Last month, we brought our beloved feature – Favourite Belgian releases – to life for the first time at Brussels art space The Hope, and invited disco wizard Rick Shiver to take us through 25 of his favourite homegrown tracks for the occasion. The result is a list that will do nothing less than inspire you to get digging yourself.
Join us on Thursday 28th July for the second instalment of of our IRL Favourite Belgian Releases session with Onda Sonora‘s Bart Sibiel at The Hope in Brussels.
1 – The Fontanas – Whipping Post (1973 CBS)
‘Come with me into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane. This is my world. Let me lead you into it.’ Starting with a sound fragment from the cult movie Dementia. Wild and crazy.
2 – De Gantwerp Rappers – Poopeloo (Do It Yourself Mr D.J.) [1980 Philips]
Kari Kollgang ‘Poopeloo’ (Instrumental) [1980 Philips]
One of the first Flemish rap groups. Had a minor hit with ‘Poopeloo’ about being drunk. ‘Plein Comme Une Andouille’ by Kari Kollgang is the French version. Great funky backing track.
3 – Cliché – Sexy Girl [1980 WEA]
Sleazy, electronic disco. ‘Sexy Girl’ is catchy and sexy indeed.
4 – 1ere Classe – Poupée Flash [1981 WEA]
‘Curieuse poupée flash, qui se défonce en mini, et danse sous les néons’. Seminal minimal wave / synth pop anthem from 1981.
5 – Mecanique Vegetale – Ne Cherchez Plus Le… [1981 Grafika Airlines]
Released on Grafika Airlines, Belgian experimental cassette label from the 80s. Most likely they used budget synths, made to sound even lower budget by the splendid medium of ferric oxide cassette tape. So, get in your homemade flotation tank and regress to the analog beauty of ‘Musique Pour Self-Service’.
6 – Des Airs – Lovely Lady Of The Roses [1982 Crammed Discs]
The only release by the short-lived Brussels band, the mini-album ‘Lunga Notte’ came out in 1982. ‘Lovely Lady Of The Roses’ is a brilliant cover of a drunken silly love song by British comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.
7 – Pseudo Code – She’s Got Blue Eyes [1982 Insane/Pseudo]
This trio consisted of Alain Neffe, Xavier S and Guy Marc Hinant. The rhythm box in the middle, the instruments in free mode around it, and on top Xavier’s voice which sounded like a wounded deer. Alienation music, filled with paranoia and strangeness.
8 – Soft Verdict – Invader [1982 Les Disques Du Crépuscule]
From the ‘For Amusement Only’ LP, ‘The Sound Of Pinball Machines’. ‘ ‘For Amusement Only’ is using the electronic potential of pinball machines’ micro-processors as a creative force of music, structuring the sound produced by the course of a pinball into an original electronic language.’ Wim Mertens with Gust De Meyer. Crazy pinball fun.
9 – Gust De Meyer – Casiowork 1.2.2. [1983 Ding Dong Records And Tapes]
Gust’s only solo musical output was the ‘Casioworks’ tape, entirely made with the then fashionable Casio VL-Tone 1. A well-kept secret tape that all soft-hearted diggers cherish.
10 – Venus – Jungle Aërobic [1983 VAK]
Composed and produced by Gus Roan, who wrote for Belgian schlager artists. Aërobic now with the 5 girls of Venus… ‘een aërobic avond met Venus kan ook in uw middens – tel 03/449/09/16!’
11 – Etienne Vermoessen / Guido Delo – Obsesfeel [1983 Espera]
Lust drifting through a multitude of synth swells and melodies over a smooth beat.
12 – Piscine Et Charles – Empire [1984 Another Side]
Neat fusion of lounge-jazz and funk with cold-wave and electronics.
13 – Somnambulist – The 9 Fingernails [1983 Central Tapes]
From the ‘Things I Was Due To Forget’ album, very minimal, kind of Young Marble Giants atmosphere, but even more austere. Superb title track too. The whole album got reissued by Walhalla Records.
14 – Absolute Body Control – A Better Way [1984 Illusion Production]
From the ‘Sensational No. 2’ cassette compilation. Absolute Body Control released a number of cassettes, but only one 7″, the cult ‘Is There An Exit?’. Cold wave nightclub anthem that never was.
15 – 1000 Ohm – Love In Motion (Instrumental) [1984 Infinity]
They had most success with their 1st single ‘A.G.N.E.S.’. Their sound changed during the 80s from new wave to cheap dance. This one’s a bit italo-like. Flip to the B-side for the melancholic instrumental.
16 – Club Moral – Nazis Of The Night [1985 Staalplaat]
Released on Cassette in 1984 as The Parts via Gezonde Boerse Copulaties (Healthy Boorish Copulations). ‘Nazis of the Night’ reappeared as Club Moral in 1985 on the ‘Club Moral’ tape and in 1989 on the LP ‘To All Who Are Interested’. A sinister classic.
17 – Revolting Cocks – …On Fire [1985 Wax Trax!]
Al Jourgensen, frontman of Ministry, together with Luc Van Acker and Richard 23 (Front 242). Front 242 signed in 1983 a deal with Chicago’s seminal Wax Trax! label. Front became the frontrunners of a new genre, electronic body music. Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Jef Mills and Carl Craig were fan. Revolting Cocks are classic industrial. But this one -from their debut 12″- is funky as hell too, as is the A-side ‘No Devotion’.
18 – Alan Rankine – Rumours Of War [1986 Les Disques Du Crépuscule]
After Alan left The Associates, he went solo. This one was mixed in Brussels and came out on Crépuscule. Enough to insert it in my selection. Still relevant… with war creeping closer.
19 – 2 Belgen – In The Night (Instrumental) [1987 USA Import]
Crazy duo from Ghent. The band consisted of guitar player and multi-instrumentalist Rembert De Smet and drummer Herman Celis. After a while Rembert decided that ‘the dance-circuit, that’s where the money is’. He adopted the name Ro Maron and began releasing new beat under a dizzying array of aliases, both solo and in collaboration.
20 – Neon – Le Macho Du Mambo (Vocal) [1988 Target]
One of the many Belgian new beat projects started by Target Records in the late 1980s. New beat, Chicago house rip offs, rave and hoover techno. Love ‘Voices’ which owes to Master C&J’s ‘Dub Love’, but is much more chilly. This one’s got a warmer, more Balearic feel.
21 – Kristina-Lobotomix – Dandy De Metropole [1989 Espera]
From ‘The Best Of The Beat’ compilation. Not really new beat to me. Silly but fun.
22 – Klinik – Under The Black Sun [1989 Antler]
Pioneer Belgian EBM/industrial band. Dressed in long black leather coats and wrapped in medical bandages, The Klinik quickly became a cult act. Hissing vocals and minimalist lyrics were accompanied by strange synthesizer sounds, noises, bare bones beats and distorted trumpet.
23 – Robert Leiner – Aqua Viva [1994 Apollo]
Born in Sweden, he moved to Ghent, Belgium, and began working for R&S Records as a technical consultant and artist. After a rare 12″ ‘I Wanna Love You’, he recorded as Source ‘Organised Noise’, and then under his own name the classic ambient techno of ‘Visions Of The Past’.
24 – Baleine 3000 – Omoomo [2010 Sonig]
Music by Sun OK Papi K.O. aka Lawence Le Doux and vocals by the Japanese Mc Illreme. Video is filmed by Dicoco Boketshu in the Brakaju style, sort of ‘nouvelle vague’ in Congo. Nicolas Soquette then added a series of animations by Sun Papi and Afrojaws. Bonkers.
25 – Milan W. – Bolero Night 
Electronic atmospheria from the ‘Music For Night(shops)’ 7″. Milan Warmoeskerken is a busy bee. Solo as Milan W. and Crumar Young, with his girlfriend Joke as Mittland Och Leo, and in an endless series of projects and collaborations.