Lukas Simonis: guitar, backing vocals
Ronnie Krepel: bass, accordion
Frank van der Bos: keyboards, backing vocals
Peter Bos : drums
Cor Gout: vocals
Attila The Stockbroker: violin, mandola
Dolf Koeinverhuur: guitar
Raymund van Santen: clarinet, alto sax
Frans Friederich: trumpet, tuba
Jos Ex: vocals
Jos (Dorpsoudste) De Jong: vocals
Produced by Dolf at ADM’s Koeienverhuurbedrijf.
Front cover design by B. S. Leenes.
Reviews in English: 3___________________________________________________________________________
UNHINGED #5, England, Christmas 1989
by PAUL RICKETS :
TRESPASSERS, POTEMKIN (ADM 7975)
Only a single LP this time and also the number of words per line means to be halved. It’s moved on from being Co Gout’s words and vocals with a musical backing and become a musical group for whom he is the singer wordsmith, so the words now have to fit in with the music rather than vice versa. The result on the words has been to focus them down and each one, each phrase appears to mean more, carry more weight. Things are stretched and implied rather than spelt out in detail. And with the greater weight ascribed to each phrase, they, like passing planets, pull at each other’s gravity and suggest layers of meanings that would never surface on the earlier records. The music is broader culling hints of folk musics’ dark side, the frenetic rhythms of cabaret between the wars and marching bands. In Lukas Simonis they have an increasingly amazing guitarist for the dual reasons of his exotic flights of notes and his restraint to playing as part of the ensemble most of the time because that’s what is required and not mere showing off. Especially in 1990 bands like Trespassers are going to be needed, the whole of Europe in turmoil. Change is happening faster than politicians can be sworn into office. The new prime minister on the 6 o’clock news has already resigned by 10 o’clock. While our charts are blindly full of Tin Pan Alley scmuck (30 years after rock’n’roll and it might as well still be Johnny Ray and Pat Boone; we never learn), Trespassers W are at least considering the real world though the first cut ‘Tenderness’ with ‘Let’s play our game of Indians’ turning into a theme of escape. And sometimes with everything changing a song like ‘Czech Mates’ can go out of date in a couple of weeks. The song is about the long persecuted Czech rock group The Plastic People of the Universe. The only LP I have of theirs, ‘Egon Bondy’s Happy Hearts Club Banned’ was released here to help raise money for their defence fund. Their crime. Playing rock music. Music in the vein of Henry Cow, The Mothers and Can with some wild sax playing by Vratislav Brabenec. My personal favourite id the song ‘No one’ which goes, ‘No one / No one / No one / Nowhere / Never / Eve / Got anywhere / who me? / Such a fool / I am not’. Complete. That was ’78, if anyone knows if they’re still going please let me know. Meanwhile side two of ‘Potemkin’ is taken up by the title track. It’s more like a musical than a song, complete with spoken/shouted parts retelling the story of the Eisenstein film. No way could you listen to this for relaxation. It has me on edge every time I play it, which is as it should be. Towards the end it features some very strange lead guitar from Simonis. Last issue I reviewed all their previous records and described the vocals as being intentionally monotone to avoid forcing conclusions on listeners, but on some of these new songs that approach breaks down in places and a sense of sadness at how dire the straights of so much of this world are comes through.
OPTION #31, USA, March/April 1990
by BILL MEYER:
Trespassers W: Potemkin. This Dutch rock quintet’s conventional line-up of guitars, keyboards, English language singing and drums yields some very unconventional sounds. The Dutch accent contributes to the foreign sound of this recording: however, its alien sound, to these Yankee ears, comes more from the very European elements thrown into the pot. Trespassers W start from a base of progressive punk rock, which they then mix with classical textures, folk instruments. 20th century theater music, and political lyrics. Imagine a cross between the Fall and early XTC, with Robert Fripp sitting in on a set of Brecht songs. The lyrics are mostly quite literate and to the point. They convey a commitment to proclaiming the suppression of freedom. « Czech mates » celebrates Czechosiovakia’s Plastic of the Universe and laments that « Kafka’s alive and kicking… (in) Prague 1989. another song interpolates a Ramones lyric into a critique of Romania suppression of Transylvania, « Ceausescu’s Dream. » Most ambitious, however, is the side-long « Potemkin. » On the title track Trespassers W, augmented by horns and extra voices, trace the narrative of Eisenstein’s classic film. By turns provocative and kinetic, the piece actually conveys the outrage and excitement of that movie.
ALTERNATIVE PRESS #27, USA, March 1990
By MICHAEL C. MAHAN:
TRESPASSERS W, POTEMKIN
It appears that a disproportionate number of groups that have maintained highly experimental standards are hailing from the smaller countries of Europe. Belgium has Art Zoyd and Univers Zero, Yugoslavia has Laibach, and the Netherlands can boast Trespassers W.
The band has been releasing material since 1985, with a shifting line-up centering around singer/lyricist Cor Gout. Be that as it may, this review will undoubtedly be the first time that most people have ever heard of them.
Three of the six pieces that make up POTEMKIN hearken back to some of the Rock-in-Opposition masters of the mid-seventies. These groups, such as the Zarnla incarnations of Henry Cows, took traditional rock and jazz instruments abd created songs that fused rock and jazz with the avant-garde, and presented it to a rather apathetic world without concerning themselves with its monetary success. People either embraced this harsh and often dizzying music (which changed so frequently within a given composition that a listener could barely find anything to hold on to) or rejected it vehemently.
So it is with « Domela, » « Check Mates, » and the title track. « Domela » bristles with frantic rhythm changes, driven by a distorted keyboard, out of which emerges a clam voice singing about a nineteenth century social reformer. « Check (or Czech) Mates, » unknowingly foreshadowing events in eastern Europe, features a psychedelic guitar solo in the midst of instrumental chaos.
The masterpiece of « Potemkin itself, a 22 minute musical interpretation of the rebellion on the battleship Potemkin and its assault on Odessa. The dramatic presentations by the vocalist are a bit overwrought, but this doesn’t detract from the instrumental power of the piece. If Dimitri Shostakovich had written rock music, he would have sound like this.