van-houtens-cocoa-magazine-advert-extnjbCoco à gogo

Fan Houtens Kókó was a band named after the Dutch chocolate and cocoa powder brand Van Houten’s Cocoa. The band was formed in 1981. Fan Houtens Kókó played experimental music in the New Wave scene in Reykjavík in the early 80s. The band was active in 1981 and 1982 and published two cassettes: “Musique élementaire” and “Það brakar í herra K.” (Mr K creaks). Fan Houtens Koko photoThe 4 band members were: Einar Melax who played synthesizer and guitar, Þór Eldon played guitar, Matthías Magnússon on synthesizer and Ólafur Engilbertsson on bass guitar. Other musicians who contributed to the band were musician Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (HÖH) who played drums, audio engineer Kjartan Kjartansson who played drums in a few recordings and Anna María Ingadóttir who played bass guitar in a few songs.

Fan Houtens Koko photo 2
They belonged to the surrealist group Medúsa which was formed by a number of college students interested in poetry and art. The members were very active as poets and performance artists. The band played many concerts in 1981 and 1982, the last ones together with the English band ‘Eyeless in Gaza’.

In 1983 the group KUKL was founded as a combo from the punk scene in Iceland. Einar Melax and Þór Eldon were asked to become members. Among KUKL’s songs was a version of the song “Pökn”. In 1986 KUKL came to an end. That same year the group The Sugarcubes, was formed, which featured, among others, Þór Eldon on guitar and later, for a short period, Einar Melax on keyboards. Together with that group the label Smekkleysa started. So Fan Houtens Kókó was a forerunner to some of Iceland’s best known bands. In 2014 the Smekkleysa label put a lot of the Fan Houtens Kókó recordings on a CD entitled “Gott Bít” (SME14CD). These recordings were not available for decades. A lot of the songs, but not all, featured on the CD from 2014, were on the tape “Musique élementaire” from 1981.

Musique élementaire cover art

150 “Musique élementaire” tapes were sold.


Side A

A1      Musique Elementaire

A2      Matseðill Ísidórs Greifa

A3      Eru Kattaskinn Móðins?

A4      Undir Lánsömu Eyra

Side B

B1      Grænfingraðir Morgunhanar

B2      Nornapicnic

B3      Lífgeisladóp

B4      Söngur Fyrir Siouxsie

B5      Allir Vilja Bebop

Fan Houtens Koko MBL

Musique élementaire newspaper

– Wim Van Hooste

Based on text from the band’s Facebook page

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