Plus Instruments, "Februari - April '81"

The latter part of my week was unexpectedly emotionally revelatory, and I wanted to share something that somehow relates to the thoughts I've been parsing through and the feelings I've been examining as a result.

The particulars of why I'm selecting Plus Instruments are going to go unaddressed and unanswered here, but I assure you it's not as random a choice as it might seem.

The group was founded in Eindhoven, just outside of Amsterdam, in 1978, by Truus de Groot, and has stuck around ever since, though lineups have changed quite a bit in the intervening years. The earliest releases were super abstract and esoteric, and I can't say I'm particularly fond of them, though they're certainly interesting, and they had a playful spirit that's alluring.

In '81, de Groot moved to NYC and installed herself in the burgeoning noise and no wave scene. There, she met Lee Ranaldo, who wasn't yet in Sonic Youth, actually. He was around—I think he was playing with Glenn Branca—but S.Y. hadn't been formed as of then, at least not formally. In any event, Ranaldo and de Groot recorded February - April 1981, a zany, rhythmic frenzy that's refreshingly fun and uplifting, not heavy, sour, knotted like some of the other action arising from downtown New York then.

Much more transpired after that LP, but I'm going to let you discover it for yourself rather than walk you through it all. That said, a good next step might be Emotional Rescue's EP from a few years ago.

One last thing: In exploring Ranaldo's catalog more closely than I ever have, I found that he, with Steve Shelley, who was also in S.Y., of course, and Mike Watt, put out a 7-inch on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace as Lucky Sperms in '91. It's great. The Pettibone cover's slick, too.