Feuilleton 2 by Paul Verkempinck: Summer or not, “Feuilleton 2: the story behind Kaleidophone” must be told out, since there is also a “story after Kaleidophone” to follow. Episodes 1 to 8 have already been posted. Episode 9 announces the end of a “musical adventure with far-reaching consequences.”
Episode 9. The Beginning of the End.

My demobilization was a fact on February 1, 1980. With the signing of a “data card for the removal of the clothing” 10 months of military service with the Belgian navy came to an end. I was allowed to keep 39 pieces of clothing, including 2 pairs of fine black socks, 3 summer knickers and a Nelson tie. The indefinite leave was literally a liberation. I was again able to drive or track to Brussels every Wednesday to broadcast Kaleidofoon “live”, with René, Julien, Annemie, Betty or Guy. Preparing and anti-static of the long-playing records on the Keith Monks record cleaning machine, meanwhile browsing in the discotheque, was quite a pleasant side activity. However, in early March I got a cold shower. Guido Cassiman, the boss of BRT-2 Omroep Brabant, summoned me to announce cautiously but irrevocably that 1980 would be the last Kaleidofoon year.
The story that started in April 1976 with Music from the Kosmos would come to an end on 31/12/1980.
Were the listening figures not good? Anyway. Excellent even. And the appreciation? Iconic high! At the highest of all BRT programs, Guido confirmed. Why then?

The official version was in the 1980 annual report of the BRT:
Kaleidofoon : Wednesday 23.00-23.40h, Kaleidofoon has been a great success as an atmospheric program, as evidenced by numerous reactions. Musically the inspiration was sometimes lost, which was due to a less intensive record production of what is now called “cosmic music”. Omroep Brabant has had the merit of introducing this music in Flanders and beyond through the mass media and believes that it has put an end to this program at the right time, which has been regarded from the start as an offshoot of “Music from the Kosmos” . Nonsense of course. (And badly written too…) The unofficial or real reason had nothing to do with Kaleidophone. Reluctantly, I promised never to make Guido public for that reason. There was no anger nor would there ever be resentment. I had been given carte blanche in 1976 to create and cultivate a musical playground: at will and without restrictions. Electronic music may not have been fully designed, but it was largely distributed and developed through Music from the Kosmos and Kaleidophone, Guido said.
What I had experienced, no radioman (aged barely twenty-two!) had ever experienced in four years: world premieres, mega concerts, encounters with the musical greats of the electronic, minimalist and jazz-rock scene: Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Ashra, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Eberhard Weber, Terje Rypdal…and Richard Branson. Adventures and stories for history and books, Guido said.
That’s what I had to do. Still, I thought it was a pity because there were still big plans and a revolution was also taking place in 2 areas. 1) Synthesizers gradually became digital. And 2) after years of German hegemony, there were signs that electronic music was also being made in the low countries.
Not that Belgians or Dutch would suddenly “en masse” demolish the Berlin wall, but still. Something started to move.
(to be continued)
I’m surprised I haven’t brought up Schoener in all that time. And yet he was more than appropriate in MUdK & Kaleidofoon. I approached him once for a concert in Leuven, but because we couldn’t agree on the date, Klaus Schulze suggested UDO HANTEN to me. trivia? Andy Summers & Sting played in Eberhard Schooner’s original backing group. That is to say: if the concert had taken place then, it would have been THE POLICE’s first performance in Belgium!

About Paul Verkempinck.

Paul Verkempinck (1958) is a Belgian radio program maker and music composer.

From 1976 to 1981, Paul Verkempinck was a program maker and music composer for BRT 2 Omroep Brabant, where he was responsible for the late evening programs Kaleidofoon and Muziek uit de Kosmos. Presenters on duty included Betty Mellaerts, Julien Put and Guy De Pré. Both programs marked the beginning of electronic music in the Benelux because they were also widely listened to in the Netherlands. Verkempinck organized dozens of concerts as part of the programme; several with Klaus Schulze, including a concert with symphonic orchestra in the Casino-Kursaal Ostend and (on May 17, 1979) a Europe-exclusive concert with Vangelis in the Royal Circus in Brussels. Paul Verkempinck also organized the legendary concert of Klaus Schulze in the Sint Michiels Cathedral in Brussels for 5500 concert-goers in 1977, through “Music from the Kosmos”, the highlight of his radio program. The main presenter on duty with his unique warm voice was René Gijsenberg, who in a unique way also brought poetry from listeners between the pieces of music. Paul was of course also the inspiration for later musicians in Belgium such as Age, Walter Christian Rothe, Patrick Kosmos etc… Paul was in fact the man who created “The Berlin School” (Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ashra, Popol Vuh and others..) announced in Belgium and the Netherlands. Memorable was the concert of Ashra in the planetarium of Uccle in 1977: with the PA of Manuel Göttsching who failed. He introduced audiences to masters of electronic music such as Edgar Froese and Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream, Michael Hoenig (“Departure from the Northern Wasteland”), Brian Eno (“Music for Films”), Cluster (Moebius & Roedelius), Florian Fricke (see “Hosianna Mantra”) and other avangardists such as Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Eberhard Schooner (“Tranceformation”), not to mention Kraftwerk (“Autobahn”), Walter Carlos (“Sonic Seasonings”), White Noise (“An Electric Storm”), Baffo Banfi, Deuter, Harmonia, Michael Rother, Brainticket, Tim Blake, Roberto Cacciapaglia (with his then hard-to-obtain album “Sonanze”) (listeners were warned in advance to be ready with the tape recorder or cassette recorder), and later also Jean Michel Jarres “Oxygene” and “Equinoxe”. “Muziek Uit De Kosmos” also featured a real poll (“De Witste Ruis”) in which the best and most impressive albums of electronic music could be chosen. At number 1 was the album “X” by Klaus Schulze. Remarkable in “Muziek Uit De Kosmos” was the soothing and somewhat melancholy song “La Vie Claire” by the French singer and songwriter Pierre Vassiliu. This song was featured because it contained a special kind of electronic instrument. Also worth mentioning is the mysterious case of the missing (or stolen?) synthesizer, in which the program appealed to listeners to shed light on this case. Verkempinck was ultimately the founder of our contemporary electronic music scene.