L’Embrasse (Amsterdam Arcane Tape Recordings ’87)
In the mid/late 80s, the European musical scene was formed in small social circles which eventually merged into the dominant culture made a lasting impression on the foundations of independent music in the old continent. Right in the heart of Europe we find a thriving city which, because of its geographical situation and its rich social fabric, absorbed and reinterpreted the whole range of cultural inputs arriving there from both hemispheres.
Amsterdam, among other European capitals, generated creative and associative nuclei closely linked to each other, with spaces open to everyone and venues available both to novel and veteran acts as Octopus, Mazzo, Paradiso, e.g. Circles of friends, made up of musicians and artists who created collectively without economic expectations, enjoyed the best of scenarios to express themselves freely, produce some relevant work and then share it with a small group of interested parties.
“We had no name for the music we made. Top Tape released the recordings of those hometape sessions, jams and performances on cassette tape in particular.” tells us Menko Konings, founder of both band S.M. Nurse and independent label Top Tape; “I was forced to start a label (1983) to release my first solo-tape. This is how Top Tape was created. A few years in a row I released music from friends and myself. L’embrasse is a good example of this. (…) We recorded a lot: solo, try-outs, rehearsals, jams, live performances, demos, final versions and spoken audio clips from radio and TV. We also experimented with tapes: tape echo device, loops, sound on sound, backwards, two different mono tracks (on Revox A77 tape recorder), fast or slow playback, transferring, blurring of recordings by recording layer over layer, spoken word, etc.”.
L’embrasse is a genuine testimony of this thriving scene Amsterdam embodied in the late 80s. Originally released in cassette format (Top Tape, 1987), probably less than 50 copies were distributed at the time through local shops and contains, in its original release, a dozen different acts: Menko (S.M. Nurse founder), Robbie Horsfall, Peter Van Garderen (Nine Circles founder), Der Rudi, Antonia (Tonny Timmermans), No Honey From These, Incredible Coöp (S.M. Nurse members), Beatnik Love Affair, Tranquil Eyes, Cheiron, Spin & Kokkie and The Male Ego. The recordings offer a fascinating insight into one of several different independent scenes coexisting in the city more than 30 years ago. This album is both a tribute to and a portrayal of this movement, immortalized by label Top Tape in 1987, which we can now retrieve on this exclusive edition.