With Deep in the Woods set to open tomorrow, we asked co-curator Bert Moerman to handpick a few of his favourite Belgian cuts for us. Taking in both established and emerging acts, old and new, the selection pays tribute to the lesser-known talents emerging from the country’s underground – save for Soulwax.
1. Newmoon – Aria (Invitation to Hold, 2014, Secret Voice)
I heard these guys on the radio while driving in the car a couple of years ago. I cranked up the volume and was baffled when I heard the radio host saying they’re Belgian. Outrageously fun for anyone who’s into fuzzy melodies and all things shoegaze (which I am).
2. Hiele – Moisturizer (Ritmische Bezinning, 2016, Ekster)
I saw him perform at Sonar in Barcelona last June. I probably went to see 50 to 60 artists over the course of three days, but Hiele’s show was truly the most exciting one of all. I love how he manages to give you something you never even knew you wanted.
3. Soulwax – Too many DJs (Much Against Everyone’s Advice, 1998, Pias)
The music videos for both ‘Much Against Everyone’s Advice’ and ‘2manydj’s’ are amongst my most vivid MTV memories -alongside Nathalie Imbruglia – (ask any guy born during the second half of the 80’s). The music really spoke to me at the time, but it took me a while to realise how important Soulwax actually is for Belgium’s music scene. I saw them play live in Amsterdam recently. Their new show is going to be awesome.
4. SKY H1 – Air (Motion, 2016, PAN x Codes)
This is some really interesting stuff. You can say whatever you want about the new models of the music industry, but this female producer being able to emerge to this extent from her bedroom is an evolution I sincerely endorse. Her whole ‘Motion’ EP kicks ass. Seriously.
5. Marc Mélia – Arpeggios #1 (2013)
I saw Marc on support for Anna Meredith recently at Botanique in Brussels, and I was genuinely impressed by what he evokes. It’s grandeur that’s not really pompous, but that goes right to the heart. It’s a lot to take, but you take it surprisingly well. Not phrasing. Glad to have him on this year’s line-up of deep in the woods.
6. Mittland Och Leo – Decades (Optimist, 2014, Jj Funhouse)
I’m really fascinated by what these guys are doing. They remind me of Fuck Buttons in how they let melodies and harmonies go their own way, giving you the impression they’re just mediators giving the music a hand.
7. Chve – Rasa (Rasa, 2015, Consouling Sounds)
We had Amenra’s Colin and Mathieu over at last year’s edition of Deep in the Woods. They played a special set on a small island. The crowd around them grew bigger and bigger as the show went on, and nobody left or spoke a word. I remember how everyone thought the concert had only lasted like 10 minutes, while their set was actually more than 40 minutes long. It was over in a heartbeat. And absolutely magical.
8. Dijf Sanders – Subways (Moonlit Planetarium, 2016, Smoking Crab)
I think Dijf is an absolutely wonderful creative mind. If he would have had the luck to be born in NYC rather than silly ol’ Belgium, I think he could’ve made a great career in some underground scene he would’ve created himself. And he’s a wonderful guy.
9. Oathbreaker – 10:56″ / “Second Son of R. (Rheia, TBR, Deathwish)
These are the two opening songs of Oathbreaker’s new album. Absolutely devastating material by a band that had set high expectations and completely smashed them. the energy here is so overwhelming, so big and so sincere. A+.