“Belgian Cold Wave 1979-1983” Compilation (1981 / 2013)

It’s 85 degrees right now. Inside our house. At 6PM. And because this is Seattle, we don’t have air conditioning. The only thing more ridiculous than that is that it’s supposed to get noticeably hotter over the course of the upcoming holiday weekend.

So because it’s so damn hot we thought we’d listen to some Belgian Cold Wave 1979-1983.

I had no idea what “Belgian cold wave” was when I saw this record the other day during our visit to Los Angeles. But it seemed like it would be, you know, European and synthy, so I figured it was worth a shot.

This is a pretty weird mix, including quasi-Velvet Underground-esque “Cabs Ambush” by Kid Montana, to purely electro-instrumental numbers like “Tumeurs” by Prothese, followed immediately like a very early proto-version of NIN, Rel Rex with their song “Program” (seriously, this is a slightly less industrial version of NIN!), to a sort of 60s garage number, Digital Dance’s “Human Zoo.” And that’s just side one… of four. WTF? Is it new wave, or synthwave, or post-punk, or what? I don’t know… but I think I like it. A lot.

Side B is just plain weird. Lot’s of sorta spoken word over music stuff. But, you know, in French. Because they’re Belgian. God dammit, I should have paid more attention in French class. Oh well. A little late now. C’est la vie, mon ami. Hell, these guys sound tormented. Maybe it’s better that I don’t know what they’re going on about.

I have to give the curator of Belgian Cold Wave a lot of credit – whoever they are, they did a great job in grouping songs together stylistically on each side. It’s four sides of interesting and sometimes unusual music, an intriguing snapshot into a scene in a given place in a given time.

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