By Geert Lovink and Bart Schut
We’re proud to present a sample of the Amsterdam free radio sounds from the early 1990s. It is a collection of audio cassettes, compiled in 1991, which we’ve digitized, and uploaded to Archive.org. The URL:
The background of this audio collection is the following. In Summer 1991 a few Amsterdam free radio makers came together to document the existing free radio culture that had developed over the previous decade. This was done for a variety of reasons.
Earlier on in 1991 Radio 100 was taken off the air by police and its members were accused under ‘organized crime’ law. Although Radio 100 reappeared after a few days, the threat was serious and changed the awareness of the FM free radio community. By that time, the Amsterdam radio scene was a true ecology of different styles and approaches. In 1979 De Vrije Keyser was first one of a new generation that started broadcasting in the free air from a squatted building. This political radio station remained in the air for decades and inspired a variety of radio initiatives from the cultural scene to also start their own station. Around 1985 Radio 100 was created out a range of smaller initiative and had its own radio cafe Marconi (later called Tesla). There were even neighbourhood radios, such as Staatsradio, a feminist station and a punk station (Radio Death) which transformed into the third platform for free radio makers, called Radio Patapoe. Besides these squat-based groups there was the ‘official’ community radio station SALTO that had numerous links with the free radio scene.
Another reason to compile a collection of C-120 cassettes was to support the newly founded free radio stations in Central- and Eastern Europe. The Amsterdam scene had played a pivotal role in the founding of Tilos Radio in Budapest in August 1991. Around the same time the idea of the Amsterdam Radio Collection was born. Not only did radio makers from Amsterdam travelled east, but also the new friends came to visit Amsterdam to get a feel of the radio techniques.
The radio collection was commissioned to record a special show for an international audience, if possible in English. After the collection was finished, 20 copies were made and sent to radio stations across the globe. Everything has been recorded on cassettes, most of them from Radio 100, Patapoe and a few from SALTO. Some of the masters got lost and we have not been able to trace back an original set of tapes. That why we don’t have, for instance, a program of the infamous Dr. Doowop in this digital edition.
Despite all the efforts on our side to digitize the right material, not all the original contribution were recovered.
Short descriptions of the submitted radio programs:
ARC 1A 1 Layla Se Corro: Example of disco DJ music, enriched by original announcements.
ARC 1A 2 Maurice Di: Californian black nationalist refugee and poet, operating out of the Amsterdam free state. As a bonus there is the other side of the cassette, which was originally not part of the ARC. Sadly, Maurice passed away.
ARC 1B A selection of the Patapoe Radio International Showcase C90 cassettes (four of them have been produced in total), the first of which was produced in 1989, which was used as an inspiration for the ARC.
ARC 2A Worldservice, an African music radio program, broadcast on Radio 100, focussing on Mali this time.
ARC 2B Radio Code by audio artist John Duncan, who was part of Radio 100 at the time. As a bonus there is the other side of the cassette, which was originally not part of the ARC.
ARC 3A 1 Papa Lodi’s Bubbling Machine, a legendary reggae show from the early 1980s, broadcasting on Radio Disco Action, who later joined Radio Patapoe.
ARC 3A 2 De Opstart, the warm-up mix hour of Radio 100, usually in the afternoon, after which regular radio programs continued. This episode was probably made by Bastiaan Lips.
ARC 3B 1 Varen Mambo. Varen was a DJ who covered different music styles, this time Mambo.
ARC 3B 2 Zjok! is a prime mixer. Mixing music and other audio sources such as films, over the years became the typical Amsterdam radio sound, especially after midnight.
ARC 4A Baba Latif, “the one and only authentic African DJ, right here in Amsterdam,” was active at Radio 100.
ARC 4B 1 Stort was a radio collective, broadcasting at Radio Patapoe, that also operated in the field of performance art.
ARC 4B 2 Willem de Ridder, well known of Fluxus and the Radio Art Foundation to name a few, was resident at Radio 100. For the ARC he contributed a typical piece of spoken word.
ARC 5A 1 Karl Christ, member of Stort, had his own show at radio Patapoe, promoting the fusion of Marxism and Christianity over his self-made music. Since the master tape or a copy of his contribution to the ARC was lost, we present his contribution to the Patapoe International Showcase cassette 1 of 1989.
ARC 5A 2 Oke Show was the Radio 100 mix-program of Arjan van Sorge, who is still around as a music journalist, producer and DJ. http://sorge.nl/SORGE/SORGE.html
ARC 5B Contained two shows, but we can’t recall what they were. Since the master tapes were lost there is no ARC 5B.
ARC 6A 1 Bitches and Witches, a woman’s program, produced for Radio 100.
ARC 6A 2 SAR, socialist workers radio, was a popular Radio 100 show discussing the makers’ perception of world culture in a humorous way.
ARC 6B DFM Radiotelevision, deformatory radio made by Toek and friends, is still around today. It began as a station, then became a radio show and now it’s an internet life stream. http://dfm.nu/
ARC 7A 1 Dr Salsa, Ira Goldwasser, introduced Salsa to the Netherlands in the late 1970’s with his weekly dance event/radioshow via SALTO community radio that still goes on until this day. As a bonus there is the other side of the cassette, the second hour of the show, which was originally not part of the ARC.
ARC 7A 2 Sister Evangelina (Josephine Bosma, nowadays internet art critic) explored religious music on Radio Patapoe. Since the master tape was lost, here is her contribution produced for the Patapoe International Showcase #3 in 1991.
ARC 7B 1 Dr Doowop, alter-ego of the world famous writer William Levy, playing old doowop from his youth, combined with poetry. His contribution was unfortunately lost. . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Levy_(author)
ARC 7B 2 Café Bartok was Radio Patapoe’s classical music mix with historic radio play.
ARC 8A Staalplaat specialized in industrial music, a group that ran a music shop and label of industrial music releases, which later moved to Berlin. The radio show aired at Radio 100. http://staalplaat.com/
ARC 8B 2 Movement, officially ‘Not one hour without the movement’ kept track of developments in the squatters movement and similar autonomous political activities. Resident at Radio Patapoe.
Vrije Keyser: http://vrijekeyser.nl/
Radio 100: http://www.desk.nl/~radio100/
Radio Patapoe: http://radiopatapoe.nl/
History of Radio Death: http://thing.desk.nl/bilwet/TXT/DOOD.ENG.txt
The Theory of Mixing: http://www.mediamatic.net/5750/en/the-theory-of-mixing
Free radio manual: http://desk.nl/~gris/public/the-Book/x.html
http://thing.desk.nl/bilwet/TXT/GFORCE.txt (in Dutch)