Dig this: From musique concrète to punk

We dig deeper into Belgian underground music with this 10-track selection that sees us lean towards the more experimental fringes of the scene before ending things resolutely in punk / new wave territory.

Baudouin Oosterlynck – Suite for a Bondage Room, part 1 & 2 (2008)

Poignant and powerful concrete music recording by sound composer Baudouin Oosterlynck. Stretching the definition of experimental music to its most daring and dystopian (instruments used includes a saw), this track is from a compilation of Oosterlynck’s recordings made between 1975 and 1978 brought together by Brussels-based reissue imprint Metaphon.

Baudouin Oosterlynck – Refuge (1978)

Slightly more moody than the previous track, and with somewhat more structure to it than his more experimental recordings, Refuge sees Oosterlynck laying down a series of eerie vocal incursions on top a repetitive sequence of keys on this absolutely stunner of a track from his self-titled, self-released debut.

David Van De Woestijne – Les Céphalopode (1964)

Vertiginous sound explorations recorded in 1964 by Flemish contemporary composer David Van De Woestijne at Ghent University’s Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music and released on an essential compilation 50 Years Of Electronic And Electroacoustic Music At The Ghent University.

Louis de Meester – Betje Trompet En De Reus (1975)

Best known for his Incantations piece, composer Louis de Meester’ knack for experimentation is laid bare in this track for now-defunct label Alpha Brussels’ famed Musique Belge Contemporaine series. Backed by The Philharmonic Orchestra of Antwerp. Begins eerily ambient to end in furious fashion.

Lucien Goethals – Celotape (1965)

Another experimental odyssey recorded for Alpha Brussels’ Musique Belge Contemporaine series, this time around by Lucien Goethals. Slightly more rhythmic, the 8-min long composition increases in intensity with every second past. Goethals’ modular interventions on this track are second to none.

De Brassers – I Heard The Scream Before (1981)

A band that gained cult status in Belgium for its now-notorious anti-establishment stance and unique aesthetics (think Sex Pistols’ anarchism together with Joy Division’s style), De Brassers’ sound was both hypnotic and urgent and perfectly soundtracked the gloom and doom of early 80s Belgium.

Gruppenbild – Tranquility (1982)

A single 7” by an obscure new wave act that came out in 1982, given new life on a flawless compilation released in 2010 by OnderStroom entitled Koude Golven – A Collection Of Belgian Cold Wave & Punk 1979-1984. Killer.

Red Zebra – I can’t live in a living room (1980)

Stomper. Self-released in 1980, remains relevant to this day.

Kebab – Weekend (1983)

Short-lived punk band from Genk. Released a tape, a 7” as well as a few tracks for compilations. This is off the phenomenal No Big Business 2 compilation.

TC Matic – Bazooka Joe (1980)

Dancefloor killer released by La Bande a Arno in 1980. Off the killer compilation Get Sprouts.