The 15 favourite Belgian releases of DJ Athome (Front de Cadeaux)

Famed for his slow-take on DJ sets together with Italian counterpart Hugosan as part of their act Front de Cadeaux, DJ Athome’s longevity on the country’s underground club circuit (he’s been running the Brussels Alternative Show for 20 years now and hosting parties for many more) means his local knowledge runs deep. And, in this very personal and quasi-autobiographical selection of favourite Belgian releases, the Liège-born, Brussels-based DJ-producer keeps things resolutely obscure. One dedicated to all the teamsters that came out to The Hope last week and kept their cool despite the Internet playing up.

1. Subject – I See You (1982 / Grafika Discs)

Track released in 1982 by Alain Neffe and Daniel Malenpré on Grafika Discs. It’s incredibly rare and therefore also pretty expensive. This synth pop bomb appeared on a recently released compilation – ‘Belgian Wave & Pop Songs from the 1980’s’ (Pop Wave, 2011). The vocals are particularly delicious on this one. Always in my bag. 

2. Les Brochettes – Les avions  (Disco Novo, 1998 / Brut)

Amongst the first people I met when I moved to Brussels in 1995 were Les Brochettes, a Belgian trio composed of Zoé Jadoul, Frédérique Franke & Nicolas Deschuyteneer aka Lem. This track is from their ‘Disco Novo’ album (Brut, 1998). I’ve been in love with the track ever since the first time I heard it live. 

3. Marine – A Proposito Dei Napoli (Life in Reverse, 1982 / Les Disques du Crépuscule)

Belgian band Marine was formed in 1981. Their music was a kind of funky cold wave, with inspirations from the New York scene. Their most famous tracks are Life in Reverse and Same Beat, but one of my personal favourites is A Proposito Dei Napoli. Originally released by Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1982, there’s also a CD version called Life In Reverse, released on LTM in 2004.

4. Moral Support – Living With Passion (Single, 1985 / ARS Records)

This is a pure Italo- Disco track. I heard it for the first time in 1986 on an Italian radio station, and it took me a couple of years to realise that it was actually a Belgian production.I rarely play it, there’s rather something nostalgic about this one to me.

5. Trance Trax – Frequency Attack (Black, 1991 / Beat Box International) 

I used to play this entire EP (Beat Box International, 1991) slowed down in 33 rpm instead of 45 rpm. A secret weapon I make use of with Front de Cadeaux.

6. David Shea & DJ Grazzhoppa – Morning Jacks (Down River, Up Stream!, 1996 / Downsall Plastics)

Abstract hip hop by David Shea and DJ Grazhoppa, from their LP ‘Down River, Up Stream!’, released in 1996 on Downsall Plastics. I played it a lot on BAS, my radio show. DJ Grazhoppa is clearly my favourite hip hop artist from Belgium.

7. Beat Box Boys – Einstein (Single, 1984 / ARS Records)

Classic track from 1984, with stupid lyrics that don’t make any sense, that I still love to play. The second version of this track, Yum Yum (Eat Them Up) is a little funnier, and also dumber.

8. Nacht und Nebel – Beats Of Love (Maxi single, 1983 / S.T.D. Records) 

I heard this track a couple of days after its initial release. I used to visit my cousin who was a DJ in a new wave club in Liège when I was 12 years old, already being fascinated with this whole DJ thing back then. He had just bought the maxi single of this track and told me that I just had to listen to it, and that it was going to be a big hit. Beats of love. He was totally right. Thanks again, Mr. Domenico B.

9. Front 242 – Take one (female vocals demo)

Front 242, without a doubt the most popular EBM band from Belgium, doesn’t need any introduction. Here’s an old demo version that you’ve probably never heard before.

10. Arbeid Adelt! – Potloodmoorden (Dub version / Turntable sounds) 

Death Disco is probably the most famous track by Arbeid Adelt!, a Belgian band from the 80’s. Turntable Sounds released a picture disc mini album with some unreleased and long lost experimental tracks, like this great dub version of Potloodmoorden.

11. Orange – Paradise City (33rpm edit)

Hugosan and I started to collect 12 inch records to play them at the wrong speed as Front de Cadeaux a couple of years ago, and this is the first one we selected for it. It’s always in my bag. The entire EP is worth listening too, also at the normal tempo. They used to play it often at ‘At The Villa’.

12. Edgar Wappenhalter – Stroom (2012, Lexi Disques)

Psychedelic rock from Belgium released in 2012 on Lexi Disques, a label that releases exclusively 7 inch vinyl records boasting beautiful artworks and eclectic sounds. This one has texts by Hendrik Marsman.

13. The Honeymoon Killers – Decollage (1981, Crammed Discs)

Growing up in Liège, my first all-time favourite club is La Chapelle. The documentary film ‘The Sound Of Belgium’ unfortunately doesn’t mention this club, or the city of Liège. Yet Bernard Dobbeleer used to play the best underground music here, and more than just new beat and acid, but also afro, cosmic, cold funk and cold wave. I heard this track for the first time in La Chapelle. Still one of Belgium’s underground anthems.

14. Frio – Someone Else (2011, Spielzeug Muzak)

Frio aka Bruno Coeur Vert is an old friend and a great artist who lives in Brussels. I love this song so much. Marc Almond isn’t far away isn’t he? Or maybe it’s someone else? Released some years ago, you can find this track on a compilation called “It’s In The Air” (Spielzeug Muzak).

15. Salvatore Adamo – La Nuit 

Palais Chalet is party organised by the crew of Pneu Records and Lexi Disques. When the party is nearing its end, Sara Atka always plays this track… (et on devient fou !)