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Best of 2023


The Annual / Neuemusic / Losing It (3 Books Bundle)

Label: Korm Plastics

Format: 3 Books (in bundle)

Genre: Sound Art

In stock


** The three recent Korm Plastic books in a special discounted bundle ** Since their relaunch in 2019 as (primarily) a publisher of books, the legendary Dutch imprint Korm Plastics - founded in 1984 by Frans de Waard - has been blowing our minds with incredible volumes roughly attending the music scenes to which they belong. Three of their latest - “The Annual 2023”, “Neumusik - The Complete Edition”, and Adam Morris' "Losing It" - take this momentum up a notch. Taking markedly different approaches to the history of music, the first takes the form of an annual anthology 196-page magazine/yearbook, comprising contributions by numerous authors that includes a history of turntablism, a 1985 interview with Roger and Brian Eno, a report on the Groningen punk scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Kubus Kasssettes, vinyl hunting in Trinidad, Willem de Ridder’s Radiola Improvisation Salon, Gary Scott on meeting Florian Fricke, Killing Joke, and Joy Division, and a great deal more, while Neumusik - The Complete Edition dives into world of the late 70s and 80s world of European, electronic and experimental music, comprising the entirety of David Elliott’s seminal British zine published between 1979 and 1982, and "Losing It" engrosses the reader in a brilliant, fictional account of the author’s experiences working in the recording industry, featuring thinly veiled and often scathing portraits of some major names. All three, in very different ways, are engrossing, highly entertaining, and not to be missed.

The Annual 2023 (Book) / David Elliott - Neumusik - The Complete Edition / Adam Morris - Losing It (Book) (Korm Plastics)

The 1980s was a particularly remarkable period for underground music. Emboldened by the spirit of the first waves of punk and post-punk, and the ethos of DIY that came with it, countless scenes appeared in various corners of the globe, propelled by small, independent labels and publishing ventures that often embraced experimental tactics and the radicalism of the avant-garde. Among the most noteworthy of these was the Dutch imprint Korm Plastics, founded in 1984 by Frans de Waard as a cassette label, which ran continuously until 2015 across various formats before relaunching in 2019 as a vehicle predominately focused on publishing books related to music connected to the scenes to which it belongs. Having already been witness to killer titles like Frans de Waard's “De Nederlandse Cassette Catalogus 1983-1987”, “Vital – The Complete Collection 1987-1995”, and “BOH – de Komplete Uitgaven van de Binnenlandse Ontwikkelingshulp”, among numerous others, we’re thrilled to shine light on three of the imprint’s latest offerings, Adam Morris’ “Losing It”, a brilliant, fictional account of the author’s experiences working in the recording industry, David Elliott’s “Neumusik – The Complete Edition”, an incredible volume comprising the British author’s seminal zine that ran between 1979 and 1982, focussed on European, electronic and experimental music, and “The Annual 2023”, a rollicking anthology with contributions by numerous authors that includes a history of turntablism, a 1985 interview with Roger and Brian Eno, a report on the Groningen punk scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Truus de Groot recounting her formative years, Kubus Kasssettes, vinyl hunting in Trinidad, the Perversita festival in 1989, concerts that ended in riots, Willem de Ridder’s Radiola Improvisation Salon, Ultra in Eindhoven, Gary Scott on meeting Florian Fricke, Killing Joke andJoy Division, The Slits, and a great deal more. All three are absolutely fantastic and immersive reads bound to offer a shining light through the dark winter months.


The Annual 2023 (Book)

There is a time for making and doing at the cutting edge, and there is a time for writing histories and shoring up legacies. Remarkably, for just over 20 years, the Dutch imprint, Korm Plastics, managed the former. Founded in 1984 by Frans de Waard until 2015, it pushed the boundaries of music, from early DIY cassette releases by underground projects like Asmus Tietchens, Kapotte Muziek, Nails Øv Christ, Comando Bruno, and Narzisse to its eventual, sprawling and ambitious catalogue that would include significant works of artists like Stephan Mathieu, Steve Roden, Toshiya Tsunoda, Johannes Frisch, Giuseppe Ielasi, Peter Rehberg, Thurston Moore, Z'EV, Audrey Chen, Jim O'Rourke, Lasse Marhaug, The Hafler Trio, and dozens of others. After a brief, four-year hiatus in 2019, de Waard relaunched the imprint in service of the latter, this time focused primarily on later, via a series of books illuminating various aspects of the scene to which it contributed and belonged. First came a re-issue of de Waard’s memoir of working for the legendary imprint Staalplaat, “This Is Supposed To Be A Record Label”, the success of which led to the publication of new books, including anthologies of fanzines, “Vital, De Nederlandse Cassette Catalogus” and “BOH, Neumusik, Nul Nul”, an English translation of a book about punk in the Netherlands (1976-1982), a book about The Legendary Pink Dots’ first ten years, a collection of letters between Coil’s John Balance and Anthony Blokdijk, Freek Kinkelaar’s musings on music, and others. Korm Plastics’ latest, “The Annual”, follows this trajectory down another path, taking the form of an incredible 196-page annual magazine that plums the depths of history with incredible archival texts.

Harnessing a longstanding mutual desire to found a magazine on the part of its two editors, Frans de Waard and Alfred Boland, like so much of what Korm Plastics has produced, “The Annual” slightly defies the natural expectation of what one might expect of its form. Rather than focus on the present, the editors invited a group of authors from the past and present to contribute an article, culminating as an anthology publication, with a series of fascinating covering a wide range of topics, ranging from a history of turntablism, a 1985 interview with Roger and Brian Eno, a report on the Groningen punk scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Truus de Groot about her formative years, Kubus Kasssettes, vinyl hunting in Trinidad, the Perversita festival in 1989, concerts that ended in riots, Willem de Ridder’s Radiola Improvisation Salon, Ultra in Eindhoven, Gary Scott meeting Florian Fricke, Killing Joke/Joy Division, The Slits, contributions by GW Sok and Harold Schellinx and more. Illustrations by Miss.Printed, short interludes by Freek Kinkelaar and Frits Jonker, plus a comic strip by Bertin.

Unified by the spirit of the counterculture and underground music, de Waard and Boland’s “The Annual” is an utterly engrossing time capsule, marking the end of 2023 with a journey through incredible artefacts of the past. Few contemporary magazines we can think of are as engrossing as this. Highly recommended! 


David Elliott - Neumusik - The Complete Edition

Viewed through the lens of the internet era, where seemingly anything can be encountered, heard, read, or seen within a matter of moments, and a period in history that has witnessed the erosion of the music press down to only a handful of glossy rags that tend to chase a preexisting perception of desire, it’s hard to grasp how important scrappy, independent publishing was for underground music for the roughly 25 year period between the mid-1970s and the turn of the millennium. Central to this broader movement was the “zine”, small, often highly focused self-published pamphlets and magazines that were penned and distributed by one or a small number of individuals who rode the DIY ethos implanted by the first waves of punk and post-punk and played a crucial role in illuminating the more obscure territories of the musical landscape for their readers. Among the most fascinating of these to appear in the UK was Neumusik, founded and run by David Elliott while he was a university student in Brighton between 1979 and 1982.

Zine culture was, for the most part, the realm of the young. The amount of energy, work, and enthusiasm it took to produce such a thing - more or less an entire, in-depth magazine penned, edited, printed and assembled by a single person - is palpable and difficult to sustain. Neumusik only produced six issues over the roughly four years it ran. Still, considering that Korm Platic’s complete facsimile volume, comprising its entire output, rounds out at a whopping 425 pages, the extent of such feet is hard to miss.

While unquestionably connected to and inspired by punk and post-punk, Neumusik stood slightly apart from the pack and gained a great deal of its enduring relevance from the fact that it was far more focused on European, electronic and experimental music that had evolved from 1970s kraut / kosmische, French prog, and English bands like Throbbing Gristle and Nurse With Wound, gathering photos, features, interviews, and a plethora of gig and record reviews across its dense, photocopied pages, gathered by Elliot’s veracious appetite for the music and across his extensive travels to meet musicians in Germany and France, connecting with artists like Conrad Schnitzler, Richard Pinhas, Florian Fricke and Chris Carter.

Viewed as the sum total of its output, Neumusik is engrossing and fascinating on numerous levels. On the one hand, it’s an incredible snapshot of the pre-internet ear of music, when fans couldn’t simply hear or encounter the sounds that they were interested in and were dependent on writing to turn them onto things and know something of what they wanted to pursue. Within the context of zines, and certainly within Neumusik, this manifested in a deeply personal and impassioned way of writing and expressing, feeling as though a peer friend was tipping you to the greatest things on earth that had yet to reach your ears. Even more than four decades down the road, this energy survives and remains captivating across the pages of Neumusik, so much so that when reading Elliot's thoughts and insights about these artists and albums, you regularly find yourself compelled to pursue them as though they were just released in the weeks prior. This is, of course, to some degree, a result of his incredible good taste, which has proven to be somewhat ahead of its time. So many of the artists that feature within - Ariel Kalma, Conrad Schnitzler, Cluster, Asmus Tietchens, Richard Pinhas, Heldon, Nurse with Wound, This Heat, Throbbing Gristle, etc. - have proven to have possessed such enduring artist merit that their work from the late 70 and early 80s remains relevant and groundbreaking today.

On the other hand, Neumusik represents something of a contextual time capsule. Today, it’s hard to understand how diverse forms of music might have existed concerning each other 40 or so years ago. The zine, simply through its layout and what was chosen for inclusion, offers remarkable insights to that end, reminding us that punk, post-punk, and early industrial music didn’t exist in a vacuum and was often informed by a slightly older generation of radical European artists who continued to work alongside them.

Encountered in a time that all too often fetishises the past to superficial ends, David Elliott’s “Neumusik - The Complete Edition” sets a new gold standard in the field of archival publication, reminding of the immense value of this kind of book, informing our understanding of what was in ways that can affect who we regard and pursue what is and what might be. Issued by Korm Plastics in a beautiful 425 page, softcover edition that comprises all six of Neumusik, immaculately reproduced, as well as new text and photos by Elliott and others, in addition to a crucial exploration of the parallel YHR label, that Elliott also ran during this period, this is one of the best books we’ve gotten our hands on all year. Absolutely engrossing and beautifully done.

Adam Morris - Losing It

Adam Morris has a long and storied history in music. In 1979, alongside a handful of like-minded friends, he co-founded the DIY label Malicious Damage Records, releasing post-punk classics by Killing Joke, who he also tour managed for two years, as well as the John Peel favourite, "Agent Orange" by Ski Patrol. Following a stint as the tour manager for Lee "Scratch" Perry, he went into distribution for labels like Beggar's Banquet, 4AD and Alternative Tentacles, and On-U Sound and represented Big Black and Sub Pop Records in Europe. In 1988, he founded Mr Modo Records, collaborating with a new generation of electronic acts like Coldcut, 808 State and A Guy Called Gerald, and allying WAU! Mr Modo with Youth and Dr LX Paterson are becoming managers of The Orb.

Despite these remarkable heights at the centre of it all, Morris’ career in music came to a screeching halt in 1994, when, entering his 40th year, he was seemingly kicked out of the music industry and given the cold shoulder. Having experienced such highs and lows and been privy to so much first-hand, he decided to tell the tale and embarked upon writing the first draft of "Losing It," a fictional account of some of his working experiences inspired by novels like "Spinal Tap" and "Trainspotting”, which he completed in 1996. It would take another twenty-six years before he found someone brave enough to publish it - Korm Plastics’ Frans de Waard.

 While it is impossible to fully know where fact and fiction begin and end, by most accounts, the bulk of ”Losing It" is rooted in truth, with only the names changed. Identities are thinly veiled, bringing the underbelly of the 80s music scene to life with often scathing portraits of Harry Viderci, Laquerhead Records, The Pederasti, Jeremy Fingers, and The Orb (encountered here as Cloud Bass), tracing through wild extremes of behaviour and drugs, and told with the maximum of profanity, that makes the entire journey - a fantastic trip toward oblivion - engrossing and highly entertaining.

While it took nearly three decades since Morris began to tell the tale to see the light of day, it was well worth the wait. Adam Morris’ “Losing It” is a fantastic read that lays the 80s music scene bare, told by someone who rested in the belly of the beast for the entire decade. Absolutely fantastic and not to be missed. 

Cat. number: n/a
Year: 2023