We got the latest addition to our team, Emi, to pick some of her Favourite Belgian releases for us.
1. Different Fountains – Take Black
The Austrian-Venezuelan duo initially met during their studies in Caracas, but somehow made it all the way to wee Brussels, where they make ethereal and melodic indie/electro lullabies. The perfect solo night-time drive song.
2. Nathalie Loriers Trio – La Croix du sud
Fantastic award-winning jazz pianist from Namur, formerly under the tutelage of our national treasure Charles Loos. Clearly a woman who knows – and loves – her craft. The re-issued album Silent Spring is simply dreamy.
3. STUFF. – Strata
Belgium’s favourite contemporary jazz outfit, and for good reason. Got hooked on their live rendition of Slum Village’s “The Look of Love” (ahem) and have been following them ever since. This is the first single off their upcoming second album, Old Dreams New Planet, that comes out 28th April on Sdban Ultra / N.E.W.S.
4. Jinaka Tanaka – 白線
My dear ma is a koto and shamisen musician by trade, so having grown up with jiuta music I’m a sucker for anything with even a hint of traditional Japanese instruments – shakuhachi, taiko, you name it. In a sense, this Belgian producer’s music has got the best of both my worlds.
5. Princess Century ft. Melatonini – Safe Word
Toronto’s Princess Century and Greek Melatonini worked together from their new base in the European capital to make this lush track, with the former on the decks and the latter providing the vocals. A thumping bassline and haunting vocals for all your dark magic needs.
6. WWWater – WWWater
Admittedly behind, I’ve only recently come across WWWater; but her self-titled debut track has been on repeat the moment it surfaced online. Strong, courageous and full of hope – fucked up good, basically.
7. The Child of Lov – Give Me
The late Belgo-Dutch’s booty-popping belter with another addictive bassline (courtesy of Thundercat?!), taken from his only studio album. Fling your windows open, let your hair down, make yourself a stiff drink, and let this track take care of the rest.
8. STIKSTOF ft. Roméo Elvis – Dobberman
A ton of bass and a shakuhachi-esque opening (I know what I like) in this grimey bilingual collab track from Brussels’ hip-hop darlings – pure belge. Anyone have the instrumental they’d be willing to share?
9. Guaranteed Raw – Get a Load of This (Instrumental)
Funk, hip hop and electro combined together never sounded so good. Makes you feel untouchable; like you’re the talk of the town. Thank you Renaat Vandepapeliere, thank you David Morley.
10. Sporting Life – Badd
One of the best (rap) producers in the game right now, in my humble opinion. Considering I’m the biggest fan of the punk NYC-based Ratking outfit, it’s no surprise that I fully back their beat-maker’s solo endeavours too. This jungle-esque tune is just a pure delight.
11. The Underdog Project – Summer Jam
Belgo-German dance group The Underdog Project didn’t mess about when it came to living up to the title of this Ibiza pop-club anthem: it’s all hot sticky weather, ice lollies and booty shorts in sonic form. A relic from another era. Say what you will, but this still bangs to this day.
12. The Pro 24’s – Technotronic (Eurith-Mix)
“You don’t have no dick control when you’re 18.” The producer duo from Aalst rebranded themselves as Technotronic, and developed this prototype into one of the most globalised New Beat songs, “Pump Up the Jam”. Raw and powerful – and that Eddie Murphy sample!
13. Lone – Crystal Caverns 1991
Funky tropicalia house courtesy of UK producer Lone. It somehow manages to exemplify the iconic R&S aesthetic, whilst still remaining completely authentic to the artist’s style as well as relevant to its time and place. Makes me want to dance something stupid – pure bants.
14. RIN – Broke
More bounce, this time from the American-Japanese, Brussels-based musician/dancer phenomenon. Seemingly simple yet rich in complexity, this is what J-pop would – and should! – sound like if it were done right. Them catchy lyrics lie close to my heart too.
15. Shay – 1200
Shay is often associated with her mentor Booba, but she deserves recognition as a bad gal MC in her own right. To be entirely honest, I tend to have an issue with her productions – but her flow is always on point. And with an addictively dutty bassline, “1200” is the complete package.
16. Krisy – Aucune émotion
Going out with a (sensible) bang, with the double threat that is rapper-cum-producer Krisy aka De La Fuentes. Crisp yet gritty instrumentals, accompanied by playful yet critically meaningful bars. Like dutty whining for the woke, or getting wavey off of fine wine. What more can a girl ask for?
Stay safe y’all.
P.S. : iLoveMakonnen – Rumor
Just for shits and giggles: a beautiful rendition of emo R&B turned crooner blues, filmed in what’s clearly the streets of Brussels. Somebody needs to come pick their uncle up by the way.