If vocal-based, soulful electronic beat music is your thing, Alex Deforce’s On-Point Records imprint probably figures top of your list of labels to follow. An active player on the local circuit, Alex not only heads up his own label, he also organises together with Onda Sonora’s Bart Sibiel the beat music-centric Bedroom Beats nights at Bonnefoi as well as selects the Beats playlist over on 22tracks. Here, he reveals the iconic Belgian tracks – from jazz to samba and rap – that shaped the music fan he is today, and why. Expect to be schooled liner notes-style on some proper Belgian classics.
Open Sky Unit – Open Sky Unit (1974, Duchesne)
Belgian jazz gem, which has gotten its deserved re-issue some time ago. Amazing vibe throughout the whole album, which is actually a live recording of a show they played in Liège.
Antena – Otra Bebera (1987, Les Disques Du Crépuscule)
I’d love to say this is Belgium’s answer to Sade, but Isabelle Antena is actually French, however, this was released by Les Disques Du Crépuscule, so that makes it Belgian in my book. Overall this album is not her best, but Otra Bebera is a beauty. She’s credited with the invention of what some people appear to be calling “electro-samba”.
Kiosk – Mona Call (2009, Vogue)
Super hard-to-find 45 single of Marc Moulin’s Kiosk. It was the theme tune of Marc Moulin’s radio program “dimanche musique” and it is one hell of a jazz killer. This has gotten a re-issue on 45 last year, with beautiful lino-printed artwork. But those are probable hard-to-find by now as well.
Hiele – Hiele (2013, Ekster)
Hard to choose between Hiele’s two albums, so I pick the first one. Fusing all types of electronic music, from juke to ambient, via house and crossing all genres in between, this young man is one of the biggest talents out there.
Zjef Vanuytsel – De Zotte Morgen (1970, Philips)
In the genre called Kleinkunst this is a stand-out track. Drama didn’t come like this that often, with string arrangements and everything. Lyrically, Zjef singing about the alienation of the big city is radiating. Goosebumps every time I hear this.
Pee Gonzalez – Sozy Kaizer (1996, 9MM Recordz)
Brussels finest, De Puta Madre’s Smimooz and Pee Gonzalez at their brightest. The most addictive beat and intriguing story-telling. Of the Whuz the P? album, which also had an instrumental counterpart.
Metal Molly – Orange (1995, Brinkman)
Soundtrack of my puberty, I have no idea what has become of Metal Molly afterwards, but Orange is a bonafide classic to me. It has a little Beatles vibe going on in the breakdown. “Orange can be hard, orange can be smart. Orange is the way the summer blows.” And that’s the truth.
Seiren – Tin Man Drowning (2013, On-Point)
Couldn’t help but featuring a track of my On-Point imprint. The way Seiren built this track is of a musical beauty I’ve rarely heard. Especially the climax at the end, that could go on and on for me. Pure vibes.
Yamasuki Singers – Kono Samourai (1971, Biram)
The dad of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter teaming up with Jean Kluger, resulted in this 1971 concept album. Both learnt Japanese before recording began and even enlisted the aid of a renowned black-belt Judo master to introduce the tracks, which were all sung in Japanese by a school choir.
Petra & Co – Just Let Go (Dub) (1989, Mouse Music Company)
Lyn Collins’ Think break throughout a track has been a recipe for success since the first time it’s been sampled, I guess that’s what the producer thought when making Petra’s ‘Laat Je Gaan’, of ‘Just Let Go’ in English. Thumping house track, which conquered dancefloors worldwide, and it’s being credited as one of the more influential sounds on Brasil’s Baile Funk sound and Baltimore Club.