New Releases: Auteur Labels – Factory Benelux, Les Disques Du Crépuscule, New Hormones

Since resurrecting LTM Recordings in 1997, James Nice has overseen the reissues of just about every post-punk album you can think of from the early 1980’s. It’s testament to his knowledge of the scene and the power of the material from these times, that LTM shows no signs of flagging either. The latest set of reissues is a set of compilations from Belgium-based Les Disques Du Crépuscule and Factory Benelux as well as Manchester’s own New Hormones.

Although originally set up as a label to put out “spare” Factory releases, Factory Benelux certainly deserves a better reputation. It started badly though, their first releases was set to be a live mini-LP by none other than Joy Division but the tragic death of frontman Ian Curtis meant that honour went to A Certain Ratio with ‘Shack Up’. Neither ‘Shack Up’ or other celebrated singles such as New Order’s ‘Everything Gone Green’ appear on this label compilation but there are certainly tracks which make up for it; namely The Durutti Column’s curiously beautiful ‘Lips That Would Kiss’, The Wake’s chilly pop (‘Something Outside’) and the lengthy but hypnotic attractions of ‘Crispy Ambulance’s ‘The Presence’.

Les Disques Du Crépuscule were another Brussels-based label but one which had its own clear identity and its own roster. Doubtlessly considered by many Factory fans to be a little highbrow, space was given to modern classical (Michael Nyman, Tuxedomoon) as well as the spoken word (Richard Jobson). However, as this compilation proves, eclecticism is no barrier to talent. Whilst Josef K, Durutti Column and Thick Pigeon prove as reliably great as ever, Devine & Statton offer their magnificent cover of New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and The Pale Fountains turn in the sweet indie pop of ‘(There’s Always) Something On My Mind’.

The journey of New Hormones follows a similar story to Factory Records but on a much smaller scale. Label founder Richard Boon was clearly a true music lover, who just wanted his artists to be heard rather than to make money for himself. This honesty even led him to turn down The Smiths as he didn’t have the resources to manage them. As a result, there are slimmer pickings to choose from here. New Hormones peaked early with Buzzcocks’ ‘Boredom’ but with diverse and wilfully obscure acts such as Ludus, Biting Tongues and Diagram Brothers on the payroll, top 75 placings were clearly never going to be an option. That said, the collection of tracks assembled here makes a fascinating listen; not least Eric Random’s experimentalism which sounds more relevant now than ever.

As ever, the CDs can be purchased directly from the LTM site.

Web Sites:
LTM Recordings Site


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