Martin Botte (1989) is the founder of Unknown References, a local record label that dabbles in drone, techno, house and electronic music. With somewhat of a penchant for cassette-only releases, his young imprint has brought out works by LBNHRX and Actapulgite, the latter being the side project of producer-DJ Aidons Antoines (of Le Pacifique Records). His introduction to Belgian music harks back to his more rebellious days, as he himself says: “As far as I remember, I think it was punk-hardcore bands like Shredder, Reproach as well as a few friends’ bands.” Here, he selects and talks us through 14 of his favourite Belgian releases, recounting how he used to live next door to iconic composer-producer-arranger André Brasseur.
1) “Inner City Blues” – Placebo [Ball Of Eyes, 1971, CBS]
I usually hate cover songs… But Marvin Gaye covered by Placebo!? No more words needed. Powerful jazz-funk made by true Belgian legends!
2) “X” – André Brasseur [X/Concorde, 1972, Pathé]
True thing: André Brasseur was my neighbour during my childhood. Obviously, when I was a kid I didn’t realize that this guy [who’s just a guy playing organ in his garage and sometimes in a famous “fondue” restaurant in Namur] did such groovy things back in the days! Seriously, check out his discography… There’s some really good gems for diggers, like this 7” (who’s been in my Discogs wantlist for years).
3) “Total Recall” – Human Flesh [4 in 1, 1982, Grafika Airlines]
A curiosity I found on Youtube a few months ago. I’m not very familiar with this label but i’m very interested by this experimental electronic scene of the 80’s.
4) “Joh’burg” – Trisomie 21 [Joh’burg & Two Other Songs, 1986, PIAS]
Ok, I’m cheating : a French-band released on a Belgian label. But I bought it with a Front 242 record in a flea market, is it ok?
5) “Starship Universe” – C.J. Bolland [The Starship Universe EP, 1995, Internal]
Limited to 5000 copies… sweet 90’s. Rave!
6) “Qu’est-ce que vous voulez?” – The Amazing [Qu’est-ce que vous voulez?, 2000, Promo]
After so many years, I’m not sure if I like this track at first or second degree… Anyway, interesting lyrics about opium, hash & a guy called Hassan.
7) “Sane” – LBNHRX [OPA, 2013, Cleaning Tapes]
One of my fav’ LBNHRX track. Seriously, this guy deserves a lot of attention! That’s why I’m really proud to have released two tapes with him, alongside another sound-sorcerer called Wan Voager.
8) “Port” – Sagat [Satellite, 2013, Vlek]
Sagat / 54Kolaktiv’s parties / Souvenirs.
9) “Dexter (’87 Mix)” – Innershades [Toxic Trax, 2014, Skylax]
So 90’s, so 2014, so Belgium, so Innershades. Future neo-retro jackin’ classic!
10) “El Pauji” – Bright Entity [Flying While Standing, 2015, Holger Tracks]
That was one of my summer tracks. Sweet & shiny. Cool project made by Walrus of the Bepotel crew & released on the Holger Tracks label!
11) “1993 1983” – Coco Haram [ no info, 2015]
Coco Haram is producer Kassett’s latest side project. I really love this track. I don’t know if it’s futuristic hip-hop or emo-house but it’s very powerful!
12) “Hommage” – Lawrence Le Doux 
Another beautiful track made by someone who can “pretty much be considered a local institution”
13) “L’hiver vient” – John-Z & Furie [Neige Eternelle, 2013, Crab Boogie Records]
If you like true hip-hop, rest assured that these music lovers will bring you quality stuff. Massive shout to the Crab Boogie family!
14) BONUS “White Man” – Actapulgite [Koendelietzsche, 2015, Unknown References]
Self-promotion time: that’s the cassette we’ve just released!facebook.com/unknownreferences