Post #242 (AKA My Unhealthy Obsession with Belgium’s Greatest Band)

242There was little to no doubt as to what post #242 would give prominence to. My only fear was that I wouldn’t be back from Wisconsin in time to snap the appropriate pictures to accompany this particularly numbered entry. For nearly a decade, I’ve been addicted to the self-proclaimed Godfathers of EBM or electronic body music (wikipedia calls them pioneers… I’m onboard with that)… Belgium’s Front 242.

AgressivaAs aggressive as they are danceable, and as rhythmically astounding as they are painfully lethargic, Front 242’s brand of industrial dance music is just the kind of narcissistic noise pollution that calms the unsettling nerves of my unbalanced equilibrium. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this rotating four-piece signed to Wax Trax! Records and, in the mid-80s, toured with Ministry (which resulted in the historic and monumental creation of the super group, Revolting Cocks).

GeographyAllmusic lists Front 242 as Pop/Rock. If Front 242 is Pop/Rock, then Willie Nelson should be categorized as Speed Metal. With heavy synths, combative vocals (when there are lyrics, which is rather rare considering their 32 year catalog), and the pleasure-secreting cloud of rhythmic percussion, Front 242 invokes the offensive aggression of punk, with the mind-numbing social-fukk-fest of Techno, for that perfect combination of salty-sweet ear food. It’s quite possibly the best form of music I’ve ever had the pleasure of shoving into my head.

Sometimes, you just dig what you dig, and you could care less as to the politics involved. Front 242 knocked me out some 10 years ago, and I’m still, without any moment of hesitation, completely comfortable enjoying this blissful, unconscious condition.

Cowgirls from the Underworld

CowgirlI’m still trying to track down Underworld’s 1994 brilliant, Dubnobasswithmyheadman, so for now, I’ll have to settle on one of the many highlights from that album, their pivotal, dance party anthem, Cowgirl.

Presented on this 12” is a slightly longer version of the track (adding 26 seconds to the version found on the album), as well as a non-album gem titled, Rez. Both tracks feature electro-body-gyrating-rhythms-of-mind-melting-ecstasy perfect for long drives in the rain, angry walks to the post office, and generally any time when you want to please your mind’s eye (provided your mind’s eye likes to groove).

Dubnobasswithmyheadman was a breakthrough for Underworld, but I’ll get into that once I finally track down a copy. Underworld, the audio cloud of precipitating pleasure is not affiliated with the (throwaway) film series by the same name… nor should it be. Logod

Country Moog Music

Nashville Gold CoverQuestion: What do you get when you maliciously combine Country Music with the Moog synthesizer? Answer: An 8-bit Nintendo sounding, country groovefest titled, Nashville Gold.

“The combination of country music and the Moog brings it all together with a “Now” sound that will hold up for a long time to come.” Betsy Rothner knew this, and now, so do you. Gil Trythall, the brilliant mastermind behind this gap-filling, genre-breaking, crossover album “was born in Tennessee and still lives there with his Moog and some other people.” I hope Mr. Trythall’s Moog is paying its fair share of the bills or those “other people” might start to get uppity and turn Tennessee into a flour spilling, brick breaking riot fest (reference to the album cover).

Nashville Gold Back“Mister, I says, this here’s a cotton-pickin’, finger-lickin’, barbecued, 110 volt, Nashville Moog.” – Gil Trythall on Nashville Moog.

I have no Earthly idea where I got this album, or why it exists to begin with, but somebody, somewhere in time thought they’d jump on the Walter/Wendy Carlos inspired Switched On bandwagon and capitalize on the 15 minute frenzy. This is NOT an album you’d simply throw on in the background at your next, vegetarian dinner party. This is niche music with a demographic consisting only of Gil Trythall’s roommates… the illusive “other people.”

2000: At Home With the Groovebox AKA the 100th Post

Groovebox CoverAt Home With the Groovebox is the musical equivalent of fizz popping from atop a tall glass of freshly poured soda (or pop if you’re from the Midwest). With its unexpected musical nuances snapping and bursting to create a refreshing, fluid wave of electronic sound, this album does an exceptional job of oozing that happy-fun-time-gonna-cheer-you-up style of music. It’s playful, but in a good way.

Revolving around the Roland MC-505, At Home With the Groovebox brings together a slew of big name artists to create individual musical landscapes as diverse and eclectic as the artists themselves. This album could very well be an advertisement for the Roland MC-505, as it is the common thread weaving throughout each head-bobbing song… it’s also featured on the cover. Go ahead, take a look. Those kids are so excited… isn’t that cute?! Ok, moving on.

Record 1 LabelStarting off the first record in this talent-filled, double LP collection of diverse artists is the famed Jean Jacques Perrey. Remember The In Sound from Way Out!? Mr. Perrey was 71 when this album came out, and the man still ushers in the electronic grooviness with his track titled, The Groovy Leprechauns. Another familiar face emerges at the start of record two, Jean Jacques Perrey’s teammate, the then 78-year-old Gershon Kingsley with his track, Popcorn.  It’s nice to see the old, more experienced kids play well with the younger kids and vice versa.

Groovebox BackFeatured on this 16-track compilation are the following sundry mix of artists (starting at the top): Jean Jacques Perrey, Buffalo Daughter, John McEntire, Air, Pavement, Money Mark, Beck, Sean Lennon, Gershon Kingsley, Sonic Youth, Bis, Cibo Matto, Donnie “Prince” Billy, and Dick Hyman (I guess you’d expect to catch The Groove rhymin’!). I could have just directed you to the picture on the left, but it’s fun to be redundant sometimes… sometimes.

If you have ears that work, I suggest you treat yourself to the good things in life, and get At Home With the Groovebox. A sonic wave of grooviness awaits you.

Editor’s note: This is the 100th post of The Prudent Groove and it mirrors the 100th consecutive day of me getting up too damn early to prudently write about my collection of grooves. Thanks for reading. I’m going back to bed now.