01 Encoded Message (44:49)
Willem De Ridder: narration, field recordings
- Willem De Ridder was born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, October 14, 1939 – though other sources mention Amsterdam as a birth place. So, yes, 2009 is his 70th birthday. Encoded Message was recorded in 1979, when De Ridder was living in Italy with Annie Sprinkle. De Ridder was fleeing the United States after receiving death threats from Charles Manson, offended by a sex magazine De Ridder published there. De Ridder and Sprinkle lived at their friend’s Prince Maximilian Lobckowicz di Filiangieri villa, whose partner was US sexologist Susan Block. During the late-1970s, De Ridder was creating scary radio shows based on narration and real people re-telling scary situations, like in his ‘Deathly Fear Therapy’ program (see paper clip above and PS below). Encoded Message is in somewhat similar vein. It’s an atmospheric, spoken episode with minimal background sounds. Very striking use of speaking-in-tongues around the 18mns mark, in a dialogue with a children – I could not help compare this with Tony Schwartz’s own children recordings. I guess the purpose of this episode is to keep the listener captivated by the mere use of dramatized narration and mysterious anecdotes, though the story-telling itself doesn’t seem to go anywhere actually.
02 Radio Rabotnik (43:41)
Cora Emens: voice
Nicole Veldman: voice
Hessel Veldman: synthesizer and cello
Willem De Ridder: electronics and voice
Recorded ca 1983-1986
- Radio Rabotnik (from the Russian for Workers Radio) started as a pirate TV on Amsterdam local cable network in 1982, taking advantage of Netherlands’ policy of more or less free access to the media. One of the founding members of Rabotnik TV was Menno Grootveld. When it was closed down by local authorities in 1983, they switched to pirate radio. Radio Rabotnik was active until 1986, when they merged with Radio WHS. The radio programs favoured experimental, messy and freeform mixes including everything from movies/TV cut-ups, excerpts from other radios (incl. BBC), live improvisations, tapes, etc. Their live sessions created environmental soundscapes mirroring the bleak Cold War atmosphere of the times. The present Radio Rabotnik session is no exception, what with its typical Cold War phone tonalities, intercepted Russian officials conversations, obsessive string pizzicatos, menacing electronics, tribal percussion or excerpts from movies of the times. Note gorgeous bass loop starting at 6:20, possibly by Hessel Veldman. Impressive cohesion from all participants – well, as far as I know they more or less lived together at the times, constantly recording together. The episode, avoiding many traps found in some previous ACR efforts, is a gripping listening exprience from start to finish, with fresh ideas popping up more often than not.
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- Below is a video produced at Radio Rabotnik TV, 1990:
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Additionally, a 1977 episode from an early De Ridder radio program called ‘Doodsangst Therapie’ (Deathly Fear Therapy) can be found on VPRO Radio archives (link to mp3). The 41mn episode is delivered in Dutch and features George Crumb’s ‘Vox Balenae‘ as background music.