New Beat Mixtape

Here’s another installment of me going on about some under-remembered electronic subgenre of the past–this time the focus is on Belgium, and New Beat. Long before house music made it out of the Midwest, Belgium had a thriving electronic music scene (they called it Electronic Body Music, or EBM, and it was basically a dancier variant of Industrial—think Front 242, à;GRUMH…, Luc Van Acker, Neon Judgement, etc.). They also had a lot of embarrassing Hi-NRG and Euro-Pop (which I also adore, but you can probably guess how Luc Van Acker felt about it). As a response to these up-tempo dance-pop formats, a DJ by the name of Fat Ronnie (real name Ronnie Harmsen) started dramatically slowing down his records. He’d take 45 rpm pressings of tunes in the 135-155 bpm range, and play them at 33rpm +8, bringing the tempo down to 95-120, and then mix them with EBM, some Italo-Disco, New Wave, and what not. By 1986 the “Go Slow” DJ style was blowing up, and you had a lot of DJs throughout Belgium playing this way, and even making purposefully slow records to mimic this sound. At first some people were just calling it “AB music” (after the Ancienne Belgique, a famous concert hall in Brussels where Fat Ronnie played), but eventually the term “New Beat” took hold.

A few of the New Beat DJs (most notably Marc Ickx from A Split-Second) starting incorporating some early Chicago House tracks into their sets; clocking in at 115-120, they were the perfect tempo, and though they were black and American and disco-driven, there was an element of weirdness to them that fit perfectly with Belgian EBM. Soon Acid House was blowing up in Belgium (and being heavily incorporated into New Beat tunes), and it was through this that the first imports started to make their way to the UK (and Ibiza). In fact, Belgian imprint R&S was the first label outside the US to release Joey Beltram, Juan Atkins, Suburban Knight, 2 In A Room, and a load of other US artists.

A lot of the initial New Beat tunes were pretty poppy, but by 1988 the acid house influence had merged with EBM aesthetics to give Belgian techno a much harder edge. It’s from here that the “Belgian Hardcore” sound of the early ’90s evolved (think “Dominator” by Human Resource, “Take Control” by Lords of Acid, or anything with a hoover in it), and ultimately Dutch Gabba/Hardstyle/Jumpstyle. It’s easy to forget just how many huge names in techno come from this country of only 10 million people: Praga Khan, Lords of Acid, 2 Unlimited, Technotronic, CJ Bolland, Frank De Wulf, Milk Inc, 2 Many DJs, Hooverphonic (and that’s not even counting one-hit wonders like Human Resource, Set Up System, Convert, and the like). Perhaps as much as the Americans or the British (and certainly more than the oh-so-fashionable Germans & French), Belgians are responsible for today’s electronic dance music culture.

Now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, I’ll leave you with a mixtape (and I do mean TAPE, as in two sides, 90 minutes) of Belgian New Beat (with a few non-Belgian tunes of the era thrown in for good measure), and a link to a really good (but unfortunately Flemish-only) resource for this music: http://www.muziekarchief.be. And before anybody says it, yes, I know I left out Telex. Sorry.

Now here’s the mix:

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Download: Chrissy Murderbot New Beat Mix Tape (Side A)

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Download: Chrissy Murderbot New Beat Mix Tape (Side B)

A Side:

  1. MaC Sample – House Inspector (Subway)
  2. Jade 4U – That Boy (Acid Mix) (Subway)
  3. Chinese Ways – Secrets of China (Subway)
  4. Doctor’s Cat – Crash (Il Disc 8 / Italy)
  5. The Maxx – Cocaine (Acid Mix) (BCM / Germany)
  6. TNT Clan – Blow Up the DJ (Subway)
  7. Koto – Japanese War Game (Club Mix) (Il Disc 8 / Italy)
  8. Cyber People – Void Vision (Slow Version) (MEM / Italy)
  9. Beat Beat Beat – Beat in the Street (Subway)
  10. KAOS 007 – ..ck on Acid (Kaos)
  11. Snowy Red – The Long Run (Antler Subway)
  12. A Split Second – Rigor Mortis (Remix) (Antler Subway)
  13. It’s Official – Spies! (Subway Dance)
  14. Major Problem – Acid Queen (Kaos)
  15. Boy Toy – Touch My Body (Kaos)
  16. Taste of Sugar – Hmm Hmm Remix (Subway)
  17. Erotic Dissidents – Shake Your Hips (Subway)
  18. Fruit of Life – Are You Conservative? (Subway)
  19. The Brothers – Brotherhymn Remix (Subway)
  20. Snowy Red – Euroshima – Wardance (Subway)
  21. Arbeid Adelt? – Death Disco (white)

B Side:

  1. A Split Second – The Colosseum Crash Remix (Antler Subway)
  2. Scotch – Disco Band (Mach 2 Remix) (American Disco / Italy)
  3. Kasso – The Walkman (Special Dutch House Remix) (Rams Horn / Netherlands)
  4. The New Beat Sensation – Robbin’ & Stealin’ (Inst.) (Subway)
  5. New Beat Generation – Suck the Beat (Inst.) (Subway)
  6. Doctor’s Cat – Feel the Drive (Il Disc 8 / Italy)
  7. The Weathermen – Bang! (Play It Again Sam)
  8. Brotherhood of Sleep – New Beat (Inst.) (Subway)
  9. Miss Nicky Trax – Acid in the House (Kaos)
  10. HNO3 – Doughnut Dollies (R&S)
  11. Taboo – Into the Sun (Subway)
  12. Major Problem – I Still Have A Dream (Beat Box)
  13. Lords of Acid – I Sit on Acid (Kaos)
  14. The Executive Board – I Do Anything (XL)
  15. The Airplane Crashers – I Have A Dream (Subway)
  16. The Hardsonic Bottoms 3 – Do It Any Way You Wanna (6th Version) (Contempo / Italy)
  17. Lords of Acid – For Grown Ups (Complete Kaos)
  18. Plastic Bertrand – Plastiiic (Acid House Mix) (ARS)
  19. Rhythm Device – Acid Rock Remix (Inst.) (Music Man)
  20. Zsa Zsa Laboum – Tu Veux Ou Tu Veux Pas? (Complete Kaos)

34 thoughts on “New Beat Mixtape

  1. first off, props to the new blog. It’s great.

    but I just wanted to let you know that 2 Unlimited is Dutch… I should know, I’m Dutch, and I practically grew up with the stuff…

  2. I love the -ckx!
    For those of you who aren’t up on this AWESOME LINGUISTIC PHENOM, ‘ckx’ is a fairly common letter cluster in Belgian surnames (like Marc Ickx from A Split-Second). It’s the only way for a trilingual nation to spell out the sound that we English-speakers would denote as “x” in a way that reads phonetically to Dutch, French, and German. And that’s awesome. As an added bonus, it looks ridiculous.
    Does anybody know when this spelling convention started? 1830s-40s? 1900s?
    Sorry to seriously nerd out this discussion, by the way…

  3. ps to Mataklap–we’re both right, kind of. the SINGERS from 2 Unlimited (Raymond Lothar Slijngaard & Anita Dels) were Dutch, but the writer/producers (Phil Wilde & Jean-Paul de Coster) were Belgians (and heavily involved in the New Beat scene before starting 2 Unlimited). Slijngaard & Dels did have some songwriting / lyrics credits, but for the most part the MUSIC side of 2 Unlimited was a Belgian product.

  4. great work, murderbot. really enjoying all this post-disco world history of yours here. (& that lime stuff blew my mind.) looking forward to listening to the mixes. we need A LOT more music “scholarship” along these lines. great to see you on the mashit grind. keep on —

  5. Brilliant Job! The mixing is HQ, and the track selection is very appropriate. I’ve been meaning to do a classic ebm period mix like this for a while. I don’t think I could have done it any better.

    Even though they’re dutch, I would have liked to see “The Overlords” on the playlist in place of one of the lords of acid related tracks.

    This is very nice!

  6. Nice one! I’m really stoked to be playing the local goth night soon so I can pull out some new beat, great for mixing with all yr razormaid 12″s.

  7. Ichi.one from Amsterdam, is it the d&b dj you’re after? No i’m a bit older and from Ghent, living a few km from the boccaccio, the place is still in use, i sometimes can see the searchlights in the sky 😉

  8. btw does anyone have any Ronnie Harmsen (AB) tapes to share? or early Eric Beysens @ boccaccio?
    And has anybody a photo of Ronnie Harmsen, never seen a picture of him!

  9. Dear,

    Who are you? I am Ronny Harmsen himself. Please mail me back so we can mail or chat in the future

    greetings

    Fat Ronny

    Ps: please mail me in Dutch if possible. Thanks

  10. Dag Ronny, deze site geeft geen e-mail weer van jou.
    dit is mijn mailaddress : ichi.one @ scarlet.be
    (spaties weglaten voor en na het @-teken)
    Stuur mij je e-mailaddress, zodat we in contact kunnen treden, Groet Ichi

  11. I’m just a few years too young to remember New Beat. Now I’m discovering it, and it’s great stuff. And so are you.

    X X X 😉

  12. HALLO,
    BEN DRUK BEZIG OM NIEUWE MUZIEK (DOOR MEZELF GEMAAKT), KLAAR TE STOMEN VOOR OPNAME.
    IK HOU JULLIE WEL OP DE HOOGTE.
    GROETEN
    Ronny/Users/ronnyharmsen/Desktop/IMG_0227.JPG

  13. Nice to meet Ronny, Lowdjo and other New Beat Freaks over here!

    Aalst, for me the place where New Beat found his real sound. Nux Nemo (Jo Bogaert) started producing new beat before NB became popular around ’88. Music from the AB club is CULT club music that formed the scene, originaters of the new sound can we say. Club Carrera in Ghent has also great moments. Later around 87 the Boccaccio became the temple of NB and belgian dance music. I suppose you can remember the smiley pins and The Confetti’s but this was not what we are talking about if were talking about the real NB sound. :-)))

    http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?seller=Keimi

    If you need more information or if you been searching for New Beat, maybe this site can helps you discovering what AB music and New Beat was…

    kEIMI (from Aalst) 😉

  14. First off your newbeat mix is Superb! I have a lot of these tracks on vinyl but I’m looking for some legit electronic/CD copies of Airplane Crashers and Rhythm Device available to the US any advice? I love the vinyl but mine are pretty tired copies and a few too many pops for my tastes these days.
    Again thanks for the excellent mix
    Fort

  15. Nice mixes, reminds me of the old days when I was young *lol*. After all those years it’s nice to observe how everything is/was related: EBM, new wave, acid, new beat, …
    Grtz

  16. I read the following in this article: ** At first some people were just calling it “AB music” (after the Ancienne Belgique, a famous concert hall in Brussels where Fat Ronnie played), but eventually the term “New Beat” took hold. ** That’s not true… AB music is called after the ‘Ancienne Belgique’ in ANTWERP! It has nothing to do with the concert hall in Brussels, that’s another Ancienne Belgique…

  17. Pingback: New Beat « Raaa

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