First antology of legendary dutch electroacoustic group of musicians whose names can be definitely placed in range of true underground stars and passionary pushers of contemporary experimental music scene. First CD in this double album is compiled from studio works, unreleased or taken from rare compilations, second CD gathers the best concert recordings. First 50 copies are coming with special logo pin.
Release date is 29th December 2012. Limited edition of 500 copies in jewelcase.
Price is 20US$/16€.
To order directly from us, please write to
Dutch electroacoustic ensemble THU20 started in 1985 and was a co-operation between Jac van Bussel, Guido Doesborg, Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop and Jos Smolders, all hailing from the same part of the Netherlands. Frans de Waard joined in occasionally and, some time after Guido Doesborg left the band, became a full member.
Their line-up varied, their releases were limited and live shows rare. Not a steady thing this THU20, to say the least. Despite all of this THU20 had a unique sound, established through endless experiments in recording and several collaborations (they’ve worked on radioplays, spoken word projects, highly conceptual music and so on) and because of that their music was never really defined, or should one say confined.
The radioplay-like character of their music was imaginative and mostly consisted of a combination of anecdotal elements, while remaining fairly abstract. The sound of THU20 was like a multi-layered object, compiled of numerous sonic happenings, going through the complete range of audible sound and certainly not in a linear way. From highly digital to dusty acoustics, from pleasantly calm to disturbingly hectic. It is exactly this tension and variation which keeps you tuned and fascinated. The way basic elements like repetition, tonal differences and time-lapse are used is truly original and surprising. Things move around completely free, accessible for one’s own thoughts and interpretation, adding to the constantly changing texture. THU20 dashes around sound, although all is embedded in a very gentle stream of subtle tones and little sound events, which makes this work perfectly suitable for extended and intense listening.
Live performances have always been sparse, maybe totalling 21 over the past 26 years. Live situations were very different from studio work. Whereas in the studio every move and every second was designed and debated, in a live situation the band worked with general schemes, ideas about sonic textures, mixing combinations of sounds and signals. There was hardly any rehearsal before performance; just a soundcheck, exchanging jokes, hitting town, more jokes, eating and then the performance.
THU20 have released their music through labels like Midas Music, Staalplaat, Mixer, Flenix and Korm Plastics on tapes, CD’s, LP’s and hard to find compilations. As a band they have always been free from any recording pressure and they worked for whatever time was required.
If one is familiar with the various other activities of the band members (DMDN, Earlabs, Goem, Kapotte Muziek), then it’s nice to see those elements popping up: Smolders’ voice treatments, Duimelinks’ field recordings, Meelkop's electro-acoustics, Van Bussel’s noise layers and de Waard’s many different kinds of musical output. All five members have firm ideas about music and performances and infused recording sessions with their own ideas and sounds. As such each member had an influence in the overall edit of the work. Their studio work therefore was no longer the work of five people improvising, but rather a composed work, sometimes using the sound elements that had been prepared in private studios and sometimes were generated that same instant or recorded during a live situation.
The tracks presented here are early live recordings and studio works taken from cassette and vinyl releases and were previously unreleased on CD. It shows the very early THU20 when they were still finding their bearings and open to any sort of sonic experiment. This material was compiled by Jac van Bussel and edited and mastered at EARLabs by Jos Smolders and Jac van Bussel, late 2012.