When it comes to the more experimental-minded scenes in Brussels, Marc « not the fucking designer » Jacobs is a name that often comes up in conversations. Indeed, following a decade-long stint at Recyclart promoting everything from punk to early dubstep, he now co-curates, together with Pierre De Mulenaere, the Brussels Electronic Arts Festival, an annual festival held at Bozar and dedicated, as its name suggests, to electronic music in its broadest sense. To mark the festival’s upcoming edition on 22th, 23rd and 24th September, we tasked him with handpicking some of his favourite Belgian releases, a list that in customary fashion mostly consists of, as he himself says, “hints of classical music, contemporary and abstract electronics, and shards of noise and hiss.” And, to our surprise, a first-timer too with the inclusion of Madensuyu.
1. LUMISOKEA –Nanissáanah (Transmissions from Revarsavr – Opal Tapes – 2016)
One of my favourite Belgian electronic outfits. I remember them playing at BEAF a few years back, on Saturday night at 1am, and everyone was just really into it and mesmerized by their sound and minimal lighting, which at that time of the night was quite an achievement.
2. AYMERIC DE TAPOL – Temple Gauche (Winter Dance – Vlek – 2014)
One of the great talents living on Belgian soil. His musical palette is very broad, from proto techno to analog abstractions. This whole album is one of my favourites, as its musical storytelling shifts from a single sounds to a huge state of trance, like beatless techno.
3. KRENG – Wrak (Grimoire – Miasmah – 2011)
Kreng is Pepijn Caudron who also makes music for the theater group Abattoir Fermé. He also makes soundtracks for films (Cooties, Camino). I think I like all of his work, but maybe this track represents what I like best: hints of classical music, contemporary and abstract electronics, and shards of noise and hiss.
4. YVES DE MEY – Prelament (Drawn with Shadow Pens – Spectrum Pools – 2016)
One of the great electronic composers and producers of Belgium. He’s been around for years, and also plays as Sendai with Peter van Hoesen, as Grey Branches and as Eavesdropper back in the days. This track is taken from his latest album and perfectly showcases his skills in creating exciting analog electronic sound within a tense composition
5. FEAR FALLS BURNING/NADJA – Untitled (Conspiracy – 2007)
This track is a hint to Dirk Serries, who played in Fear Falls Burning, and who released tons of music under his own name and Vidna Obmana moniker. A true pioneer in adventurous ambient, post-metal, free whatever etc. This brilliant and luscious track is co-written with the Canadian duo Nadja (Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff). Dirk and Aidan will both play at BEAF this year.
6. ALBERT HUYBRECHTS – Chant Funèbre (Musique de chambre 1 – Cypres – 1926)
I discovered this composer thanks to a documentary called “S’enfuir” by Joachim Thôme. His life was incredibly sad and dull, and it’s only now that the strength of his work is being discovered. Very dramatic contemporary classical music.
7. IGNATZ – Abandon the Night (Can I go home now? – Fonal – 2013)
I liked him since the beginning. A unique voice in the musical landscape, timeless, be it on record or live. Just perfect
8. KÖHN – The Wrath of Köhn ((Köhn)²- (K-raa-K)3 – 1999)
Jürgen De Blonde is an essential player in Belgium’s adventurous music scene. With De Portables, he makes great leftfield krautpop, and solo, as Köhn, he has been making essential electronics, with musical tentacles all over.
9. MADENSUYU – Give (Stabat Mater – Suyu Makinesi – 2013)
One of the best bands around. As a duo, their sound draws from many influences but you can directly recognize them though. These guys are so focused when they play live, and this tracks just kills it.
10. ALL SHADOWS AND DELIVERANCE – 61114 (Partus – Silken Tofu – 2015)
Just excellent drone/noise/industrial stuff from one of the best forward-looking labels in Belgium, Silken Tofu, also home to Onrust.
11. ORPHAN SWORDS – Räum (Winter Solstice version) – (Räum remixes – Idiosynctratics – 2014)
The perfect track to avoid being killed by the traffic in Brussels while cycling.
12. THE COUSINS – Kili Watch (45 rpm single – Palette – 1961)
This was my first encounter with Belgian music. Still have the original 45 from my parents.