FNTC ‘Opera’ k7, 1987
Staaltape Documentatie Serie
01 Opera part I (29:18)
02 Opera part II (33:14)
Cora Emens: voice
Nicole Veldman: voice
Hessel Veldman: synthesizer (and cello?)
Willem De Ridder: electronics and voice
John Rose: violin
Ben Uijtjens: recording & mix
Above: Hessel Veldman, Cora Emens, Nicole Veldman
& Willem De Ridder, ca mid 1980s.
Arguably the most famous episode in the All Chemix Radio radioplays series (see previous month’s posts #1, 2 and 3 for info), ‘Opera’ was reissued shortly after it was created in 1986, in the dutch tape label Staaltape Documentatie series. It’s also the radioplay that launched the series, according to De Ridder’s description on this page. According to Cora Emens ‘FNTC and the Fanatic started after I was invited to do a live radio broadcast. I invited Willem de Ridder, my lover at that time and hometapers Hessel and Nicole Veldman to accompagny me. Willem was the one who aired my music on national Ducth radio. We became friends and lovers and parents’. ‘FANATIC’ was a fanzine as well, but this is when De Ridder started producing experimental radioplays with music, before christening it All Chemix Radio.
Here’s how New American Radio introduces the play:
Actually, it looks like two 30mns episodes. The A side is a massive progressive accumulation of dark electronic and concrete sounds along whispering voices by FNTC members Cora Emens, Nicole and Hessel Veldman, Willem De Ridder. The tape is aptly named ‘Opera’ since this is indeed a work for voices. Very much like a Dante’s Inferno soundtrack, featuring trapped and suffering individuals trying to escape.
The B side has John Rose’s amazing violin playing conspicuously on the forefront of the mix. The first 15mns is a quiet building up soundscape made of wind-like electronic sounds and subdued violin. At 16:00, the violin playing start getting really weird along De Ridder’s falsetto voice improvising a kind of aria. Other voices join shortly after, singing obscure syllables only (the all release doesn’t have a single word in it). At 22:00, the violin is the prominent feature, maybe rerecorded on several tracks – ‘Opera’ is said to be recorded on a 24 track professional studio by sound engineer Ben Uijtjens. Reverb drenched mysterious female chanting complete this episode, one of the best in the series. No doubt the kind of achievement he got with ‘Opera’ made De Ridder want to offer it as a regular feature.
Downlaod this gem.