Hex

From 2003 to 2008 I was involved with a parties series called Hex. These parties started after I had quite my involvement with the Gruis parties in Utrecht. The Hex nights found a home at OCCII in Amsterdam and had a focus in all things new wave and post-punk… from batcave to NDW to minimal electronics and often also beyond…

Many bands had their (Dutch) live debut there… or otherwise did a rare live show: Agent Side Grinder, Frustration, Schwefelgelb, Sixteens, Black Ice, Wermut, Echo West, Solitude FX, Hval Mus, It&My Computer, Cheveu, SaraLunden, Vanishing, Swann Danger, and so on…

Hex was quite legendary these days… people from Belgium, Germany and France came over just for the nights…  and still nowadays I sometimes come across people who still remember these parties…

Recently some footage popped up on Youtube so I ripped it for my private archive… but I also put it online on my Youtube channel and posted it below… just for old times sake and for melancholy moments when it seems that all good things lie in the past…

R A D K O – Orgon

Earlier this year I released the R A D K O debut 7″… the Italian duo returns now with a new track and video… the video is again done by Lissa Benno like the previous video… the track will be part of the next release… which the band is working now… so until it is here you can enjoy “Orgon”…

 

Gifgrond – saturday 28th of April

This Saturday (28th of April) it is Gifgrond time again… my most favourite location / party in Holland… Europ Europ needed to cancel unfortunately but Monocorpse will replace them to shake things up with his dark beats… next to that Soft As Snow will present their contemporary new wave / shoegaze music and Hexenschuss will bring their arty post-punk live to stage…

I will spin some records before, in between and after the bands… and if people like to dance maybe even to late…

Roberto Auser for Phormix

Recently Roberto Auser was invited to do a mix / podcast for Phormix from Athens… before him I myself and Enfant Terrible related artists Ian Martin, Monocorpse and TWINS already did mixes for this great platform for dark/obscure electronic sounds for the dance floor and beyond…

Included in the mix by Roberto Auser are tracks from upcoming releases he has planned on various labels… it also includes two tracks he and I are working on for a new project who are doing together…

You can listen to the podcast below…

Flexipop

Some years ago I wrote an article on Flexipop for Vice… basically it was all about recycle culture… and as this is still relevant I will publish the article again below… enjoy!

The article below was already published in slightly different versions, but on paper only, in the Dutch version of Vice Magazine (vol. 5, issue 9) and in Traces (issue 1).

Flexipop: disposable pop or recycle art?

Most people will only be able to guess what Flexipop is. For a few obsessive nerdy music fans like myself it is a cultural standard, a world of its own, or even THE world. Well here is a short lesson into the history of cheap produced minimalistic new wave pop music and how some people today try to turn it into a hype to cash in on it.

The name Flexipop is not a real genre name as it comes from an UK magazine that ran for two years from 1980 onwards. Each edition came with flexible 7 inch record. You know vinyl but not regular vinyl as you could use it as a Frisbee and even bend it and fold it and if it wasn’t damaged that bad it still would play.

Anyway, the focus of Flexipop and the discs was on new wave music. Many well known bands like The Cure, Soft Cell and Depeche Mode contributed tracks for a flexidisc, often the tracks where exclusive recorded. The Dutch counterpart was called Vinyl magazine and focused as they called it themselves on Modern Music. Basically this meant more experimental and obscure stuff from the counterculture and the then real existent underground. The flexidiscs that came along with Vinyl featured mostly these less accessible sounds of the new wave genre with tracks from bands like Tox Modell, Schleimer K and Mecano.

Think cheap, minimalistic and weird electronic pieces and unpolished and raw post-punk guitar stuff. During the 1990’s when all the world was listening to Grunge one music maniac started to make bootleg cd-r compilations entitled A Tribute To Flexipop and later followed by The Return Of Flexipop and None Night Of Flexipop next to some other titles referring to the same tradition. A total for more then fifty cd-r’s where compiled. All featuring something between twelve to twenty tracks per disc. Well that is what I call a repertoire! This was done not for profit but for fun only and to keep this music tradition alive.

These discs feature a fantastic world of music with tracks from tape releases, a-side but mostly b-sides from hard to find 7 inches and tracks from obscure independent vinyl releases. During the years when nobody listened to this stuff the name minimal electronics or minimal synth became some sort of genre definition for this type of 80’s minimalistic synth-punk new wave music. Many bands featured found it an honor to be on this series, as back in the days but even more at that time only few people showed interest in their music.

Bit by bit a real cult following began to take shape. During the late 90’s this evolved into a new scene of musicians and labels producing and releasing new music in this stylistic tradition. Next to that some labels were founded that only started to re-release some of the old music. Mostly music that was never put to vinyl before. Some of this was bootleg stuff as not all the musicians that released their music on cassette tapes in the 80’s could be traced down straight away. Remember this was before the myspace, facebook and linked-in era.

Artists like Skanfrom, Bakterielle Infektion, Solvent, Lowfish and of course Le Syndicat Electronique paved the way for many artists to follow, just as labels as Genetic Music, ADSR, Invasion Planete, Suction, Was Soll Das Schallplatten and Kernkrach did their part in spreading the music to a small loyal fanbase. At the same time electro had a revival. Contemporary electro acts like I-F, Legowelt, Luke Eargoggle and in a way also Rude66 helped to shape the new electro scene, even though they had been active already since some years . Although sharing some esthetics and style elements the two scenes did not always meet each other straight away but in the end musicians, labels and audience began to mix.

The recognition of this Flexipop music as an important root for electronic pop music, even though still only for the well informed, give way to a second wave of labels and musicians to take their cue and inspiration from this style.

Social media made it easy to find the old cult heroes and ask their clearance for releasing archive music from the past. In the same way internet made it possible to reach a worldwide audience. While most labels work in the spirit of the old underground, as in a Do It Yourself attitude towards producing, promoting and distributing the music, some seem to see some cash in it.

For some years Peer-to-peer networks like Soulseek already make the Flexipop compilation cd-r’s available to everybody for free, like they possible should. But, today you can also buy compilations of these compilations on vinyl, cd and yes in digital format to pay for, from various labels. Every country some to have a Flexipop re-issue label today and it seems like every month there is a new label born which is doing the same thing.

I agree that some of this music has cultural value and not only because I am an obsessive music nerd in love with this music. I agree this music should be available. I agree some labels are needed to release this music on vinyl for the first time. But, there is a true overkill. There is a reason some of this music never made it to a larger audience as the die-hard cult following from the 80’s and 90’s. Not all of it is that good. It has cult value for sure, but not all of this music has cultural value. It seems not all labels are gifted with selective capacities or with the true blood of this counterculture music tradition.

So for the curious people who are still not sure whether this is simply disposable pop music are true art with meaning and value worth to be recycled I advice to login at Soulseek and download the original Flexipop cd-r’s, have nights of fun with the music and found out what gems these compilations hold for you. Then you can always get the contemporary vinyl productions with the songs that touch you in the end and do not need to spend hard cash on dozens of compilations of compilations. Also it should be in the true nature of any real music fan to be willing to dive into a style or genre and pick the few things that appeal to you and go on from there… and tracing the original releases in the end…

M.

Out now: R A D K O, Bebe Fang, Monocorpse and The Untitled

Out now are the latest four releases on Enfant Terrible, Vrystaete and Gooiland Elektro.

On Gooiland Elektro Monocorpse and The Untitled have appeared. Monocorpse already with this third 12″ EP and The Untitled with his debut on Gooiland Elektro/Enfant Terrible. Of course The Untitled has released way more before on his own label and other labels… check out his harsh acid/techno music here…

Monocorpse delivers his finest (in my opinion) EP up till now… a strange mix of soundtrack and dance floor minded stuff… like always dark and moody… you can find all the infos and sound previews here… and check out a video for this record below…

R A D K O from Italo deliver their debut 7″ with two tracks which border new wave, cold wave, shoegaze and even indie music in some ways… there is a video below and all infos are to be found here…

On Vrystaete comes the Bebe Fang LP… a personal favourite of mine… a haunting mix of lo-fi, ambient, folklore, ritual and psychedelic music… something I would like to invite you to explore yourself… get a taste of it here…