2019 repress; Double LP version, part 1. 15 tracks on 180 gram gatefold 2LP with liner notes. Artists: Chakachas, Mad Unity, René Costy, Alex Scorier, Open Sky Unit, Plus, André Brasseur, Les Hélions, Chicken Curry & His Pop Percussion Orchestra, Placebo, Black Blood, S.S.O. (feat. Douglas Lucas & The Sugar Sisters, Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussion Inc., and Chocolat’s. The best Belgian dance tracks from the beginning of the ’70s. Dire times, they were, full of poverty and hardship. To make a living out of popular music was a near-impossibility in a small country like Belgium. This precarious situation, though, proved to be a blessing in disguise for creative minds. When it’s hard to get your hands on some money, trying out as many things as you can seems the logical thing to do. On the other hand, if there’s hardly any money to be gained anyway, you may just as well play what you bloody well like. That’s what Belgians like to do anyway. Moreover, living in a country where virtually every musical wave passes through also inspires. In the early ’70s, those waves were (Afro-)funk, soul, and Latin. The situation as a whole was a favorable one for some visionary musical entrepreneurs. Jean and Roland Kluger created a musical dynasty, American-style, with successful acts like Chakachas and Two Man Sound. Their rival, Marcel De Keukeleire, scored worldwide hits with Amadeo, Chocolat’s, and “The Birdy Song.” Relying on zealous energy and a shamelessly commercial logic, every effort was aimed at success, so they jumped on as many international bandwagons as they could and tried out their own variants on the local market. Nearly every style in the post-war scene is represented here: Hein Huysmans’ jazz-funk, the jazzy prog-rock of Cos, or the fusion of Open Sky Unit. And of course there’s Marc Moulin, a name that needs little or no introduction. This is the missing link between the variety orchestras of the ’60s and the electronic triumphs of Telex in the late ’70s and early ’80s. These tracks offer the same sense of adventure and slightly surreal pigheadedness that are also present in the best Belgian contributions to dance music. Think Front 242, Technotronic, or Soulwax/2manydjs. This is the ground they built upon.
SDBAN present the first vinyl release of Golden Hands‘ only album, released in 1978 on cassette by Moroccan label Disques Gam. During the seventies, the Kingdom of Morocco was not spared by the rock and funk wave that went through the world. From Casablanca to Tangier, from Marrakesh to Rabat, nightclubs and other concert halls have seen a good number of small groups, more or less amateur and definitely DIY, some of which have been catapulted onto the international stage like Golden Hands. Founded in 1969 by two brothers and a friend, this cult band brought their rock and funk topped with a Moroccan sauce to Europe after having experienced success in their homeland. Includes the cult classic “Take Me Back”.
Plenty of compilations have focused on Dutch and Belgian music from the 1980s onwards, but we can think of very few that have mined those countries’ 1970s musical output. “Harde Smart” does just that, focusing in particular on Dutch and Flemish language songs inspired by a heady mixture of funk, soul and French chanson music (a particularly Gallic, easy listening-inspired take on pop music). The expansive double LP contains far too many highlights to mention here, including some genuinely unusual and eccentric cuts that undoubtedly deserve wider attention. Our favourites include the Tower Of Power style psychedelic funk-rock of Daan Broos & Dapokaster’s “Maan-Dag”, the reggae-soft rock fusion of Laurentius’ “Zomerliefde” and the Jimi Hendrix-isms of “Huisje” by Lamp, Lazerus & Kris.
With a hybrid jazz based on African grooves, Ethio-oriental melodies and psychedelic dub this Belgian five-piece creates an atmosphere where ancient and modern sounds fuse into a powerful, hypnotic and groovy sensation. Black Flower’s musical cross-pollination of sounds and rhythms remain on ‘Future Flora’, but there is still room for other influences. The arrangements where Western, Oriental and Ethiopian scales and chords have been fused together to create a real mix of traditional instrumentation and modern electrical vibrations.
Various Artists “Discophilia Belgica: Next-door-disco & Local Spacemusic from Belgium 1975-1987” (SDBAN)
Parts 1 & 2 in stock. Patrick, Raymond, Marianne, Roland, Kevin and Bert. These are among the most common and ordinary names in Belgium. Yet, these are also the names of some of the artists that appear of Discophilia Beligica, a 30-track compilation from groove-heavy record label SDBAN. Compiled by crate diggers Loud E and The Wild, Discophilia Beligica is a collection of next-door-disco and local space music from Belgium 1975-1987. The tracks on this delightfully obscure collection are from ordinary folk; most have day jobs. Yet as musicians, they go as far out as possible in to the disco universe. Not too serious or overambitious, definitely not overproduced. This is stripped-down space music, next-door disco. The choice of music is not a reflection of an actual ‘scene’. In fact, most of the bands here have probably never performed live. The tracks on this compilation are the result of a decade of crate digging in flea markets, charity shops, and vinyl trades and picking out what might appeal to a contemporary dancefloor or to deranged and perhaps adventurous earbuds. That said, there’s not many countries that can provide the wonderful diversity and weirdness of these sounds. Belgians have a great passion for music and there is an abundance of recording studios, impresarios, local radio stations and pressing plants. Bars and clubs sit side by side, providing a soundtrack for our ordinary lives and it’s here where Patrick, Raymond, Roland or Marianne draw inspiration that led them into the studio and pick up a mic, a bass or synthesizer, making music to groove to, feel sexy to and be free.