Karel Appel was a forceful and fascinating personality, and his Musique Barbare does not less bear the stamp of it than do any of his other artistic creations. A more remarkable gramophone record has not been produced in many a year.
In 1963, Dutch abstract-expressionist painter Karel Appel (1921-2006), one of the founders of the avant-garde movement Cobra in 1948, logged time in the Instituut Voor Sonologie to compose music for a documentary being made on himself by cinematographer Jan Vrijman. Musique Barbare was born, released by Philips, this masterpiece of Musique Concrete is a real jewel for any record collectors. Made in collaboration with the Insituut’s member Frits Weiland, the result is a fantastic mix of electric organ fumblings to full-on riots of distorted kettle drum and assorted percussion-room filigree, assembled into an extremely edit-heavy suite – much use of tape-speed manipulation.