There are certain albums you remember buying, even after many years. Asylum is one of those albums in my collection. I bought this in June 1986 after I saw the Dots live in Arnhem. Even thought I had read about the Dots before, and had seen some of their cassettes on sale at the Ding Dong record store, I never heard their music. The performance was captivating. In fact, so captivating that the next day I went into town, went to the first record store I knew, took out the first album by the Dots I saw (Asylum), played it, recognized the first track on that album (Echo Police) from the live show, bought the album and started what seems to be a life-long connection with the Dots and their music. OK, so much for the introduction, on to the show…
A few months ago, Jef Benech of Mecapop records, contacted me about a compilation he wanted to do. We had worked together before, on his brilliant re-release of The Terminal Kaleidoscope, a live CD by Attrition and The Legendary Pink Dots. To celebrate 30 years of Asylum, Jef wanted to do a homage to the album inviting several artists to record cover versions (not ‘interpretations’) of tracks from Asylum. Was I interested, he checked. Were ducks yellow (I’m talking about ducks in children’s books here – not the real ones)? Sure, I was game. He then told me he had Golden Dawn for me in mind to cover. Talk about serendipity: my favourite track from the album! So I set to work and recorded what came out as a jazzy/bossa nova version of the song of which I am actually quite proud. The track will be released sometime soon on the compilation album “A place to escape from. A place to escape to” (the original subtitle of Asylum). With artwork by Stephan Barberi, who also did the original cover, it should be quite something!
It wasn’t just the bowler, it wasn’t just the suggested hanky-panky with Mrs Peel, it was his suave demeanor combined with extremely silly and unlikely story lines, where John Steed and Mrs Emma Peel would always appear too late on the scene to prevent the death of the good guys/girls and appearantly didn’t give a damn about it (‘Frankly, my darling, I don’t give a damn’). As a kid in the early 70s I dearly loved The Avengers, but spend many-an-episode hiding behind the sofa because it was just too scary stuff for a 7 year old. I continued to love The Avengers ever since, even when my first true love Mrs Peel left the series and was replaced by Linda Thorson. Not that Patrick Macnee seemed to care one bit – ever the English stiff upper lip (ever used to engage in hanky panky with Mrs Peel I wonder?). At 93, Patrick Macnee has signed off forever, probably not giving a damn…
So Beequeen travelled to Rotterdam to play VROOOM on 7 March 2015. And what a great time we had! Thank you Lukas, Niek and the VROOOM crew for providing us with good sound, food and company. A good turn up, meeting friends and having Haco sign my copy of her 1989 album Paradise of Replica (with After Dinner); all very kind and pleasant. An evening well spent!
Courtesy of Vital Weekly, so not forget to subscribe, comes the first review of the new Brunnen album “Sometimes my arms bend back”.
BRUNNEN – SOMETIMES MY ARMS BEND BACK (LP by Vrystaete)
There are a small number of artists I should not be writing about. For the simple reason that I know them all too well, personally as well as being ‘partners’ of some kind. Brunnen is one such artist, being the solo project of Freek Kinkelaar, who sometimes worked as Beautiful Glass Bottom Boat, but is perhaps best known as one half of Beequeen; there you go. Within the latter constellation he is, these days, the prime composer and lyricist, pushing the music towards a more pop front. Maybe, just maybe, one could say that as Brunnen we have a proto-Beequeen sound; maybe a bit more sparse, maybe a bit more primitive, stripped of whatever else is added by who-ever else in Beequeen, but essentially the same kind of dreamy chords and like-wise vocals. Here of course Kinkelaar sings everything himself, a duty left to Olga Wallis in Beequeen. This is the final Brunnen release, clearing the archives for one last time. Some of these pieces were released on ‘Goodbye Bye Brunnen’ (see Vital Weekly 77 – that old!), long deleted of course, which is probably the fate of this record too: only 150 copies of ‘Sometimes My Arms Bend Back’ were made. Inspired by the sad likes of Syd Barrett and Nick Drake (and maybe also Edward Ka-spel), Kinkelaar (free of any narcotic abuse however) sings with a similar melancholically a song, with a dramatic intonation that shows that all is dark but there is always light at the end of tunnel (eat your heart out, Nick!). A particular private affair of melancholia. Quite folky and dark at times, but not the kind of folk noir you need to wear your military gear too. If this is the end of Brunnen – and who knows, it is for now – then this is most lovingly exit, ending on a sad low note. (Frans de Waard)
My dear friends, this is it: the new and final Brunnen album ‘Sometimes my arms bend back’ is now available for purchase! You can order copies directly from me. Copies ordered from me come signed, named and stamped. Alternatively, you could visit Vrystaete records at http://www.vrystaete.nl and order your copy online.
How to order: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating you wish you reserve a copy. The album is 17 Euros. Shipping is done once a week from Germany to avoid the high postage costs in the Netherlands. Shipping is 7 Euros for Europe, America and Japan. If you want the album to be send by registered mail and insured, please state so in your mail. The costs, I’m afraid, will be considerably higher.
Listed below is what Vrystaete has to say about the record. Sometimes my arms bend forward, to the end, my beautiful friend…
“Brunnen is one of those best kept secrets from Holland… known to many in a small part of the music universe… of course he is known for his own releases… of which most are rather obscure records… but he is also known as being part of Beequeen… solo he writes light psychedelic folkpop tunes… sounding a bit like a lo-fi Legendary Pink Dots… and in a way he is truly a modern day acid troubadour telling small stories accompanied by minimal instrumentation… this is probably the last Brunnen record ever… and although this is a collection of new and older songs (some of them in a different version) this record was created with a narrative of its own…”
On 29 January 2015 Paul Panhuysen passed away. Paul was one of the most important sound artists in the Netherlands and curator of the Apollohuis in Eindhoven where many legendary sound artists performed. His importance and influence on the world of sound should not be underestimated.
He was also the person who immediately said yes when I applied for my apprenticeship for the Academy of Arts where I studied. And so, in October and November 1992, I travelled daily from Arnhem to Eindhoven to work with Paul and his wife Helene at the Apollohuis.
However, this is not about me, this is about Paul. After his studies of Sociology and Arts, his works always strived for the improvement of people’s daily life. Active since the mid 50s, his work can perhaps best be described as abstract minimalism. His sound installations, for which Paul is perhaps best known, consisted of long strings placed in various settings played by hand. For an audio document look no further than the beautiful three album box set “Long String Installations”. He was also active in the Maciunas Ensemble (named in honor of George Maciunas, the fluxus artist). Among his many awards for this works, was the Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw, given to him by her majesty the queen of the Netherlands.
I have always had happy memories about my brief time at the Apollohuis for which I have the very kind and gentle Paul to thank. I am saddened to hear of his passing.
After a fun performance at Kroese, Beequeen will be performing live at Vrooom/Klooster in Rotterdam on Saturday 7 March 2015. Doors open at 20.30, entrance 6 Euros.
Also performing are Tonic Train, Sinta Ruqyay Yayana and Haco. Haco was the singer of the Japanese band After Dinner, who made a quite brilliant album “Paradise of Replica” in the 80s, so looking forward to seeing her perform. See you in Rotterdam?