Cosmic congotronics, broody new wave, psychedelic prog-rock and sizzling latin-soul-funk all combine to make this week’s selection of Belgian obscurities as schizophrenic as a patient off his meds.
Zazou / Bikaye / Cy1 – Lamuka (From the album “Noir et Blanc)
Released in 1983, this album was arranged by French composer Hector Zazou, together with Belgian musician/composer and Crammed Discs mastermind Vincent Kennis. It sees Congolese singer Bony Bikaye join forces with producer CY1 in an exquisite blend of electronic and African tribal sounds. Hypnotic bliss.
Mansia M’Bila – Ozakaye (From the album “Princesse Mansia M’Bila”)
Zouk-influenced electronic recorded in Brussels in 1987, this tracks packs as many genres as its vocalist does scales. You have hints of new wave and clear afro-funk undertones the lot backed up by disco-boogie rhythms that’d turn any dancefloor upside down.
Candy Stripe – In the cold night (From the album “As Above so Below”)
Melancholic new wave with a strong Joy Division/Iggy and The Stooges feel to it. Released in 1989.
Sonny Zandueta – The Passing Show (From the album “The Passing Show”)
An exquisite piece of singing-songwriting with endless melodies. Released in 1975, produced by Kandahar’s Karel Bogard and with Viona Westra on vocals.
Philippe Catherine – Stream (From the album “Stream)
Jazz-funk classic with Marc Moulin on keys and with a few writing credits to his name (November, C. et D., Face and Let’s Put it Like This). Released in 1972, this is legendary Belgian jazz guitarist Philippe Catherine’s debut release.
Pazop – Harlequin of Love (From the album “Psychillis of a Lunatic Genius”)
Obscure piece of psychedelic-rock with strong references to the Canterbury scene which never actually saw the light of day due to the album name hard-to-swallow title. Finally got released on vinyl in March of this year.
Jess & James – Change (From the album “Revolution, Evolution, Change!”)
Surfer-rock with heavy funk influences, Jess & James were a Portuguese brother duo of singer-songwriters who settled in Belgium in the mid-60s. This second album of theirs, released in 1969, is a weird combination of sing-along melodies and heavy-duty drums.
Recreation – Music or not Music (Off the album “Music or not Music)
Released in 1972, this is a typically experimental and long-winded bit of prog-rock that features some killer breaks and drums.
Van Twist – Hot wax
Killer disco-boogie track written by none other than Dan Lacksman and Carlos Radiz, also known as Marc Moulin. The b-side of a 7″ released in 1984, the a-side features a cover of Isaac Hayes’ Shaft that could’ve only be written by the Lacksman/Moulin duo.
Sail Joia – Love you need it (From the album “Maré Alta)
Orchestral latin-disco-funk recorded in Brussels in 1978. Layers upon layers on melodic, soulful funk.