I guess not everybody gets our interest in our country’s electronic music from the early 80s. Its reputation isn’t very soulful and it is usually related to dark dressed almost Gothic-like people wearing make-up. Not immediately our world but like usual it’s a generalisation that’s not too accurate. A lot of it isn’t that far from the more off-centre electronica we listen to. So much even that we see a strong connection between that period in time and the beatmaking cats we like to promote through our RELEASE project. Both are very DIY-minded and with a firm local twist.
But you can be the judge of that as the genre has been getting more attention lately through compilations which introduce you to this universe. The first major blip on most people’s radar was the “Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1” compilation released by Stones Throw and Minimal Wave. That last label is specialised in reissuing lost 80s albums, very often made in Belgium or surrounding countries.
Even more focussed on bringing our musical heritage from that period back into the limelight is Walhalla records. This label annex shop from Antwerp has released 2 “Underground Belgian Wave” compilations and re-released – previously cassette-only – albums by Somnambulist and Secret Life. The shop itself is specialised in this type of music but has next to that a good selection of early House in stock too. Well worth a visit if you’re around.
Last compilation we recommend is the result of a collaboration between Rush Hour and Wally’s Groove World (another fine Antwerp-based record shop). With help from Walhalla records. The “Belgian Pop & Wave Songs from the 1980’s” has among other fine pieces my personal favourite ‘Cardiocleptomanie” from Pas De Deux (yep, the same group that participated at the Eurosong contest) on it.
With all this you have enough momentum to launch yourself into this wonderful world of somewhat naïve but still very fresh sounding music. Enjoy your trip.