1978 - 2012

PLUS INSTRUMENTS

Reviews for Plus Instruments – Signal Through The Waves (cd, Blowpipe)


Review: Chain D.L.K. website by Steve Mecca on 2016-07-03
Artist: Plus Instruments
Title: Signal Through The Waves
Format: CD
Label: Blowpipe Records
Rated:


My last encounter with Plus Instruments was the 'Trancesonics' album from 2013, and since then, Truus de Groot has been kinda busy, sneaking by a limited vinyl release ('Exile in Paradise') that I wasn't even aware of prior to this one. Whereas on 'Trancesonics' Truus had only a little help from a single musician (Jimmy Virani on theremin and moog), here she employs additional musicians Paulo Bento (synths, bass, guitar) from Anvil FX and James Sclavunos (drums) from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Grinderman. The result is something a lot less raw and a lot more controllled than 'Trancesonics,' yet still with that kind of "synth electronics as synth electronics" (as opposed to synths trying to emulate real instruments) ethic that seems integral to de Groot's music. Here Plus Instruments sounds a lot more like a real band than a solo artist with a lot of synths as on 'Trancesonics'.

Truus's vocal stylings have changed too; less experimental, less New Waveish, a lot more melodic, and somewhat jazzy and slightly soulful. Imagine Anette Peacock meets Amy Winehouse with someone else I've heard but can't remember her name. Plus Instruments tackles a variety of themes over the ten tracks on this album - a strange supernatural encounter ("Ghost"); passion ("This Fire Burns"); romantic breakup ("It's Over"); seduction ("Come Closer"). Some of the songs that work the best though can't be pigeon-holed to a specific theme, such as the title track "Signal Through the Waves". This little gem relies heavily on a distinctive sample & hold synth riff, a ring modulated chordal descending chordal progression and Sclavunos's snazzy drumming. Truus's voice is at her most appealing on this track, and the lyrics are great too. This track alone makes the disc a worthy purchase. Another great track is "Bad Mood" (rather self-explanatory) where drudgy broom-swept synths and plodding drums and bass back Truus's misery-tinged bluesy vocals. "You and Me" is as close as Plus Instruments gets to some of the chaotic 80's style experimentation so prevalent on 'Trancesonics'. But the most atypical song on 'Signal Through The Waves' is the last- "Your Mind" with guitar as the main instrument, and seething synths in the background. The poetic nature of this number is comparable to Patti Smith at the height of her powers.

'Signal Through The Waves' shows just how much de Groot has grown as an artist, and the songs are worth revisiting over and over again. While these tracks are more accessible, don't mistake accessibility for commerciality. This ain't mainstream, and we can be very thankful for that.

 

De Subjectivisten  - SCHADUWKABINET – Web Magazine - http://subjectivisten.nl/?p=5204
By: Jan Willem 24 mei 2016

I must admit that I've never heard of the group Plus Instruments. Yet since 1978, this is already a fact in the Dutch music scene. This brainchild of Truus de Groot (Nasmak, Doe Maar, Trigger And The Thrill Kings) delivers in early 80s two releases that lie somewhere between new wave, no wave, synth-pop and experimental music.  After another 30 years they restart and release a few more albums. Truus meanwhile released a few solo releases. Signal Through The Waves is yet another solid presentation of this group.  Besides Truus (vocals, arrangements) are the drummer Jim Sclavunos (8 Eyed Spy, Grinderman, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sonic Youth, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, The Cramps, Trigger And The Thrill Kings) and keyboard player and bassist Paulo Beto (Anvil Fx, Freak Plasma, Shiva Las Vegas).  The passage of time seems to have absolutely no effect on this trio, let alone any hype of today to influence their style.  Uniquely they bring a mixture of the above styles, which has virtually nothing in common with any other artists. That alone is a great thing in this beaten musical landscape of today. The true roots lie in the 80s, but the music is completely here and now. For those who want to have some reference, think of a kaleidoscopic cross-fertilization of AGF, Diamanda Galas, Lydia Lunch, No Safety, Peaches, The Residents, Sonic Youth, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Diana Rogerson. Utterly unique that deserves our full attention. Pleasant introduction!

By: Peter Bruyn - Lust For Life Magazine – April 2016

The Dutch Ultra movement revival of a few years back was highlighted by the return of Plus Instruments (AKA Truus de Groot).  Truus, vocalist and electronica musician, was a member of Dutch group Nasmak around the late 70’s, in 1981 she left for the US where she still resides.  She still makes music with the same naivety,  yet  as torrid and exciting as she did 35 years ago.  This was the case with her previous album Trancesonics of a few years back, but this new Album “Signal Through The Waves” has even more of these aspects and it is actually much better.  True, this electro pop sounds quite vintage, you can call it “the future of yesterday”,  but the songs are very strong and the production is exciting.  Sometimes a Kraftwerk-like Robot mood predominates the sound, other songs are organic and melodic.  Collaborators are James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) who was a  Plus Instruments member in the 80’s and Paulo Beto (Anvil FX).

 

VITAL WEEKLY - Frans de Waard
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Number 1034
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Week 22

PLUS INSTRUMENTS — SIGNAL THROUGH THE WAVES (CD by Blowpipe)


Here's another release by Plus Instruments; I also reported on the two previous releases. That was 'Dance With Me' (Vital Weekly 814) and 'Trancesonics' (Vital Weekly 894), all of which continues
a string of works that has been going on for some thirty-five years now. Right in the centre of Plus Instruments is Truus de Groot, in the late seventies singer for Nasmaak, later Nasmak and then with Lee Ranaldo and David Linton forming Plus Instruments in 1981. A group with a guitar, drums,
vocals and tapes. Later on she played more rockabilly tunes as Trigger And The Thrill Kings, but in 2012 Plus Instruments became part of the 'Ultra' revival — the Dutch version of No New York (the shortest description I can think off), and since then there have been releases and concerts.
Recently De Groot toured the Netherlands, with former Nasmak drummer Toon Bressers on drums. On her releases, De Groot plays most of the synthesizers, sequences, rhythms and sings, and it sometimes reminded this listener of the old D.A.F. sound: cold, motorik rhythms with a great vocal.
That worked on 'Trancesonics' even better than on 'Dance With Me', which I thought was a bit un- balanced, so expectations are high and we are not disappointed, but there are minor changes. For me the music of Plus Instruments works best if it is machine/sequencer driven with a motorik beat
(think D.A.F. at their height) and on top Truus de Groot's soulful voice. It brings warmth to the machine and that's what she does best. The minor changes are due to the fact that in some of these pieces there is James Sclavunos playing the drums and Paulo Beto on synthesizers, bass and guitar.
Those pieces add a more rock like beat to the music, even when it is trying to sound as machine-like. James Sclavunos we know from 8 Eyed Spy, Nick Cave, Grinderman, and Teenage Jesus And The Jerks and working with Truus before in Trigger And The Thrill Kings, while Beto is for me unknown (he played in Freakplasma, LCD and Shiva Las Vegas). By playing these more rock inspired tunes, Plus Instruments loose a bit of the coolness that it has when Truus does it all solo, I guess, but there are still some excellent pieces on this release, such as 'Come Closer', the moody 'Unlikely Crush' and 'Bad Mood' (which sounds like an electronic Nick Cave song), the joyous 'On The Other Side' (with full band, but still not as rocky) to which we also find some rockers as 'Your Mind' and the title piece. While I think the majority of the songs are great, I think Plus Instruments is at it's best with it's mechanical swing and Truus vocal delivery that goes along and the rock format is something that
makes it a bit too normal for me. Keep the boys in the same line and don't let do their rock poses and all will be fine. (FdW)


––– Address: http://www.blowpipe.org/

 

Oor Magazine – 6/2016 (NL)
Oscar Smit

PLUS INSTRUMENTS-SIGNAL THROUGH THE WAVES (BLOWPIPE)

Dutch

Een van de verworvenheden van 40 jaar punk is do it yourself. Maak je eigen instrument, neem je eigen plaat op en breng hem zelfstandig uit. Plus Instruments en Bene Gesserit zijn twee vertegenwoordigers van dit diy adagio. Truus de Groot uit Eindhoven zat eind jaren zeventig kort in de formatie Nasmak. Haar eigen band heet(te) Plus Instruments. Zij was in 1980 een van de eerste popmuzikanten die samenwerkte met het elektronische muziekinstituut STEIM. De door STEIM ontwikkelde kraakdoos werd haar handelsmerk. Dat is onmiddellijk hoorbaar op Signal Through The Waves. Haar freaky analoge geluiden uit zelfgebouwde synthesizers en kraakdozen vormen de boventoon en haar twee begeleiders passen zich hierbij aan. Truus zingt en laat intussen haar elektronica op hol slaan. Op Come Closer klinkt dit dreigend met donkere eighties-achtige synthesizerpartijen. In Unlikely Crush  staan space sounds centraal die de jazzy zang van Truus op een spannende manier omarmen.

English

One of the legacies of 40 years of punk is do it yourself. Make your own instrument, record your own record and self-release. Plus Instruments is evident of this DIY modus. Truus de Groot from Eindhoven was in late seventies briefly in the band Nasmak . Her own band is Plus Instruments. Truus was in 1980 one of the first pop musicians who worked with electronic music institute STEIM . The crackle box developed by STEIM became her trademark. That is immediately evident on Signal Through The Waves. Her freaky analog sounding self-built synthesizers and crackle boxes predominate the overal sound and her two companions connect with this. Truus sings and her electronics go wild. Come Closer sounds ominous with dark eighties synth -like parts. On Unlikely Crush space sounds are central to the jazzy vocals of Truus embracing it an enchanting way.

 

 

 

Press

Interview

Past & Present Truus de Groot Talks

11/2015 by Alasdair King

 

Interview

 

 

Digging up Dutch Undergrounds – An Interview with Truus de Groot of Plus Instruments and Nasmak

 

-March 25, 2014
by Richard Foster

http://luifabriek.com/2014/03/digging-dutch-undergrounds-interview-truus-de-groot-plus-instruments-nasmak/

 

 

Review Excile in Paradise (VOD Records)

Obskure Magazine (FR) October 2013

 

The release of this never before released album from 1982 is quiet a gift. If it would have been released at that time, it would have probably become a classic. On this album the cult track "Bodies" that was released on the Dokument compilation, and "things" can be found on an EP released by Zickzack. Recorded  when Truus lived  between the USA and her native Holland, the album is dominated by euro-beat grooves and an electronic disco-punk lead by a sensual voice and a constant carnal tension. "paradise" is like a femine version of Suicide, and the rythm of "don't forget me" could evoque "Der Rauber und der Prinz" by DAF. The mood get darker and the synth goes gothic on "horrible", the minimal disco of "Irgendwo" gets an exotic and enchanted singing. The richness of Truus de Groot vocal register is there again one of the asset of the record, from cabaret styled Bertold Brecht (das ist gut so) to macabre delirium  (he's dead) or delicious iced complaints (13 sailors). Even more than on their previous records, the percussion dominates here, and takes us to all this cold funk/post punk of the early 80's with bands like A Certain Ratio, 23 Skidoo and mainly Nasmak, the excellent nederland project in wich Truus had raged  at the end of the 70's. Except that the approach  of Plus Instruments is way more refine. "Exile in Paradise" is really interesting to listen in comparison to the more recent compositions of the band, as the continuity appears evident.
84%

Maxime Lachaud

 

Oor Magazine (NL)  8/2013

 

Until last year Truus was just a short footnote in the Dutch music history.  However in 2012 some events took place around the Dutch “Ultra” music movement. Eindhoven native,  Truus (ex Nasmak), was an important component of this genre.  She performed a series of concerts in 2012, which was evident that Plus Instruments did not only survive the sands of time, but in fact appealed to an entire younger more current public. 

Now Truus’ Plus Instruments has debuted a brand new Album and brief tour in September of Benelux & France.  With “Trancesonics” Truus does not disappoint with danceable, rhythmic, upbeat Electronica, without the “clicks and cuts” but with analog “bleeps and squeaks”.  She re-invents her basic musical concept dating back to the early 80’s without drawing back to that time.  The Album opens with pleasant noisy beats where Truus’ Vocals are mixed in at sound level.  On track 2 the electronic noise becomes apparent paired with a high Dance Beat.  The high dance factor persists throughout the album. 

Trancesonics is a raw dance album that flirts with EBM (Industrial Dance), most obvious in “In My Dreams”.  On “Obsolete”, her trademark “Crackle Synth” noise is highlighted.  Trancesonics is a progression building on Plus Instruments’ own legacy from the early 80’s, regardless of the analog mood, Truus is a visionary riding the ultimate post Ultra wave, straight into the future!

Oscar Smit

 

 

Vital Weekly 8/13

 

PLUS INSTRUMENTS - TRANCESONICS (CD by Declaw Ditties/Blowpipe)

Last year saw a small revival of Ultra - the Dutch version of post-punk (in 2 words). You'd better browse back to Vital Weekly 822 and read more. It brought back a lot of happy memories and old musicians, but it seems that the one artist who benefitted most was Truus de Groot. Once a member of Nasmak, then Plus Instruments (in a first incarnation with Lee Ranaldo and David Linton). Just before the revival started she released a great CD 'Dance With Me', of all new songs, which showed she still had the same great charm as she had thirty years ago. It brought her a retrospective album on Vinyl On Demand (which sadly didn't make it to these pages) and concerts in The Netherlands and France. Plus of course new work, and here's another album of twelve new songs. 'Dance With Me' was great, but this new one is even better. More coherent altogether, variations on what Truus does. And what's that, you may ask? Truus de Groot plays her crackle box, synthesizers, rhythm machines and sings. She does that with great style. The music is pretty much straight forward, sequenced rhythms, to which she bends her voice to sing songs. Not moan, howl, whisper, but actually singing great songs. Her crackle box functions as machine to create weird songs that float around her strict beats. Music that reminds you of DAF at their peak, but less macho, more feminine and, perhaps, listening to sweat ditty as 'Magic Carpet', also a bit more hippy like. That whole thing makes this something which is something that surely some people will like, who found DAF a bit too pathetic, too German. It still sounds like 1982, but then updated and way more poppy. 'Detour Square Dance' is her version of 'Der Mussolini' and should be an underground dance classic. Excellent!

 

Plus Instruments – Trancesonics

Submitted by Richard Foster on Wed, 09/04/2013 - 17:18

This is a marvellous LP; one which employs a mix of mad sounds and considerable know how. Not to mention bags of charm. At times it’s a weird pop master class.

http://www.plusinstruments.com (Blowpipe records)

Not many people know of Truus de Groot’s work, or at best will have only a fleeting knowledge of it. Which is a terrible shame; because, like the other long-lost, (and recently reified) Dutch experimental pop pioneers Minny Pops, Truus’s work with Naasmak and Plus Instruments is of the highest order. It really is.

And now she’s back with Trancesonics – replete with her “crackle box” and disarmingly simple way of looking at the world. She’s great at setting a seemingly simple message over a plethora of noise and this LP is a set of thumping and often strange tunes that constantly have you itching to dance or wondering just what planet she’s beaming in from.

It’s Complicated and Into Oblivion are magnificent mantras of Weirdo Pop, taking the template of the old Plus Instruments classic Bodies, and giving it a glossy, very modern twist. The latter ends up as a sort of confessional, albeit one that should be rendered unto Darth Vader or something. Love Is Enough is an industrial space stomp par excellence, the beat crashing through town like some praetorian guard (or the women police from the Two Ronnies’ sketch, The Worm Has Turned) whilst de Groot croons over the top to all intents and purposes reworking Peter Cook’s Great Garbo impression. The bass line is ridiculously lush too; almost the sort of mellifluous run that Nile Rogers would slap down in something like Happy Man. And what is happening on Obsolete? A shuddering synth neat redolent of late 80s club land is given a hard time by the noises emanating from that magical “crackle box”. Like most tracks it’s over before you know it.

Things get more relaxed with Magic Carpet and Snake Charmer, two mid-paced tracks that play on a sort of kooky dreaminess and where you can hear a sort of kinship with Tom Tom Club and where you can finally draw breath from the giddy nonsense that fizzes through the rest of Trancesonics. But best on the LP is (incredibly) saved till late on: Detour Square Dance is asset over a sort of D.A.F.-like riff, you know, sharp, electronic, slightly dystopian. You Make Me Stomp is, (guess), a high tempo mantra full of weird noises and Moogs, and a track which also seems to utilize the beat from Byrne & Eno’s Help Me Somebody, though it is very likely that I could be making that up. I could also be fabricating the connection between When The Rain Comes and anything off Hector Zazou’s Reivax Au Bongo,  the but they do share the same magical weirdness and alien beauty. It’s a fabulous track. Not as fab as the last though, In My Dreams is the ultimate nightmare dance track, the simple melody whipped to within an inch of its life by that damned crackle box. Briljant.

Anyway, I should shut up now. Apart from reiterating that this is a marvellous LP; one which employs a mix of mad sounds and considerable know how. Not to mention bags of charm. At times it’s a weird pop master class. You really need to give it a listen or two.

 

 

CD review OOR Magazine, October 2011

translation:

Truus plus instruments
(Dewclaw Ditties/Import)
Truus de Groot!  Young readers will be scratching their heads.  Those of us who need reading glasses are making a victory dance. 

Truus was the lead singer of groundbreaking new wave band Nasmak some 30 years ago.  She went her own intercontinental way 30 years ago with her own project  “Plus Instruments”.  Using New York City as her base, with member of Sonic Youth nonetheless! 

She toyed around with Cow punk and exotica (to name a few), now she lives on a ranch in Southern  California and is checking in with this inviting record.  It is reverting to the electronica  of back then and this in 2011, it feels almost primitive.  But don’t get me wrong, it is quite charming.  Towards the end of the record the exotica genre prevails and reminds me of a mono version of Stereolab.   

The title track “Dance with Me” conveys an odd mood yet it feels good and that is the charm of this record.

Posté par dans Albums, Chroniques

C’est l’album du retour de Truus de Groot sous le nom de Plus Instruments, et la première chose qui frappe, c’est que le son a gardé son aspect primitif et sale comme en pleine gloire after-punk. Les boîtes à rythmes commencent d’emblée très fort, menées par des synthés analogiques bien granuleux, et une tension électronique aux relents très Suicide (« Crazy Train », « Fly to the Stars »). La sensualité du chant se mêle à des sonorités criardes, presque proto-industrielles dans leur aspect brut de décoffrage (« Only one »). Il n’y a pas à dire, beaucoup d’artistes de cette époque devraient prendre modèle sur Truus. L’énergie d’une époque reste ici intacte, sans céder à la tendance à lisser les entournures, si bien que l’on a du mal à croire que ces titres ont été composés en 2011. Truus n’en tire pas pour autant un trait sur les expériences qu’elle a connues entre-temps : « Git along » pioche volontiers dans le blues et dans les aventures américaines de la dame, alors que « Padudidum Italiano » se situe plus dans la lignée des travaux plus exotica ou easy listening expérimentaux qu’elle a explorés sur Ritualis, album solo qu’elle avait sorti il y a trois ans. Elle se plaît d’ailleurs à utiliser ces rythmes de synthés préprogrammés, ce qui peut donner lieu à des bossas-novas déglinguées (« Bored »), des valses ultra ralenties (« I can’t sing ») ou des slows bizarroïdes (« Drinking Song »), alors que le pied sur « Wild Turkeys » ou « Dance with me » apporte une touche technoïde, qui contrebalance la folie de synthés hystériques. On appréciera en particulier ces morceaux où le robotique côtoie l’aléatoire et le frappadingue. L’esprit d’une époque revitalisé.

Obskure Magazine -

France

April 2012

This album is the return of Truus de Groot as "more instruments", and the first thing you notice is that the sound has kept its original primitiveness and dirtieness like in glory after-punk. The drum starts immediately very strong, led by well grainy analog synths, and an electronic tension that sounds very Suicide ("Crazy Train", "Fly to the Stars"). The sensuality of the singing mingles with the garish sounds, almost proto-industrial in their appearance rough around the edges ("Only one"). Many artists of that era should imitate Truus. The energy of the era is here intact, without succumbing to the tendency to smoothing the seams, so it's hard to believe that these tracks were written in 2011. Truus does not put the experiences she had known the meantime behind her: "Git along" gladly pick in blues and American adventures of the lady, while "Padudidum Italiano" is more like the easy listening / exotica experimental that she explored on Ritualis, her solo album released three years ago. She also likes to use these pre-programmed synth rhythms, which can lead to dilapidated bossas-ovas ("Bored"), ultra slow waltzes ("I can not sing") bizarre slows ("Drinking Song "), while the foot on" Wild Turkeys "and" Dance with me "brings a technoid touch, which counterbalances the madness of the hysterical synths. We'll appreciate those pieces where the robotism is near the random and crazyness. The spirit of an era revitalized.

 

 

CD review FRET Magazine, Netherlands Feb 2012

CD review FRET Magazine, Netherlands Feb 2012

 

Translation

Truus' approach to music has been experimental and idiosyncratic to the bone for more than 30 years.

With her new work "Dance with me" she produced a work no one else could have made.

Her endeavor for the most awesome sounds and unusual electronic instruments are established. Her up beat, dark, often repetitive vocal create a cohesiveness.

Those who remember Truus as Lead singer of Nasmak will find familiarity on this album. Although her love for Exotica is clearly recognizable.

Her most recent work is more a type of sounds scapes as opposed to polished songs. This is also the case with Dance with me, a world of sounds and a hint of moody synth pop.

Truus keeps growing is what she is really good at, creating music without borders..

 

Vinyl Magazine 2012

Truus Plus Instruments

Dance with Me

Now the Minny Pops may have been in hibernation for thirty years, Truus de Groot never stopped. She was in a band called Nasmaak, singing and playing the crackle box, before they turned into Nasmak and she shortly left after that. Together with Lee Ranaldo and David Linton she formed Plus Instruments, guitar, drums, tapes and vocals. Later on she had a band called Trigger And The Thrill Kings (actually a band playing blues and rockabilly), but these days took back on the name Plus Instruments, still using the crackle box, still singing and she manages to still sound like Plus Instruments the way I remember best. Somewhere after Nasmak's first LP and Truus' departure, they played as Nasmak Plus Instruments and in this short, transitional period they toured with DAF, picking up along the lines some of their motorik drum patterns and sequencers (check out their 12" for Zig Zag). Now while it remains to be seen if Minny Pops will find a way to update their 80s sound to 2012, Plus
Instruments certainly did. Each of these thirteen pieces have that motorik drive that was a prominent feature in the early 80s, but now its much fuller with the addition of a lot more instruments all sequenced to go along with the beats. No doubt thanks to today's technology, which allows musicians to play along with themselves more easily, De Groot adds crackle box, analogue synthesizers, sampled toys, sampled percussion and De Groot's more spoken than sung delivery make this an excellent updated form of Plus Instruments. Starting with 'Drinking Song' the album collapses a bit with pieces that don't seem to belong to the others, like they have been added afterwards to fill up an otherwise good album. These are more pop like tunes with simple drum machines and singing. Only four of those, but those nine previous pieces are more than excellent.

Frans de Waard

 

LIVE

iMagazine by Richard Foster

..one thing Truus de Groot has is presence, and an awareness of how to use the stage.
http://www.incendiarymag.com/images/Issue85/In_May_2012_Plus_Instruments.jpg

Ah blissful fun! But in Hoofddorp? Well, yes… team Incendiary were there to see Rats on Rafts for the umpteenth time this year along with a more rare catch, Plus Instruments / Nsmk. In their current incarnation Plus Instruments / Nsmk is the legendary Truus de Groot and Toon Bressers, coupled with the very talented Younes Riad. We reckoned that we’d probably never see the band again - given Truus’ residency in the US – so there was no way we were going to miss them. Added to all of this, Gonzo/Vinyl deejay and all round good guy Oscar Smit was deejaying, which meant we’d get to hear a few loved ULTRA tracks, old and new.


A word about the venue is in order. De Duyker is a fine podium, very well equipped with great sound and an attractive set of stages and practise rooms (as well as a very nice bar indeed). It’s part of a massive arts complex which, by virtue of its very scale, could have been designed for a minor despot. That it’s bang in the middle of Hoofdorp must be a bone of contention with the locals, considering how few had bothered to turn up for the gig, a no-show made all the more remarkable given Rats on Rafts’ appearance. Maybe they just like Pizza Hut better.

Incredibly by the time Toon & Younes set up and the clatter of the Nasmak Melody rang out the crowd had thinned again, but more fool them as the sounds emanating from the stage were nothing short of epic. Nasmak’s old numbers, these strident and sharp shards of memories lodged in the back of many an old punk mind were given fluidity and power, qualities that had the audience gasping. Bressers is a powerhouse of a drummer, but it’s not really obvious where he gets such a thump, his actions seem methodical, almost scholarly at times. Riad, bent over an amalgam of contraptions seemed to be intuitively aware of how to colour the incredible sonic framework set up by his partner. This was vaulting, steely music, ambitious as a skyscraper and hard as iron. The rhythms at times became merciless, akin to the sensual toughness of Afrobeat: once Truus stepped on stage the audience were pretty much battered into a submissive and receptive state.

But that’s not to intimate that she didn’t seek to work the audience; one thing Truus de Groot has is presence, and an awareness of how to use the stage. Despite using a whole host of articles on a table (including the famous “crackle box”) she is aware of the power of the smallest move, the subtlest inflection or attitude. It was quite weird seeing this brassy confident showmanship given full vent on a provincial Dutch platform. We got a whole host of new tracks from the latest LP, the brilliant Dance with Me (including a pulsating take on the title track) and Bored, not to mention the infuriatingly catchy Wrong Right (which my girlfriend insists on singing ad nauseum). Did we get Freundschaft and Git Along? Maybe we did, but at that point my head had dived into the tank of beer prepared for it. Sadly we had to cut half of the gig and run to get the train, missing any chance of seeing the band play Bodies (I just have to console myself that they probably didn’t do it). What a night, and what a waste only a handful of people saw it.


May 2012 - Issue 84

 

VPRO 3voor12 Den Haag
Review/ Verslag State-X New Forms 2012: de vrijdag
Kunst en curiosa
By Frank Veldkamp,

  • 17 december 2012

Om tien uur start Plus Instruments, de band rondom Truus de Groot die al sinds eind jaren zeventig actief is. Je waant je op een loftparty in New York City anno 1980. De no-wave klanken a la Suicide knallen uit de speakers en daar zingt Truus dan overheen. De twist bij Plus Instruments is dat er een echte drummer zit en een bebaarde theraminspeler voor de nodige sfeeraccenten zorgt. Het gaat over wilde kalkoenen, saaie steden en vliegende tapijten. Na een half uurtje loopt de zaal behoorlijk leeg (Mission of Burma begint in de grote zaal), wat met een vrolijk “Ik ben blij dat we alle slechte mensen weg hebben gejaagd” wordt geduid. Het monotone van de muziek van Plus Instruments maakt het absurd en daarmee fascinerend - en dat geldt ook voor de energieke frontvrouw. Truus is de kwieke tante die je op je verjaardagsfeestje wilt uitnodigen als tegenhanger voor al die saaie andere familieleden. (FV)

English Translation

Review Live performance at State Ex Festival, Paard van Troje, Den Haag


At 10 PM Plus Instruments starts their set.  A band by Truus de Groot that has been around since the late 70’s.  You are transported to a loft party in New York City circa 1980.  No wave sounds, reminiscent of Suicide blast from the speakers with Truus’ vocal over it.  The difference is a real drummer and a bearded Theremin player to create its own mood.  It’s about Wild Turkeys. Boring cities and flying carpets.   After about a half hour the venue nearly empties itself (as Mission of Burma takes the large stage).  Undeterred and with a big smile, Truus announces:  “Glad to see we scared away all the bad people”.  The monotone of Plus Instruments makes it absurd as well as fascinating; same goes for the vibrant Truus de Groot.  Truus is the entertaining aunt you want to invite to your birthday party to antidote the drabness of your boring family ..

 

 

 

 

pictured here Plus Instruments with Truus de Groot, David Linton & Lee Ranaldo 1981