Les Disques du Crépuscule \ From Brussels With Love [LTMCD 2479]
Originally released as a deluxe cassette/book package in November 1980, From Brussels With Love featured 22 exclusive tracks from the international avant-garde and new wave, as well as the Factory Records roster. Then, as now, the contributing artists include Gavin Bryars, Harold Budd, Dome, The Durutti Column, John Foxx, Martin Hannett, Richard Jobson, Bill Nelson, New Order and Michael Nyman. The programme also includes extended interviews with Brian Eno and iconic French actress Jeanne Moreau.
This CD edition has been digitally remastered from the original tapes, and features 76 minutes of material. Most of the tracks featured here are unavailable elsewhere. The 20 page facsimile booklet features original artwork by Benoît Hennebert, Claude Stassart and Jean-François Octave, as well as archive images and detailed liner notes.
1. John Foxx A Jingle *1
2. Thomas Dolby Airwaves
3. Repetition Stranger
4. Harold Budd Children on the Hill
5. Durutti Column Sleep Will Come
6. Martin Hannett The Music Room
7. The Names Cat
8. Michael Nyman A Walk Through H
9. Brian Eno interview
10. Phill Niblock A Third Trombone
11. Jeanne Moreau interview
12. Richard Jobson Armoury Show
13. Bill Nelson The Shadow Garden
14. Durutti Column Piece For An Ideal
15. Kevin Hewick & New Order Haystack
16. Radio Romance Etrange Affinite
17. Gavin Bryars White's SS
18. Der Plan Meine Freunde
19. Gilbert & Lewis Twist Up
20. John Foxx A Jingle *2
Available to buy at (£10.00) from LTM Mailorder
For reasons of space just one track from the original cassette (A Certain Ratio) is not included, and is instead available on LTMCD 2443.
"This is a reminder - without really trying, without being obvious - that pop is modern poetry, is the sharpest, shiniest collection of experiences, is always something new" (NME (Paul Morley), 12/1980)
"Fantastic! The perfect Christmas gift! FBWL is over 80 minutes of sheer scrapbookalia. It is a lovingly put together way of deflating modern music, and at the same time of exalting its basic merits. A searing, sprawling, exotically chaotic way of achieving the almost impossible and restoring rock music to something that will nearly surprise you. It is endless and endlessly, genuinely entertaining listening. As pretentious as hell, of course, but there is only one thing worse than that - and that's not being pretentious. This tape, a long mysterious piece of collective modern overdrive, points to a future somewhere. And it looks more crimson that rosy, it's that good" (Sounds (Dave McCullough), 12/1980)
"This really is a treat - a brand new remastered edition of one of the most elusive, sought-after compilations of all time. It has everything you could possibly ask for: every track is a winner, it's all exclusive material, and supremely varied, with tracks ranging from modern classical to new wave with room in the middle for a couple of 'ambient' interviews. A disc packed with ideas so fresh and so groundbreaking that they still sound life-changing even today. Without a doubt the perfect introduction to a label which would influence so many of today's classic independents. Seminal, inspired, essential" (Boomkat, 2/2007)
"Reissue of the week. The perfection of From Brussels With Love still persists anno 2007" (De Standaard, 02/2007)
"Sometimes one has to admit to simple fandom - of wonderful albums with industrial and French pop, synaethesia with interviews and poetry readings, daring experiments in classical music, and confident eclecticism of the highest standard" (Westzeit, 03/2007)
"Three decades on, it still stands as a fascinating document of the times" (Plan B, 03/2007)
"At the time, both as an artefact and a selection of tracks, FBWL seemed perfectly to articulate the sepulchral, twilit and mainland European sensibility that would be one of the musical and subcultural consequences of punk. Crépuscule was concerned above all with high aestheticism and modern connoisseurship, and heard now FBWL sounds as thrillingly new and seductively poised as it did 27 years ago. Oh, where did all the time go?" (The Wire (Michael Bracewell), 04/2007)
"As musical time-machines go, FBWL is perfect. It takes you right back to 1980, when when some of the most interesting music was being made by independent artists and labels outside the shipping routes of chart pop. Why did it take 27 years to put this out on CD properly? Four stars" (Record Collector, 04/2007)
"An amazing reissue which sets the bar high with quality and attention to detail" (Brainwashed, 02/2007)
"Completely original and beyond compare" (Magic, 03/2007)
"A masterpiece of distinctly northern European post-punk eclecticism. Almost every track is an unabashedly melancholic or angst-ridden gem" (Frieze, 04/2007)
From Brussels With Love
Originally released on 20 November 1980, the deluxe cassette compilation From Brussels With Love featured 22 exclusive tracks from the front rank of the international avant-garde and new wave, as well as several artists from the feted Factory Records stable in Manchester. Although the first proper release on boutique Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule, the catalogue number assigned to the project (TWI 007) betrays the fact that the early history of the label (and thus its debut) is a little more involved.
The label had been formed at the beginning of 1980, by Brussels scenesters Michel Duval (an economist by training, and journalist for several arts magazines including En Attendant and Plein Soleil) and Annik Honoré (then working in London, but a booker for the seminal Plan K venue, and also writing for En Attendant). A strong cultural link was forged between Brussels and the Factory/Manchester cadre after the Joy Division concerts at Plan K on 16 October 1979 and 17 January 1980, and cemented when A Certain Ratio, Durutti Column and Section 25 performed at Plan K on 26 April. In addition, Brussels band The Names had joined the Factory roster.
Since the Factory bands were so prolific, it was agreed that 'spare' recordings could be released on the Continent via a new label, Factory Benelux. The first three releases were 7" singles by A Certain Ratio (Shack Up), Durutti Column (Lips That Would Kiss) and Section 25 (Haunted), which appeared in August, September and October respectively. All carried dual catalogue numbers (FACBN 1-004, 2-005 and 3-006), which in September 1980 resulted in Factory directors Rob Gretton and Tony Wilson insisting that a clear division should be established between Factory Benelux and Les Disques du Crépuscule, the new label planned by Michel and Annik. At an early stage the duo were joined by gifted designer Benoît Hennebert. Crépuscule, of course, translates as 'twilight', an evocative name suggested by Annik. The two labels shared a de facto office at 32 Avenue des Phalenes, 1050 Brussels.
The first true Crépuscule release was a deluxe cassette/booklet package, From Brussels With Love. Compiled between July and October, this stylish 80 minute compilation arrived housed in a plastic wallet and reflected current musical events in Manchester, London and Brussels during the middle months of 1980. In May Joy Division singer Ian Curtis took his own life, leaving the remaining three members to re-group as New Order, who entered the studio for the first time in June as backing musicians for Factory troubadour Kevin Hewick. Bill Nelson and Richard Jobson came into contact with Crépuscule for the first time on 27 June, after playing at a Cocteau-themed event at Plan K, at which Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column also performed. London band Repetition joined Crépuscule via Annik and (surprisingly) found themselves produced by Rob Gretton, while A Certain Ratio contributed a live track taped at Hurrah's in September, during the first Factory trip to New York, another cultural watershed for all involved.
Besides Factory, another crucial influence on From Brussels With Love was radio producer and new music composer Wim Mertens, whose book American Minimal Music had just been published by Kahn & Averill. The featured interview with Brian Eno had been recorded by Wim in New York in June 1979, as was the recording by Phill Niblock. It's therefore hardly surprising that Michael Nyman and Gavin Bryars also agreed to contribute tracks. Mertens would make his own debut on Crépuscule (initially as Soft Verdict) the following year. Eno's Obscure label was another key influence on early Crépuscule.
The compilation was purposefully international in scope, with France (Radio Romance), Belgium (The Names), Germany (Der Plan) and even Scotland (Richard Jobson) all represented, as well as the more familiar British and American contingents. The design, too, was seductively Continental, with text printed in a variety of languages, and copious line/cartoon illustrations by Jean-François Octave which reflected the Belgian and French obsession with bande dessinée. The James Bond references in the title and catalogue number may be credited to cinephile Michel Duval alone.
Almost as interesting are the tracks that failed to make the final cut: at various stages the wishlist included music by Mark Beer, The Associates, Throbbing Gristle, Karel Goeyvaerts, plus mooted live tracks by Joy Division, and literary interviews with Marguerite Duras, Michel Tournier and Alain Robbe Grillet. Released on 20 November in an initial edition of 1000 copies, TWI 007 was an immediate success, retailing at the price of a 12" single and drawing praise from the British music press in December:
"The arrival of this thin tape from Belgium provides a reminder - without really trying, without being obvious - that pop is the modern poetry, is the sharpest, shiniest collection of experiences, is always something newÖ It's as indispensable as the Bow Wow Wow and A Certain Ratio cassettes: all in their own way point to the ways pop is movingÖ Of course it's posey: what isn't? It's pop/art. Insufferably over-fashionable, lavishly over the top, dreadfully dilettantish, finely eclectic. Pop can be so many things" (Paul Morley, New Musical Express)
"This is wild! This is fantastic! The perfect Christmas gift! FBWL is over 80 minutes of sheer scrapbookalia. It is a lovely put together way of deflating modern music, and at the same time of exalting its basic merits. A searing, sprawling, exotically chaotic way of achieving the almost impossible and restoring rock music to something that will nearly surprise youÖ It is endless and endlessly, genuinely entertaining listening. As pretentious as hell, of course, but there is only one thing worse than that - and that's not being pretentious. This tape, a long mysterious piece of collective modern overdrive, points to a future somewhere. And it looks more crimson that rosy, it's that good" (Dave McCullough, Sounds)
While Crépuscule was by no means the first modern independent record label in Belgium (credit also being due to Crammed, Sandwich, Double Dose and others), it quickly became the most prolific, cosmopolitan and culturally significant. The next 18 months saw a raft of releases by a veritable internationale of artists including Antena, Gavin Bryars, Cabaret Voltaire, Paul Haig, Ike Yard, Josef K, Malaria!, Marine, Wim Mertens and Tuxedomoon, and further landmark compilations such as Ghosts of Christmas Past and The Fruit of the Original Sin. Indeed the label would even outlast Factory, the label to which it owed a large measure of its early success.
This remastered CD (2006) version of TWI 007 features all tracks included on the 1980 cassette version, with the exception of Felch(live) by A Certain Ratio, left off for reasons of space and in any event included in LTMCD 2443. A second edition of the cassette (also TWI 007) appeared in a standard cassette box in 1981, and a double vinyl edition (TWI 008) in Japan in 1983, with several different tracks. A final (and much adulterated) version of From Brussels With Love appeared on double vinyl and CD in 1986, but with only around half the original tracks from the original cassette. The 1980 edition, however, remains the definitive artefact.