BEMN pronounced Bem-Na was first mooted by Mitch Ruston placing an ad in the Birmingham Mail’s clubs meetings and societies section asking for like minded people to get in touch to form a collective to establish a music venue to perform experimental music.
In the eighties the advent of cheaper synthesisers and affordable cassette based multi-track recorders allowed “bedroom” musicians to create their own music and trade it around the world using the underground cassette culture network.
The Turks Head cellar function room became the main venue to perform live shows for the bands and a meeting point to sell your recordings.
The first meeting was October 1987 and continued the third Wednesday of every month, with a newsletter printed to share information about the BEMN later becoming a cassette newsletter with the advent of cheap £ shop multi-packs allowing music to be also included.
As well as being able to sell your own cassettes two BEMN compilation tapes where also produced allowing people/groups to contribute single releases highlighting the diversity of scene.
Generally the sounds devided into two camps, synth players inspired by Tangerine Dream and J M Jarre etc and the “noise merchants” more into punk and industrial although there was much cross fertilisation between the two but usually taking it in turn to host the months meeting with the occasional meeting set aside to involve the entire crowd with improvisations such as the “Acoustic Percussion Thrash” and the “Acoustic Radio Thrash” (as we liked to produce ART that was APT).
At the same time Birmingham University music department used to run a night school course doing Electronic Music and Mystique Concrete which allowed us access to high end equipment and recording technology for a very reasonable price.
The MAC also introduced World Music classes with African drumming, Indonesian Gamelan and Indian tabla and drone well attended by the members.
Three main tape labels where established in the network, Boiled Dove (Laughing Academy), the Anti Musick Industry and Alternate Media allowing distribution around the world.
Bio by Penga