Search Results for 'rimarimba'

Rimarimba ‘On Dry Land’

Rimarimba's On Dry Land cassette cover
On Dry Land side A

After the end of his The Same duo with Florence Atkinson, Robert Cox published 5 full-length releases of his Rimarimba solo project between 1983 and 1987, either on his own Unlikely Records or Hamster (see discography below), all reissued on Peeved and Cordelia Records during the same period. So, there’s a total of 5 Rimarimba albums, not 4 as I stated previously. At the time of Gone To Hell in a Bucket, Rimarimba’s last cassette in 1987, Cox had entirely transported his acoustic instruments+keyboards formula onto DX7+Yamaha CX5 sequencer platform, and his final opus is consequently less exciting, though some of the ancient charm remains. But the present On Dry Land, released 1984, does include his usual trademark of marimba, guitar, bass and synth programming (DX7, CX5 and Casio CZ 101) in addition to less frequent ingredients like found vocals and Industrial sounds. Overall, the cassette is more varied than the preceding Below The Horizon. Though the info sheet only lists 3 tracks, I cued the multiple (sometimes very) short tracks according to the Cordelia reissue LP’s track list. A wonderful collection of skillfully arranged, instrumental melodies with the closing, longest tracks (#15 & 16) not sounding like Rimarimba at all.

On Dry Land:
01 Do Wonders For Me (1:05)
02 Tacky Travel Tune (3:11)
03 Crash (:39)
04 Fairground (1:00)
05 Down From The Sky (:04)
06 I Wouldn’t Ask (:35)
07 Can’t You Feel It (4:00)
08 Welsh Water (2:02)
09 On The Range (4:51)
10 Gnats (1:41)
11 Cacoughanation (2:37)
12 Sick + Spirit (2:13)
13 Foulground (:11)
14 Machinebeat (1:30)
15 Beyond Pain (6:32)
16 Not Enough Time (10:30)

Total time
Cassette released by Unlikely Records, URT87, UK, 1984


Rimarimba discography:
1983 Below The Horizon, cassette, Unlikely URT81
1984 On Dry Land, cassette, Unlikely URT87
1985 In The Woods, LP, Unlikely Records UR89
1986 Chicago Death Excretion Geometry, k7 & LP, Hamster Records [+]
1987 Gone To Hell in a Bucket, cassette, Unlikely URT105

More from Unlikely:
1983 Rimarimba ‘Below The Horizon’ [+]
1985 Eva Perouk ‘Auto Da Fé/La Semaine D’Une Somnambuliste’ [+]
1985 Rimarimba ‘In The Woods’ [+]
1986 Milovan Srdenovic ‘Voodoo Bastard’ [+]

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Rimarimba ‘Chicago Death Excretion Geometry’

'Chicago Death Excretion Geometry' cover'Chicago Death Excretion Geometry' side A'Chicago Death Excretion Geometry' side BCarl Howard review (Zamizdat Trade Journal #5, USA, 1987)

01 Chicago Death (22:45)
02 Excretion Geometry (22:52)

Total time 45:39
Cassette released by Unlikely Records, UK, 1986

‘Chicago Death Excretion Geometry’, recorded 1986, was to be Rimarimba‘s last album, initially published on Unlikely Records, then reissued as an Hamster LP (HAM 20) in 1987. On the cover of ‘In The Woods’, the 2nd Rimarimba LP (1985), the term ‘systems music’ is acknowledged as included in their catalog, Robert Cox probably referring here to The Dead Goldfish Ensemble and his own Rimarimba. Indeed, the kind of symmetric synth patterns that forms the epic tracks on CDEG are grounded in the British take on American Minimalism known as Systems Music and such composers as Andrew Poppy. Both Carl Howard (LP review in Zamizdat Trade Journal #5, USA, 1987) and Alan Freeman (Audion Magazine review, UK, 1987) noted the initial letters of the title form the basic chords for the compositions. Track #1 Chicago Death goes on for 11:20 mns on a C chord (Chicago), before morphing into a D chord for the remainder of the track (Death). While superficially repetitive, tracks are actually build on multiple sequences in elegant counterpoint, gently and relentlessly morphing into the next. Thus, through limited tone range and exquisite synth programming, Cox constructs enchanting, endlessly spiraling melodies. Easy listening that retains some mysteries, with electronic sounds sourced from DX7 and Casio CZ 101 preset sounds and the use of a Yamaha CX5 sequencer.


See also:
Rimarimba ‘In The Woods’ >
Rimarimba ‘Below the horizon’ >

Rimarimba ‘Below the horizon’


01 Steady State (4:27)
02 Metal (1:05)
03 Gone To Hell In A Bucket (6:00)
04 The Melting (6:32)
05 The One That Got Away (3:44)
06 Ships (1:47)
07 Bebag (21:20)

Robert Cox: marimba, guitars, keyboards

Total time 44:50
LP released by Cordelia Records, UK, 1985

Elaborating on 1960s’ Systems Music, Rimarimba aka Robert Cox adapted it to the 1980s’ New Aesthetic, ie bass+synth formula, programmed coldness and computer-repetition. In so doing he was part of an important trend in UK including: Andrew Poppy, The Dead Goldfish Ensemble, Peeved Records, and elsewhere Enrico Piva. ‘Below The Horizon’ was originally released as a cassette on Unlikely Records in 1983 (URT81), then reissued on Peeved Records the same year (PV007) and finally reissued on LP by Cordelia in 1985 (ERICAT 008). Now what’s so special about this album? The obvious answer is that Cox is a skilled composer able to coin ear-catching melodies, an apt guitar player and sensible effect pedal user at ease with complex yet square rhythms. The fact all this takes place inside the simple time-frame of repetitive synth loops is all the more remarkable. Track #05 The One That Got Away and #07 Bebag have more than one hint to Steve Reich’s Nagoya Marimba (c. 1994) played by a New Wave band. The acoustic-electronic balance is fine throughout on this remarkable album. [See ‘In The Woods’ here.]


Rimarimba ‘In The Woods’

01 Spafft Moutafft Seeall + California (4:34)
02 In The Can (0:34)
03 Firedance (0:09)
04 Bamboo Link + Couldn’t Top The Demo (3:00)
05 California + Saxes (0:48)
06 Clearview (2:33)
07 California + Bell (2:08)
08 Gone To Hell In A Bucket I (3:29)
09 xit (3:12)
10 He’s A Good Lad (1:20)
11 Pacific (2:37)
12 From 6 To 13 (3:11)
13 California + Guitars (2:26)
14 Fitall Wall + Gone To Hell In A Bucket II (2:59)
15 Few Parameters (4:38)
16 Bamboo Duck (1:10)
17 Hey! Almost Chinese Ain’t It? (4:47)

Total time: 43:27
LP released on Unlikely Records, 1985

Rimarimba and Unlikely Records were the brainchild of Robert Cox. Between 1981 and 1985, Unlikely released cassettes and LPs by Cox’s own projects under various guises, as well as Milovan Srdenovic ‘Voodoo Bastard’. ‘In The Woods’ is the second Rimarimba LP, this time with the assistance from Davy Walklett (guitar) and Lenny Bove on a few tracks. Rimarimba’s music is mostly keyboard based with the occasional sampler oddity, weird treated vocals or guitar. Tracks are build on synth loops, interesting electronic sonorities, melodic counterpoint and humour. Rimarimaba’s great achievement on this LP also relies on rhythm, with the use of complex rhythms intertwined with exquisite melodies. To this listener, the music is reminiscent of post-RIO bands like ZNR or Débile Menthol, with a naivety a la Look De Book or even Klimperei. Track titles are indeed very descriptive of the content, and very funny at that. This legendary LP still sounds fresh today.



  • Various cassette releases as Robert Cox, The Same or General Motors ca 1981-83 on Unlikely Records (see picture below) and Peeved.

4 LPs as Rimarimba:

  • Below The Horizon, cassette on Unlikely,
    LP reissue on Cordelia Records, 1985
  • In The Woods, LP on Unlikely Records, 1985
  • On Dry Land, LP on Cordelia Records , 1985
  • Chicago Death Excretion Geometry, LP on Hamster Records, 1987

Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here

Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here, cassette cover
Leven Signs – Hemp Is Here, side A

Leven Signs were a duo from London composed of Maggi Turner and Peter Karkut. Their unique release was the Hemp Is Here cassette published on Robert Cox’s label Unlikely in 1985 (on Unlikely, see here), reissued in a slightly different version on Cordelia that same year with different track order, omitted and new tracks (on Cordelia, see here). In 1986, Alan Jenkins also included a track from this album on Volume 2 of his Obscure Independent Classics series on Cordelia.

Leven Signs belong to that British breed of avant-synth/new wave experimentalism including the Flying Lizards or General Strike – i.e. bands regurgitating their ethnic, ambient, new wave, avantgarde and systems musics influences into a highly creative musical hotchpotch where each song is a sonic playground crammed with musical ideas. Thanks to a choice of synth sounds emulating acoustic instruments like percussion, organ or flute, as well as Turner’s ethereal vocals, Leven Signs’ music has a timeless quality, something further exacerbated by the many Medieval touches in melody and rhythms – some tracks indeed sound like an electronic version of Officer‘s Kalenda Maya. Sequencer programming, synth playing and drum machine are brilliantly taken care of by Peter Karkut, while Maggi Turner is on vocals.

01 This Motion Will Never Stop (5:32)
02 Iraj 11 (3:15)
03 La Luna (5:24)
04 Sedes Sapientiae (3:57)
05 Drain Melsh (7:14)
06 Held In Arms (3:29)
07 Carry The Torch (3:13)
08 Morse Message (1:31)
09 This Inner Space (3:32)
10 Rumi (3:38)
11 Das Seal (4:02)

Total time 44:45
Cassette released by Unlikely, ref. URT90, UK, 1985


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The Dead Goldfish Ensemble – Music for Bowls

The Dead Goldfish Ensemble – Music for Bowls k7 cover

The alias of Southampton, UK, musician Stephen Hartwell, The Dead Goldfish Ensemble solo project appeared on the underground cassette network in 1985, exploring computer programming and sequencer music on twelve cassette releases until Hartwell ended musical activities in 1992. The Ensemble was an emanation of the Goldfish Records radio programme ran by Hartwell and Peter Skelley in the early eighties, broadcasted in Cambridge where Hartwell was working at the time. It then became a cassette label releasing local (Cambridge) bands and one single in 1983 by new-wave band The Primary (see here), before changing the name of the label to Peeved Records. The Dead Goldfish Ensemble had several of his cassettes released abroad on various DIY tape labels in Europe and the US, and contributed to many key compilations of the 1980s like Insane Music For Insane People, Neue Muster, An Der Schonen Blauen Donau, Notre-Dame, Deux Lapins, etc (see the list here). The Ensemble was definitely part of a specific trend in electronic music of the 1980s using MIDI technology to explore the realms of repetition and restraint, along composers like Rimarimba (Chicago Death Excretion Geometry, 1986), Nuno Rebelo (Sagração Do Mês De Maio, 1989) or L.G. Mair Jr. (Music For Winefride, 1993).

The majority of the Dead Goldfish Ensemble’s output is based on MIDI sounds and computer/sequencer programming performed on the Yamaha CX5M music computer (c/w FM synthesis and MIDI in/out ports), used in conjunction with the Korg EX800 (MIDI-compatible, synth module with sequencer) and Roland MT-32 (MIDI-compatible, polyphonic synth module). On some tapes, Hartwell used the Roland SH101 and MC202 analog synthesizers or the Akai X7000 sampler. On Music for Bowls specifically, an Ensoniq ESQ-1 synthesizer is used on #5 A Little Bit Of Nonsense, and an Atari ST on #1 Intro. End of the for-the-technically-minded rambling.

Music for Bowls was The Ensemble’s second cassette, published on Peeved Records in 1987 and then re-released by Unlikely Records (U.K.), In der Tat (Germany) and Organic Tapes (France). Like all other DGE works, it relies on sequencer programming, synth loops and minute timbral variations through envelope and amplitude gradual modification. Thanks to its predominantly melodic nature and the relentless bouncing energy of rhythm patterns, Music for Bowls exudes an elated, irresistible optimism. In Hartwell’s music, simplicity is used as a lever in electronic miniatures like A Little Bit of Nonsense (#5) and Eric (#7), whose restrained tonal range and constricted lyricism create a fascinating and somewhat unsettling feeling, like Chinese foot-binding to a Westerner. Track #8 Cool Walls is a glorious 15-mn epic with motoric pulsation and discrete counterpoint, whose intrinsic dynamism relies on gradual, if subtle, envelope and harmonization evolutions. Demure, tentative counterpoint is a recurring motif in these tracks, as in the Andrew Poppy soundalike #3, All The Hands, a melodious and delicate composition lying somewhere between Renaissance minuet and square dance music. Romantic piano playing – for once recorded live and including a few wrong notes!– even adorns the noble, elevated #4 Dazzling One.

Thanks to Stephen Hartwell for permission to offer these sound files here. In 2008, Stephen digitized the Ensemble’s entire recorded output from reel to reel tapes, as well as all side projects and previous bands he was in. See his website for tracklisting. The files are available for purchase on a 3xCD set.

01 Intro (:49)
02 Grey Earls (5:33)
03 All The Hands (5:34)
04 Dazzling One (8:09)
05 A Little Bit of Nonsense (2:43)
06 Openings (9:16)
07 Eric (5:03)
08 Cool Walls (15:20)

Total time 52:24
Cassette released by Peeved Records, UK, 1987


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The Dead Goldfish Ensemble cassettography:
1985 Structures and Strictures, Peeved Records
1987 Music for Bowls, Peeved Records
1987 Fame and Misfortune, In Der Tat
1988 20,000 Dead Goldfish under the Sea, APEAC/Organic Tapes
1988 Reality – A Surreal Nightmare, Peeved Records
1989 Eye to Eye, Violet Glass Oracle Tapes
1989 Goldfish Fingers, City Spools
1990 Cast in Stone, Mega Mago Music
1991 Music for Pandas, Peeved Records
1991 Fish & Micro Chips, City Spools
1992 Listen’ Ear, IRRE Tapes
1992 After The Goldfish, Tonspur Tapes

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2012 re-ups

In an attempt to help readers track down deleted, no longer active files posted on this blog in the previous months/years, this participative, reader-funded page will list re-ups offered by readers and my occasional contributions, starting February 1st, 2012. It starts with 3 new links sent by reader Will (thanks!) on January 31, 2012, plus one offered by this writer. To contribute a new re-up, just leave a comment below and your link(s) will be added to the top of the list.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Requested by readers (any help welcomed):

  • Paul Hindemith – Wir bauen eine Stadt
  • Various – Soundviews: Sources
  • Wejdas – Į tamsą
  • Wejdas – Saulei tekant
  • Andre Stordeur – 18 Days
  • Guglielmo Papararo & Vittorio Montis [April Orchestra présente RCA Sound vol.16]
  • Various – Sonic City: Mutations
  • Simon H Fell – Compilation I
  • Various – Rencontre du 1er Type
  • Wejdas – Saulei tekant
  • Wejdas – Į tamsą
  • John Van Rymenant – Memory Stop
  • Roger Meyers/Ruth Anderson – split LP
  • Sebastien Gandera – Un Soir
  • Various – Inventionen I (B. Schaeffer/R. Mandolini/S. Kang)
  • Various – Inventionen II (B. Schaeffer/T. Shimazu/R. Enstrom)
  • Various – Collective Foist
  • The Memorial Elvis Project
  • Joel Chadabe  – Rhythms
  • Das Auto Blubberbumm
  • Watervalwater – Ecrits Bruts Oratorium
  • Les Mysteres Des Voix Vulgaires
  • Various – Warum ist die Banane krumm?

Re-upped by readers:

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Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio

Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp front cover
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp back cover
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp spread
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp disc1 side 2

Portuguese improviser and composer Nuno Rebelo, born 1960, first performed in pop bands Street Kids (1980-82) – with Nuno Canavarro – and Mler ife Dada (1983-89). If this is any indication, both Rebelo and Canavarro studied architecture. In the late 1980s, Rebelo turned to improvisation and experimental music. He founded Plopoplot Pot (1990-92) and Poliploc Orkeshtra (1993-95), the latter specializing in silent film music. Apart from his regular bands, Rebelo plays guitar and electronics with leading improvisers and composes music for choreography, art exhibitions and theater. See his official website.

Sagração Do Mês De Maio was Rebelo’s first solo LP, published in 1989 by Portuguese label Valentim De Carvalho in a joint venture with EMI, of which VDC was the official Portuguese distributor at the time. The music, commissioned by Associaçao Cultural Manobras for their 3rd fashion show titled Manobras de Maio, was recorded between February and May 1988. The title means Rites of May and refers to Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring (1913). The subtitle is Primeira Sinfonia Falsificada, or First pseudo-symphony.

Nuno RebeloSagração… is entirely composed with MIDI sounds and programming. The Musical Instrument Digital Interface protocol allowed easy programming of any number of tracks together and portability between MIDI-compatible machines, like synthesizer, drum machine or sampler. It was favored by musicians wanting to experiment with multi-track programming on several electronic instruments at the same time. Each side of Sagração… consists of 7 to 8 parts combined into one long piece without break. These epic compositions blend gracious, even elegiac melodic lines with strong, often asymmetric, time signatures with rhythm provided by synth or drum machine. The opening sequence, with its flute-y meandering sounds, does indeed recall the solo bassoon’s high notes in the Rites of Spring‘s introduction, and one is tempted to imagine other comparisons with Stravinsky’s pagan ritual. But Sagração… is also comparable with other MIDI- or sequencer-inclined musicians of the 1980s, like the Dead Goldfish Ensemble or L.G. Mair, Jr., or even Rimarimba‘s Chicago Death Excretion Geometry.

Sagração Do Mês De Maio (Rites of May)
1ª Sinfonia Falsificada (First pseudo-symphony)

01 Disc 1, side 1 (19:54)
02 Disc 1, side 2 (20:26)
03 Disc 2, side 1 (15:48)
04 Disc 2, side 2 (18:02)

Total time 74:10
2xLP released by EMI-Valentim De Carvalho, Portugal, 1989


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More Portuguese music on Continuo’s:
Telectu – Rosa Cruz >
Rafael Toral – live recording >
Vítor Rua et al. – Vidya >
Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa >

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