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Thread: Top 10 Blast songs from the 1990s - aka "Don't you all answer at the same time!"

  1. #1

    Top 10 Blast songs from the 1990s - aka "Don't you all answer at the same time!"

    Classic Rock mag haven't quite reached there yet (although they might do so pretty soon), and AFAIK the band as such have ceased to exist, but I kinda thought it a nice gesture to pay somewhat of a tribute to Blast (from the past, as it is). As each and every one of you all know from long ago, Blast was the brainchild of Dutch multi-instrumentalist and composer (in that he actually writes music and knows a bit of theory and stuff) Dirk Bruinsma and axeman Frank Crijns, and - as you're all aware of already - released four awesomely wonderful proggyprog rock'n'roll records during the 90s - Puristsirup [palindrome, yeah babe!], Wire Stitched Ears, Stringy Rugs and A Sophisticated Face. There's some ace sexaphone and badassbass clarunit honkin'n'humpin' goin' on here, plus some charts that are almost as impressive as the biggest nomens of the rest of the prog'n'roll.

    But barely almost. Not quite.

    Anyway, as already known there were links to such acts as Positive Nuns, Palinckx, Brown vs. Brown, George Cartwright/Curlew, Otolithen, 5UUs and Thinking Plague, Present and The Stick Men (not the recent lite-jazz/fusion troupe with Tony Levin but rather a spastic avant-punk band from the early 80s), and I thought it swell to list our fave ten tracks from their 90s catalog.

    Check:

    1)

    1) "Metrolodic"
    1) "Welter"
    1) "Bouncing"
    1) "Antrupo Antipode"
    1) "Or-Na-Ra-Tio"
    1) "Emety Neprac"
    1) "Ink"
    1) "Gorgonomics"
    1) "Limbaire"

    I hope'yall feel the same; that these are THE best Blast tunes from those four 90s albums of theirs.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  2. #2
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    My favorite album that you don't have listed is the one they did in collaboration with the Hanson brothers called MMMBlast!
    So good...

  3. #3
    ^ Gotta admit I haven't got around to that one just yet. Any sexaphone there, then? Produced by Horny Trevor? M-m... Mr. Jingles...s-Sir?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  4. #4
    Member Socrates's Avatar
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    Sorry, can't help you here. The only Blast I've got is Sift and that is from 2007, so doesn't qualify. But it is brilliant. Strong Henry Cow vibe. And just to add to their high art credentials, the pieces on the album were commisioned by the Dutch Arts Council.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Socrates View Post
    the pieces on the album were commisioned by the Dutch Arts Council.
    Meh. No God award awaits a man whose sole credential is having received some commie from a Dutch Art Count.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  6. #6
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    As each and every one of you all know from long ago, Blast was the brainchild of Dutch multi-instrumentalist and composer (in that he actually writes music and knows a bit of theory and stuff) Dirk Bruinsma and axeman Frank Crijns, and - as you're all aware of already - released four awesomely wonderful proggyprog rock'n'roll records during the 90s
    Rory O'Flute was ahead of his time.

  7. #7
    ^ Yops, I rememb dat clit frum de Young Person Guide to Galaxy booklit. This mean Krimsenfluenced by Blast.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #8
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Ha - great thread Scrotster!

    I only own 'Wire' and 'Sophisticated', and to be honest, I couldn't name one tune from memory, although I do enjoy both albums from time to time. The amount of time to learn and rehearse this material must be monumental. I tend to lump this band in with stuff like Tipographica, some FZ, and possibly Rich Woodson - stuff that makes your brain fizzle, your jaw drop, and the inability to tap your foot along. Really great albums, time for a revisit so thanks for the reminder and enthusiasm. Richard - if you had somehow rank the albums, what would that look like?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I couldn't name one tune from memory [...] I tend to lump this band in with stuff like Tipographica, some FZ, and possibly Rich Woodson [...] Richard - if you had somehow rank the albums, what would that look like?
    It's a recurring dilemma this, the constant inability to memorize and hum 'em tunes along. They're one of those bands who need not only multiple listenings but different modes and angles of such. When I got Stringy Rugs (my first Blast buy, just on release in '97 - it was the first piece of music I played my newborn boy right after bringing him home from the hospital) I found it helpful to leave out the "listening" bit and rather just attempt to hear the various levels of movement and dynamic and ostinati as an organic structure of sorts, evolving from an inner mass or body of twisted tone that defied immediate melodic reason yet somehow still made its own sense. In that respect not unlike a Trout Mask toting more clearly defined theory of approach, or perhaps a Studio Tan kicking furiously for your balls rather than trying to make you laugh. Kermanator is the drummer on most of the album, and he reportedly once told Jarle Storløkken (of Panzerpappa extreme fame) that playing with Blast was probably the most educational musical project he had taken part in (or something alike). He only stayed with them for, uh, I can't remember - a year or something? But shitty hell yeah, this takes some practice to get right.

    Parallells to Tipographica and Woodson fit neatly, as to the jazzier Bloodcount ensemble (of Tim Berne's), some Doctor Nerve (albeit less Downtowny) and the stupendously fun Chainsaw Jazz release. Still there was something undeniably European about Blast, and especially about the Puristsirup debut. ALL of their albums are utterly challenging and worthwhile, but I'd rate Stringy Rugs and the later Altrastrata at the very heap. That Syrup thing is probably the rawest and raunchiest of the bunch, tho'. It's even nastier and tougher and meaner than Krokus and Shadow Theater and Saxon without sax and even Madam X's "High In Highschool". Which is no tiny trait or treat.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  10. #10
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    ^Love it, great post and thanks for sharing. I would love to hear a few anecdotes from the mighty Kermanator regarding playing with this group. 'Stringy' has always been on my radar as the next Blast album to buy, so maybe that will happen. You're probably the only bloke north and south of Oslo to play Blast to his newborn for the first time

    I just had to check the name, but one track I know VERY well is called "Seismograph 93" from Wire Stitched Ears, and the reason that is so is because I have made two (2) Rio/Avant/Zeuhl/Canterbury/Krautrock compilations many years back now and that particular track is placed 3rd directly following two Miriodor tunes on Vol. 2. Those compilations are total personal classics now, and I still listen to them from time to time. I have copied those two comps for countless number of people, and usually I get no response back (as you can imagine) - what a sad world, eh? I'm actually proud of the fact that there is no Zappa on either volume, considering how much of a FZ fanatic I was when I made those. But there is some Bob Drake, Can, and Art Bears though . Making music compilations is one of the joys of life for me - I adore it.

  11. #11
    ^ Well, my (eldest) kid turns 19 next month and is off to Edinburgh University, but I can tell you that having cultured him sytematically with Blast has left a lasting impression on him. Even today when he visits I usually put on some Blast and there's that instant fascinating reaction which somehow never fails to occur; first he stops and then starts sorta spinning fast in a circle before kinda jumping rapidly up and down while making a most enticing sound akin to a live-fried goose chicken, until there's a tiny hole opening automatically on the top of his skull and there's a short mast rising up from it which lets out a mixture of steam and a type of mustard soda. It must be seen to be believed.

    Btw, I seem to remember that Stringy Rugs was mastered by none other than Bob D.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the music in this thread, more great stuff to investigate.

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    The only Blast I own is "A sophisticated face". Very adventurous stuff. I really have to be in the right mood to enjoy it, but when I am it really floats my boat.

  15. #15
    These are three Bruinsma projects that'd probably appeal to committed Blast afficcionados such as those swarming in here.

    Positive Nuns saw Crijns and Bruinsma reunite with esteemed US post-punk/avant drummer Jim Meneses (Blast's original drummer) for a oneoff in 1995, now doing something a littubittu different:


    Brown vs Brown are a quartet playing a weirdcore/avant-jazzrock cocktail for the consumer in all its awe. Here they are before a mammoth public at a beach in Holland:


    Otolithen are a duo comprising Bruinsma and Blast-member Pad Conka, both playing multiple instruments live and directly to tape by way of manuals and autoconstructed gadgets allowing them to trigger functions With their feet, knees, elbows etc. And still this is actually written music:
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #16
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post

    Otolithen are a duo comprising Bruinsma and Blast-member Pad Conka, both playing multiple instruments live and directly to tape by way of manuals and autoconstructed gadgets allowing them to trigger functions With their feet, knees, elbows etc. And still this is actually written music:
    Otolithen interests me.The first two clips are ok, but Otolithen made me sit up and pay attention.Too bad the album that produced this clip seems to be OOP.There is another cd from these guys,and it appears to be get-able.Thanks for the clip(s).
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  17. #17
    ^ Yes, Steve F. released Otolithen's S.O.D. on Cuneiform and still has a cuppa copies left at Wayside (I believe). It's worth tracking down anyway. He also issued the second Brown Vs. Brown CD (Odds and Unevens), which is awesome as well. That Positive Nuns album sported a very peculiar see-through designed plastic package and is pretty inviting for a semi-mathcore kinda combo (following a bit obviously from bands like Dazzling Killmen), but it's very difficult to find now. I'm glad I got it back then.
    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 09-03-2016 at 06:05 PM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #18
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    Here is my top ten:

    The Flower King
    Stardust we Are
    There is More to this World..


    ...wait...what?

    best
    Michael
    If it ain't acousmatique-It's crap

  19. #19
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroticdog View Post
    Here is my top ten:

    The Flower King
    Stardust we Are
    There is More to this World..


    ...wait...what?

    best
    Michael
    Haha you fuckin weirdo! 😀

  20. #20
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    I need to re blast my Blast's.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by neuroticdog View Post
    The Flower King
    Stardust we Are
    There is More to this World
    The following has Roine's third cousin Ronnie pumpin' baritone tuba and was initially intended to be called "Cosmic Creation of Spiritual Love as Foreverness", but then the studio was overrun by sinister post-punk jazzcore terrorists who somehow infused the aura with an invisible agent of destructive force, the so-called MonGoGnoM palindromedemon. They attempted to exorcise the premises, but instead ended up exercising genises while circumcizing penesis. It was progressive.

    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #22
    Btw, anyone else noted the percentage of women among the beach audience in that Brown vs. Brown clip? Turns out thse band dudes make out the hottest Dutch thing since... Since Shocking Blue!
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  23. #23
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Blast is the only post-70's Dutch band I like.... are there anymore in the RIO/Avant genre?
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  24. #24
    My fav Blast is hands down Altrastrata but its from 2002
    I saw them play in a synagogue in Holland in 2000 !
    Jim Meneses = badass
    I like Dirk's playing

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Blast is the only post-70's Dutch band I like.... are there anymore in the RIO/Avant genre?
    I was kinda going to suggest the mighty DAAU, but then I promptly remembered them to be, well, Belgian. And I wouldn't want to suggest otherwise to a Belgian chap.

    Holland has of course given birth to such good-to-great acts as The Ex, Mam and Dull Schicksal, but you're generally right - the contrast to Belgium and its armies of wildly interesting names is quite striking. If you dig Blast I'd still urge you to check out Brown vs. Brown and Palinckx.
    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 09-05-2016 at 05:05 AM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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