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THU20 - Vroeg Werk

Format: do-CD
Label & Cat.Number: Monochrome Vision [mv45]
Release Year: 2012
Note: great collection of mainly early material by this dutch group (with core members JAC VAN BUSSEL, PETER DUIMELINKS, ROEL MEELKOP & JOS SMOLDERS ), full of loops & noises that crackle & wheeze....quite rough & improvised & very 'industrial' at times... somewhere between P16.D4 and DAS SYNTHETISCHE MISCHGEWEBE maybe... studio & live material, unreleased or taken from rare compilations.. lim. 500 and highly recommended !
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €16.50

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"First anthology of legendary dutch electroacoustic group of musicians whose names can be definitely placed in range of true underground stars and passionary pushers of contemporary experimental music scene. First CD in this double album is compiled from studio works, unreleased or taken from rare compilations, second CD gathers the best concert recordings. Release date is 29th December 2012. Limited edition of 500 copies in jewelcase." [label info]


"Sometime in the early '80s, a bunch of young Dutchmen formed a couple of post-punk bands that nobody remembers anymore; but on one Thursday that happened to be the 20th of some month, one of those bands abandoned their rhythms entirely and splattered out a drone-tape and synth-noise set that had the audience freaking out. The punk structures were scrapped entirely and THU20 was stuck onto this project as the new name. Get it? The Dutchmen of THU20 included Jac Van Bussel, Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop, Jos Smolders, and Guido Doesborg (later replaced by the ubiquitous Frans De Waard). The mid to late '80s proved to be a highly prolific time for THU20, although the project continues on to this day at a much more restrained pace. The ideas that went into THU20 transitioned from Joy Division into Cabaret Voltaire & Throbbing Gristle quickly arriving at a DIY punk form of musique concrete and electro-acoustic experimentation. Such was a similar trajectory for the German ensemble P16.D4, albeit towards even more unconventional goals. In the studio, THU20's work could be austere and brutalist in the obfuscated collages and disjointed slabs of noise; but the live version of THU20 proved to be far more shambolic, dynamically expressive, and rewardingly chaotic. Vroeg Werk is a diverse collection that spans both of these modes of operation, with the second of these two discs being entirely live recordings and the first culling from the dustbin of the cassette culture. The studio material found on disc one has some semblances of the more abstracted tape work found on Einsturzende Neubauten's Drawings Of O.T sans Blixa, with the opening track "5720" being particularly choice. But, the live material is really where THU20 shine, grafting gritty electro-acoustic noise sourced from voice, tape, synth, feedback, pedals, shortwave, power tools, scrap metal, and who knows what else onto thin rhythmic spines of morse code blips, overblown tape loops, and primitive drum machinations. Effectively, THU20 would land somewhere between the panzer bleakness of MB and the viral shredding of Nocturnal Emissions. Not a bad place to be..." [Aquarius Rec.]

"And then there is 'Vroeg Werk' by THU20. Now I am the last person to review that, you may claim, right so, but I really don't have that much to do with it. By accident I was present at two concerts, and added vocals (?) to one and a synth to the other, which makes a total of five out of thirty-one pieces. This double CD reflects the early works of THU20, an original five piece with Jos Smolders, Peter Duimelinks, Jac van Bussel, Roel Meelkop and, in these early years, Guido Doesborg. Started out by Doesburg and Van Bussel as a sideline project to Club Rialto, they experimented in their early years with feedback, sample delay pedal boxes, a synth, a rhythm machine and then slowly something such as 'composition' came in, along with the other three members. THU20 were part of the big cassette scene (see also the P16.D4 of two weeks ago), sending out their pieces to compilations. The first discs collects these in chronological order (which is commendable, but it means it's doesn't start out with the best tracks), ending with their twenty minute concert in Bordeaux from 1989 (originally released as a split LP with Merzbow). The whole of the second CD has concert recordings of the years before that, 1986-1989, plus one from 1992. Here we find THU20 improvising freely with electronics, turntables, tapes, synthesizer and sometimes, but not always, guided by a backing tape and a loose notion of a graphic score. Many of these pieces are well-known to me, following the band from their very early days, but boy, they sound great here. The muffled sound of the cassettes is complete washed away and all of these piece shine like diamonds. You could argue if 150 minutes is a bit much, wether the chronological order is a great idea, but this is some truly exciting music. It combines the industrial music of say 1986 (feedback, noise) with the more rough edged notion of musique concrete, electro-acoustic, and it follows this band to find their own way in this. Many of their previous releases are hard to find these days ('Eerste Schijf', 'Tweede Schijf', 'Derde Schijf' or 'Elfde Uni'), and surely here's a band who deserved their own big box set. That is not likely to happen, but this 'small' (what is small?) box set is worth every penny. And still kicking around, THU20 works on a very irregular basis in 2013, in a slightly different line up. Who would have guessed?" [FdW/Vital Weekly]