A few years ago, my label partner forwarded to me some music by Leuk en Ko, wondering if we should be getting that out. Just where the music fits between camp, pop and sarcasm, it was difficult to say. That it then turned out to be an old project by Jan Duivenvoorden and Richard van den Bogaert, veterans of Unit Moebius, a techno conglomerate in The Hague, only added to the confusion. How could Unit Moebius possibly be cut from the same cloth as Leuk en Ko?
While preparations are in full swing for today’s event, we would like to take a moment to highlight one of our speakers, and in particular, the feats he has done in the past. Dutch Sounds From Beyond being our topic of the day, a certain focus on experimentalism is in place; it’s the main reason why Hessel Veldman started his label in the 80s in the first place. While Hessel offered his studio to a variety of artists, such as Kees Beukelaar, Herman te Loo, Kees van Ede and many others, it was he who chopped and edited all the acquired material in the late hours in order to preserve what happened. Hessel captured these moments and catalogued the “files” into an archive named Exart.
The freedom afforded by the studio in IJmuiden and the people that inhabited it daily produced a wide variety of new and exciting groups, such as Y create, Gorgonzola Legs, Portable Vaudeville and many others. While all of them bear a fresh and experimental notch, the essence of each and every project can be truly felt. Where Y Create exhales playful drum patterns, guided by eerie synths and lyrics, Portable Vaudeville displays an almost Vangelis-like dystopian soundscape his first foray had lasted for over 4 days! For a particular piece, Hessel and Kees van Ede even developed a fully working glass organ that could be manipulated by using the hands. And the list goes on and on…
Besides music, Veldhuis and his likeminded contemporaries created radio plays and hosted radio stations in order to keep pushing the label and their own ideals. One particular radio show from Willem de Ridder called Radiola Improvisatie Salo, stood out for its unique ideological idea. Willem encouraged his listeners to send him tapes, which would then be taken out of the envelope on the spot and played on air for 5 minutes. With this bold move, new and fresh artists had a platform for their music, and it is this gutsy character that brought Enno Velthuys into play. Conscientious readers of the SSFB magazine may have already heard this name before and they are right; here he is again, our very own Dutch Enno.
Enno Velthuys was one of the many who had sent their tapes to Willem. Hessel can still vividly remember that encounter.
“The first time I heard the music of Enno Velthuys was during one of the Radiola live-shows of Willem de Ridder, broadcasted from the estate of Queekhoven in Breukelen,” recalls Hessel. “I still remember clearly the moment during the broadcast when Willem opened an envelope containing this unknown music cassette, with the name Enno Velthuys on it! As always, Willem played the cassette on the spot. Everyone who gathered at the Queekhoven saloon were astonished when the music was played. A good friend, Rob Smit of Kubus Music, got in touch with Enno and soon after, there was the first Velthuys music cassette Ontmoeting, followed later by Landscapes In Thin Air. When Smit decided to stop the activities of Kubus, I took over this “top-selling” cassette. Plus I tried to put more energy into my relationship with Enno.” This relationship produced three albums on Exart, displaying Enno’s virtuoso synth-play which we recommend to every soul.
Between the years of ’82 and ’95, Exart released 37 tapes from over 20 artists that all exhibited the very soul of the label: friends that experiment. It is this attitude, this absence of fear for the unknown and this urge to create that has molded Exart and its artists into one very, very interesting whole. Many of the stories haven’t yet been told, because we would like to hear it from the man himself, but we hope this short article has inspired you to catch Hessel on the day itself, from 17:00 -18:00.