1977

These were the heydays of punk, glam rock and the maximum comfort of Western living.The Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk, Can, Faust, Fripp & Eno, Pere Ubu and a wide variety of mainstream artists pounded the world with their personal pinnacles of artistic brilliance.

The line of fissure to global electronic existence was eminent.Big Brother gained ground and there were only seven more years till doomsday. A-bomb mass-rally’s and anarchist movements roamed the streets.

These were the sale-days of endless series of poly- and monophonic synthesizers, arpeggiators, sequencers, drum boxes, digi modifiers, metal distortions, big muffs, Nikkei exchange rates and inscrutable trade-in values.

In the heart of The Hague, at a squatted anarchistic stronghold called “Bamboulee” Paulus Wieland and Richard Neumöller hooked up with whiz technician Ton Willekes.

Bamboulee

Bamboulee premesis

The years that followed they ‘ld experiment with as many electronic gadgets and tape recorders they could get their hands on. Almost compulsively registering just about every sound and idea they came across.

Ton, Richard

Willekes and Neumöller


After they had moved to the dunes of Wassenaar, these ‘music crazed, angry young men’,on the 12th of august 1978, founded a company called;
“Ensemble Pittoresque”.

 

1979

At their squatted cottage near the coast, they created sounds and scapes, which at first mostly pleased just themselves*.

huisje, Wassenaarse Slag 8 track echo

"het Huisje" and some equipment all looking in the same direction


However, after some public try-outs and side projects, they set their minds on an independent release of their own.
From the latest ideas of about twenty hours of material, they compiled their first album, ‘For this is past’.

At the heart of three of the recordings, “Reichsdorf room 6”, “Building Brains” and “Auratorium” an ingenious invention of Ton Willekes allowed them to use one of four tracks to trigger the TR-808 and TB-303.
This way it became possible to combine ‘three track tape loops’ with “live” playing electronics, so only vocals and guitars had to be added during mastering.

 

Spring 1983

After a long wait, the three friends rode of to Belgium to get their firstborn home.From then on things picked up. They hooked up with distributor Boudisque and the record got airplay. Interviews added to publicity, bookings paid better money and overall live conditions improved.With bigger fees came better PA’s and publicity.
To overcome a lack of dynamics on stage, Neumöller and Wieland turned to three fellow musicians;Ed van Hoven, Marion Prinz and Biko.

EP 2

from L to R: Ed Richard Paulus Marion and Biko

From then on, the music was backed by real live performance and many times, public response confirmed the band’s enthusiasm.
The gruesome throbbing “new funk bass of precision” that Ed van Hoven played

Ed, Berlin

Ed in East-Berlin subway

opened new ways for E.P. to explore.

Neumöller recalls: "One of the most embarassing experiences from that period was the media hype that followed from the VPRO television with their leading pop guru Bram van Splunteren. They made a documentary about all bands from Wassenaar and tried to make them look like millionair kids not knowing what to do with their privileges"

Time Out, VPRO
The infamous VPRO session in Time Out, Wassenaar

At home, Richard Neumöller used “the sync system” and his Sony TC-D5M to combine pre-fab tracks with several different drum patterns and triggered synths.This way the outline of new songs would be prepared in advance and the band could develop them, performing on stage.
Touring the alternative clubs of Holland the group turned into a tight act and layed ground for several songs on their second album. Among their most memorable live gigs there were; ‘the autumn colors festival’ in the Metropol in Berlin. Other gigs in: Maegher Goet in Gent, de Melkweg in Amsterdam, de Piek in Vlissingen and de Klos in Emmeloord.

Willekes recalls: " I never fancied the live performance part as an artist or group member. They had to persuade me to go with them to Berlin to do the live mix. It was a great experience but we also saw the dark side of stardom. What's the fun of playing all around the world every day in another town you don't know waiting for things to come ? We saw Simon Gallup and his band Fools Dance that played at the same festival boring themselves drinking free beer all day. And after the gig Jan Douwe Kroeske who travelled with us as our part-time manager had to stay up the whole night waiting for our money to come in "

Metropol, Berlin, Autumn Colors
The Metropol in Berlin

Summer 1984

While the group was busy working on their second album “Frequenz” their manager booked them for a group presentation called D-day, in ‘Paradiso’ Amsterdam.

Socia Media, Frequenz

SociaMedia studio live recording Frequenz

Control Room, Socia Media, Frequenz

Control room SociaMedia ( note the Akai 4 track on the left used for tape-loops)

 

So, on day four, in the middle of the recording sessions, the group was supposed to pack their gear, get on the bus, briefly sound check and perform, alongside two of the youngest, promising, non electronic Amsterdam live bands of that moment. ( one of those bands being Claw boys Claw )

They were the first act.Murphy’s law struck like clockwork. The error levels couldn’t have been more ominous. Because of one faulty connector in the sync system the whole band stood like frozen on stage.
The audience became impatient and the mindset of the band hit rock bottom.Beer was thrown, the crowd smelled blood and something snapped. The reviews that followed burned EP to the ground.


After the release of ‘Frequenz’ which got pretty good reviews in ‘Oor’ en ‘Vinyl’ they set out to promote the album at the youth centers of Holland, but something had changed.
From the initial enthusiasm of the band, very little was left.

Wieland, Willekes and Neumöller had drifted apart musically and couldn’t take the step to a more professional approach together anymore.


The band officially split up at

the end of 1984