November 28, 2008
To Londoners, The old Kent rd has been for many years a byword for poverty; the cheapest, dismal brown coloured property on the monopoly board and in reality a grimy thoroughfare providing the boundary of two of the most neglected regions of London, Peckham and Bermondsey. Once the heartland of a solid white working class population the area was bombed close to complete destruction during the war and then rapidly rebuilt with monolithic high-rise housing estates which by the 1980s had begun to be abandoned and crumble.
In the cold winter of 1984 we – bourbonese qualk and crew – occupied the Ambulance station, an empty five story castle-like building on the Old Kent Road. Our ambition was to create a radical ‘cultural-political centre’ (though we would never have used that term) and a general base for our activities – performance space, recording studio and office for the Recloose organisation label – in the middle of this piece of un-picturesque South East London. After lengthy renovation (removing 1 meter deep layers of dead pigeons, replacing piping, windows and tiles on the vertiginous roof) The top two stories were converted into artists studios, the middle storey our living quarters. The first floor was taken up as meeting space for anarchist groups, a free cafe and offices for the local squatters organisation, ‘S.N.O.W’ (who housed more people in 1985 than the local council). The ground floor was changed into a large performance space and bar as well as a recording studio, sculpture studios and print workshops.
October 23, 2007
Nenad Vujic sent me these MP3s of Het Zweet from the mid 1980s to further the cause of ongoing Het Zweet promotion (whether Marien likes it or not) :
‘Zweepslag 1+2’- released on the US based Industrial and Experimental tape label ‘Sound Of Pig’ run by Al Margolis (If Bwana) in 1984(?)
‘FASE’ was a cassette only release on the Netherlands ‘Staalplaat‘ label released, i guess, in 1984 (?).
October 11, 2007
More on Het Zweet: A Poster and leaflet from1987. ‘Aniki Bobo’ was a small venue in the riverside ‘Ribeira’ district of Porto which, at the time was a dark and seedy area of cobbled alleys, bars and brothels. (It’s now reincararnated as an upmarket area of quaint cobbled alleys, expensive bars and brothels) . The club was run by one of the few adventurous promoters in Porto (who also ran the Tubitek shop and label) who had booked us to play for two consecutive nights – two nights which have gone down in Porto mythology. Marien did his set which comprosed of percussion loops (on audio cassette) with live percussion from amplified metal junk. The Bourbonese Qualk set on the second day was one long piece played on amplified glass: glass sheets from shop windows, giant glass jars, light bulbs and so-on. The performance was improvised, mixed with live sampling and gradually increasing from subtle almost inaudible sounds to a destructive frenzy of smashing glass accompanied by violent audience participation. Audible on the recordings are the hysterical shouts of the organiser fighting with our sound engineer Kif, as he tries to pull out the cables from the mixer and bring the show to an end.
An MP3 file recording of part of the Bourbonese Qualk concert is here ‘ Glass Works’ 1987
October 10, 2007
Het Zweet/Marien Van Oers. South London 1986.
Nenad Vujic asked me to write something about ‘Het Zweet’ . Nenad said that there is a lot of music from the 1980s which no one knows about because the musicians at the time didn’t have access to the pervasive digital promotional methods that we all have at our fingertips now and that these musicians have no interest in promoting their work from twenty(!) years ago.
(This is quite an interesting idea – How do we cut through the noise of supposedly democratic acces to self promotion now? i would also argue that only music that suits self promotion becomes visible i.e. ‘products’ that have certain attributes that allow it to ‘cut through the noise’ attributes that are not necessarily musical – over time this effect creates a self regulating system that refines and defines the music itself – hence the overwhelming blandness of current music that we are sold by traditional or non traditional means. This is obviously not a new effect but when applied en masse through so called ‘social media’ is amplified, exagerated and fed back into itself…)
‘Het Zweet’: Not a group but one man; Marien Van Oers, native of Breda in the Netherlands active from 1983 to about 1988. The music consisted of long 10 minute percussion pieces played on self built instruments (shopping trolleys amplified with pickups, blown cardboard tubes etc.) whith repetetive shouted vocals by Marien. The music was often placed in the industrial camp and linked with the likes of Test Dept but infact Het Zweet wer more concerned with ‘tribal’ music, physicality and trance effects.
During their lifetime Het Zweet released one LP ‘Het Zweet’ originally intended to have been released on my label ‘Recloose Organisation’. Unfortunately the break up of Bourbonese Qualk and Recloose prevented this and it was eventually released on the Berlin based Dossier label – much to Marien’s chagrin. Other titles were all cassette releases on various labels and contributions to compilation records (including ‘psycho pomp’on the Recloose organisations sampler ‘songs from the new international in 1986). We (Recloose) also worked on various video and film projects with Marien (the cover shot of ‘Het Zweet’ LP shows a frame from a video loop of Marien hitting a metal boiler with a pickaxe which was used as a projection during live performances). Het Zweet performed live around Europe often as a support group for Bourbonese Qualk whom he toured with on a number of occasions. The last i heard from Marien was ten years ago – he had stopped ‘experimental’ music and was working playing accordion in a wedding band.
‘Het Zweet’ LP Dossier 1987.
Fase (Cass) Staalplaat
Massive Trance (Cass) Zweepslag
Zweepslag 1+2 (Cass) Sound Of Pig
Het Zweet (LP) Dossier 1987
Homo Sexpiens Project (Cass) Dante’s Second Circle 3Rio Tapes
Beyond Step One (Cass, C60) El Voz Sound Of Pig 1984
Katacombe Vol. 3 (Cass) Untitled, Untitled Korm Plastics, Schrei Records 1984
Katacombe Vol. 3 (Cass) Untitled, Untitled Industria Tepa 1984
Thee Book (2xCass, Ltd, C90) The Ice Graf Haufen Tapes 1984
Katacombe Vol. 5 (Cass) Vacuum Voice Industria Tepa 1985
6×10=60 Vol. 2 (Cass) Indus I. Korm Plastics 1986
Live Series 2 (Cass) Repeat Recloose Organisation 1986
Songs From The New International (LP) Psycho-Pomp Recloose Organisation 1986
The State Of The Art (VHS) Repeat Provision, Recloose Organisation 1986
Q.E.D. (2xLP + 7″ + , Ltd, Gat) Tribal Noise 2 N.L. Centrum 1988
Q.E.D. (CD) Tribal Noise 2 Staalplaat 1990
6×10=60 Vol. 2 (CDr) Indus I. Korm Plastics 1999