Frans de Waard and Freek Kinkelaar, with their banks of electronics and other unspecified instruments, convey many alternatively bleak, if majestic, soundscapes, either through the wheezing of asthmatic machines, drones of catatonia immersed in cryogenic guitar feedback or the steamy smelt of arcane industry – The Wire
From their early and more abrasive/noisy material to their current incarnation as Nick Drake inspired songwriting team, Dutch duo Beequeen seemingly did it all (and recorded it all, as well).
Although members of Beequeen met and played previously in another band called Thu 20 and they led a radio show called Art And Noise, it was the intervention of Edward Ka-Spel, lead singer of the Italian band Legendary Pink Dots that finally made them start their own band.
In 1989, LPD singer Ka-Spel asked Freek Kinkelaar if he would be interested in opening for LPD in Utrecht. Freek teamed up with Frans De Waard and it was at that show that they decided upon the name Beequeen (the name was based on work by conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, whose work band members admired).
Their debut release was 1989 “Mappa Mundi” tape (reissued as a CD a decade later), which came out on De Waard’s own label Korm Plastics. According to Re-Verb magazine, the record consisted of “singular throbbing pulses of improvised electronic dabbling, evolving slowly and almost imperceptivity, with deep subliminal undercurrents.” “Mappa Mundi” was followed by splits with Legendary Pink Dots and Technological Aquiver, few singles and a full-length called “Der Holzweg”.
“Der Holzweg” (which came out on American label Anomalous Records) garnerered Beequeen enough attention to get them invited to a prestigious Musique Interieures Festival in France. The band also suffered a serious setback during their performance at the festival, when their synthesizers blew up onstage.
Their next record was 1994 “Time Waits For No One”, which came out on Dutch label Staalplaat. Audio Summer magazine pointed out that the “Time” is “as “strange and enigmatic as Its minimal”, while The Wire magazine described the content of the record as “engrossing music that subtly leaves the impression to come back and experience it further.”
1995 “Sugarbush” was based on song titles by the likes of Elvis, Sinatra and Neil Diamond set to a completely new music. Tanz Der Rozen magazine described the record as “beautiful soundscapes for your cold winter evening”, while Eskatos magazine pointed out that “the sound is very well executed and flanges its way between scraping, cricket-like silence, murdernoise, and psychophoria. Challenging and haunting in parts, this changes pace like leaves turn colors, slow and unnoticeably then swells and crests like electrified waves in a dream storm while still maintaining its natural atmosphere.”
Further on into the 90s, the band contributed their 20+ minute track “Atem” to Guru Means Slayer Of Darkness compilation, recorded a split with Kapotte Muziek (which includes Frans De Waard), a number of EPs, singles and a number of full-lengths, including 1996 “Music For The Head Ballet” and 1997 “Long Stones And Circles”.
Late 90s also saw the band starting their own label – Plinkity Plonk (apparently named after a bad review of one of the band’s releases). So far, the label produced material by the band themselves, as well as related projects including Freiband, Wander, Brunnen and Legendary Pink Dots.
New millennium saw the band debuting with ultra-rare “Adeste Fideles” CDr and “Dovizdanje Vanja / The Death Of The Beequeen” – a single that marked the end of the drone period of the band. Many more full-lengths followed in the upcoming years, including “Treatise” (on Auf Abwegen label), “A Touch Of Brimstone” (on Korm Plastics), “Ownliness” (on Infraction label) and 2003 “Gund” (on Plinkity Plonk).
2005 “The Bodyshop” (produced by Legendary Pink Dots guitarist Erik Drost) saw the band entering a completely new territory – it bore the influence of traditional pop/rock music rather than ambience/experimentation that the band was associated with throughout years.
According to Important Records press release “The Bodyshop continues where Ownliness left off. Ownliness marked a distinct break with Beequeen’s past. The ambient-industrial drone music of yesteryear was said goodbye and the Beequeen’s love of pop music returned. The instruments changed from organs, synthesizers and sound effects to guitars, drums, bass and guest musicians on cello and even vocals (a distinctive first for Beequeen).”
2008 marked the release of “Sandancing” (produced once again by Drost) – the next full-length from Beequeen – described by Heathen Harvest website as “a 35 minute album consisting of ten tracks that have a varied range of sounds.” Importan Records commented that “More song based, this album features now vocals by Olga Wallis (with some backing by Freek Kinkelaar). Well rounded pop songs in some places, but Beequeen never forget to put in some strange element, without leaping in the dark alley of pointless experiment.”
In addition to his work with Beequeen, Frans De Waard runs Vital Weekly zine and throughout years he recorded under a number of monikers (including Captain Black, Flow and Post Destruction Music) and was a member of Kapotte Muziek, Quest and Goem, among others.
Freek Kinkelaar recorded as Brunnen, Gazza November and Honeymoon Productions (among other monikers) and is a member of Wander, an alter ego of Beequeen that produced a number of singles/albums for labels like Plinkity Plonk, En/Of and Beta-Lactam Ring Records.
Frans De Waard (Captain Black, Destroyed Music, Doc Wor Mirran, Flow, Freiband, Goem|fdw, Goem, Information Aggression, Kapotte Muziek, Montage Op Lokatie, Pick-Up, Post-Destruction Music, Shifts, Surge, Tobacconists, Violet Shifts, Wander, Wasp King, Zebra)
Mappa Mundi Cass / 2xCass / CDr (Korm Plastics, 1989 / 1999)
Beequeen / Legendary Pink Dots Split (Der Aussiedler) 7″ / 12″ (Rund Um Den Watzmann + Korm Plastics, 1990)
Beequeen / Technological Aquiver Split LP (Korm Plastics + De Fabriek, 1990)
Fond 12″ (Korm Plastics, 1991)
Nouen 7″ (Korm Plastics, 1991)
Der Holzweg CD / LP / Cass (Anomalous, 1993 / Beta-Lactam Ring, 2001 / Tantric Harmonies, 2006)
Summer Rain EP 7″ (Drone Records 1993 / 1995)
Der Aussiedler – 4 Years After (with Edward Ka-Spel, Legendary Pink Dots, Brunnen, Silverman, Kapotte Muziek) 7″ (Rund Um Den Watzmann + Korm Plastics, 1994)
Time Waits For No One CD (Staalplaat, 1994 / Herbal International, 2008)
Sugarbush CD (Raum 312, 1995)
Guru Means Slayer Of Darkness (with Illusion Of Safety, Hands To) CD (Manifold, 1996)
Music For The Head Ballet CD (Isomorphic, 1996 / Infraction, 2004)
Long Stones And Circles CD / CDr (Staalplaat, 1997 / My Own Little Label, 2008)
Mort Aux Vaches: Stet Son CD (Mort Aux Vaches, 1997)
Beequeen / Kapotte Muziek Split LP (Wachsender Prozess, 1997)
The Surrough Gate 10″ (Ant-Zen, 1997)
Vault EP 7″ (SSS Productions, 1997)
Do Be Do (A Live Anthology) CDr / 2xLP (Plinkity Plonk, 1999)
White Tusk / Fly Like An Eagle 7″ (Plinkity Plonk, 1999)
Adeste Fideles CDr (Plinkity Plonk, 2000)
Dovidzdane Vanja (The Death Of Beequeen) 7″ (Klanggalerie, 2000)
Treatise CD (Auf Abwegen, 2000)
Circum Scala Destillans CDr (Plinkity Plonk, 2001)
A Touch Of Brimstone CD (Korm Plastics, 2002)
Natursymfonie 12″ (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2002)
Ownliness CD / LP + 7″ (Infraction, 2002 / Moloko+, 2002)
Gund CD (Plinkity Plonk, 2003)
Beequeen / Wander Split 7″ (Plinkity Plonk, 2003)
Aughton – The Patient Books LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2004)
The Bodyshop CD (Important, 2005)
Seltenturm Beesides 1989-2000 CD (Plinkity Plonk, 2007)
White Bike CDr (My Own Little Label, 2007)
Sandancing CD (Important, 2008)
Sandancing Demos 10″ (Important, 2008)
Atem CDr (My Own Little Label, 2009)
“Acteon: Koek Live Ekko (13/1/89)” on The Netherlands (Harsh Reality Music, 1989)
“Iraq (Remix)” on A Nightmare In Heaven (Special Releases, 1991)
“Hymn L’Amour” on Melt / Dissolve: A Work In Progress Compilation (Work In Progress, 1992 / Fused Coil, 1996)
“Untitled” on RRR-100 (RRRecords, 1993)
“Shedur” on Der Aussiedler – 4 Years After (Rund Um Den Watzmann + Korm Plastics, 1994)
“Final Frontier” on Mind The Gap Vol. 2 (Staalplaat + Gonzo Circus Magazine, 1994)
“Field Character (Live)” on Audio Drudge 5 (Malignant, 1995)
“Layered Layers” on In Memoriam Gilles Deleuze (Mille Plateaux, 1996)