52 weken / 52 weeks

    52 weeks    
Week 45: October 31- November 7 2004
Curator: Harold Schellinx
Subject: Quirass (1973-1975)

It was thirty years ago today...

To many musicians a 'first-ever' band or personal musical project will feel a lot like a first love. And no matter how bad it was: never ever after it will feel like that 'first time' ... On a bookshelf in my Amsterdam apartment there is a box filled with old low-speed quarter-inch reel-to-reel tapes, a couple of old cassettes, browned pieces of paper and some pictures to remind me of this 'law of musical life'. The box is marked "Quirass Tapes (1973-1975)".

I have to confess that I'm actually kind of glad that the one (Akai) tape-recorder I had that still was able to play most of these tapes back, disappeared - some twenty years ago, together with the painter-friend that had borrowed it. Quirass 1972 And ever since I no longer could give in to the occasional temptation to take that box from the shelves, pick a tape, and actually listen to the stuff ... Lots of it, most of it, I find pretty painful to hear back actually. Some days more than others. But still. And that is not because of the out-of-tune noise that we were making, most of the time. On the contrary. That is what I continue to like about these tapes. I'd even say that over the years 'the out-of-tune noise' has been gaining in interest, as time slowly but relentlessly covers each and every one of these recordings with the dust and charm of age ... No. It's not the noise. It's the silences in between, of course. It's the intertextuality. That inextricable tangle of (his)stories and memories which at the time was being carved along with the 'songs', but that you cannot hear... Be glad you can't. Hell! I guess I should've kicked that box out long ago... It's been thirty years ago today, and when I listen to this now, it still makes me want to get drunk quickly and seriously, or - worse - rush out to go and see my analyst ...;-)

At the time we were at high school, and living in and around the town of Maastricht, in the south of the Netherlands, touching on the Belgian border. We spoke Dutch at school only. Outside, at home and elsewhere, we conversed in the local dialect, which you'll be able to hear abundantly in several of the recordings here [ "China en de omringende landen", Ile des oiseaux (Bretagne) ]. "Quirass" started out not as a 'band', but as a 'recording project'. Not that we had some clear ideas about what a 'recording project' involves. But I for one was determined to find out. There was this friend from school, Carl Smit, that owned one of the earlier portable Philips monophonic cassette recorders. And, better still, one day, probably some time early around the summer of 1973, my father brought home from work - I remember the fact, but have no longer a clue as to the why - an equally monophonic lo-speed reel-to-reel machine. He allowed us to play with it, for a couple of weeks at least. So I invited friends over for the weekend, and we recorded. piano In the living-room, using a microphone, and making sounds with whatever there was around that made sound. (Some of my favorite sources were the piano, played by whatever means I was able to think of, and the feedback of a microphone plugged into a small transistor radio.) We then played back these sounds on the reel-to-reel, more often than not changing the playback speed, or moving the reels by hand, and recorded the result onto the cassette machine, either using the line-in or the built-in microphone. Then played back the cassette, played along to that, and recorded the mix again onto the reel-to-reel ... and so on, you get the idea.
The results of these 'experiments' are among the earliest surviving "Quirass"-recordings in my box. They go on and on and on, seemingly forever, some of them lasting way over forty minutes. (Some - short - time later, when the project evolved into a band, and we even started 'gigging', we actually used these tapes (full-length!) to start a set, or as 'intermezzi' ...) For some reason that has escaped me, they are numbered X-I, X-II, et cetera.
You can listen to some fragments here [ X-Ic, X-III, X-IIa ]...

I have forgotten many of the chronological details of the period, but it must have been around the same time - before, or shortly after - that I bought myself a cheap electric guitar and a wah/fuzz pedal. By mail order, paid for in monthly installments. I managed to plug the instrument into our Nordmende tube radio (a classic youngster's amplifier in those days), and started to make up tunes to play. Quirass 1972 Thus gradually the 'free style' recording sessions gave way to afternoons of 'song' playing and something of a first 'band line up' evolved: there was me on electric guitar, my brother Ivo doing things, Julius Janssen strumming his acoustic guitar and blowing an indian flute, and Willy Demacker (a.k.a. Welis) hitting the cardboard cases that temporarily served as a drum kit. Temporarily. For we had bigger plans. Welis actually was making some money that summer doing a holiday job, and he proposed to use the money to buy a drum kit. Or, come to think of it, he probably did say that he'd buy either a drum kit, or a moped. But personally, I couldn't imagine a moped being more desirable than getting another 'real instrument' to help the band getting onwards.

It was even before the end of those summer holidays that one morning Welis appeared at our house, driving a brand new freshly souped up moped. I have forgotten which brand it was, but it was a fast one, and a fashionable one. Good for him. But he got kicked out of the 'band', there and then. And I started looking around for a drummer. With a drum kit. Which I did find easy enough, as there actually was an old friend from primary school, Noël Penders, that did have a kit. It must have been Noël's somewhat deviant musical taste (he was head and shoulders into Slade) that had prevented me from contacting him before, but now there were bigger things at stake. A 'deal' was struck. And while I had started that summer with a 'band' including 'half a drummer', I ended it with a drummer, but without a band ... We did some 'sessions' as a trio, with yet another guy, Raoul Joffroy, who was definitely not without merit as a blues piano player. But I really wasn't into blues. And where would we rehearse? And how on earth would we be able to move an acoustic piano around? For I knew one thing for sure: that we had to be able now to start 'moving this thing around' ...

Then soon after school had started again, suddenly all, within weeks, miraculously fell into place, when another school friend, Casper Defesche, who had written some songs, owned an electric guitar and had just started to join us in yet another couple of 'sessions', introduced me to 'the boy next door', Willy Kneepkens (a.k.a. Knebbelke), and a friend of theirs, Boudewijn Tulkens. Boudewijn was living in a small village in Belgium, just across the border. Knebbelke, who already had left school and was working as a construction worker, had a driver's license and a car. Quirass 1972 He didn't play an instrument, but the idea of being in a 'band' certainly appealed to him. So he agreed to buy a bass guitar and try to learn how to play it. But best of all, Boudewijn's family had a large garden and in that garden there stood a little, isolated, house. And the Tulkens's agreed to let us, occasionally, use that house to rehearse in. Knebbelke bought himself a, pretty curious looking, second hand electric bass, we moved Noël's drum kit to Belgium, and for a couple of weeks we drove up there every saturday afternoon to rehearse, using two old badly buzzing jukebox tube amplifiers and self-built speaker boxes for amplification.
And every saturday afternoon Noël did his drum solo [ Eerste drum solo ] ...
However, I soon found out that Casper and I wouldn't get along, musically nor personally, and at the end of those first weeks Casper left the set-up. He was replaced by Boudewijn, who up until then had done no more than looking in every now and then, curious to find out what the heck we were up to in the garden house, but who now, surprisingly, turned out to be quite some musician himself: he had an electric guitar, could play some chords on that, as well as on a piano. Moreover, he had a clarinet on which he was able to play more or less steady notes. And of course, with Boudewijn part of the band, the 'garden house' would be ours to rehearse in. Definitely. So Boudewijn was in ... And from that point onwards things started to move faster and faster and faster.

Yesss! "Quirass" indeed had become a band, so now there had to be music for us to play. I started to use every free minute to 'invent' stuff for the band: lyrics, tunes, chords, transitions, concepts, images ... I regularly went up to Knebbelke's house to teach him 'bass lines' to these tunes and chords, spent loads of time together with Boudewijn, 'inventing' even more things, fitting 'themes' together; if not through some 'musical logic', then be it by brute force. We started rehearsing on evenings during the week, most of the weekend, all of our school holidays ... and generally we hung out there in the small garden house in Neerharen in Belgium. Boudewijn (or rather: his family) had an old monophonic reel-to-reel recorder, that we moved into the garden house, and used to keep track of our progress. And we recorded, an awful lot. Sometimes it was sweet [ Himmlisch (thema) ]. Only rarely it was good. Most of it was downright bad. Some of it was ugly [ "China en de omringende landen" ] ... but eventually it all ended up in that box on the shelves of my Amsterdam apartment.

In hindsight it maybe is kind of curious that we never ever even tried to play something existing, some 'classic repertoire'. We never did, never discussed that, never thought about it. In a way, I guess, it was easier to come up with 'stuff' ourselves. And a thousand times more gratifying, however 'primitive' it might have been. On the tapes in my box there is only one exception, and that isn't even a band recording. You hear me playing a song I knew from the album The United States of America, on my acoustic guitar under a bridge in Wasserbillig, in Luxemburg, where my brother and I spent a week at the end of 1973's summer with our parents. There was an amazing reverberation under that bridge, and I simply had to record something on the cassette recorder that I had taken along. So I played and sang (for as far as I could remember the lyrics) Joe Byrd's The American Metaphysical Circus, with my brother stamping his feet and screaming his lungs out... But apart from that one curious exception I wasn't into 'covers'. At all. Which, mind you, does not automatically make us into 'originals'. Far from that. For of course we all had our 'heroes', 'role-models' that, however unconscious at the time, we were trying to 'imitate'. Examples to live up to. And then ultimately outdo... :-) ... Noël for one, he had his Sweet and Slade. Quirass 1972 I was listening quite a lot to electronic music in those days (on the Nonesuch record series), was a huge Zappa fan (musically as well as 'ideologically'), and deeply intrigued by the somewhat more obscure Krautrock-scene. These were interests that I did share with Welis, but not really with either Boudewijn or Knebbelke. As far as I remember, for the three of us, common ground was the more 'mainstream' sympho-rock. Bands like Yes, like Genesis. Throw that together with the then so 'fashionable' adolescent flirting with drug-induced psychedelic 'mind-enlargement', the sign of those times, and the fact that we all were 'musicians' rather than musicians, absolute beginners, interested more in the adrenaline, the energy and the act of playing that we were 'playing', than the actual playing itself ('tuning? that's a waste of time!')... what else but the psycho-sympho-metal-punkjazz that came out could one get?

Himmlisch is the earliest example of "Quirass"' art: a two chords scheme, that we managed to keep going for more than fifteen minutes, adding the obligatory solo's, breaks, accelerando's and ritardando's, and adorned with the following sample of lyrical genius:

Clouds dropping in my garden
Oh, what a beautiful day!
I am falling along the deadline
I want you to come my way.

Manchmal ist es so schön
But it's a long way to go...
Wir werden sein wie Kinder
Und leben im Paradis ...

This was the pièce de résistance at our very first 'gigs', that we started - eagerly - to organize as off the end of 1973. You can imagine that it wasn't easy to convince people to let us come over and 'brighten up' their saturday nights :-) ... but every now and then we did manage to do so. On such occasions we played Himmlisch. At least twice, but probably thrice; alongside one or two similarly longish, but slightly less appealing 'compositions', and alternated with the unabridged playback of several of the earlier 'tape-pieces' from the 'X'-series... I mean... let's party! ... ;-) (To get into the mood, do listen to all of Himmlisch (live), which is about half the length of the original fifteen minute recording, made on february 9th, 1974, in Zaal St. Lambertus in Maastricht...)
At the time of this recording, Welis had joined us again. Not as a drummer, but as the 'lighting engineer'. We had a bunch of colored spots, our 'light show', and a home-made switching panel, enabling the 'on' and 'off' of the spots (no, there was nothing in between). It was Welis's task to rhythmically turn these spots ... 'on' ... and 'off' ... and 'on' and 'on' and 'off', 'on', 'off'... (Listening to the Himmlisch recording you can actually hear his 'switching' as 'clicks' in the recording...)
Quirass 1972 With his moped, Welis of course had no problem at all joining us in the 'garden house', and he actually soon - again - had become more of a 'member of the gang' than Noël, who, apart from rehearsals, went his own way. Also, Noël seemed to be far less eager than the rest of us to rush over to Neerharen to rehearse or 'jam' at the first of occasions.
All of this reached something of a climax during 1974's spring holidays. We had a gig lined up, and therefore it was essential to come and 'work' in the garden house every single day. Noël however announced that he would be able to join us only sparingly, as he had to help his father redecorate their shop. We all but jumped at the occasion, drove up to his house, and told him, without much further ado, that 'enough was enough', and that he was out... Yeah. That was a mighty cruel thing to do, I know. I even start feeling kind of guilty again while writing this. But that's how we did it. We let him come once again to Neerharen, with his father, to pick up his drum kit. And one way or another managed to borrow or rent a kit for Welis, to rehearse and to gig. (Some time later that year, I 'cracked' my - not unsubstantial - savings account, and spent every single penny of it on gear; including a drum kit. for Welis ...)

That year, 1974, was our anno mirabilis. And diabolis...
Besides the far from undemanding work at school, the saturday night 'drinking crusades' in town, the regular checking out of other bands playing (often mainly to harshly criticize, dismiss as 'without interest', to after feel even 'better' ourselves), we hung out long hours, days and days and days, occasionally even nights, in the Neerharen 'garden house'. I probably spent far more of my free time over in Neerharen that year than I did at home. And I wrote and wrote and wrote, mainly alone [ Ile des oiseaux (piano) ], but often also together with Boudewijn, on saturday mornings, before the start of our afternoon rehearsal. By that time we had completely abandoned the idea of 'songs', or 'pieces', and instead had set our minds on a creation of operatic grandeur. It would envelop all that we (and others) had done before. And all that was yet to come (how about that for 'adolescent megalomania', hein? ... :-) ... A work in as many parts as it would take. Starting with the first one, of course.
I baptized our opus magnum. It was called: "She's completely upset. James! Won't you help her?". And I honestly no longer have the slightest idea where that one came from, or even what it was suppose to mean ... Nor can I tell you what it was meant to be about. Probably it wasn't meant to be 'about' something. James was vaguely led along by a series of 'apocalyptic images' and 'bloody lyrics', like the following 'Fig dreams of future':

A little frightened I took a look
at the eye in my hand.
Where did it come from?
What did it see?
I just couldn't understand.
So I looked into the eye
and it showed me the things I ought to see ...

I saw the sun exploding in the sky
I saw my girlfriend lying on the floor,
her head was empty.
I was lying next to her, covered
with her blood and brains.
Her left breast had been teared off,
it was lying near the stove.
(Disgusting!)

At first many of these kinds of lyrics were actually sung at several points in James (either by Boudewijn or by me), but when we started to buy ourselves real amplifiers and used them - preferably! - at the max of their power, that became impractical, as it was simply impossible for the singer to make himself heard... So we just dropped the singing, and, apart from the occasional 'soft interlude', started to do everything the 'instrumental' way. (Which, btw, we probably also considered as being more 'serious', hence definitely more appropriate.)
In order to advance as quickly as possible on the musical level, we added ever more gadgets and instruments. We bought an old tenor saxophone, an electric piano, an electric organ; got ourselves a whole battery of effects to plug the instruments into (fuzzes, mutrons, tape echos ...), toyed around with tone generators and similar electronics. During his holiday in French Brittany that year, Boudewijn got himself a bombarde, which, after the shortest possible period of practice found its proper place in the 'work' as well... Really, anything would have ...
Quirass 1974 We also continued to add spots to our light show, got ourselves a stroboscope, and even started to build 'stage attributes'. Like a platform in four parts for Welis's drum kit, on which we installed a home-made gallows. The gallows supported an old record player, attached upside down, to which we glued a foam plastic ball covered (by ourselves) with pieces of a broken (by ourselves) mirror. We plugged in the record player, pointed a powerful bright construction site spot light at it, and voilà: disco ball! Also, we draped an enormous fishing net over the drum kit. (very, very 'seventies' all of this!), which actually became something of a life saver, as you can image the damage a foam plastic ball loosely covered with razor sharp mirror fragments can do to a drummer's head when it comes tumbling down... (and tumbling down it came, oh yes, it did ...)
And all of this, you see, was in day's work...

Over the second half of 1974, while I entered my final year in high school, James really started to take shape. Or rather: continuously was changing shape, as we had gotten into the habit of immediately restructuring all of it, each time we needed to accommodate newly acquired gadgets and instruments. So we did, and re-did, and re-did James's 'first part', of which there are many, many versions, recorded during rehearsals, to be found on the tapes in my box, each one usually unrecognizably different from the others, and each one duly marked 'preliminary' ... and most of these versions emerged in the span of a period of just a couple of months. No kidding! I really think we were fast getting pretty good at what we were doing - in a 'pre-punk DIY' sort of way... [ James v1.1 (extracts), James v2.1 (extract) ]
But then where was all of this leading up to? I don't think any one of us had a clue. Of course there was no foreseeable way that we ever would be able to 'finish', in whatever way, this James-thing of ours. And as we passed into 1975, and I seriously started to prepare my exams, all of it, quite naturally, began to somewhat slow down. At least, that's what I think. As a matter of fact, much of that year and the one that followed have become something of a blank in my mind. These for me are years with a whole lotta holes ... Bretagne Really. I know that "Quirass" continued to rehearse and play in the Neerharen 'garden house'. Quite a lot, still [ RonkNRoll ] ... That we did concerts. Of course I remember that I passed my final examinations. And that I failed my driving test. That with all of the band's members and 'crew' that summer we went on a sun, sea and cheapo wine holiday on the coast of French Brittany [ Ile des oiseaux (Bretagne) ]. That we did a speedy set on the amateur stage of the Jazz Bilzen festival, for the first time through a 'real PA' [ "Oefening baart kunst" ]. And that, even though at the time I would hardly have admitted it, least of all to myself, I was utterly confused and uncertain about what direction 'my life', which would have to 'start' any day now, should take.

I moved to Amsterdam, at the end of 1975's summer, to study physics. There was no way, though, that, willingly, at that point I would have broken up the band. Which would have been the sensible thing to do, I guess. But it is as with the box of tapes that I kept on my shelves for all of these years. There was simply too much of our 'adolescent souls' that all of us, but undoubtedly me most of all, had poured into this 'project'. To me it was too much of a life line. I really could not give it up. I guess I was afraid to give it up. (Tomorrow I will go and see my analyst. I swear! ... ;-) ...)
So I continued to rail or hitchhike back to Maastricht from Amsterdam, every friday evening, mainly to be able to spend the weekend with the band.
It was Boudewijn - I don't remember precisely when, but it must've been in the autumn of that year - who finally cut the umbilical cord. He had had enough. He wanted out.
There surely were several reasons for that. For one, now he had entered his final year at high school. And of course we were drifting apart. How could we not? Also, Boudewijn's family had other plans for their 'garden house'... And then I guess another reason would've been the 'darker side', that somehow within 'the band' was represented by Welis. The drink and drugs and psychedelics thing, the 'skid row flirting' that Boudewijn - maybe rightly so - could not relate to. Well, we should ask him... in fact, the 'reason' will have been the usual tangle of many's...
But boy, did this make me feel bad! Though still: I would not hear of giving in... Touché, but no knock-out. I was determined to find others to play in the band, and continue the 'project'.
Kommel I put an ad in the local newspaper for a rehearsal space, then got offered and rented an enormous dark and damp cellar, some sort of empty wine cave, on the Kommel, in the center of Maastricht. So we moved all of our stuff down there, and went 'underground' ...
That was a pretty nonsensical thing to do. And an expensive one. But I still seemed to be convinced that there was something that needed finishing...
Knebbelke was the next one to get out, soon after we had moved into our cave. And even though this was something that I had seen coming, it made me feel even worse... but still to no avail ... I did continue, stubbornly. With Peter Claessens taking over the keyboards, and singing. Then with Constant Vogels on bass ... Peter and I started writing songs together. No more James, and in a way, that was sort of a relief. Refreshing, and not bad, really. But of course the 'band' would never be the same again. It just started to drag on. And on. Through 1975, then way into 1976. Of much of it I have hardly any more memories at all.

We did move out of the cave, though, eventually. And then I rented yet another space, in a garage or a shed next to a house in some suburb. We continued to go there, and play. Me, Welis, Peter and Constant. But we started to leave sooner. Go home, smoke dope, do speed, drop acid, make weird drawings and hand around a typewriter to hammer down deep thoughts. The playing got less ... and less ... and less ... until it just faded away.

I guess I never really broke up "Quirass". Or did I? ... Okay. Let's say: I didn't have to... It had been done already.

Harold Schellinx - Amsterdam/Paris, october 24-30, 2004
(©, all rights reserved)

Notes

  1. I never again played any music with members of the 'Quirass gang', with the exception of Welis, who, on one memorable occasion in Amsterdam, in december 1978, fell in for the drummer of Presse Papier, my then Amsterdam band, for the duration of an 'instant mini-opera' concert in club 'Oktopus'. Welis lived for several years not far from me in the same Amsterdam neighborhood (de Pijp). He continued to hit the kit and toured the Dutch club circuit extensively in the early 1980's with l'Attentat, together with Peter Claessens, who in the period of "Quirass"'s final convulsions (1976) had taken the place of Boudewijn Tulkens. Welis and I do continue to see each other once every so many years, usually by sheer chance; it has been a quite while now, though.
    It was also by chance that one day in the late 1970's I came across Boudewijn in the streets of Amsterdam. That day we had a tea together in my (squatted) apartment. I haven't seen him, nor heard from him, ever since. I do know he still lives in Belgium, just across the border with Maastricht. I met Knebbelke again, a couple of years ago, when he and his second wife visited Paris for a weekend to celebrate their anniversary.
    I lost all contact with the many other people that at some point or other were involved in the 'project'. With the exception of my brother Ivo, who still is living in Maastricht. He's doing fine.
  2. As to the origin of the name "Quirass": we were living in a suburb of Maastricht in a street called de Kurasruwe. The English translation of the Dutch word 'kuras' is 'cuirass'; I wrote a q instead of a c, probably to get something less 'evident', and maybe also because I thought that the q looked more interesting.
    It was only many years later, with the band already long dead and gone, that someone pointed out the pretty obvious reading of the name as 'Queer Ass' ... [grin] ... Ha! Interesting! I wished I had thought of that myself ... but, hey!, was I not far too innocent at the time to have been able to come up with this on purpose? ... ;-)
  3. I dedicate this page and week to the memory of my father, who, in the stormy midst of all of this, suddenly passed away, on june 6th, 1974.
Quirass menneke

Listen to the "Quirass Tapes" as one continuous stream! (recommended!) .... s


Listen to and/or download the individual tracks:

  1. X-Ic
  2. Eerste drum solo
  3. X-III
  4. Himmlisch (thema)
  5. X-IIa
  6. Himmlisch (live)
  7. James v1.1 (extracts)
  8. The American Metaphysical Circus (J. Byrd)
  9. "China en de omringende landen"
  10. Ile des oiseaux (piano)
  11. Ile des oiseaux (Bretagne)
  12. James v2.1 (extract)
  13. RonkNRoll
  14. "Oefening baart kunst"

I do not know anymore who, except for me and my brother, were involved in the making of the 'tape-pieces' X-Ic, X-IIa, X-III. They were recorded at my parents' house in Maastricht, some time in 1973.
The Eerste drum solo is by Noël Penders, recorded in the 'garden house' in Neerharen, late 1973.
Himmlisch (thema) is played by me and Boudewijn, recorded in the 'garden house' in Neerharen, late 1973.
Himmlisch (live) was recorded, absolutely live, in Zaal St. Lambertus in Maastricht, on february 9th, 1974. Boudewijn is singing, playing clarinet and rhythm guitar, Knebbelke plays the bass, Noël Penders is the drummer and I'm doing the lead guitar.
James v1.1 (extracts) are extracts from a complete recording of a first version of the first part of our 'She's completely upset. James! Won't you help her?', done on october 25th, 1974, in the 'garden house' in Neerharen, Belgium. Boudewijn is playing saxophone, clarinet and rhythm guitar, Welis is the drummer, Knebbelke plays the bass, I'm singing and doing the lead guitar. The 'tape-outro' was taken from a Dutch documentary record on the NASA Apollo-11 mission.
The American Metaphyscial Circus is sort of an 'instant adaptation' of the song with the same title, written by J. Byrd, from the album 'The United States of America' (CBS Records, 1968). It was recorded on cassette in august 1973, underneath a bridge in Wasserbillig, Luxemburg. I am singing and playing acoustic guitar. My brother Ivo is making the footsteps and he does the awesome horror movie shouts imitation. The really, really close listener may hear our mother calling out his name, just before the tape-outro, which is the outro of the song as it appears on the album mentioned above, copied and pasted at the end of our cassette recording.
"China en de omringende landen" starts off with some puffing sounds played on an old harmonium, probably recorded in Zaal St. Lambertus, just before the start of our 'concert' of february 9th, 1974. The recording was made on a tape that Welis had used before to learn his geography lessons (if I remember rightly, he recorded the lessons in order to play them back while he was sleeping). The drunk 'carnival' session that follows a remaining fragment of these lessons has Welis drumming and (together with the rest of us) singing local carnival classics, while Boudewijn takes on a trumpet. Recorded in the 'garden house' in Neerharen, probably on a carnival evening early 1974.
Ile des oiseaux (piano) is a 'work in progress' recording of a 'new tune' that I made at home in Maastricht, late summer 1974. Humming, tapping and playing the piano.
Ile des oiseaux (Bretagne) is a montage - made for the occasion of this 'retrospective' - of fragments of a (covert) recording of an almost-fight (about, in some's opinion, others' excessive drinking, and about: matches, 'zwegele' in dialect), accompanied by the playing of 'Ile des oiseaux' by Boudewijn and me on acoustic guitars; all of it originally recorded on cassette during the 'band's holiday' in French Brittany, in the summer of 1975.
James v2.1 (extract) is part of a complete recording of a second version of the first part of our 'She's completely upset. James! Won't you help her?', done on november 30th, 1974, in the 'garden house' in Neerharen. Boudewijn is playing keyboards and saxophone, Welis is the drummer, Knebbelke plays the bass, I'm playing the guitar.
RonkNRoll is a short wildish improvisation, recorded in the summer of 1975 in the 'garden house' in Neerharen. I'm making some guitar noises, Welis is drumming, Knebbelke plays the bass, Boudewijn the saxophone.
"Oefening baart kunst" is a mini-interview with Knebbelke and Boudewijn (the reporter asked them "Why do you make music?"), shortly after our set on the amateur stage of the Jazz Bilzen festival, in Bilzen, Belgium, in the summer of 1975. I recorded it from the radio, were it was broadcasted as part of an emission of the VPRO program 'Tilt', dedicated to the festival. In the background you hear "Quirass" live on the Bilzen stage. We're doing the 'band-version' of Ile des oiseaux.


Except for Ile des oiseaux (Bretagne), which is a recent stereo-montage made from the original mono cassette tape, all recordings are MONO (the digital file encodings are stereo, though). Thanks to Wijnand de Groot, who was kind enough to digitalize many of the badly degraded "Quirass Tapes" for me (and much more besides, but those are different stories), in his Amsterdam WHS-studio, in november 1997.


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[ august 2008 ] ... Get a Quirass CD-cover from the 'Maastricht Moet Je Horen' site, to burn and package your own Quirass CD ... Quirass Moet Je Horen ...