Genre/Influences: Electro-pop, new-wave, EBM.
Content: This is a real particular and we might say conceptual compilation, but still a part of the Belgian and especially Antwerp history. “Liaisons Dangereuses” was a radio broadcasting in Antwerp during the 80s. The broadcasting was presented by Sven Van Hees (who became a recognized and praised DJ/producer) and Paul Ward. Their main aim was to introduce the audience with certain underground dance-music, which was not played on national radio broadcasts. If you got the opportunity to see the great movie/documentary “The Sound Of Belgium”, which is all about the history and evolution of electronic music in Belgium, you for sure remember to have seen an interview with Sven Van Hees in it and some old images from this broadcast.
I think we might say it all is about pioneers and visionary people who had understood that even the underground electro scene featured great, danceable music. Sven Van Hees who compiled this sampler selected 38 songs. This is a great track list, which will for sure bring you back into the good-old spirit of the 80s and mainly new-wave music composed by electronics. It also was a pleasure to rediscover somewhat forgotten bands and songs.
The 1st disc is an invitation to rediscover the early work of legendary names like Psyche, Chris & Cosey, Ministry, Carlos Peron, Dark Day, Vicious Pink, severed Heads, Savage Republic, Fad Gadget, O Yuki Conjugate, Informatics, Section 25 and even Killing Joke. We all will find our favorites, but I have a little preference for the classical Fad Gadget’s anthem “State Of The Nation”. Other essential songs are “Proximity Switch (Accidents In Paradise)” from Informatics and “Looking From A Hilltop” from Section 25. It also was pure fun to rediscover the somewhat unusual sounding “Turn To red” from Killing Joke.
This compilation doesn’t feature the darkest and most tormenting electronic forms like The Klinik, Front 242, The Neon Judgement, DAF, Skinny Puppy ao, but typical 80s bands dealing with great analogue treatments and some danceable vibes for alternative clubs.
The 2nd disc features a new selection of great bands and songs so it was a total pleasure to rediscover T.A.G.C., Kissing The Pink, Peter Godwin, All systems Go, Carlos Peron (again), Portion Control and Grauzone.
Grauzone’s “Film 2” remains to me a real cult classic of the electro-wave movement. Kissing The Pink’s “Big Man Restless” was for me one of those ‘forgotten treasures’ which I haven’t heard in years, but when hearing the first notes of the great electro tune running through the song I immediately felt like I was 30 years younger. “Big Sex” from T.A.G.C. is another essential cut while the somewhat tribal like “Crash Bang Wallop” of All Systems Go reveals a different style.
Sven Van Hees did an excellent job with this compilation. As some of the master recordings weren’t even available and he had to go back to the original records and remove the typical vinyl noises. “Liaisons Dangereuses” later on evolved into house, new-beat and acid music, which could be an interesting concept for a 2nd volume of this series.
This is an essential compilation, which also brings me back to all the local radio broadcasts dealing with alternative music and, which was during the 80s a real source to discover new music!
Conclusion: This is not just a compilation bringing old 80s new-wave tracks together, but an electronic legacy that has without a shadow of a doubt inspired numerous artists, producers and DJ’s during the next generations. But the main strength of all those bands is that their sound still has this magical touch, which is an ingredient ‘classical’ dance music has never had.
Best bands: Fad Gadget, Grauzone, Informatics, T.A.G.C., Kissing The Pink, Dark Day.
Label: www.universalmusic.be / www.facebook.com/universalmusicbe