The Micrart Group Story

Always in search for the new sound

Early - Autumn - Twilight Ritual - A Split Second - Wasteland - Twilight Ritual - Das Cabinett & Gerardus Le Monk - iTunes - Audiolife - Renew! - Latest

The early days : 1977 - 1980

As many stories do, the story of the Micrart Group starts as young kids get together. At the age of 14, Geert Coppens and Peter Bonne were already playing music together, assembling one schoolband after the other, and performing on vairous occasions. Growing up in the seventies of course meant being involved in rock music, thus playing the guitar in many different ways : acoustic, 12-string, electric, bass. Most bands had traditional line up, and although some popular songs were covered, they started writing their own songs immediately. Many friends came to join the band and left again as years passed by.

As they were both in search for new music, the underground scene of those days was extremely appealing : "cosmic" and experimental electronic music. They started to use keyboards and sequences, and combine it with guitar, flute and more. Most of the equipment was hired or lent for a weekend or holiday, as the kids couldn't afford to buy the very expensive synthesizers. As a lot of interesting music was created during some single-week sessions, it became clear that they've found their way.

The Autumn Years : 1980 - 1984

Some live performances of a new band, with keyboards, sequences, organ, guitars, bass, flute, drums and vocals, made this band quite known in a wide area. It ignited the idea of setting up a special event, 'Hard Breakfast'. In turn, this required an organisation and the Micrart Group was born, subtitled 'Electronic Sound Generation'. It was a concatenation of micro and art, bringing a group of people together active in different areas : Hard Breakfast was built around the electronic music of Autumn, but assisted by live jazz-dance and live computer graphics art : it was dated 1981 ! Hard Breakfast required a team of 11 people of which 5 on stage, and the guys were all only 17. From that period on, graphics will be playing an incresing role. The first 3 Micrart Tapes was the legacy of this era.

In that same period, Autumn wrote some original tracks for the soundtrack of the first 8mm movie by Jan Verheyen, a classmate of Peter and Geert. Jan would later found his film distribution and production firm, and started directing movies. He has become a well know movie director with over 10 successful full feature productions.

Shortly after Hard Breakfast, Geert and Peter were able to buy some synthesizers for themselves, allowing them to drastically increase their musical creativity and productivity. It soon resulted in many tracks, which were released on several tapes, and performed live in many concerts. In those days, Autumn was a loose initiative rooted by Peter and Geert, but most often joined by Peter Koutstaal. It also allowed them to get into different styles again, which resulted in the formation of two other bands, Linear Movement and Twilight Ritual. They released a single 'Synthesize' which became a modest summer hit in 1982.

As Autumn, Geert and Peter used the artistname 'Sen' and 'Ense', which became identified with the band. Autumn produced many great unique sounding tracks, of which the tapes 'Experiments With Environments' became a landmark in their history.

This period also saw the rise of the Micrart Group in the independent circuit, resulting in cooperations with other bands, participations in many compilation projects, and world wide communication with contemporary musicians and magazines. Micrart became involved with Henk Wallays and his project Unovidual.

During 1983, Geert initiated the idea of writing a soundtrack to the classic Fritz Lang silent movie 'Metropolis'. After searching a long time to get a good copy on video, they spent over 6 months to write a soundtrack and prepare it for LIVE performance. On februari 22nd 1984, Autumn perfomed their soundtrack live during video-playback of the movie at the Leuven University. It was an instant success and plans were made to tour across Europe. But they had no luck : somebody else had also made a soundtrack, and bought the copyrights of the movie : Autumn was officially forbidden to perform their soundtrack again.

Autumn continued until the end of 1984 with the last tape 'Silicon Valley' : a beautiful ending.

Twilight Ritual : 1982 - 1985

Since 1982, Twilight Ritual became the laboratory for expressionistic and minimalistic music. From the first tape, 'Elegy' was chosen for an experimental Video production. TWR kept growing, and making tracks in a clearly different way than Autumn or Linear Movement, guided by Geert's focus on art, rather than sound. Also, the choice of Metropolis as a movie for the Autumn soundtrack, is a rather TWR-inspired choice.

TWR produced few tracks during 1982-1984, but each were more elaborated than in other projects. Many of the tracks appeared on some compilation projects, before finally the spanish independent record company Auxilio De Cientos was interested in releasing a full length album of TWR. Finally, early 1985, the album 'Rituals' was released. Only 1000 copies were ever made, and they sold out pretty fast. Until today, this record is a much wanted and sought for collectors item (and expensive too !). Micrart Group acted as publisher and therefore required and obtained an official status.

Twilight Ritual has always been a project between Geert and Peter, with no-one else being involved - in contradiction with any other project they made, they kept this one to themselves.

By the end of 1985, working together on TWR became more difficult, as both Peter and Geert moved out and lived quite far away from each other. Moreover, Geert started focussing yet more on graphical arts, photography, video, painting and studying art history, and Peter started to be enganged in A Split Second as his project with Linear Movement came to an end. They recorded some last tracks in 1985 which are available on the tape 'The Factory Scream'. It will be another 7 years until they perform again.

A Split Second : 1986 - 1991

During 1985, Peter met up with Marc Ickx who also was a former classmate. They started recording some demos at Micrart studio Attne D, and later at the newly founded Top Studio in Ghent (Gent, Belgium). As Peter moved to Ghent, he made a deal with Peter Gillis, the studio owner, exchanging sythesizer equipment and recording facilities. Some tracks of Twilight Ritual, like 'The Factory Scream' were recorded there. Peter took some sound-engineer courses from Peter Gillis, and started working as sound engineer at Top Studio. From then on, Marc and Peter (who started using the artist name 'Chrismar Chayell') started working on A Split Second. Micrart Group once again was the organisational tool, making it all possible. In this period, Chayell started some involvement in other projects as well, including some solo releases.

One year later, Antler Records became interested in their work and they signed a record deal for 3 albums. A first 12" was released and was an instant success : On Command, Body Check, Burnout and Flesh. All material was performed by the two of them, on this 12" assised in mixing by Roland Beelen, presedent of Antler. It was co-published by the Micrart Group and Antler.

They soon were requested for concerts all over Europe and started to work on a first full length album 'Ballistic Statues', due out early 1987. With Rigor Mortis, they did better than everyone expected. They went on tour though Europe and soon released a live 12". In the meantime, it is commonly recognised that 'Flesh' started a new rage called 'New Beat' which was soon to put Belgium on the map of dance music - however, a bit in contradiction with the overall style of A Split Second which had nothing to do with this rage. In this time, Geert was involved for the artwork of the record cover. Soon after, 'Ballistic statues' was the first CD to be released from Antler.

During 1987 and early 1988, they continued to work at maximum productivity, focussing not on quantity but quality, stretching the musical boundaries fo their work. It resulted in a 12" 'Scandinavian Bellydance' and the album 'From The Inside...'. Again, Geert created the artwork and inlay of the release.

Rigor Mortis already made it to the US though a compiled release by Wax Trax, Chicago. It reached No1 in Rockpool's independent dance charts. From the new album, Mambo Witch and Colosseum Crash were chosen as singles, and they each made it to the top of the same charts. It was the sign for A Split Second to go on tour across North America september-october 1989. They played in all major cities raising huge crowds, which made them focus even more to the US market.

In 1990, they released 'Kiss Of Fury', of which 'FireWalker' was chosen as first 12". Though a revolutionaly track assisted by a great video, it did not score as good as expected, and was soon followed by 'The Parallax View', a track clearly more guitar oriented. However, the band's popularity kept on growing and they went for a second tour across to the US, this time for 28 gigs in 5 weeks all over the country. Again, the tour was very successful, but also indicated that it was time for something new.

1991 was again a year of changes : Peter built the Micrart Studio in Gent, allowing to work even more and better than at the Top Studio. He felt A Split Second was due to make changes in style in order to keep growing. But these changes didn't come and he made a remix album while Marc started working on a solo-project. This evolution signed the end of A Split Second : Peter started working on Wasteland, while Marc continued solo with A Split Second. This closed a very succesful period.

Wasteland : 1991 - 1993

As Peter was in search for new musical forms, he invited some other musicians to start a new band, Wasteland, to be the follow-up of A Split Second. Wasteland created great tracks, raised much interest from the music industry, but had to suffer the bad luck of a general crash in the music industry, causing the project to finish in 1993.

Most people consider the work of Wasteland as of much higher quality than A Split Second ever made. However, the Micrart Group provided the means to create, but could not provide a top quality CD release. Wasteland didn't want to sign on with minor labels, which made the band decide to quit and search other ways.

This period was quite short, but the produced music is definitely one of the best around.

Twilight Ritual : 1992 - ...

In the mean time, Peter invited Geert over to revive Twilight Ritual again, having the Micrart Studio available for free experiment. At slow pace, they started to work on a new Twilight Ritual which was soon to be admired by many people. In 1992, they created tracks like 'My Delay', 'Veneto Sundown' and 'Autumn Doesn't Suffer When It Dies'. Although TWR did not intend to make tracks ready for release, unlike other projects, it became clear that these tracks were well worth to be released, and they started looking for a record company.

Although the record was ready and mastered since 1994, it wasn't until 1996 that Subtronic released the Twilight Ritual CD 'Organic', but only in Germany. This CD got such great reviews that it was obvious for TWR to continue. However, TWR has never and will never compromise : a release is not the goal, the music is.

The 'Organic' booklet is entirely created by TWR, using photographs and paintings of Geert and Peter, and was entirely recorded and produced at Micrart Studio 6 by Peter. In 1997, they organised a promotional event in Gent, focussed on the graphical art rather than on the music. For this exhibition, some tracks were composed that are now awaiting new releases.

In the meantime, Subtronic wanted to re-release the old Rituals album. This album was remastered and some bonus tracks added. By the time it should be released, Subtronic went bankrupt, and the release never took place.

Twilight Ritual simply continues whatever happens. 'Full Moon' is a worthy predecessor of 'Organic' and ambient trakcs were compiled on 'Painted Wall'.

In 2000, Twilight Ritual went LIVE again after many years, and this with a unique event counting over 15 people involved. This project was named 'Nocturnal Transmissions' and you can read all about it on the Twilight Ritual subsite.

In 2005, Twilight Ritual is back on stage with a short uptempo performance of old tracks, celebrating 25 years if Micrart Group and supporting the final re-release of RITUALS in CD by Genetic Music.

Since 2006, Twilight Ritual is getting ready again for a limited amount of Live performances. For info, contact us.

Das Cabinett & Gerardus Le Monk

Early 2003, Geert started experimenting with new material, resulting in a new project baptised 'Das Cabinett'. This project prooved to be very productive with several CD releases soon following each other. Geert, operating under the name Gerardus Le Monk, consequently produced several more CD's with a specific dark ambient soundscape. Read more on his subsite.

iTunes and other releases

Since 2006, all heritage material is remastered and made available on-line from iTunes. With a little luck, some releases will be made in cooperation with other labels, for which we are open.

Hardcopy CD's now through Audiolife

From 2009 on, all remastered Micrart Group material is made available through Audiolife, an on-line service to produce CD's on-demand. All new releases will be made available through both iTunes (digital download) and Audiolife (hardcopy).

Renew! Micrart Materials getting released on new compilations and special vinyl

Minimal Wave has released Linear Movement in vinyl : a collection of the 1983 material. "On The Screen: is available though many channels and has additionally been made available as digital download and CD.

Linear Movement, Twilight Ritual, Autumn are participating in several vinyl projects.

Minimal Wave releases a collection of '81 - '83 Autumn tracks on "Synthesize", Walhalla Records encloses 'Synthesize' on it's VolII Belgian Underground Wave LP.

Twilight Ritual is going Live again. for info, contact us.

Latest ...

Twilight Ritual is releasing old and new materials : an new LP "The Factory Scream", and new retro material in iTunes and Audiolife "Relectromagnetism".

 

Keeping track of the studio's as they grew with the bands :
Atem : the cellar of the youthclub near Geert's house (1977-1981)
Attne A : Peter's bedroom (1977-1981)
Attne B : Peter's dad's dining room (1979-1982)
Attne C : Peter's sister's bedroom rearranged after she married (1982-1983)
Attne D : Peter's brother's bedroom rearranged after he married (bigger place) (1983-1985)
Attne E : Attne D rebuilt at Top Studio Gent (1985-1987)
Top Studio : Peter Gillis' recording studio, Gent (1986-1990)
Micrart Studio 6 : Micrart Midi Recording Room, Gent (1990 - 1995)
Micrart Studio 7 : Micrart Studio, De Pinte (1995 - 2011)
Micrart Cabinett Studio : Geert's well-equipped attic (2002 - today)
Micrart Attne F: Micrart Studio, Merelbeke (2011 - today)