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FRONT 242

Belgian pioneers of electronic dance music.

 
Songs
 

"U-men"
31,2 sec. - 61 Kb.
song : Front 242.
Year : 1982
Record co.:New Dance

"No Shuffle"
54 sec. - 107 Kb.
song : Front 242.
Year : 1985
Record co.:Another Side

"Quite unusual"
38,5 sec. - 76 Kb.
song : Front 242.
Year : 1986
Record co.: RRE

"Headhunter"
45,4 sec. - 89 Kb.
song : Front 242.
Year : 1987
Record co.:RRE

 
   
 

Formed in 1981 by Bressanuti and synth-freak Dirk Bergen (who later on becomes the manager). They debut with a singles called "Principles" and attract Jean-Luc De Meyer and Patrick Codenys, who were performance-artists at the time.
After a second single "U-men" and the album "Geography" they immediately attract a cult-following. They develop a energetic live-act in paramilitary battle-dress and invent the term "electronic body music" for their high-tech kind of dance music.

 

After the single "No Shuffle" from the double 12'' "No Comment" has become a radio-hit, they turn down an offer by ZZT-record (the firm of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) as they aren't guaranteed enough independence. They sign with the Belgian firm Play It Again Sam! instead. Their first album for PIAS (distributed internationally as Red Rhino Europe) "Official Version" has them break through on an international scale : over 100.000 copies were sold. As it is stated in "Wit-lof from Belgium" : "A bomb on Germany, a crater in the American dance charts, and if there hadn't been a Joshua Tree in the way they would have topped the Belgian album charts." The album also holds out for months on the English Indie charts.

Front 242 builds on its reputation and becomes one of the most popular underground groups of Belgium. Their music inspires the Belgian DJ's to the New Beat-movement (although they deny all responsibility for that). They perform a series of concerts in the United States as an opener for Ministry.

 

By the end of the decade, Front 242 were on the cutting edge of the experimental industrial dance groups, combining political sound bites with their dance samples and beats. Their 1988 club hit, "Headhunter," cemented their reputation and provided a good example of their aggressive style. MTV also picks up the aggressive Belgian band as the single Headhunter has an interesting video-clip by the internationally renowned Anton Corbyn.

Richard 23 also forms the underground group "Revolting Cocks", together with fellow Belgian Luc Van Acker and Al Jourgensen of Ministry.

On the records "Front by Front" and "Tyranny for you" the group manages to evade the deadly monotony which is harmful to so many dance acts by developing an impressive array of sounds and a multitude of used techniques. The monotony of the "electronic body music" remains but becomes more sophisticated and colorful. The album "Front by Front" sells more than 500.000 copies.

 

However, their subsequent albums in the '90s showed that the group was beginning to slip from the cutting edge. By the mid-'90s, their cult had declined significantly, and the group lost their major-label contract with Epic.

Mut@ge.Mix@ge, released in 1996, was their first independent release since their recordings for Wax Trax in the '80s.

Since then, the band still appears on stage each year on a number of occasions (eg. Ancienne Belgique concerts February 2000, Eurorock-headliner 2000), but there seem to be no plans for recording new material. Instead, the members of Front 242 are recording or experimenting in many different techno or other projects, such as Cobalt 60, C-Tec, Latchak ...

Band Members :
- Patrick Codenys (synths)
- DaniŽl Bressanuti (mixing, programming, samples)
- Richard Jonckheere - aka Richard 23 (vocals, percussion)
- Jean-Luc De Meyer (vocals)

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- Geography (New Dance/Himalaya - 1982)
- No Comment (Another Side - 1984)
- Official Version (Red Rhino Europe/ Wax Trax  - 1987)
- Front by Front (Red Rhino Europe/ Wax Trax  - 1988)
- Tyranny for you (Red Rhino Europe/ Epic  - 1991)
- 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (Red Rhino Europe / Epic - 1993)
- 05:22:09:12 Off (Red Rhino Europe / Epic 1993)
- Mut@ge Mix@ge (1996)
Singles and 12'' :
- Principles / Body to body (New Dance, 1981)
- U-Men / Ethics (New Dance, 1982)
- Two in One (New Dance, 1982)
- Endless Riddance (Himalaya, 1983)
- No Shuffle / Body to body (Another Side, 1985)
- Politics of pressure (Another Side, 1985)
- Quite unusual / Agressia (Red Rhino Europe, 1986)
- Headhunter / Welcome to Paradise (Red Rhino Europe, 1988)
- Never stop! (1989)
- Tragedy For you (1991)
- Rhyhtm of Time (1991)
- Religion (1993)
- Animal (1993)
- Happiness (1998)
- Headhunter 2000 (part 1 - part 4, 1999)
Compilations, Live Albums ...
- Back Catalogue (1987)
- Live Target (1992)
- Live Code (1994)
- Re:Boot (1998)
- Headhunter 2000 (1999, Energy records, remixes by Apoptygma Berzerk, Front Line Assembly ...)

Websites :
- The official Front 242 website. Excellent design !
- There is at least one unofficial web-site dedicated to Front 242
- The Front 242 F.A.Q.
- You can also find more recent extracts of their music at internet CD-stores like cd now

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about Front 242
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about Front 242

 

   
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Dirk Houbrechts stopped working at The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives (you can read his personal statement here). The website is now entrusted to the Flanders Music Centre (www.muziekcentrum.be). Contact: webmaster@muziekcentrum.be.

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Last update to this site : December 2001.

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