When Andy Butler's not zipping round the world as part of Hercules and Love Affair, he's releasing records on his own Mr. Intl imprint. This Friday sees him team up with DJ Nark as Hexxy, a new duo dedicated to crafting sweat-soaked warehouse punishers. "This is a new project between myself and party maker, DJ Nark AKA Kevin Kauer, founder of Bottom Forty and Nark Magazine," Andy says. "On a recent tour of Europe Kevin made a pitstop in Brussels and I invited him into the studio. We share an unpredictability in our DJ sets, so we wanted to make a crossover track for DJs who aren't afraid to play disco in a set where techno can sit just as comfortably, taking conceptual cues from rough and hypnotic edits from masters like Ron Hardy. Meanwhile the flip is a fun take on acid disco with some samples that were on favorite records of mine in my teenage days."
Check out "Edging" below.
Butler's also recently decided to relocate to Belgium of all places. Ah, Belgium, the home of chips, mayonnaise, and minimal wave. Good choice, Andy!
"I have in fact moved to Belgium, I guess to settle if you will," he told us. "So in honour of that I've chosen my personal "favourite" Belgian musical moments."
Enjoy them below.
Telex - We Are All Getting Old
I first heard Telex in the context of solid house and techno DJ's dropping "Moskow Disko" in their sets. How to describe them? Kind of like Kraftwerk with a fruitier twist and at times —like here— more drive. They had an amazing mix of body engaging electronics, a chicness, and a great sense of humour which in my opinion puts them in a league amongst the greats like Yello, YMO and M.
Front 242 - U-Men
The fathers of "EBM" (or Electronic Body Music, a term they coined to describe themselves), Front 242 are probably the first Belgian phenomenon that hit me as a teenager. It was dancing to "Headhunter" at the underage night at the local industrial/goth club Rock Island that hooked me. Then discovering their experimental electronic early works i.e. those collected on "Geography" (one of which I have included here) made me love them more. Had the t shirt, saw them on the first Lollapalooza tour…I guess I was officially a fan of a Belgian band way back then.
Tuxedomoon - Jinx
I have become more and more of a sucker for great art rock as I've got older. Tuxedo Moon was born in arty old SF and kind of relocated to Belgium. They were on a kind of super cool Belgian label called Les Disques de Crepuscule. Tuxedomoon did cool things like score ballets for Maurice Bejart and films for Wim Wenders. What's that hashtag? #goals?
Luc Van Acker - Zanna
This is a song that has a special place in my heart. I only knew Luc Van Acker as a sometime member of Revolting Cocks (with Richard 23 from Front 242). When I met my partner he played me this song, and I was expecting something quite, well possibly rude and what I got was something delicate, poetic and there is something about the melody I find truly sublime.
Wim Mertens - Hirose
Everyone who can enjoy a loop should have a love for minimalist classical music. Steve Reich is probably my favourite, but Belgium also produced its own special artist. Wim Mertens is a fella who put out some really powerful music, quite capable of evoking a lot of emotion with just a few really special simple ingredients as it is here with just piano and his voice (he has a really characteristic one). Mertens was also released on Les Disques de Crepescule.
Minimal Compact - My Will
This cool post punk band had been on my radar but my partner pointed me to this song (and taped video performance which I am into). I love the female hook on the song. Such a beautiful lyric "My will is stronger than me." They are a pretty fascinating band. The Israeli-Belgian singer Samy "DJ Morpheus" Birnbach was a pretty influential guy in the landscape of 80s dance music, and went onto become an A&R for Crammed Discs. Their cultural and musical melange made for some pretty great stuff.
Siglo XX - Individuality
I liked my morose vocals in my youth. There was a definite grey moment shared between the UK and Belgium and this band illustrates it. The countries are close to each other and there was a definite exchange going on. On some recordings they evoke a fave of mine from the Factory Records camp, Section 25. In this early track, they somehow inject a bit more funk in the mix.
Edging/Bewm Chawqk by Hexxy/Andy Butler drops on mr.intl on December 11th. You can grab it from Juno now.