September 8, 2013

In Memoriam: Kid Baltan...

by Chris Randall

When MusicThing was a going concern, before Tom Whitwell got his job with the Times, he had a regular feature called "Music Thing Heros," which was a source of much awesomeness. I've never done that here, because it was Tom's idea, and it'd look like a cheap rip if I did it. (The Venn diagram of Music Thing readers and Analog Industries readers was essentially a single circle.)

However, if I did do it, or something similar, there's no scenario where Dick Raaymakers (better known as Kid Baltan) wouldn't be on the list. Along with Tom Dissevelt, he was instrumental in creating the palette of sounds and methods of early electronic music, much of which is still used today, in various permutations. He passed away this week at the age of 83, and I thought I'd put up some of my favorite media.

This is a classic that I've posted before. It shows Kid Baltan (the one with the glasses) and Tom Dissevelt (the un-impressed chain smoker) working in the studio. The voice-over is in Dutch, but you can get the general gist of things pretty easily.

This track, Vibration, was on one of the four "Popular Electronics" 7" records released by Phillips in the mid-50s. It is basically a happy 1950s version of whatever the hell it is Autechre is doing this month. When you think about all the work they had to do to make this music (as witnessed in the above video, which was contemporary) your argument about workflow is invalid. Stop your whining.

Obviously, Mr. Raaymakers' music isn't for everyone, but credit where credit is due, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.



Sep.08.2013 @ 12:03 PM
nice one. i like/love that kind of thing. switched on bach and go fuck itself. i'd rather hear this any day.

so, yeah.. i wouldn't mind a music thing heroes here on AI but that seems to happen now and then anyways just as part of the flow of data here.

Sep.08.2013 @ 4:00 PM
I'm with boobs.

Sep.08.2013 @ 6:14 PM
Learning the history of early electronic music, you begin to find stuff that is proto-techno. For example the intro of this before the Raymond-Scott-esque whimsical synths kick in: link [] or this, which the uploader describes as "Acid House from 1958" (which imho it is not) link []

Sep.08.2013 @ 6:15 PM
And this, which is brilliant: link []

Sep.08.2013 @ 7:52 PM
Chris Randall
I actually have two copies of that Basta 4 x 7" limited edition Popular Electronics box set. Because fuck you, I do. While it is most assuredly not late-night driving music, and in actual fact whenever I play them, my wife makes a face that I don't even...

But yeah, there's some shit on those four records that, when you consider the time it was composed, you're all "how the frack?" Vibration is exactly one of those.


Sep.09.2013 @ 12:15 PM
Little tip... the Dutch voiceover in the first video is captioned ... just click translate

Sep.09.2013 @ 12:18 PM
okay... the translation to english is pretty poor. The danish version is actually better (I'm Danish)

Sep.09.2013 @ 1:42 PM
I'm with boobs.

Sep.09.2013 @ 4:08 PM
interesting! never knew that Dick Raajmakers and Kid Baltan were the same dude. many years ago (wow, nearly 27 years ago - crap that makes me feel old) i chanced upon a record compilation of Dutch Electronic tape music from the Utrecht Sonology Institute. Dick was in that group, and i liked his music, but my favorite dude hands down is Jan Boerman. this piece Komposite literally took my head off: link [] a close second is Alchemie:link []

the videos of them in the studio is great though. that's sort of what i mean when i say that digital versions of apps like Berna miss the whole point of what can be done physically with the medium of tape.

Sep.14.2013 @ 6:30 AM
I'll probably be working with two of Dick Raaijmaker's recorders this month.. from the time he was still working in philip's NatLab. very honoured and excited! I heard there might as well be some old tapes on them.... I'll keep you people updated.



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