Love him or hate him, journalist and serial social media provocateur Serge Coosemans often gets it right. Which, frankly, makes him all the more frustrating. Unbeknown to most though, his nightlife alter-ego, Agent Palmer, also turns out to be a don on the decks. So we couldn’t resist asking him for his selection of favourite Belgian releases. Expect a deep exploration of the Belgian underground (new beat, industrial) as well as the usual dose of uncensored rants (“Jacques Brel, Stromae and Adamo can just go eat shit and die”). Oh Serge…
1. « Baby Lou » – Lio (Suite Sixtine, 1982, WEA)
In my opinion, the original reggae-ish version written by Serge Gainssbourg for Alain Chamfort is a bit lame. This cover is way better, with a very cinematographic sad mood and pretty dramatic dynamics.
2. « Punishment Park » – The Weathermen (The Black Album According To The Weathermen, 1988, PIAS)
In a parallel world, during the eighties, this classy and catchy perfect pop song outclassed Madonna, Springsteen and U2. In mine too.
3. « Prostitution of Sound » – Jimi After (Exile in Data, 2013, Days of Being Wild)
I never played in a band, I never tried to create my own music. That doesn’t interest me. My only incursion in musical creative territory EVER is giving my good old friend Jimi After the idea of using the voice sample in this very good ballearic track.
4. « That’s The Game » – Wet (That’s The Game 12 inch, 1983, STD Records)
This sounds a bit like Front 242 trying to be a new romantic band, or a Belgian hooligan version of The Thompson Twins. Ripping off all of them was probably the one hit wonder « band » Wet’s idea but the track is excellent anyway. Quite dated in the way they sing it but the instrumental version is still ace.
5. « Zanna » – Luc Van Acker & Anna Domino (The Ship, 1984, EMI)
To put it as clear as possible, I think this is the best song ever written and produced in Belgium. Jacques Brel, Stromae and Adamo can just go eat shit and die.
6. « Voodoo Nipplefield » – The Neon Judgement (Mafu Cage, 1986, PIAS)
Let’s say Front 242 were The Beatles of belgian electronic body music, so The Neon Judgement can be our Rolling Stones. This is their Sympathy for The Devil.
7. « Action Man » – Polyphonic Size (Live for Each Moment/Vivre pour Chaque Instant, 1982, Sandwich Records)
This is a great (un)political song from 1982. Funny how the lyrics could apply today to all the pretentious, false and crap political and social commitments on Facebook and Twitter.
8. « No Devotion » – The Revolting Cocks (No Devotion 12 inch, 1985, Wax Trax Records)
Everyone remembers The Revolting Cocks as an industrial metal sex rock joke but this is their first track ever and it is quiet serious, very dark, strange, hypnotic and out-of-space music. I still find it amazing and fascinating 30 years later. The rest of their carreer not so much.
9. « Acid in The House » – Miss Nicky Trax (Acid in The House 12 inch, 1988, Kaos Dance Records)
The track that summarizes everything new-beat was or should have been a bit more of: dark, sexy, drugged, repetitive, industrial, groovy, nasty. Perfect.
10. « U-Men » – Front 242 (Geography, 1982, Himalaya)
So, if Front 242 are The Beatles of Belgian electronic body music, this is obviously their While My Guitar Gently Weeps.