ABOUT LIMBABWE RECORDS
Limbabwe is a music releasing label around since the first half of the 80ties. I had to refresh my memory to figure out when it exactly started. Diving into the archive, I found the first release was in may 1982. A tape called “Vlaaikots”. The last tapes/records came out in 1985. Only a short 3 year existence, but still 42 releases.
If I never, after 20 years, came on the idea to start Limbabwe Records again, I also would never start this site. Curiosity has to be satisfied. So here the story :
Limbabwe records started of in Venlo, a 70.000 inhabitant town in the south of The Netherlands on the German border. Nothing really special. The complete town never was – is – and will not become interesting. Don’t bother looking it up. All I write about in this article is gone, and even forgotten by most people in Venlo. When Limbabwe started in Venlo, the city was probably in its ultra exiting years it ever had. Although most city-notables will deny this. In the beginning of the 80ties, the “underground culture” was very alive.
A small but very active group of local hippies in the late 60ties, early 70ties managed to get recognized by the city council and gave a building to their disposal for cultural needs. With the organization of concerts and events other needs came and got fulfilled in the same building. Rehearsing space, PA (sound equipment) and after some time even a recording studio. The building got the name OOC – Open Ontmoetings Centrum – (Open Meeting Center). The OOC formed an important base for what came out of the next generation.
When teenager in the 70ties I was frequent visitor of the OOC. Met many people with the similar creative ideas, became active volunteer working at concerts and later with the technical equipment.
In 1980 a house in the center of Venlo was squatted due to an eviction of another squat in town, were I was living. We had to find a new place to live. This became Martinusstraat 24, or in popular scene language “de Martinusstraat”.
the ‘limbabwe’ house ‘De Martinusstraat’
De Martinusstraat was in the town center and had a rehearsing space. Because of that it became a hang out of many people. Lots of activities, as well cultural and political, were organized. The most interesting period Venlo ever had, started. A bunch of cultural interested people from the Martinusstraat formed together with few young artists a group to organize cultural events under the name “Bauplatz”. The group gained space in the local OOC for their activities. Something the founders ( by that time settled down, getting babies, old hippies) did not appreciate for the start. But anyway, this was an Open Meeting Center. Open means for everybody. Bauplatz started to organize every sunday evening an event in the OOC. So here we are. This was the time that Limbabwe came to existence. With such a high active cultural live, mainly developing the latest movements in art, or creating new styles and art forms, I noticed there was lots of good variable music going on in Venlo. I went around to rehearsing spaces, basements, back rooms with a tape recorder to register the “sound of Venlo”. It was a very diverse thing. From very industrial noise to very ultra Jazz to very fast punk. This resulted in my first release “Vlaaikots” . Vlaai is a kind of local cake, kots is puke. “Cakepuke” . A registration of the variable music and bands at that moment. The tape was a success and got attention of the national press. Many tapes of bands followed. Also records were released. Venlo had the most creative period ever. Art nights with industrial punk rock, poetry and paintings. Movies where made. Reviews in international magazines. So much variety in music and art in such fast progress that a big German music magazine declared Venlo “The New York Of Europe” in that moment. The front basement room of the Martinusstraat became the Limbabwe space
Matski cleaning the “Martinusstraat”
From there it produced, administrated and distributed its products, You never heard of most bands. Some made it a bit. Of course I have to mention the band Pandemonium. The very trashy hardcore band that released a lot of material on Limbabwe. There was Oh’ Dev with their trash rock. Zoo, a free ultra funk band, and many more. I do have to point out Meer Staal. Of all material I released, they where for sure the most interesting in my ears. On this website you find a list of all Limbabwe releases. Don`t go and look in stores, they are all sold out. Only material still available is a Pandemonium compilation cd of all their Limbabwe recordings. (New material is mainly only offered here in a free download file.)
1981/82/83 were the best Bauplatz, Limbabwe and Martinusstraat years. In this period the group was very diverse. People from different backgrounds found and supported each other with creative cultural and political ideas. We explored and discovered. There was something new and different every week. That’s why the tapes from Limbabwe are so divers. In 1984 this slowly died. People moved or found other interests. I got more involved in the professional music bizznix as touring engineer. Younger people moved in and slowly took over.
The first Martinusstraat group was a perfect combination of positive creativity, idealism, lifestyle and politics. That’s why results where booked. The second generation leaned on their fundamentals, was more a one-track mind punk rock scene uniformed with Iron Maiden T-shirts mainly interested in beer and the sensation of violent action leading to destruction. The last Limbabwe releases in the 80ties were mainly lesser interesting punkrock tapes.
Limbabwe Records is not in Venlo anymore. It moves around the world. Do not expect a very active label. I mainly re-started the label for releasing material of personal projects like The System and DKK.
Limbabwe is in the first place my label, based on my view, interest and interpretation of music. The commercial part is minor to my need to show to anyone who is willing to hear some great moments. This is subjective and personal. Based on my needs and taste.
About myself : Working for 45 years in the music biz. Mainly as Sound-engineerer. Live sound for bands on the road became my specialty. Don’t have any music preference. What attracts me the most is live music with a lot of energy. Energy is NOT another word for loud and fast. Also quiet and slow music can be very powerful. Through the years I worked with many bands, famous and unknown. So many, it is impossible to mention. Don’t even remember most of them (sorry). Fame of group/artist was always minor to me. Mentality and enthusiasm in music is much more important, than the technical perfection of the sound. It was obvious that spending weeks in a studio, working on guitar solo or kick drum is too static and boring for me. Still after setting up the first recording possibility in the 80ties, I always kept moving around with recording equipment. In the 90ties I even co-owned a real commercial studio. Now I prefer to record simple and analogue, live cached on the spot. Most sessions lately are done in local rehearsing spaces or at my home, lasting no longer than 6 hours. Some of these recording sessions are released on cd. I will keep on working, releasing stuff, touring around and avant gardening.
O Yeah : copying makes people hear music.