TWO DECADES OF EMOTIONAL STRATEGIES
Text by Víctor Nubla
The album presentation of Abstracte, a compilation of strange music made in Barcelona between 1981 and 1986 that Domèstica Records has just released, served as an excuse for DJ Dani Blue and DJ Gonzo when they were invited to select the soundtrack for the release party, preparing, if not the defining dj-set from that era, at least a very comprehensive and complete one. Their research allowed them to gather tracks from those two decades (1975-1995) and, in addition, decided to extend the field of study from solely Barcelona to the entire Spanish state.
The result is this three-and-a-half-hour lasting travel through time, a fascinating journey through the musical underground of cities in an extremely important period, with respect to the transformation and shift in paradigm experienced by western popular music in those years. These changes might as well be summarized as: the dissolution of the fringes between academic music and popular music, the implementation of electronics into musical creation in an arch that began in research laboratories and ended up in domestic electronics, as well as the coexistence of repetitive minimalist models within the song format including improvisation and abstraction.
These two decades also coincided with the beginning of the crisis in the music industry, simultaneously with the proliferation of DIY publishing, the consolidation of the cassette format as soon as this duplication technology allowed editing without leaving your home, and the global (online) networks of self-produced music exchange. As a result, bands and musicians who did not “exist” for the industry and the press before will become, paradoxically, the first generation to internationalize and spread the strange music that was made abroad.
It is a time that can be documented from singles, cassettes, compilations and more than a few albums. It is important to pause for a moment to talk about compilations, as I believe they can serve to give a general idea of what was happening since they are essentially transversal and also produced in an often collective and international network. The production of compilation discs and cassettes in the Spanish state is remarkable since the 70’s (partly because of the logic generated by certain musicians on the difficulty of accessing a “normality” of diffusion). In the 1980’s moreover, with the worldwide network of cassettes now in full blossom, these compilations could contain just local music or more and more often, be totally international.
Necronomicón, Terra Incógnita, La Zona, Domestic Sampler Umyu, Vita Nova International, Voices, Notes + Noise, Missing Children, Conspiración, Zamizdat Trade Journal, Independent World, Loopy But Chic, Luna y Panorama de los Insectos, Fix Planet, Veterinarios del KO’s, Barcelona Ficción-Romance, Alter Músiques Natives are some of the names of these well-known compilations until well into the 90’s, published in Belgium, as well as in France, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany. Almost never were they released in the capitals of these countries, because one of the phenomena adjacent to the internationalization of these kinds of movements is that many of the active small independent labels were in smaller cities back then, far away from the mainstream. Easy access to domestic production and universal mailing systems brought a territorial horizontality never seen before (except in the case of mail-art, obviously).
Domestic labels that more often than not were created by the bands themselves to release their own music spread rapidly, and in our territory as well as in other countries they did so exponentially. On the other hand, these “bastard” musicians lacked easy access to concert scenes in any of these countries, but there were bands operating in an electronic pop scene that were more or less maintaining themselves by passing through clubs and festivals. These groups adopted the systems of production and distribution of the scene that couldn’t be more industrial. It should be noted that although the use of the same media and “do it yourself” philosophy is something that all these bands shared, not everyone made music with the same intentions and objectives. There was a shared political attitude in the sense of means of production and tools of diffusion, and in many cases the music was not made with a political will but, in other cases, they were indeed so.
Therefore, we can speak of a temporary yet happy coexistence between forces that wanted to occupy the space of other forces (renew the aesthetics of popular music, reach the mainstream market) and the forces of chaos, which aimed to go back to square one and start with a clean slate rather than taking advantage of existing structures. The only issue when it comes to demonstrating this claim is that in Spain, traditionally, there were never any existing structures, even for the most integrated of musicians (paraphrasing Anton Ignorant).
That said, digressions aside, and taking into account precisely this period of happy coexistence and cosmopolitanism, the music you will hear in Gonzo & Dani Blue’s set is the music that, during those years, I heard in my house, in friends’ houses, in bars where musicians met and in clubs where bands played sporadically. This was the music we produced on our own labels and the music of other likeminded spirits scattered throughout the country. It was these cassettes, singles and compilations that current labels who are interested in this period of popular Spanish music history now try to recover and restore that what, mysteriously, has been hidden away, concealed from following generations. An eclectic period of great artistic freedom, full of audacity and uninhibited experimentation.
English translation by DJ Watusawa
0:00 Fluence (aka Pascal Comelade) – A Few Reasons to Stay – A Few Reasons to Split (Extracte) (Del LP “Fluence”, Pôle Records 1975)
6:55 Eduardo Polonio – Arsilah (Del LP “Acaricia la Mañana”, UM 1984)
9:15 Jep Nuix – Dit a dit, pas a pas (extracte) (Del 2CD recopilatorio “Alter Músiques Natives”, G3G Records 1988)
12:40 Luís Delgado – El Llanto de Nouronihar (Del LP “Vathek – Procesos Electrónicos Para Instrumentos Acústicos”, Grabaciones Accidentales 1986)
14:00 Música Esporádica (feat. Suso Saiz) – (Del LP homónimo, Grabaciones Accidentales 1985)
19:45 Orquesta de las Nubes (feat. Suso Saiz) – Basura del Coral (Del LP “El Orden Del Azar”, Linterna Música 1985)
23:35 Javier Segura – Desolación (Del LP “Nostalgia De Lo Humano”, Jaja Records 1985)
24:20 Comando Bruno – Landler (Del LP “Muestras Sin Valor”, Discos Esplendor Geometrico 1986)
26:50 Matavacas – S’oda Gargarian (Del 2CD recopilatorio “Alter Músiques Natives”, G3G Records 1991)
29:20 Oriol Graus – Oketus (Extracte) (Del Lp recopilatorio “InfArt ’90”, Discmedi 1990)
32:33 Luís Mesa – Hot Wheels (Del LP recopilatorio “Conspiración”, Discos Proceso Uvegraf 1986)
33:43 Interaccion – Claroscuro (Del LP recopilatorio “Conspiración”, Discos Proceso Uvegraf 1986)
37:40 Alien Mar – Obstinación (Extracte) (Del LP “Sinfonía Translúcida”, G33G Records, 1991)
40:34 Secreto Metropolitano – Esparadrapo (Del LP recopilatorio “Domestic Sampler UMYU”, Umyu 1982)
44:40 Klamm – Fluide (Del Lp “África Roja”, Klamm Records 1983)
46:05 Juan Teruel García – Claustral (Del LP recopilatorio “Conspiración”, Discos Proceso Uvegraf 1986)
49:45 Diseño Corbusier – Meta Metalic (Del LP “Pérfido Encanto”, Auxilio de Cientos 1985)
53:04 Víctor Nubla – Este Es el Famoso Chiste de las Dos Vacas (Del LP recopilatorio “La Zona”, Discos Esplendor Geometrico, 1988)
55:50 Koniec – Bellezas (Del LP “Senza Parole”, Promos 1984)
58:10 Näif – Cristall No. 2 (Del LP “Atlas”, Filobus Records 1982)
63:32 Finis Africae – Radio Tarifa (Del LP homónimo, Grabaciones Accidentales 1985)
68:24 Juan Belda – Pierrot (Del LP homónimo, Grabaciones Accidentales 1986)
72:45 Mohochemie – Silente Moho (Del 2CD recopilatorio “Alter Músiques Natives”, G3G Records 1995)
76:34 Derribos Arias – Lo Que Hay (Del Lp “En la Guia, en el Listín”, Grabaciones Accidentales 1983)
80:15 Macromassa – Sorpresa (Del LP “Los Hechos Pérez”, G3G 1992)
85:35 Neo Zelanda – Alemania Mix (Del Lp “Mix Zelánea”, Auxilio de Cientos 1986)
88:20 La T – Wood-Blood (Del Lp “Dark Fields”, Klamm Records 1983)
92:06 Klamm – Nueva Orden (Del Lp “África Roja”, Klamm Records 1983)
93:55 Alphaville – Nietzsche (Der Geisteskrank) (Del 7″ “Paisajes Nocturnos”, DRO 1982)
96:26 Zush + Tres – Viruses (Del Lp “Evrugo Mental State”, Grabaciones Accidentales 1989)
98:00 Aviador Dro – Nuclear Sí (Versión Maqueta) (1981)
101:25 Los Iniciados – Un Fin De Semana Tranquilo (1982?) (Del 2CD recopilatorio “Druidas Quimicos”, Lollipop 1999)
104:05 Pascal Comelade – Nicaragua (Del Lp “Paralelo”, Parasite 1980)
106:50 Juan Belda – Ytak (Del LP homónimo, Grabaciones Accidentales 1986)
110:57 Derribos Arias – A Flúor (Del 12″ “A Flúor”, Grabaciones Accidentales 1982)
116:10 Arte Moderno (aka Javier Segura & Juan Belda) – Ninette en New York (Del 7″ homónimo, Jaja Records 1982)