Boomkat Product Review:
Next on Belgium’s wonderful Stroom label, a cherry-picked set of perfectly blue, lo-fi and melancholy wave pop gems spanning the many projects of Jan Van den Broeke from the ‘80s, and including a bonus download for his hard-to-find soundtrack to Chez Renée, an art film exhibited at Avantgrade Galleria in 1988.
While various corners of Jan’s music have found their way onto compilations by EE Records and Walhalla in recent years, this set affords the broadest selection of his projects - June11, Absent Music, The Misz - on one record.
A number of sublime June11 works - some of his most recent, dating to the last decade - bookend and dominate the set, opening with the poetic ambient synth pop of White Bird and then spanning the B-side with excellent atmospheric turns in Jehudah, which mixes references to Jewish, American Christian and Buddhist musics in lush, romantic fashion, thru to a guest appearance from Bernthøler’s Drita Kotaji on A Peaceful Vale.
The other six tracks, however, are vintage recordings dating back to ’84-’88, with haunting highlights in the The Durutti Column-esque shimmer of Akihito to the underwater pop of My Lesbian Girlfriends and his woozy, arabesque dedication to the Chernobyl disaster, The Desert under his earliest alias, Absent Music, along with two heady Belgian beauties written under as The Misz, namely the driving rhythm machines and and narcotic vocals of A La Recherché de B.L. - dedicated to Tuxedomoon’s Benjamin Lew - and a curdled xmas song using, oddly enough, a sample of MLK’s I Have A Dream… speech.
It’s all strange but true, a waking dream of esoteric references and humbly personalised pop nous. Check!