zondag 2 januari 2011

MASTER GENIUS

Maybe (but I'm prettty sure) the first hip hop related music ever released by Dutch recording artists was by a mysterious group called MASTER GENIUS who nobody seemed to know within the rap scene of Holland. The first 12" came out right after the release of the USA motion picture "Breakin'" in 1983 and was called "Let's break". The recordlabel is called "Break" and got distributed by "Boni Records" out of Katwijk, Holland. I'm pretty sure this was before the release of "Say what, say who" by ALEX & THE CITY CREW. The track itself is a wierd cut and paste mix of non-hip hop tracks. To be honest; I can't really imagine anyone b-boying to this music but hey....beggers can't be choosers in the lowlands right!


MASTER GENIUS kept on releasing these kind of medleys/mixes, supposedly to be used for b-boying. In 1984 they released 12"s like "That's soul" and "Let's break into the '80's". In 1986 they released a 12" called "Masters" which imo is worth picking up somewhere for the cool picture cover that features graffiti artwork by JOKER from the USA crew out of Amsterdam.




In 1984 there's an album even, highly imagenatively called "The album". I found a funny review on the net for y'all to read, unfortunately I have to agree with the content. Here goes:

Usually I wouldn't bother with reviewing a really bad record, unless it is comedically bad. This doesn't fall into the "comedically bad" category, as listening to it is like having a tooth pulled.
Obviously born from the commerical success of original 80's electro on the continent, this is badly-engineered and just plain slapped-together cut'n'paste Dutch pop electro -- either re-making or sampling famous phrases and melodies from "Keep on Running", "Blue Monday", "Fame", "Living on Video", Edwin Starr's "War", a horribly re-played take on "Superfreak", a variety of 80's euro pop trash, scratching samples (not actual scratching), Woody Woodpecker, the usual plethora of cliched 80's electro vocal samples which pop in and out seemingly at random.
It's entirely possible I am a music facist and am just not getting the "fun" nature of the arrangements. But it's put together really badly. This is literally and figuratively a thousand miles away from Steinski & Latin Rascals territory. Despite the absolutely-sequenced rigid 4/4 and complete absence of funk or rhythm, the arrangement seems incapable of following any structure and breaks happen at unexpected moments, earlier segments pop back in at random for a random amount of bars -- it's just chaos, and not in a good way.
It's padded out with some weak bonus beat-type tracks and effects that I cannot see any self-respecting battle DJ using.
To top it off, Side 2 follows exactly the same format as Side 1, re-using many of the same elements (even drum patterns), but even poppier.


Haha....so far for the first steps by the Dutch in the world of hip hop! (we would pick it up in the years to follow....no worries). Despite what's said in the review, the track "Let's break" was a commercial succes in Spain, France, Germany, Denmark and even Mexico.

But....the question at hand still being; who the hell made these records??? Production credits on the records speak of a production duo called "Adams & Fleisner". Not very Dutch sounding names ey? I searched the net for some info...only to find dick! But an article in a Dutch music magazine from 1984 revealed the mystery. Apparently a Dutch production team called "Cat Music" consisting out of G. Hessing, A. Mol, E. van Prehn, C. Bergman and E. Veerhoff were responsible. They had been producing disco since 1980 and decided to jump on the whole electro bandwagon in 1983. Not only using the name MASTER GENIUS but also X-RAY CONNECTION amongst others. "Replay" by X-RAY CONNECTION (1983) is a not half bad synth electro/italo track that made some waves abroad, especially in Germany.

To uphold the "Breakdance camouflage"  this production team used a group of breakdancers as a front. This unit was called the MASTER GENIUS BREAKERS and got used for the coverphotos and even performances (early Milli Vanilli steez yo!). These MASTER GENIUS BREAKERS were THE pioneer breakdance unit from Haarlem city, more specifically the Schalkwijk area of Haarlem.

The "Cat Music" guys also released two, what seemed to be kind of synth battle tools, albums in 1984 and 1986 called "Electric boogie rhythm tracks" and "Raplines".




3 opmerkingen:

  1. I got this message from Ding Dong:

    Great story. I also own a mixed record from these guys, it's called: Break Night in the: Marathon Bar Dancing. It has the Master Genius-Let's Break on it and also Digital Emotion-Go Go Yellow Screen produced by Adams & Fleisner..

    The album is mixed by Eric Benjamin, the DJ from the Marathon in the Hague, who made a 12 inch in 1984 called "Leer nu zelf Scratchen en Mixen" on Injection Disco Dance.

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