An old soul with a young heart, Brussels-based Lodewijk Germanes aka Louis Vogue (1997) is no stranger when it comes to unearthing delightfully sublime yet obscure Belgian gems. The graphic design student enrolled at LUCA was – in a sense – birthed into the scene thanks to anecdotal stories of Belgium’s nightlife scene in the late 80s and early 90s from his father, and quickly embarked on his own digging journey. From DJ-ing around the country to hosting his own Call For Cuts parties, Louis Vogue’s shared some of his favourite Belgian beauties – a great lil’ taster for what to expect during his set at our Release Party come this Friday.
1. U-Men— Front 242 (Geography, 1982, New Dance)
If you don’t know Front 242 already, I suggest you to go educate yourself. In my opinion they’re essential on any list about Belgian releases. I personally picked this early track from 1982 – it has that industrial sound that easily puts any dance floor on fire.
2. De Man Die Alles Noteert — Arbeid Adelt! (Jonge Helden, 1983, Parlophone)
Not everyone from my generation knows that Marcel Vanthilt used to make electronic music. I love the combination of the subtle beat and the absurd Dutch vocals in this one.
3. Lamuka — Zazou, Bikaye and CY1 (Crammed Discs, 1984, Crammed Discs)
When I first heard this I couldn’t believe it was a Belgian release. Crammed Discs is another essential when it comes to Belgian music. The more I started delving in Belgian music, the more I started realising how much of an impact Marc Hollander had on it. He did the mixing, and plays the clarinet on this album.
4. The Voice — Telex (Wonderful World, 1984, WEA)
Another key figure in Belgian music history is jazz legend Marc Moulin. He was one of the founders of synth pop band Telex. Fun fact: they were sent to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980. They finished in 19th place with their song ‘Euro-Vision’ which contained banal lyrics about the contest itself.
5. Victims — 7 A Nou (Mister President’s Breakfast, 1985, LIRP)
Rather obscure but hits hard nevertheless! It was released on a 7” in 1985 but was recently reissued by Lieven De Ridder’s Walhalla Records on the fifth volume of their Underground New Wave compilations.
6. Laying On The Sofa — Isabelle Antena (Hoping For Love, 1987, Les Disques Du Crépuscule)
The 12” Mix by Mark Kamins, one of the bonus tracks on the reissue by LTM. In 1987 this label relocated to Brussels for a few years. During these years the owner worked for Les Disques du Crepuscule and PIAS. Isabelle Antena has the voice of an angel, the perfect addition to the smooth 80’s instrumental.
7. Waiting — Harem (Waiting, 1988, ARS Records)
Belgian disco with an oriental feel to it courtesy of female trio Harem. I don’t think they released anything besides this record. Wish there was more from them because this one is such a catchy jam.
8. Vliegtuig — The Boerenzonen Op Speed (Vliegtuig, 1996, Dino Music)
This band was a part of a radio show on Radio Scorpio in Leuven – they were founded in the 90s as a joke, hence their absurd name. However, they scored a radiohit with this song from 1996. I truly love the spacey synths in combination with the warm vocals.
9. Gonna Rain — Baleine 3000 (The Nap, 2016, Vlek)
Apart from all these records from before I was born, I wanted to include some more recent records in this list. This came out as a limited edition of 350 copies on Vlek, a label to look out for! The entire album is great – undoubtedly one of my favourite releases of 2016.
10. Sorry Adriaan — Vitesse (In De Lucht, 2017, Crevette Records)
Shameless promo for the first release on Crevette Records’ label. My copy was the first one to leave the Rue Blaes store. I’d been impatiently waiting for this to come out, and now that it has it’s an essential in my record bag. Keep an eye out for these guys, this is not the last that we will hear from them.
11. A La Récherche De B. L. — The Misz (11000 Dreams, 2017, STROOM)
Endless love for Belgian label STROOM. Besides that they release fantastic music such as this one by Jan Van den Broeke, the man behind the 80’s DIY/lo-fi wave outfits Absent Music, June11 and The Misz. Van den Broeke, now a renowned architect, self-released most of his music on cassettes and CDR’s. As a graphic designer myself I always appreciate the work they put into the visual side of their label.