/Z’EV – Brombron 17: Extra Time, Extra Time
Korm Plastics kp 3038
CD only

Korm Plastics is proud to present the seventeenth release in the Brombron series. Originally a co-production between Staalplaat and Extrapool, it is now hosted by co-curator Frans de Waard. In the year 2000 Frans de Waard and Extrapool started the Brombron project. Two or more musicians become artists in residence in Extrapool, an arts initiative in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, with a fully equipped sound recording studio. These artists can work in a certain amount of time on a collaborative project; a project they always wished to do, but didn’t have the time or the equipment to realize.

Since almost forty years z’ev belongs to the absolute fore front of experimental music. Playing percussive music he gained a lot of attention, but in more recent years he returned to working with electronic tape manipulation. One aspect is working with other people, such as Francisco Lopez or Kasper Toeplitz. In his collaboration with KK Null he plays electronic drums.

KK Null (born Kazuyuki Kishino in Tokyo) is a Japanese experimental multi-instrumentalist. He began as a guitarist, but soon added composer, singer, electronic musician and drummer to his list of talents, and also studied with the Butoh workshop.
Null joined the noise/progressive rock band Ybo2 in 1984, issuing several albums and EPs throughout the remainder of the decade. Later he founded more bands, such as Absolute Null Punkt (aka ANP) and his most well known one, the self-described “progressive hardcore trio” Zeni Geva. From that point he also produced albums for other artists, created his own record label (Nux Organization), played live and collaborated on albums with many other musicians, including John Zorn, Yona-Kit, Steve Albini, Boredoms, Seiichi Yamamoto, Jim O’Rourke, Merzbow, Fred Frith, James Plotkin, Keiji Haino, Otomo Yoshihide, Jon Rose, Atau Tanaka, Zbigniew Karkowski, Z’EV, Alexei Borisov, Earth. Noisegate and Philip Samartzis, as well as supporting such artists as Sonic Youth and Mike Patton on tour.

Price: 10 euros

Korm Plastics’ New Ear
Korm Plastics kp 2526
cassette
For a long time I wanted to do this, but always thought of it too late: a tape dealing with the arrival of new year. So many christmas tunes and never that many for new year. So I asked my closest friends if they have something. Bertin brings us a cover of one of those tunes, played on his casio keyboards, Slo Fi takes a look at the ‘Mailcop – Muzak’ cassette from so many moons ago and Freiband has a break. That’s the party side of things and on the other side we have more introspective tunes by Wouter Jaspers, The Tobacconists and Freek Kinkelaar. Available before the new year starts and likeable in all seasons. This tape comes without a cover – oops. And is limited to 100 copies, why not 2011? Beats me.

Price: 7 euros (including postage)

Four new releases on My Own Little Label

Frans de Waard – Kubus
My Own Little Label 038
cassette
Kubus Kassettes, later to be called Kubus Kommunikaties, claimed to be the very first Dutch cassette label. Their first release was a pretty standard sort of rock release, but right then, after that, Kubus started to release experimental music. They were ‘different’ to other labels, offering a more intellectual approach to what they were doing. Rob Smit, the label boss, had his own vision of the ambient music by Brian Eno: the four way musical universe, consisting of the musical matter, time, space and energy. In his own music, he delayed the playing of a glockenspiel and worked with the studio techniques, however minimal, to change the color of the sound. On this cassette I take his ideas, or perhaps I create covers of his pieces. ‘Stemmingen’ uses a bow and a glockenspiel, which are layered extensively. ‘Slag Werk’ uses the same glockenspiel, but played rhythmically. The computer transposes it various ways, in order to create a more gamelan like feel and it uses
extensive layers. ‘Terug Gaan’ started as a four track recording of glockenspiel, philicordia organ and sound effects, played in an improvised manner. The four track is then played at half the speed, and transferred to the computer, with channel three and four playing backwards. These four tracks are then played simultaneously and totally edited, but no other computer technique was applied. Unfortunately the tape I pulled from the pile to record this one, did survive ‘time’ very well: the magnetics have come off, and I only noticed this after recording. So in good Brian Eno spirit – honor your mistakes – I decided to go ahead and use this tape, along with the imperfections of the tape. This piece resembles the closest approach to the original Kubus sound.
The first cassette release on My Own Little Label – an edition of 50 copies.

Price: 5 euros

Ezdanitoff – We Bring Light
My Own Little Label 039
3″CDR
Wouter Jaspers and Frans de Waard will be on tour again in November and in order to prepare this, they went into the studio, recorded some great music and then decided to something else on the road afterwards. The studio sessions consisted on playing on all the analogue synthesizers there (Moog Prodigy, Korg MS20, Roland Sh 01, Juno 60) and they common theme is love songs, ballads even if you want. They were mixed afterwards adding some extra material (field recordings, electronics) and doesn’t sound at all like the previous release ‘Komeet’. For the tour they choose four pre-mixes as a tour item and it will be for sale until ‘We Bring Light’ is fully mixed and released. Spacious synth songs!

Price: 4 euros

Zebra – j05 50j
My Own Little Label 040
3″ CDR
Recently Jos Smolders turned 50 and invited some friends over a beer and cake. Oh and some to play to music, Orphax, Staplerfahrer and Zebra. Since the other two will release their piece on a CDR, Zebra made an edit to fit on a 3″ CDR of their festitive piece. Three shure fire hits from their catalogue of meltpop tunes, ‘Muesings Are Jest The Start’ , ‘Dusty Riveval Music’ and an as yet untitled piece from what is called the ‘Classic’ album (to be released some day), but packed up with sound samples from the vast musical career of Jos Smolders. Rather a nice version, for the true fans of all things Zebra.

Price: 4 euros

Freiband vs The Idealist – Time Lag
My Own Little Label 041
3″CDR

In 2006 The Idealist (Joachim Nordwall) and Freiband (Frans de Waard) met up in studio 4 of the EMS studios in Stockholm and looked at the mighty Bucla machine. Two days were spend on taping sounds from this machine with the prospect of doing a record together. For various reasons this never happened, but the one thing that was finished is now available on 3″CDR. A heavy beast of analogue drone music.

Price: 4 euros

Frans de Waard – Floodlight
My Own Little Label 042
3″CDR

A culmination of two line recordings and one live recording from two recent concerts at Etalage (Nijmegen) and Tape (Arnhem). The assignment was: don’t bring your laptop and do something with the BBC Radiophonic workshop in mind. I brought five synthesizers and a cassette. A bit of Emerson Lake & Palmer but without any knive stabbing. Spacious.

Price: 4 euros

and then also finally available:

Zebra – De Limbabwe Tape
Limbabwe 50

In the early 80s young Roel Meelkop lived in the Dutch city of Venlo and tried his hands at playing in punk bands. Venlo had a fair sized punk scene, circling around a cassette label called Limbabwe. Later Roel moved to Rotterdam, discovered different kinds of music, started playing with THU20, later also in Kapotte Muziek, Goem and Zebra. He played all over Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan, but never in Venlo. In 2010, a slightly older Roel Meelkop played Venlo for the first time, doing a solo concert, one with Kapotte Muziek and one with Zebra. Someone in the audience tips of Mat, the man behind the original Limbabwe label now living in Slovenia, who invites Zebra to play in his home-town. Material was prepared based on the original Limbabwe releases (punk, post punk, crisis funk, poets and impovisation) and performed for a likewise small but bewildered audience in Idrija. A trip that wasn’t easy made, missing airplanes, heavy rainfall and departing after a long bus ride from a
different airport. The live recording is released on the a-side, while the b-side sees Zebra doing short laptop punk pieces based on the original samples, leaving the beat more at home. Not a departure from the signature full on Zebra sound, but rather deepening that sound. Released, theoretically, by Limbabwe, but only available, on green cassettes, by Korm Plastics, in a full color cover and in a limited edition of 50 copies.

Price: 10 euros (including postage)

Sound samples etc can be found here:
send me an e-mail if you want to order any or all: info@kormplastics.nl

Something About Creating Music

So, I know that one of the misconceptions about me is that I do so much music all day, but from my end this not true. Last friday Jad Fair was in Extrapool, I did the bar (serving rather than consuming), and talked a bit (a good bartender always listens but I talk) with Jan van den Dobbelsteen, who was surprised by this notion. Unfortunately I said, I don’t have that much time to do music, but I told him that last week I worked a bit on two different things. I might as well share it with you. The first is that I completed a cassette release, to be called ‘Kubus’. Freek Kinkelaar asked me to do a cassette for his Beam Ends label, which he will only release if he really likes it. Fair enough, I said, but it may mean I’ll end with a whole pile of unreleased work, before he picks out something he likes. Quite unusual for me, I already wrote some liner notes/press text etc of sorts, perhaps as a justification of what I did, or perhaps to inform Freek what it is all about. In any case, I am sharing this here:

Kubus Kassettes, later to be called Kubus Kommunikaties, claimed to be the very first Dutch cassette label. Their first release was a pretty standard sort of rock release, but right then, after that, Kubus started to release experimental music. They were ‘different’ to other labels, offering a more intellectual approach to what they were doing. Rob Smit, the label boss, had his own vision of the ambient music by Brian Eno: the four way musical universe, consisting of the musical matter, time, space and energy. In his own music, he delayed the playing of a glockenspiel and worked with the studio techniques, however minimal, to change the color of the sound. On this cassette I take his ideas, or perhaps I create covers of his pieces. ‘Stemmingen’ uses a bow and a glockenspiel, which are layered extensively. ‘Slag Werk’ uses the same glockenspiel, but played rhythmically. The computer transposes it various ways, in order to create a more gamelan like feel and it uses extensive layers. ‘Terug Gaan’ started as a four track recording of glockenspiel, philicordia organ and sound effects, played in an improvised manner. The four track is then played at half the speed, and transferred to the computer, with channel three and four playing backwards. These four tracks are then played simultaneously and totally edited, but no other computer technique was applied. Unfortunately the tape I pulled from the pile to record this one, did survive ‘time’ very well: the magnetics have come off, and I only noticed this after recording. So in good Brian Eno spirit – honor your mistakes – I decided to go ahead and use this tape, along with the imperfections of the tape. This piece resembles the closest approach to the original Kubus sound.

The picture up there is what I think will be the cover. The other thing I worked on last week was mixing the Ezdanitoff material I recorded with Wouter Jaspers at the end of September. Actually off and on I worked on this for the last month, but I think its more or less done. Very spacious synth music, but throughout also melodic. Maybe a romantic love record with ballads? That’s what I feel about it, but we’ll have to see what Wouter says, or if he will some substantially different. Its about 37 minutes and must be a CD (tracks flowing into eachother would be my idea). Anyone interested: contact me. Now its back to Vital Weekly for me.

New Releases & Concerts

Right now I’m preparing to leave for tomorrow’s flight to Slovenia to play at the Shina festival with Roel. We will play our Martin Hannett thingy and add a little surprise – we hope – for the organiser, being Mat. He used to live in Venlo, just as Roel did in the same time, and he was running the excellent Limbabwe label. So you can figure out what the surprise will be.
Right after I get back – no rest for the slaves – I will be going to Duisburg on Sunday to play a small concert as part of the Brachen Siedlung – an exchange between Arnhem, Nijmegen, Essen & Duisburg. Things will start at 14:00 – my cue point. It will be short. I’ll be taking my latest purchase:
Also two new CDs have been released on Korm Plastics, Flim’s brilliant ‘Orange’ CDEP and ’25 Years Of Kapotte Muziek’, a compilation from the small festival earlier this year. Order both and get a small discount.

A Fine Day

Today the weather  is really lovely – really my kind of weather. About twenty degrees, very sunny, some clouds, hardly any wind, so I went out on my battered old bike, going outside into the woods around Nijmegen and did a long ride. A lovely ride indeed. I left the house uploading the video from yesterday and now’s it ready. So anyone who missed that can watch it now on Vimeo. Not the greatest quality, but there you go. And no there is no translation or subtitles available:

Well, now moving to here

Recently I have been in contact with Wouter Jaspers a lot and he suggested I should have a website that ends all the various websites I have, so it would be more ‘professional’, ho-hum. He guided me through this wordpress thingy and then here it is. I still have to fill in a few blanks here and learn a bit more about how these things go, but let’s start.

Otherwise there is not much news to report. Freek is still mixing the new Beequeen with Erik Drost, I still have to finish my record for ini.itu, Scott and me are still looking for a label for the best LP ever (The Tobacconists – Smoking Is Green), still looking for gigs for Ezdanitoff (contact me right away), etc etc. Thank god its less sunny so I can finally move about again.