Front 242

Front 242

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Front 242 were formed in Aarschot in 1981 by Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen.
After a few singles, Jean-Luc De Meyer (vocals) and Patrick Codenys joined the group and the first album, "Geography", was released. At this stage, Dirk Bergen left the group to become their manager.
In 1983, Richard 23 (Richard Jonckheere) joined the group as vocalist/percussionist. With this line-up, the band released many albums of EBM, gaining more popularity with every release. (EBM stands for Electronic Body Music, a term invented by F242 themselves) They also established a solid live reputation, with an energetic show in para-military outfits. The year 1993 brought a radical change in style, with guest musicians, the disappearance of their military look and the exploration of both harder (guitar samples) and softer (female vocals, ambient) sounds. After many years of silence, except for a few live/remix-albums, Front 242 re-appeared in the spotlight in the late nineties with their Re:boot-tour, bringing modern, techno-like cover versions of their own songs. In 2003 they took a step back towards their EBM-roots, with the release of "Pulse" and "Still & Raw".

Before Front 242, the members were already involved in other projects, like Prothese (Daniel B.), Under Viewer (J.-L. De Meyer & Patrick Codenys) and Tranik Ind. (Richard 23).

The number 242 is a reference to Security Council Resolution 242 which called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories it occupied after the Six-Day War in 1967.
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Front 242 Discography

Albums

HIM. 15, HIM 015, HIM.015 Front 242 Geography (Album, Comp) New Dance, New Dance, New Dance HIM. 15, HIM 015, HIM.015 Belgium 1982 Sell This Version
SPV 08-1361 Front 242 No Comment (Album, Single) Another Side SPV 08-1361 Germany 1985 Sell This Version
723.4026 Front 242 Official Version (Album) Red Rhino Europe 723.4026 Brazil 1987 Sell This Version
RRE MC 7 Front 242 Front By Front (Album) Red Rhino Europe RRE MC 7 France 1988 Sell This Version
EK 47077, EK 46998 Front 242 Tyranny >For You< (Album) Red Rhino Europe EK 47077, EK 46998 US 1991 Sell This Version
GUZZI 888 Front 242 Live Target(CD, Album) Guzzi GUZZI 888 Italy 1992 Sell This Version
RRE 22 LP, 88.2190 Front 242 05:22:09:12 Off (Album) Red Rhino Europe, Red Rhino Europe RRE 22 LP, 88.2190 Spain 1993 Sell This Version
RRE 21 CD Front 242 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (Album) Red Rhino Europe RRE 21 CD Europe 1993 Sell This Version
NR 2025 242* Live Code (Album) Play It Again Sam Records, Play It Again Sam Records NR 2025 US 1994 Sell This Version
ERCD 242L Front 242 [ : RE:BOOT: (L. IV. E ]) (Album) Zoth Ommog, XIII Bis Records ERCD 242L Sweden 1998 Sell This Version
REF6403392 242* Pulse (Album) XIII BIS Records REF6403392 Europe 2003 Sell This Version
none Front 242 Moments... 1 (Album) Alfa Matrix none Belgium 2008 Sell This Version
MM010 Front 242 Transmission SE91 (Album) Minimal Maximal MM010 Belgium 2013 Sell This Version
front242live Front 242 Front 242: LIVE Cold Waves III(15xFile, MP3, Album, 320) Nimbit Music front242live US 2014

Singles & EPs

ND 002 Front 242 Principles / Body To Body(7") New Dance ND 002 Belgium 1981 Sell This Version
ND 005 Front 242 U.Men / Ethics(7") New Dance ND 005 Belgium 1982 Sell This Version
HIM 006, HIM006 Front 242 Endless Riddance (EP) Mask Music, Mask Music HIM 006, HIM006 Belgium 1983 Sell This Version
WAX 010A Front 242 Take One / U-Men(7") Wax Trax! Records WAX 010A US 1984 Sell This Version
12 FAS 72 Front 242 Politics Of Pressure (Single, EP) Another Side 12 FAS 72 1985 Sell This Version
SIDE 8504 Front 242 No Shuffle (Single) Another Side SIDE 8504 Belgium 1985 Sell This Version
A 010, SPV ☉ 01-1371 Front 242 Quite Unusual (Single) Red Rhino Europe A 010, SPV ☉ 01-1371 Germany, Austria, & Switzerland 1986 Sell This Version
A 009, SPV 50-1370 Front 242 Interception (Single) Red Rhino Europe A 009, SPV 50-1370 Germany, Austria, & Switzerland 1986 Sell This Version
RRET 9 Front 242 Masterhit (Single) Red Rhino Europe RRET 9 Belgium 1987 Sell This Version
RRECV6, RRECV 6 Front 242 Headhunter (Maxi, Single) Red Rhino Europe RRECV6, RRECV 6 Europe 1988 Sell This Version
FRNT 01 Front 242 Promo 242 Not On Label (Front 242) FRNT 01 Belgium 1988 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 12 Reviews

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colosseo

colosseo

February 9, 2012
They still have a connection with Aarschot, the city that was once Antler-Subway Records' heimat and proudly counts Jean-Marie Aerts (of T.C. Matic fame) among its inhabitants. A local youth club occasionally has the pleasure of the group using their small venue for semi-secret tryout gigs that are usually only announced via their label Alfa Matrix.

Also, Daniel Bressanutti still lives there. Until recently, my sister-in-law hired an appartment opposite his house. When standing on her balcony, I could look into his kitchen.

Front's studio is the so-called Art & Strategy studio, located in Aarschot. It's a conventional-looking house, built in a typical early sixties-style, almost identical to mine and to many thousand other houses in Aarschot. The outside of the studio can be seen in a short fragment of the Belpop documentary about the group (see Youtube).

But in all other respects, Aarschot is a dull city.

73Juggernaut

73Juggernaut

January 1, 2012
Front 242 are a strange concept as a band. The have Daniel Bressanutti as a producer and main writer, Patrick Codenys as an instrumentalist, Richard JK/23 who performs as a backing vocalist/cheerleader and then Jean-Luc de Meyer who performs most of the lead vocals. Their early material, in my opinion, is very patchy to say the least where as the older material really does sound far more sophisticated and cohesive.

Geography gets things going for them very nicely, No Comment misses the boat with far too many throw away tracks and sounds older than Geography, Official Version is almost as good as Geography but again filled with too many wasted opportunities, Front By Front, again another missed chance with too many self indulgent tracks that don't really take you anywhere. Tyranny For You arrives and suddenly things start looking good again for Front 242, but its with 06:21:03:11 Up Evil that Front 242 really start to shine. Not a single wasted track on this album and as brutally good an industrial album as you could ever wish for and then 05:22:09:12 Off capitalises on Up Evil, but again my main complaint, too much filler.

Front 242 then seemingly stop producing original material and instead release many live albums, an area of their work I don't particularly like and it takes them 10 year's to get back together and release new original material in the form of Pulse. An album they really succeeded with on every level and showed how adept Daniel Bressanutti is at producing in the digital domain where other artists that came out in the same period sometimes have failed to do.

So if you're trying to get your head around Front 242 and looking to investigate them, my advice to you is get Geography, Tyranny For You, 05:22:09:12 Off and Pulse. Give those albums a go and if you like what you hear and you're curiosity hasn't been satisfied, work your way back to the beginning and maybe you're more open minded than I am and discover that you enjoy their earlier material more than their later stuff or just as much.
Crijevo

Crijevo

December 22, 2008
Front 242 delivered some of the most fascinating electronic dance music to date. Ironically, at their most popular, the group remains with its earlier catalogue that helped defining the term 'EBM' - now a tiresome genre drowning hopelessly in morbid image grotesques, with countless imitators on both sides of industrial apocalypse and with less physical aspects to the genre's, once pristine, naive but direct electronic pulse.

Despite the fact 242 remain EBM's cult figureheads, throughout the last decade they too fell prey to over-production. Of course, it is reasonable that bands make progress. However, the problem is, when 242 delivered something called 'Geography' in 1982 (which by the way still sounds straight-forwardly fresh today), with creative highlights in 'Front By Front' and 'Tyranny For You' considered deserved masterpieces, the ambition of competing with themselves by later achievements became a sad image of what EBM should've been - both in audio or visual terms.

Instead of pushing boundaries, 242 ended up putting them on - sounding more like a life support machine. Their adventures in modern sound throughout the 90s did give some hint of what might be the 'new' 242 sound (ambitious 'Up Evil' and 'Off' plus one of their latest, decent 'back-to-basics' efforts, called 'Pulse').

But as they occasionally crossed over into the guitar territory, pulling many of their contemporaries with them, 242 gave way to aggressive trance void, now cemented by dominating, so-called 'Future pop' artists that pioneer more to exhibitionist levels without much substance.
fabriknos

fabriknos

July 28, 2008
Hello, my name is Steve Eagle, and I am a Front 242 addict.

It all started when I stole "Tyranny For You" from my brother's bedroom one night. I had no idea what sort of music it was, only that the cover looked bad ass so I had to listen to it. I popped it in my CD player back in my own bedroom and took a listen. My criminal activity brought about one of the best experiences in my life. This was the missing link in all the music I had listened to up to this point. It is safe to say, my love for music begins and ends with Front 242.

Since that day many years ago, 242 has remained in rotation wherever life has taken me. When I finally got to see them in San Francisco in 2000, it was like being in a dream. So much energy, such an amazing crowd response, it couldn't have been better. I've never seen an industrial/ebm band get that much praise, respect and adoration from its fans. Front 242 didn't just coin the term "EBM", they invented a sound that spawned legions and legions of imitators - the greatest form of flattery.

From stripped down, bassline-and-drum machine techno to super complex ambient and rhythmic soundscapes, Front 242 redefined the role of dance music not just in their home of Belgium but all across the world, showing us that dance music didn't always have to be short, poppy and radio-friendly, but it could also be dark, melancholy, and, well, "industrial" in its approach. Front 242 will always be one of the most important, influential and inspiring bands of all time.
Lezlie

Lezlie

March 19, 2007
edited over 8 years ago
Front 242 had an enormous impact on my life. It came with the album "05:22:09:12 Off". Previously I had heard several cool tracks, but when listening to the the above mentioned, I almost fell to the floor. The dark and desperate atmosphere of the album, featuring the excellent vocals by 99 Kowalski, is truly mindblowing and second to none.

Later that year I bought "06:21:03:11 Up Evil", and the following "Angels Versus Animals". Both albums are top notch (just listen to "Born To Breathe" and "Der Verfluchte Engel" on "Angels Versus Animals", woooow!).
These albums, especially "05:22:09:12 Off" will always be on the very top of my list.

Regarding their latest album, "Pulse", it's a very welcome return for Front 242. This is a great album, and tracks like "One (With The Fire)" and "Together" are simply awesome.

I can not for the life of me understand the criticism by some people of Front 242's 1993 albums. Yes, Front 242 was a breakthrough act, and yes, they have superb tracks from their early days, but the '93 albums are unmatched; they marked a new sound for the band, and all great bands develop. The albums from '93 were the band at its very best, I feel these albums captured all that Front 242 had ever stood for.
How can one not like this music? It's beyond me...
SkeletonMan

SkeletonMan

March 11, 2007
edited over 8 years ago
Being a big fan of F2 until sometime in the early nineties I went to see them perform live at the Roskilde Festival 2006 as much out of curiosity as nostalgia. I shall never forget what I witnessed. In the background two men in their late forties dressed in black leather carefully working their PCs and not moving a muscle. And in the front two men around the same age, slightly overweight, dressed in red and white leather dancing and singing like they were the last show on earth. Hideous doesn’t begin to cover. And the way they sung! Body To Body and Headhunter were delivered as if they were fucking Shakesperian. I've never seen anything OOZE kitsch with such magnitude without the slightest hint of self irony and it struck me that – at least live – F2 today is much more an Italo pop act (!) than an industrial act.

So how come it still turned out an event I’m happy to have attended? Well, in between toe crumbingly embarrassing lyrics and gay pride performance on stage their early tracks rocked the place. And when the dancers/singers in the front resigned to the back ground this was party music with presence and anger and every bit the post 2000 F2 sound I could have hoped for. In Rhytmus Bleiben, in particular, was untouchable. I doubt they'll win many new followers based on their live performances alone, but for a follower from back in the days they sure deliver a spectacular show. To say the least.
THX_1138

THX_1138

February 7, 2005
edited over 11 years ago
I submit this comment for reclaim the Front 242 later albums to 1992. The old romantics of the EBM has expanded the common idea that all F242 material later to that date is shit, and all the interesting material is previous to it. I disagree.

Of course I love the old F242 material, and I'm not going to say that "Up Evil" is better that "Geography". But for those who consider that F242 material after "Tyranny for you" is not as good as the previous one, let me ask you a couple of questions:

How many really good songs are in each of the F242 albums previous to 1992? 6 or 5 per album?
Are "Religion", "Motion", "Crapage", "Melt", "Fuel", and "SKin" ("Up Evil") bad songs?
Are "Animal", "Happiness", "Crushed", and "Junkodrome" ("Evil Off") bad songs?
If they are bad song, why is people asking for them in live shows?

For those who consider those albums commercial "cheap techno stuff":
Which are the commercial possibilities of publishing a conceptual double long play record very different to the style that have made you famous?
Can we consider commercial a 17'56" song like "Born to breathe" ("Angels vs Animals ep")?

Today are really usual the long remix albums, many of them million times better than "Mut@ge Mix@ge". But before 1993, how many groups have done a long remix album? Furthermore, today The Orb, The Prodigy and Underworld are worlwide famous groups. Their records fight in the top of the pops with the most comercial pop musicians. But how many people did know any thing about them before 1993?

For those who consider "[:RE:BOOT: (L. IV. E])" a bad live album:
What do you consider a live show? The exact reproduction of the original song, do you? Do you pay your ticket for that? For that I put the cd in my home. Of course, I prefer the original version of "Masterhit" or "Moldavia" than the "rebooted" ones. But, with which one do you want to dance in a live show? I was in 1999 in a F242 live, and I really enjoyed the "rebooted" versions. My fucking feets were burning after the show.

Of course many of my favourite songs of F242 ("Headhunter", "Tragedy for you", "Moldavia", "Welcome to paradise", "Funkhadafi", "Work 242", "Never Stop!" and many more) are part of their "clasic albums". But "nostalgia" is not an excuse for been unjust.

I think that most part of old F242 fanatics have not understand that the albums that follows "Tyranny for you", as the others that preceded it, are essential to understand the development of the electronic music. From "Geography" to "Tyrany for you" we can find a constant progression of which "Up evil", "Evil Off", "Angels vs. Animals" are their next steps.

F242 have always been a couple of steps before the rest. If you listen carefully those,albums, "Mut@ge Mix@ge" and "[:RE:BOOT: (L. IV. E])" and then you listen the music that was done from 1993 to 2000; you will realise that maybe not critics and public, but time have give them the reason.

Finally, said that pulse haven't impressed me very much, but "Still & Raw" It's perfect!

Long life for Front 242!
Daigoro

Daigoro

July 19, 2004
edited over 11 years ago
Ahh... front 242 :D.
Kraftwerk set the electronic music in motion and front 242 made techno what it is today. Very influential band. Check out the older stuff, really great! And, not to be underestimated (although many won't share my opinion, as it seems a bit "too much"), their last album... "PULSE" very good album. Though they where a bit off track in their "REBOOT" period to many, i still thought it was good. It shows that they want to grow and move on, that's a good thing. And if you have the chance to check "Speedtribe" (video project of the 24hrs of Lemans wich D. Bressanutti and P. Codenys did the soundtrack for), do so! http://www.dance.com/speedtribe/
PAF

PAF

March 16, 2003
The last really good album by Front 242 was "Tyranny for You". All the material before this one is great! My personal fave is probably "Official Version". Nowadays they make cheap techno stuff - to be missed! ;) They created the style EBM, or at least they came up with the name.

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