Reviews Search

"From Brussels with Love"

I'm not a big nostalgia nut but I do somewhat feel that various artist collections (especially a ton of those cassette-only compilations) of the late 1970s and early 1980s were far more relevant than the bulk of the collections from the mid 1990s through now. From Brussels With Love is the latest LTM re-release to exemplify this.


LTM Recordings

The compilation is a hard sell, which is why many labels take the cheap and easy way out, using comps as advertisements: showcasing their own groups and forthcoming/new releases, rarely taking chances with something spanning various genres and styles. Those are the comps that should be free, sent out with mail orders or showing up in The Wire.

From Brussels With Love is a collection to be cherished like a great mix tape: shifting from the electronic paranoia of Thomas Dolby's "Airwaves" to the post-punk dissonance of Repetition's "Stranger" to Harold Budd's signature piano sound in "Children On the Hill" or the textbook minimalism of Michael Nyman's "A Walk Through H."  Even quality varies from song to song, like the stark demo quality of the rare Martin Hannett song "The Music Room" to the full-fidelity of The Names' "Cat" and Durutti Column's self-prorduced "Piece for an Ideal."

The collection was the debut release of Belgian label Les Disques du Crepuscule, originally released in 1980 and reissued numerous times over the years with various artwork and song changes. This version is nicely remastered and restored to the (almost) original contents, but for the sake of fitting onto one CD, one track (from A Certain Ratio) has been omitted (but it's already available elsewhere on the Live in Groningen CD). The accompanying booklet is deluxe and as detailed as what has become expected of the amazing LTM reissues. James Nice of LTM set the bar high long ago and has continued to maintain the quality and attention to detail which makes LTM so amazing.

Things to note regarding the big big names on this collection: the Brian Eno interview is only his words (no interviewer questions) and the backing music is a Phill Niblock composition performed by James Fulkerson; the New Order track is, in actuality, a Kevin Hewick piece that the surviving members of Joy Division basically played backup band to in the studio - it's clearly them but a song they would probably never play; and the Bruce Gilbert/Graham Lewis contribution was recorded so soon following the 1980 Wire split that it's a bit unfocused they hadn't fully developed the sound perfecetd on Dome, Duet Emmo, and 8 Time releases. Regardless, it's the other tracks from the lesser knowns that I think make up the stronger ones here. The sad reality of the gut instinct for the average music fan, however, is to extract their favorite band's tracks and ignore the rest. With collections like this, it's worth it more to listen start to finish.