Antwerp-based label JJ Funhouse’s 13 favourite Belgian releases

Joke Leonare Desmet (Uppsala, Sweden 1989 ) and Jozefien Gruyaert (Antwerp, Belgium 1988.) are the founders of Antwerp-based label JJ Funhouse. Jozefien’s parents were Brel lovers whilst Joke’s dad has a big collection of free/ improv’ jazz.  Their first introduction to Belgian music must have been ‘Pennenzakkenrock’ (pencilcaserock) where all the nineties Belgian dance acts played in the afternoon for a bunch of very young school kids. Here, they list 13 of their favourite local cuts.

  1. Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Computer Graphic (Computer blossoms, Coloursound Library – CS12, 1981) 
  2. A Belgian flute and piano player, as well as an electronic pioneer. He did a lot of new age records, but we prefer his analogue synth library music.

  3. Front 242 – Controversy Between (Endless Riddance, Mask Music – MASK 102/001, 1983)

    Wow. Great footage of the ‘bolleke koning’ band.

  4. Absolute Body Control – Waving Hands (Absolute Body Control, Body Records – Body Tapes 001, 1981) 

    I was dj’ing at Trix once, when I put on this topnotch wave track. Hantrax came running up to me, DO YOU REALISE DIRK IVENS IS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DJ BOOTH ? He was literally right in front, looking on which medium we were playing this, while his buddies were patting him.

  5. Snowy Red – Euroshima (war dance) (The right to die, Dirty Dance – 12002, 1982)

    Dance, for ever and ever.Together with NEON’s Voices it’s probably the best new beat track ever made.

  6. Carol – So Low (Breakdown, Dirty Dance – 7003, 1981) 

    A track written by the previous one Micky Mike aka Snowy Red. 
Beautiful sad love song with a simple beat, a great bass line and a perfect haunting synth melody at the end. Minimal wave with a high price ticket on the original 7”.

  7. Jade 4 U – Rainbows(Instrumental) (Rainbows, Subway – SUBWAY 009, 1988) 
  8. Nothing much to say other then carry on to this slow tempo and wavering melody.

  9. The Chakachas – Jungle Fever (Jungle Fever, Polydor – 2051 064, 1972) 
  10. Suave ! 
Latin Soul from Belgium. 
Try this one at the family dinner table.

  11. The Jokers – Tabou ( Beat Guitar, 1965) 
  12. This Exotic instrumental guitar band from the 60s surfed the waves of our very own Sint-Anneke plage.

  13. Anna Domino – Land of my dreams / Trust in love / Everyday I don’t (East and West, Les Disques Du Crépuscule – TWI 187, 1984) 
  14. This one is not 100 percent Belgian, she was born in Tokyo, raised in America but moved to Brussels in the ‘80’s and joined Les Disques du Crépuscule family.
Not sure which one is our favorite, all three get a place here.

  15. Bernthöler – My Suitor (My Suitor, Blue Feather – BF45831, 1983) 
  16. On repeat. What a beauty, the cellos and than that naive English pronunciation. ‘A master of disaster’, we like that. Recently reissued by Starman Records.

  17. Bene Gesserit – She Sells Sea Shells On The Sea Show (Postcards from Arrakis, Ding Dong Records And Tapes – DDC 006, 1983) 
  18. Almost sounds like a Martin Denny Exotic Moog song. But it’s Alain Neffe and Nadine Bal from Tropical Wallonie.

  19. Hiele – Elephant Seals (Essential Oils, Ekster – EKS004, 2014)
  20. We stay on the shore. This beautiful jam by our pool buddy Hiele is the best possible soundtrack to document the life of seals.

  21. Raju Arara – 004 on Hare Akedod (untitled, Hare Akedod – HAk004, 2012)  
  22. Our favourite tape on the Belgian Hare Akedod label (ran by Ōgon Batto and Dsr Lines) by Rani Bageria, repetitive rhythmic modular patterns.

  23. Kamiel – me wuf is weg (Me Wuf is weg, Mamicha Music – MMS 2054, 1983) 
  24. Jos (Jozefien), who doesn’t understand a lot of the West Flemish dialect, thought for years he was nagging about his dog that ran away. ‘Men woef is weg’ :). Such a ridiculous song, we just had to add it.