In 1981 Ritsema began to work at a psychogeriatric nursing home in Capelle a/d IJssel. Here he
met bassplayer Martin Doctors van Leeuwen and drummer Bob Stoute, who had just disbanded
their band Slum. They joined forces, with Ritsema on lead vocals and guitar. Soon after their first
show in a car-park in Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel in 1982, they were joined by Reinier Rietveld on drums
and Arjo Hijmans on guitar. In 1983 Stoute left. In this (classic) line-up Spasmodique remained
active until 1990, gaining a solid live-reputation in the Netherlands and releasing a few cassettes
during the first half of the decade. They released their first mini-album in 1986, followed by four
albums, a mini-album and two singles. The quartet toured intensively throughout the Netherlands,
Germany, Austria, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia. After Hijmans left in 1990, they worked
with guitar players Niek den Brave, Hans Brussee and Raymond Gerrits, and finally broke up in 1992.
In 1998 the classic line-up of Spasmodique reunited. They recorded the soundtrack for the short
movie In Forced Perspective by Favola Film (Rino Gouw and Hugo Goudswaard) and performed
live in the Rotterdam club Rotown under the name Villa Delirium. Spasmodique started recording
new material they had written around 2000. The album Villa Delirium was finally released in 2002.
Then in 2016 Spasmodique released their 6th album 'Six'.
In 2002 the book '20 Jaar Spasmodique, From the Cellar of Roses' was launched edited by Jean-Paul van Mierlo (webmaster of www.spasmodique.nl). And
in 2016 Frans Ruiter released 'All And More', a box set with 10 Cd's and 3 Dvd's.
In the early nineties Ritsema started playing and composing with multi-instrumentalist Willem Cramer. Cramer had just left the Rotterdam-based multi-cultural band East Meets West. They soon recruited more (ex-)members of this band – percussionists Alex Eind, Daniël Bloem and John de Wit – to join a 1992 tour of the Netherlands with East Meets West and Hi Ho Silver, called Rotterdam Olay I (De Rotterdamse Daad). They were joined by Martin Doctors van Leeuwen on bass and changed their name to Cobraz. A CD was issued, featuring three tracks by each band on the tour. Most of the band members left after the tour, so Ritsema and Cramer were joined by percussionists Joke Hamminga (East Meets West) and Coen Aalberts (Willy Nilly), and drummer Ron de Bruijn. This line-up debuted in Rotterdam at the Metropolis Festival in 1993. Doctors van Leeuwen left to be replaced by Chris Grem. This sextet recorded Cobraz only studio album Sato Bar (produced by TC Matic guitarist and producer Jean-Marie Aerts) in 1995, and disbanded the following year.
(Mark Ritsema & Trio) Raskolnikov
In 1997 Ritsema formed Last Side Show with Jean-Marie Aerts, Chris Grem and Coen Aalberts (replaced by Ron de Bruijn during the first Dutch tour ) but the band broke up before the end of the year due to logistic problems. Live and studio recordings were made but never released. In 1998 Ritsema was asked by the local radio station Radio Rijnmond to play during their weekly talk show Studio Gloria. Initially Ritsema reunited with Grem (on piano) and Aalberts, calling themselves Trio Raskolnikov. After a few radio shows, double bassplayer Peter Jessen was recruited and the band name was changed to Mark Ritsema & Trio Raskolnikov. Combining Ritsema's new songs, written each week, with jazzy improvisations, they rapidly became an established band that began playing throughout the Netherlands. With the financial help of Radio Rijnmond and Rotown they also released a collection of radio recordings on CD Studio Gloria (1999). In 2001 they were part of the music, dance and film performance Dorst, with Regina Magnus (choreography, dance), Sanja Hasagic (dance) and Favola Film (visuals) for Rotterdam Cultural Capital. In 2001, together with members of the Q-Club from Hoorn, Ritsema founded UNSOUND, an organisation and record label that established the musical freedom of its members in a lengthy manifest (UNSOUND0001), which is partly an indictment of the commercial, tunnel visioned, music world. In 2003 UNSOUND released new albums by both Q-Club and Raskolnikov (with Aalberts again replaced by De Bruijn), and the two bands also shared the stage during the theatrical music show UNSOUND0007, with visuals and video footage by Favola Film. The recording of the on-line-only album Portrait of Raskolnikov As A Young Man was financed by a group of Raskolnikov fans. During 2007/2008 Raskolnikov was fairly inactive, due to Ritsema's solo-activities, Grem's work for Charlie Dée and Jessens's growing activities in the classical/avant-garde music world. New live shows and recordings are being planned for 2009.
From the early nineties on, Ritsema performed solo, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Between 2003 and 2007 this repertoire, and some new material, was recorded in Vale The Lobos Studios and Bed & BreakFast Studios in Portugal, in collaboration with producer Jules Otto, Portuguese singer/guitarist Rui Veloso and Belgian/Dutch guitarist Dany Lademacher. In A Valley of Wolves was released in late 2007 under the name Nightporter, followed by performances at Crossing Border Festival and NuMoon Fest in 2008.