Boomkat Product Review:
A total classic debut by the shining lights of early ‘80s Belgian post-punk/new wave/modern classical/midnight jazz resurfaces just shy of its 40th anniversary, remastered to perfectly suspend its timeless, brooding, shadowy elegance for posterity
Lead out by the deliciously eerie, singed brass of ‘Bamako ou ailleurs’, which Jon K dropped to killer effect in his Reel Torque mixtape, the album remains one of the most vital early numbers on Crammed Discs, unfurling like the noirish score to a dark thriller set in their native Brussels. It was Benjamin Lew’s first recording, and an early example of Steven Brown’s work in Brussels, where he settled after his band Tuxedomoon toured Europe the year prior.
Lew & Brown clearly found a muse in each other, and modestly proceeded to craft this ponderous album of spare airs and ætheric suggestion, dematerialising a palette of Brown’s sax, organ and piano thru Lew’s analog synth, drum machines and tape tekkers to realise a richly intoxicating sound on the cusp of many styles, but beholden to none.
Factored with additional production and engineering by Gilles Martin, and percussion and bass clarinet from Lowlands lynchpin Marc Hollander (co-founder of Crammed Discs, and aka Aksak Maboul), the results are quite unlike anything else, with unfathomable spatial dimensions full of hashed out reverberation that swirls their melodic touches into smoke chamber dynamics, and comes to bridge, in our minds at least, the work of Dominque Lawalrée before them, and the elusive beauty of Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk’s Elodie and other projects in the modern day.