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coverpic flag Belgium - Full Moon 174 - 11/21/10

First Time In Aachen
EE Tapes

This album was released before the October full moon. Still, it seems more appropriate to write about it this moonth as it was recorded 20 years ago on November 11th. Alain Neffe, aka B. Ghola, half of BeNe GeSSeRiT, explains: 'Reinhold Knieps, an idealist and the boss of the AMF label organized the concert at a small jazz club, The Malteserkeller, without any advertisement. He believed that open-minded jazz addicts would come and listen like every Saturday night... But we didn't play jazz and only his friends and some German fans (how did they get to know??) showed up that night... We played without any stress in a relaxed atmosphere. It turned out to be an interesting an unusual experience...'

We've presented the wonderful musical underworld of Alain Neffe, his wife Nadine Bal, transformed to Benedict G. as the other half of BeNe GeSSeRiT, and his label Insane Music Contact earlier here at Luna Kafé and reviewed the latest album by BeNe GeSSeRiT, Les Vleurs Du Bal a couple of years ago. The band might have served as an 1980s synth-pop duo if it hadn't been for the other ingredients they put into their music. After all BeNe GeSSeRiT was one of the two most central bands of the Insane Music label. Electro-pop-experimental with some avant garde elements might be a suitable description. But it's Nadine's efforts that really makes the difference. She can sound quite normal and sane, quite the opposite and lots in between, from witch to seducer.

I guess my favourite BG-album has been Live, a 60 minutes cassette recorded in Brussels and Den Haag in 1983, especially after witnessing the duo live for the first (and so far last) time in Norway in 1989. First Time In Aachen includes some old favourites also on Live, but mostly it's newer stuff. Both Benedict and the music include several dosis of humour. From my first hand experience with the band I vividly remember the uniqe interpretation of Elvis' "Love Me Tender" ('the best love-song of the century') with Benedict G. wearing tentacles with lights in the dark. It's performed here as well, called "Love Me Thunder", but, alas, without the visuals. There's also the funny narration "In Love With Samantha Fox", (the English page three madonna of the 1980s with the big boobs), based on a true story. Otherwise we're served some moody stuff to reflect on ("Alles Ist..." and "Insanités"), electrominimalism ("Step By Step"), hysteric sort of avant garde-minimalism ("Kidnapping", "Désirs-Délires" and "Little Lady"), electropopminimalism with saxophone here & there ("Nobody Can Know" and "Erg Habannia") and a mix of all of those ("Rock Yoko", "White Men" and "Les Flammes De L'Enfer"). I particularly enjoy the moody electro-pop-instrumental "Green Worlds", the slow synth-pop narrative "Rats" with harsh vocals, the halfway melancholic, halfway hysteric "Walt's Waltz" and the the halfway happy, halfway hysteric encore "Tonight". Unfortunately the recording of the latter is taken from a bootleg video with inferior sound compared to the other 17 tracks.

First Time In Aachen works as an excellent documentation of the 1980s and early 1990s will to challenge and experiment in combination with a cunning ability to create small pop-sensible melodies. It's also a great supplement to Live and a most welcomed album in it's own right. It's a limited edition of 300 copies, so don't hesitate! EE Tapes has earlier issued other albums from Alain's vast recording career, including two by Human Flesh (roughly Alain supplemented by vocalists from all over the world; fairly new recordings) and one reissue of an LP by his hard electro-experimental trio Pseudo Code from the early 1980s. And while you're at it; why not check out EE Tapes' brand new and first vinyl output, a four track seven incher by The Misz called the The EE EP that also stems from the 1980s Belgian cassette scene.

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You may also want to check out our BeNe GeSSeRiT articles/reviews: A High, Happy, Perverse And Cynical Cry Of Joy, BeNeFiT, Les Vleurs Du Bal, Still Insane After All These Years, THe SeCoND BeNeFiT, The Record Store Day EP, eccentric ????.

© 2011 Luna Kafé