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"Commuters, a one-time collaboration between Slapp Happy vocalist Dagmar Krause and Amsterdam avant-garde composers Harold Schelinx and Ronald Heiloo, was first released as a limited pressing on Amphibious Records in 1983. Soon deleted, it quickly became the Holy Grail fans of Krause were all after. The album was reissued in 2000 on La Cooka Ratcha (a Voiceprint imprint). Although it runs for only 16 minutes, Commuters contains ten songs and really should be perceived as a full album. Schellinx's short stories are set to dense piano pieces taking elements from Erik Satie, Charles Ives, and Kurt Weill. Krause's voice delivers the text in angular melodies in a way similar to her work with News From Babel (on Work Resumed on the Tower). These 60- to 120-second half-cabaret/half-atonal pieces are as complete as can be and the listener comes out of them as if the experience had taken an hour. The simplicity of the piano/voice setting is constantly challenged by the obscurity of the lyrics, the complexity of the melodies, and the sparse but very concentrated piano parts."

*François Couture - All Music Guide

credits

released February 12, 1983

Originally realesed on Amphibious Records, A013
Re-release on CD: fall 2000 by the VOICEPRINT Group of Companies, cat.no. LCVP127CD.
Lyrics: Harold Schellinx - Music: Ronald Heiloo & Harold Schellinx
Dagmar Krause: vocals - Ronald Heiloo: piano
Recorded: 1982 on 8-track, Kingston-upon-Thames, september 28th - october 1st ++ mixed: october 5th

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Track Name: The Ventriloquist
He addresses the world
from all possible angles,
every next step but
a shift of position,
directed towards
the way out of the maze.
He says I
he says we
and turns his hand with
a deliberate slowness,
his lips slighlty parted
though not moving
in an umpteenth attempt
to explain.
The world laughs, points
finfers, then bounces along,
too deafened by the sound
of machines to hear
the ventriloquist speak.
Track Name: The Young Lieutenant
Independent and searching
the young lieutenant
trousers tight as a drum
entered the village
proudly announcing
his passion for whiskey
and young lady pianists.
He made very good gestures
he pulled up his trouser legs
as he sat down
his dark eyes told stories of
battle and love
shotguns and blood
he freed his shirt cuffs
and leaned forward to tell about
all the aspects of war
all the bastards he killed.
The village
had nothing to offer
but tea and a waitress
prum, wearing glasses.
Independent and searching
trousers tight as a drum
the young lieutenant
ordered a beer.
Track Name: The Architect
She looks around, then sits
beside him, waiting to talk,
talk her way through every
single word, putting brick
upon brick to build a tower.
The view slightly changes.
He draws a line, he feels
very thin. Geometrical con-
structions and striclty lo-
cal clues make lines converge
into the distance. Mottled
marble and mirror-glass,
the tower grows.
Track Name: The Poet
Late at night
the poet reads
his words
parade
as he turns back
page after page
a rapid rush
of words
parade
without rhyme
without reason.
Wasted
like a cornfield
after harvest
his pencil draws
the poet yawns
ponderously.
Track Name: The Man On The Island
The man on the island
never read papers. He's
of middle height, runs a
little to stomach, he's
laughing out loud.
He chops up his cottage.
He's building a raft to
sail away from the island
and recover America.
But he runs out of wood.
So he chops up the raft
and builds a cottage to
protect him from rain.
The man wears a fur cap,
the man goes to sleep.
Tomorrow
it begins again.
Track Name: The Acrobat
An entertainer of no
fixed address had taken
to drinking, lost faith
in his church and his work.
The onlookers quietly
watching his actions
sent for a priest
and police.
The name was Edward.
The acrobat broke his neck,
his centre of gravity
sadly lowered.
Track Name: The Organist
He reviews the nails of his
left hand. His jaw moves.
He hums, prolonging in solemn
echo the closes of the bars.
A woman is kneeling absorbed
in some supplication. With
evident amusement he rubs his
nose. To rest safely in the
arms of Kingdom Come is only
a paradox in his spare time.
He walks out of the chapel,
gently closing the door
behind him.
Outside evening falls
dry and rasping
the village rumbles
pale but composed
the organist smiles.
Track Name: The Philosopher
The philosoper shook
his uncombed grey head.
The day was fine
His unshaved reddened
face coughed.
The air was clear.
Sunk in the depths of
a very low chair he
wondered how it was
people got this way.
He couldn't do anything
for them. He chewed
a cigar, spat on the floor
and all the time
at the back of his mind
was the idea of death.
The prospect was extensive.
Track Name: The Gentleman On The Stairs
The gentleman on the stairs
tried every door, on and up.
Sometimes he caught his face
in a small staircase-window.
The gentleman on the stairs
passed his hands over his
forehead. There were beads
of perspiration there. it
wouldn't make much difference
if he shrugged the grey coat
from his shoulders. He mount-
ed the remaining stairs
two at a time and poked his
head in at the last door.
Then he went away.
Track Name: The Priest
Up in his attic the priest
watched rivulets of rain
that ran from the gutterspouts
and splashed into the court-yard
in miniature cascades.
Guilt is such a fertile field,
he thought, stowing the
communion cup away and kneeling
an instant before it showing a
large greay bootsole from under
the lace affait he had on.
The he thinks of prayers,
like of letters to papers;
his God constructs him
but what if there is no
such thing?
(His latest notes used
the Name written across
several lines, always
with a questionmark.)