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11 min read 🤓

Awesome Foursomes (i - No. 019)

june 21, 2021

So yes, yes! The b.ookoi. It's—as many of you will know by now—the name of the labyrinthian and encyclopaedic printed-on-paper book_work_2_b that the ookoi currently are composing, writing, editing, covering all of their acts, works and proceedings from the very early 1980's onwards, in 210 = 1024 chronologically numbered but randomly ordered paragraphs.

In the late 1970's / early 1980's the ookoi, as part of The Young Lions, were at the very heart of the Dutch ULTRA scene.
As 😎 + 😎 = ..., when the counters of our West's calendars' passing years turned up a second triple zero, a next 000, they re-invented themselves as a green-dressed performing two-some who, apart from a wealth of intriguing sounds, musics and a series of remarkable video-pieces, produced a number of iPhone apps and other hi-tech gadgets, most of which (due to continuous OS updatings and stuff) after ever lesser time became obsolete.

The b.ookoi will document all of it and more, along with many a juicy story picked from decades of the duo's (un)doings, almost always (and not so much by choice, I'd say, as by destiny, haha) far from their contemporaries' spotlights. This fact, by the way, will, I sincerely do think, for a large part make up the true interest of their story...

As a sounding companion, there's stduio.bandcamp.com.

Over the coming months, on Stduio@Bandcamp we'll showcase a series of 'awesome foursomes': each of them consisting in a set of 4 tracks of about average pop hit duration, picked from the vast catalogue of musics that the ookoi, as a duo, individually, or in one or other of their wide range of collaborations and projects, recorded somewhere (sic) between 1971 and today.


There are 4 awesomes up there right now, for starters... Do go and have a peek! We'll be awfully happy would you be willing to follow us there or elsewhere, whenever (sic) your long & winding path might cross ours...


A new number every month!

Our plan is to add a new 'awesome foursome' each Thursday preceding the first Friday of a month (Bandcamp Friday, haha, let's see if we'll manage to harvest an extra dime or two for our piggy bank! [Voyons si on arrive à récolter quelques centimes de plus pour notre tirelire !]), starting on Thursday August 5th of this year. We will not stop doing so until all of the b.ookoi has been written and published. Hey, isn' that something to look forward to?! 😏

Main point of course is that [al die stukjes zwangeren van de verhalen] all these tracks are pregnant with stories, and they are all pieces in the big puzzle that makes up the b.ookoi tale (and, to extend a bit the allegory: we know that no matter how hard we'll try, the puzzle will always remain incomplete... however, many an intriguing picture will emerge while we struggle to put it together [terwijl we 'm aan het leggen zijn]...!) So, as to give you a taste of what is forthcoming, we are going to tell, hint, bring and/or refer you to some of these stories here on the soundblog.

« Because the sounds evoke words, and the words do the sounds, round and round and round and rounds... »

No. 019

1. Tafel 21 [ookoi]

A track from the ookoi's classic Tafelmuziek / Muziektafel (2004) CD, kicks off our evolving anthology. It was edited from the large quantity of material that the space-time warping duo recorded on and around the vast Henk Vos table, provided to them to that very purpose as part of their first residency at the Archipel Medialab (an appendix to the then gallery/hotel Dit Eiland run by Timo Mank in the village of Hollum) on the Dutch waddeneiland Ameland, out of sight and far away from the buzz and the hype (and the audience and the money, haha :) of (pretty much all of) the Dutch and global art and music scene(ry), between May 22n and May 28th 2004. But then, we may have thought or even told ourselves: what still meant 'far', at the dawning of the cyber-age? The continuing percussive hitting of notes on a cheap electronic (midi?) keyboard at the beginning and the end of this Tafel 21 unintentionally but unmistakably bridges a 20+ year time-gap: that with early uptempo Young Lions tracks; then there is the noisily, slowly wavering and almost-but-not-yet-shrieking note that fpcm continues to draw from his clarinet. It pierces a wispy cloud [een wattige wolk] of vague electronic bubbles through which the electric guitar wanders, following a line, concatenating single notes that keep on changing rhythm, though always stay within the same, rather strict, confines, like babbling water in a mountain stream, going little bits up and down, slightly changing intervals and expression... Maybe looking for that single one variation that will overshadow all the others? Or unable to decide, not what it is that's being said, but the way in which to say it?

2. Trust Us [Har$, feat. Darwintunes]

'Trust Us' is a fully industrialised track, inspired by our friend Michael Ghent's installation of the same name at Mains d'Œuvres (a cultural centre in Saint-Ouen, a Parisian suburb), in January 2016. It was generated using the iPad application Audio Palette, in which I ran previously made recordings of synthetic voices (one female, one male) that recite the found propaganda (from a list of commercial and religious motto's and slogans) that Michael for his installation sculpted letter by letter in cardboard (using a small mountain worth of trashed and found commercial packagings that he collected in the streets), along with a selection of the Darwintunes-loops that I harvested and collected in the years that this fun and interesting project (a 'musical variation-selection engine') was active. For quite a long time I—intermittently but regularly—played this musical online 'breeding game', and saved and collected the species and successive generations of tunes that I thus made. Notice the interesting interpretation / pronunciation of the few French words in the text, by the 'trained on English' computer voices. The French maintenant became 'main tenant', de dieu que dieu: 'the do kay do', or 'dew kè dew'... The 'lo-fi' musical canvas—the Darwintunes—in the mix was pushed/compressed to continuously linger on the edge of distortion, which makes for the 'no-time-to-breath' rush-hour interplay, tout le temps, tout le temps, on the verge of collapse. Like out here in the real world. Lemming-like. Both in form and in content, 'Trust Us' makes for an evident anti-capitalist hymn. It is one of the rare tunes in the catalogue that we might deem to be explicitly political:

"In God we trust. Trademark. Safer. Smarter. Dollars. Believe. Make profit. Make progress. For a better world!"

3. Spiked Drinks 2 [Signs & Symptoms]

Ah!!!—Signs & Symptoms...! The—oooooh!—koi avant-la-lettre...! In the summer of 1980 the then Young Lions fpcm and Har$ experimented with the live-looping set-up that they deciphered from the diagram on the back cover of Brian Eno's Discreet Music album. Not with 'professional' Revox tape machines, but using their working man's Akai reel-to-reel recorders. For these, in comparaison, were cheap. And yes, there was a substantial stretch of time in some of last century's decades—1960's, 1970's—during which the fast growing consumer-audio industry imagined and promoted a world-to-be where next to a radio, a television set, a record player and a washing machine every household would own a reel-to-reel tape playback and recording machine, for playing back music, but also—and especially!— to allow the modal western post-WWII family-boomers to record, track and document the sounding history of their golden years, their living times...)———The Akai's fell in that category and therefore were affordable.———)... I bought mine second hand from my friend Mick Deutz, Pressepapier's bass player, for (I'm pretty sure it was) 250 guilders. At the time, this was about half of the monthly budget that I disposed of for covering all my living costs in the Amsterdam of those days. It was a no-brainer investment, though: the Akai reel-to-reels were the machines that in the 'Lions' years' constituted the heart of our home studio's.
We did a number of these frippertronics sessions, all of them 'one-reel-tape long', in my squatted one room apartment in the Amsterdam Quellijnstraat, and in Peter's etage in the Van Hogendorpstraat. We then mixed and mastered a selection of fragments from these tapes in the four-track demo-studio that was part of Oktopus, a youth centre on the Keizersgracht (the same place where only weeks later, in the basement turned performance-space, the series of weekly ULTRA-concerts would start). For a short but fruitful and creative period of time I was granted to use that studio 'off hours' free of any monetary charges. We soon after released our final selection, with a few overdubs, as a very limited edition cassette (10, 20, maybe 30 copies?), all hand packaged by fpcm. We baptised the album Signs & Symptoms, a title that we took from a hardcover book that both of us had bought, on separate occasions, at book store De Slegte, where big piles of it then were remaindered: Survival in the City, by Anthony Greenbank.
Signs & Symptoms re-surfaced during the, in hindsight, hopelessly naive early (pre-Web 2.0 and pre-social media leeches) web-music days, as a 'press-on-demand' D.A.M. (Digital Audio Music) CD at mp3.com (of which in all 20 copies were made). Meanwhile already, but not only, because of its age a true classic, the album currently is available as a well-documented digital download at Bandcamp's.
With its spiky pumping bass, the ongoing metallic rattling of a high-end electric guitar string, and the interweaving of evolving simple melodies played on the Korg MS20—including something close to Vader Jacob (Frère Jacques, Brother John)—the Spiked Drinks Two is one of the Signs & Symptoms tracks that borders on 'minimal postpunk disco'; thus unique in its own right, and once well ahead of its time. As many years ago a user called beez23 on an mp3.com message board observed: "It's people like you that bring a new era to music. Maybe in the future everyone will have those type beats!"
So go hear the future! Listen close & long enough! If it wedges your appetite for Spiked Drinks, too, do not forget to check what Greenbank had to say on the topic, in his Survival in the City :

« If you suspect your drink is spiked...(1) put his hand around your glass (2) place YOUR hand on his glass (3) explain the ritual whereby two people toast each other by linking arms and each swallowing the other's drink (4) crook your arm round his elbow, still holding the drink (5) see if he baulks as you sip. »

spiked drinks

4. Being in this room [Har​$​, feat. Helga Byrne and Tom Astor]

Immediately post-Ultra, in the years 1981 and 1982, I spent most of my time in London, mainly struggling to survive there with no or little money. I had met and befriended Tom Astor and his then girlfriend Helga Byrne. Together we spent a lot of night-time watching movies on VHS-tape, and just a little less of daytime trying to imagine and record music to go with the lyrics of which I continued to type out always slightly different versions on Tom's typewriter. "This," I said, "is what Helga will sing!" Helga herself was more hesitant, and always insisted not being a singer, neither wanting to become one. But ever since one evening that we—for a reason that I completely forgot, so maybe there was none—recorded a very minimal version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight on Tom's four track TEAC machine, I was totally convinced otherwise.
Being in this room is one of two tracks that the three of us recorded early 1982, in the night from Tuesday January 19th to Wednesday January 20th, in an 8-track studio in Kingston-upon-Thames that was called either Ark or Hark Recording, in the cellar of a record (or music or both) store on Fairfield Road. To get inside the studio space, we had to climb down a steep wooden ladder through some hatch, that I think I remember covered a hole in the shop's floor. It was the same studio where later that year (September/October) Ronald Heiloo and I recorded, mixed and mastered our Commuters EP with Dagmar Krause.
Tom played bass, I had my guitar and sat down at the studio's acoustic piano. Maybe we also recorded some drums, but in the final mix, at the dawn of a new day, I had the recording engineer strip away much of what we had recorded, until little more than the piano and Helga's voice remained. I have no useful memory about the why or the wherefrom of the few lines that make up the short lyrics. Nothing much musical was prepared beforehand; the bare, melancholic tune and all the rest were improvised that very night, early on the Wednesday morning; we were tired, drunk, stoned or—most likely—all of it ensemble. These were strange times...
I still like Helga's singing a lot. After all these years I maybe even like it more. Soft, clear, without pretense, just the words, expressed with a little hesitation... Oh, and yes, of course you will ask, but I have not the slightest idea what became of her. Last time I met Tom (that's also quite some years ago, when he was still running his high-end recording studio in London, where hit records of Britpop bands the like of Blur were recorded and produced), I think I remember he mentioned Helga was travelling the world. In a mobile home. It did not surprise me much.


To receive updates on the ookoi's b.ookoi's progress and related events and activities, follow Stduio on Bandcamp!

Bandcamp is the platform that we prefer by far, but you can also listen to Stduio ookoi's No. 019 on some of the principal streaming music platforms, like YouTube Music or Spotify ... :


The b.ookoi are coming!


next up on b.ookoi:Awesome Foursomes (ii)

Read about the ookoi elsewhere:
ANNUAL, 1, december 2023 (Korm Plastics) - Green-tainted hyperbole, quailish quirks and summer-flies. The inscrutable genius of the ookoi.
eContact! 21.2, july 2023 - Towards an Unhearable Music. Conceptualism in the ookoi's art.
Gonzo #88, september/october 2008 - Zelfcomponerende Klankstukken

Read about the ookoi and Raudio and Stduio on the SoundBlog:
(2023, december 31) - d.ookoi writes b.ookoi (ii) - A Year in the Rear (2023)
(2023, december 16+) - Awesome Foursomes (xi) - No. 178
(2023, december 16+) - Awesome Foursomes (x) - No. 789
(2023, december 16+) - Awesome Foursomes (ix) - No. 329
(2023, august 20) - Three days of residency at Les Ateliers Claus, Brussels
(2022, april 25) - Awesome Foursomes (viii) - No. 664
(2022, march 31) - Awesome Foursomes (vii) - No. 138
(2022, february 20) - Awesome Foursomes (vi) - No. 419
(2021, november 01) - Awesome Foursomes (v) - No. 954
(2021, august 20) - Awesome Foursomes (iv) - No. 793
(2021, july 18) - Awesome Foursomes (iii) - No. 562
(2021, july 09) - Awesome Foursomes (ii)- No. 284
(2021, june 21) - Awesome Foursomes (i) - No. 019
(2021, may 31) - d.ookoi writes b.ookoi (i)
(2020, january 26) - STDUIO Arti: aLife @Hal-fIve
(2020, january 25) - STDUIO Arti: The LⒶst Weekend
(2019, march 03) - ookoi 2.0: the remake of a spect[r]al b[r]and
(2017, april 12) - 1024
(2015, march 07) - The men once in green are now writing a book!
(2014, may 09) - You are NOT Hier!
(2013, july 03) - How to keep devils away
(2013, may 06) - Next Numbr!
(2012, june 24) - Ninja Fruit Plus Instruments
(2012, may 06) - Y.3 = Yltra !
(2012, may 06) - Our final gig / Ons laatste optreden
(2010, may 23) - 'Raise the trumpet, sound the drum'
(2010, april 02) - [Second Life and WudyWudy]
(2010, january 05) - ookoi: onderood
(2009, november 17) - Soli Deo Gloria !
(2009, october 10) - Project Icarus OST
(2009, august 24) - ookoi ShakeNRoll
(2009, july 18) - Pure . Reactive . Music . Hack Day
(2009, april 07) - "Blood and Bottom" (Raudi0GaGa)
(2009, february 21) - Insular arithmetic (ookoi toont)
(2009, january 31) - A glimpse of Heesbeen
(2009, january 15) - Rien à voir
(2008, october 02) - The right to be slow
(2008, june 06) - Raudio Graffiti: almost live !
(2008, february 24) - The Great Washing
(2007, december 04) - I'm an island
(2007, november 20) - Live Beyond the Paradiso, Amsterdam
(2007, september 04) - leve ookoi! (3)
(2007, august 22) - leve ookoi! (2)
(2007, august 12) - leve ookoi! (1)
(2007, april 12) - Back to Berlin [Raudio 11/15]
(2007, march 24) - Vicky, Killers and Avatars
(2007, february 15) - Every presentation is a premiere
(2007, january 25) - 1024 Waarden, by ookoi
(2007, january 19) - Preparations for a Second Life
(2006, november 05) - Cellarlar Heroes
(2006, october 20) - Funky shit
(2006, august 14) - placard : la générale
(2006, july 07) - de-'tails of lite house keeping'
(2006, may 06) - jam karet?
(2006, april 04) - 100+ new (r)audio philes ... [3] [Raudio 07]
(2006, march 20) - raudio @cosman's
(2006, march 12) - 100+ new (r)audio philes ... [2] [Raudio 07]
(2006, march 03) - 100+ new (r)audio philes ... [1] [Raudio 07]
(2005, october 12) - Raudio #06 [Raudio 06]
(2005, september 25) - 0 OK, 0:1, life on ze road
(2005, july 31) - Outside - Inside Paradiso
(2005, june 18) - Sand-Y da-Y #5-7 [Raudio 05]
(2005, june 05) - Sand-Y :: da-Y #04 - da birds
(2005, may 26-24) - Sand-Y :: da-Y #03, #02, #01 - Crew cut ; "The truth is out here" ; ::
(2005, may 14) - 9 Beet Stretch [Raudio Special]
(2005, march 31) - Raudio #04 :: "GespRek 1982-2005" [Raudio 04]
(2005, february 10) - raudio #3 (drie/three) [Raudio 03]
(2004, december 08) - pure sound [Raudio 02]
(2004, november 24) - other, and good news! [Raudio 01]
(2004, october 10) - raudio launched
(2004, september 24) - made in ameland
(2004, june 09) - boyzz buzz # listen!global corpus
(2004, may 20-31) - >∞-îl_o_tré

Read some of the ookoi's papers in pdf:
(2014) - Localized Sounds, Sounding Locations.
Presented at the International Symposium "Locative Media and Sound Art", Kortrijk (be)
(2007) - ookoi - Uptime Publishing Demonstration. (With Jay Needham.)

ookoi - The works:
(2015—now) :: writing b.ookoi: pick a number!
(2017) Weekly, 10'24" :: ookoi dooki podcast
(2014) HIER - iPhone app, 4 track album of localized Future Popp
(2013) Y ¬ Y.1024 (HTML5 web app)
(2013) Wandelzand - iPhone app, soundwalk for the Dutch isle of Ameland
(2012) Palm Top Theatre V2
(2010) WudyWudy, machina movie, filmed in Second Life by Evo Szuyuan (trailer)
(2009) ookoi_@_E@rport, Amsterdam - channel 19 of the RAUDIO IIIII streaming audio art iThing app
(2009) ShakeNRoll, Project Icarus OST - scenes for the RJDJ reactive music iPhone platform
(2009) iRingg®, iPhone ringtones
(2009) 2525 (video)
(2008) L'Ecoute - public space screen video
(2008) Jam Karet I & Jam Karet IV - pocket movies
(2007) Live beyond the Paradiso (USB-stick data-dump)
(2007) Leve ookoi! - channel 16 of the RAUDIO IIIII streaming audio art iThing app
(2007) 1024 (DVD)
(2007) 1024 Waarden - flash animation
(2006) "Roam Stroam" - channel 12 of the RAUDIO IIIII streaming audio art iThing app
(2006) Tijdrekken - flash animation
(2005) Sand-Y (Zandoog) - channel 7 of the RAUDIO IIIII streaming audio art iThing app
(2004) Muziektafel-Tafelmuziek (CD)
(1980) Signs and Symptoms

Read about ULTRA on the SoundBlog:

(2012, june 24) - A Night at the Museum [ One big sweep, from ULTRA-modern to post-experimental (iv) ]
(2012, may 06) - Y.3 = YltrA! [ One big sweep, from ULTRA-modern to post-experimental (iii) ]
(2012, may 03) - One big sweep, from ULTRA-modern to post-experimental (ii)
(2012, april 02) - One big sweep, from ULTRA-modern to post-experimental (i)
(2011, december 24) - Touching base

Read about ULTRA in Gonzo (Circus) [Dutch]:

Gonzo #108, maart/april 2012 - Ultra
An English translation of this Gonzo-essay is available on Medium:
(2023, december 30) ULTRA, in Times of Panic.

tags: ookoi, b.ookoi, ULTRA

# .508.

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