First: The name Gorgonzola Legs was from an album by Vivian Stanshall (member of the Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band) named ’Sir Henry At Rawlinson End’.
Quoted: Lady Staines wants a 4th player for a game of bridge ...
"Sir Henry" she says, "would you like to be the 4th man?" Henry glared at her wattled neck, gorgonzola legs ... "
Madam", he intoned, "I wouldn't even have liked to be the first man!"
From 1984 till 1989 one day a week the music collective Gorgonzola Legs gathered in the Fish Warehouse in the harbour of IJmuiden, the main port of Amsterdam. All these moments of making weird sounds and messing around with crazy objects were captured on a 4-track cassette recorder. Hours and hours of recordings were listened to and finally Hessel Veldman made a selection of tracks that were interesting to be remixed into ‘compositions’.
Several tapes were released on the ExArt label. [See Post 2] But also two special tapes were released by LOR Tapes and Harsh Reality Music. Slimy Clupea Harengus (LOR Tapes) was a compilation of live recordings made at several venues in The Netherlands. Short Stories (Harsh Reality Music) was a compilation of improvised sound-poetry and storytelling, also recorded at the Fish Warehouse.
Listen to and download a track recorded in Haarlem @ Patronaat. From Slimy Clupea Harengus.
April 1988 the cd ‘Piscatorial Debris’ was released. We did a presentation @ the Witte Theater in IJmuiden by playing a special impro-gig as support of Snakefinger. It was the start of Phil Lithman’s European tour. The tour he never finished, because he died in Austria two weeks later.
The live recording of the Witte Theater set became the soundtrack for the Piscatorial Debris video, made by Henry van Kleeff. The video was filmed @ the Fish Warehouse in the main hall, more than 150 meters long, on a forklift truck slowly moving backwards. It was the same slow movement as in the soundtrack.
Listen to and download an excerpt from the live-recording made @ the Witte Theater in IJmuiden & soundtrack of the ‘Piscatorial Debris’ video.
During the early days of home taping (1978-80) we regularly gathered @ Queekhoven estate in Utrecht. Every month Willem de Ridder did his Radiola Improvisatie Salon, a live radio broadcast for VPRO radio, instantly playing received music cassettes from people who visited the show live in Queekhoven or who had sent the tapes by mail.
Things started to move fast after the first two releases. There was a lot of publicity in local newspapers and national music magazines. During that period Hessel, both with his wife Nicole, made loads of recordings of their own music in IJmuiden, but also started to do recording-sessions with many other musicians.
Constantly the studio was recording sounds of Kees Beukelaar, Herman te Loo, Jos van Ommen, Kees van Ede and Willem de Ridder. A lot of these improvisations and compositions were compiled on several Y CREATE issues. (Why create? or Ymuidense creations. The Y is the central canal/lake of Amsterdam.)
Y Create / Bodies Hanging In The Breeze.
(Hessel Veldman & Herman te Loo)
(Hessel Veldman & choir arr. Alvin Curran)
With Kees van Ede and Willem de Ridder live concerts started. Famous are the AORTA-concerts in Amsterdam and the live-broadcasts on the Dutch National Radio (V.P.R.O.). In June 1983 Willem de Ridder, Kees van Ede, Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Vera and Hessel Veldman shocked Amsterdam, during the Holland Festival, with their four-day-erotic-soundscape-performance: “PORTABLE VAUDEVILLE”.
Y Create Portable Vaudeville mix (special DJ edit with Portable Vaudeville soundtrack (live-recording) & Songs From The Sperm Whale song: Eddie and his Mum.)
Meanwhile Kees van Ede and Hessel developed a complete new glass-organ, that could be played with human hands, but was amplified with special made equipment. Kees and Hessel worked on this instrument for almost a year and the result could be heard on the tape “VAN EDE’S GLASWERK”, which was completely recorded at the STEIM-STUDIO in Amsterdam.
Van Ede’s Glaswerk excerpt Hessel Veldman & Kees van Ede; recorded @ STEIM in Amsterdam
1984 was the year in which Gert Jan Prins visited Hessel and Nicole at their apartment on the 11th floor, overlooking a big industrial landscape. Recording-sessions were started at Gert Jan’s “Fish Warehouse”-studio. Gert Jan Prins, Hessel Veldman, Herman te Loo and Jos van Duyne became GORGONZOLA LEGS. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of live-recording sessions took place. At some of these sessions other musicians were present, such as: Jos van Ommen, Ruud Junge, Martijn Swart and Masaki Oishi.
At the end of 1984 “GORGONZOLA LEGS” was released. On this one hour cassette the first mixed recordings could be heard. The group also wanted to do concerts and so GORGONZOLA LEGS more and more became a live-band.
Mr. Lawnmower by Gorgonzola Legs during the impro-sessions @ The Fish Warehouse in IJmuiden
In 1986 a second tape was released, entitled “SALMON SQUEEZING IN WEIRD WEIRS’, a new compilation of “Fish Warehouse”-recordings. “BUNKER” was recorded live at the Bunker in Rotterdam, October ’86. The complete concert could be heard on another EXART-issue. In 1987 the powerfull voice of the Japanese singer Masaki Oishi gave a new dimension to the sound of GORGONZOLA LEGS. Again hours and hours of recordings were made. At the end of the year 6 hours of mixed material had to be remixed to L.P.-format. In april 1988 EXART decided to make it Holland’s first independent C.D.-release: “PISCATORIAL DEBRIS’.
At the same time, with the great help of Henry van Kleeff, the “PISCATORIAL DEBRIS”-video was made. A beautiful 20 minutes sound sculpture video was realized. The video and C.D. got a lot of international attention and was performed on several big music/video festivals. During the late 80’s GORGONZOLA LEGS-material was also released on labels in Portugal, Italy and the U.S.A.
Gorgonzola Legs special Remix 2011 with a mix of live-impro-sessions used for Gorgonzola Legs tape releases during the eighties
Y Create Forbidden Radio
Early this year I did a performance called Y Create Forbidden Radio during the (H)ear 10th Anniversary Festival in Heerlen in The Netherlands, close to the Belgium and German border.
Here’s an excerpt from the concert in Heerlen (also available as download):
Y Create Forbidden Photographs
In 2014 I was asked to do a performance in OT301 in Amsterdam. Part of the Headroom presentation by Martijn Comes. The Y Create Forbidden Photographs performance was filmed and recorded by Shourai Sessions and is still available on Youtube:
You can download the recordings here:
Check out more:
Martijn Comes (1979) is a Dutch composer who is specialised in new media, sound design and electro-acoustic composition. He graduated at the academy for Digital Communications in 2004 with a thesis on live stage performance with the aid of digital media and studied Composition for Film at the Conservatory of Amsterdam (2010). He wrote diverse works based on research in popular music, contemporary music and classical music combining elements of various acoustic+digital aesthetic, composition techniques and sound design in six releases with ‘Infinite Spaces and Beyond’ (2014), ‘Wolf’ (2015), ‘Tradition Noise (2015)’, ‘Radio Oblivion (2016)’ and ‘Interrogation of the Crystalline Sublime’ (2016) being his most recent albums, which all were critically acclaimed.
His work has been broadcasted world wide on local as well as national stations like Radio 3 Spain, Polish and Norwegian National Radio, and RTÉ Ireland. He worked with filmmaker Thomas Mohr his ‘Resonance’ & ‘Learning curve’ films, which both were curated by the LIMA Media Art Platform (former NiMK). ‘Resonance’ was part of the Best Of selection of the Ars Electronica festival in 2010.
He received commissions by: IO SOUND (ca), Bedouin Records (uae), Bastikaya Tapes (uae), Silent Records (usa), Time Symmetric (us), WORM Rotterdam, Moving Furniture Records, Smikkelbaard (nl), Municipality of Haarlem (nl), Oedipus Brewery Amsterdam (nl). His work for Carillon ‘EANN’ was premiered on the St Bavo Church in Haarlem, and was selected as the opening piece of the prestigious LE GUESS WHO festival, Utrecht in 2017. Martijn shared the stage and collaborated with artists as Kim Cascone, Twine, Mitchell Akiyama, Rosa Menkman, Marijn Korff de Gidts, Christian Pabst, Fred Gales, poet Martin Reints, actrice Annette Kouwenhoven, Armeno Alberts, Philippe Petit, Giulio Aldinucci, Lucrecia Dalt, Freida Abtan, Scant Intone and Orphax.
EXART, founded by Hessel Veldman, started its activities in October 1982.
In 1978 Hessel started composing experimental music and before 1978 he was playing distorted guitar in several local blues- and alternative rock-bands. Also an early fascination for noise and dissonance, from the beginning of the 1970s, in combination with a preference for writing and performing extremely idiosyncratic music, created a wide range of experimental compositions.
Improvisatie VI was composed in 1979. The pre Exart period.
Only using an electronic organ and a tape recorder.
The Deep (unreleased) was made as a soundscore for a fairytale radioplay. (1980)
Finally in 1982 the label started to spread new experimental and improvised music. The EXART studio was the place to make compositions, recordings, radio-programmes, mixes and remixes. And at the same time Hessel started to preserve sounds in the EXART archive.
The first EXART issue was a tape by ROTTERDANS, a group of people from Rotterdam, who made their own city folk-music in an old building; one of the few that were left after World War II.
Soon after the first EXART-release “United States XV” was issued. A one-month-tour through the States gave Hessel so much inspiration that fifteen soundscapes could be heard on this C-90 music-cassette.
Interference by Rotterdans is from the Hersenletsel tape from 1984/85. Recorded in Rotterdam and mixed at the EXART studio.