These Belgian Times

By Hari Kunzru, 21 January 2004

Once upon a time, electropop was fresh and new. Having wrested synthesisers out of the 'progressive' hands of Rick Wakeman, Pink Floyd and Emerson Lake and Palmer, a generation of producers used their new toys to produce plastic, disposable music, which celebrated mass production, consumer culture and the synthetic pleasures of modern living. Everyone remembers Kraftwerk, but hard on their heels were a lesser-known Belgian act by the name of Telex. Between 1978 and 1986 they used vocoders, moogs and upfront beats to make songs about super-chic boys drinking Daiquiris while watching the Eurovision song contest. They never had the credibility of their German art-rock counterparts; being Belgian they could never muster up the seriousness that Kraftwerk always exuded, even when singing about pocket calculators or computer dating. But they have always had a strong, if unacknowledged influence on electronic music, especially in the USA. Now an album of remixes by eminently tasteful producers such as Shake, 16b, Pulsinger and Tunakan, and Buckfunk 3000 proposes to introduce a new generation to the joys of Belgian electropop. The originals are back out too. Tune in for a forgotten chapter in the history of modern music.

Telex I Don't Like Music Volume 1 (the remixes) [SSR lp1-202]Telex I Don't Like Remixes [SSR]

Hari KunzuXhari AT metamute.comX