Front 242 Overview

Front 242 is a pioneering Belgian Belgium electronic music group that came into prominence during the 1980s. During their most active period (effectively ending in 1993 with the albums 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off) they influenced many electro-industrial and electronic artists.

 
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Formation

When industrial music developed in England in the mid-1970s with Cabaret Voltaire Cabaret Voltaire (band) and Throbbing Gristle, these groups used electronic instruments, percussion with found objects, and looped samples of "found" soundbites, elements later taken up by Front 242. These techniques can be seen as an extension of the use of electronic sources of sound as musical instruments and percussion with found objects by composer Edgard Varèse.

Front 242 was created in 1981 in Aarschot, near Brussels, Belgium, by Daniel Bressanutti and Dirk Bergen, who wanted to create music and graphic design using emerging electronic tools. The first single, "Principles", was released in late 1981. Although some members now claim that the name does not have a particular meaning, in an early '90s interview on Belgian TV, Daniel Bressanutti said that the '242' part comes from him swearing '242!' instead of 'damn!' when he was young. Also, the similarities to UN Security Council Resolution 242 United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 have not been lost on those interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Perhaps more to the point, after the Second World War, 242 Belgian citizens were condemned to death for collaboration with the German occupiers.

Patrick Codenys and Jean-Luc De Meyer had separately formed a group called Under Viewer at about the same time, and the two duos joined together in 1982. Bressanutti, Codenys and De Meyer took turns on vocals at first, until they settled on De Meyer as the lead vocalist (early recordings with Bresanutti on vocals have recently been released). De Meyer came to write most of the lyrics and Valerie Jane Steele also wrote several tracks including "Don't Crash". They decided not to use the regular waveform settings on their synthesizers, arguing that creating the waveform for each note was part of the creative process.

Their next single, "U-Men", was released in 1982, followed by the band's first album Geography that same year. These first releases were cited as influential to other artists in the genre; however, they were not strong and hard-hitting as the group's later efforts. In 1983, Dirk Bergen left the band to pursue graphic design, and Richard Jonckheere, referred to as Richard 23, joined as a backing vocalist and charismatic stage presence.


Rising Po***rity

Front 242 became a po***r musical group in Belgium. Their next album, No Comment No Comment (album) , was the first to introduce the term "Electronic Body Music" in association with their sound. Front 242 signed with the Wax Trax! Wax Trax label in 1984, and started their first tour in the United States with Ministry Ministry (band) . This tour led to the creation of Revolting Cocks by Richard 23, Luc Van Acker, Alain Jourgensen of Ministry and others.

The 1985 album Backcatalogue collected material from the group's earlier years, but their international breakthrough did not occur until the release of Official Version in 1987, on the Red Rhino Europe label, followed by their "Official Warfare" tour in support of the album.

The wildly po***r 1988 "Headhunter Headhunter (song) " single (with a video by Anton Corbijn) and its accompanying album Front by Front would prove to be among the most commercially successful and enduring records in the entire history of industrial music and EBM. By this point, Front 242 had developed a style of strong backbeats, slices, samples, and ominous vocals. The band drew on militaristic samples, mock-evangelism, and television images, but without clearly defining a message. The band stated instead that they were merely presenting the world around them as it was.


1990s

In the 1990s, the band went through many changes. Tyranny >For You* Jean-Luc De Meyer - vocals
* Daniel Bressanutti - keyboards, programming, live mixing
* Patrick Codenys - keyboards, programming, samplers
* Richard Jonckheere, often credited as "Richard 23" - percussion, vocals
* Tim Kroker - electronic drums

Occasional Band Members / Collaborators

* Dirk Bergen - credited as keyboardist on Geography
* Jean-Marc Pauly - credited for writing and composing vocals on 06:21:03:11 Up Evil
* Pierre Pauly - credited for writing and composing vocals on 06:21:03:11 Up Evil
* Kristin Kowalski - credited as writer, composer and vocalist on 05:22:09:12 Off, Animal, and Angels Versus Animals
* Eran Westwood - credited as writer, composer and vocalist on 05:22:09:12 Off, Animal, and Angels Versus Animals
* John Dubs - credited as writer and composer on Animal and Angels Versus Animals
* Jean-Marc Lederman - credited as remixer on Angels Versus Animals.* Full-length albums:
** Geography Geography (album) (1982, reissued 1992)
** No Comment No Comment (album) (1984, reissued 1992)
** Back Catalogue (singles anthology, 1987; reissued 1992)
** Official Version (1987, reissued by Sony 1992)
** Front by Front (1988, reissued by Sony 1992)
** Tyranny (For You) (1991)
** Live Target ("official" live bootleg, 1992)
** 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (1993)
** 05:22:09:12 Off (1993)
** Live Code (live album, 1994)
** Mut@ge.Mix@ge (remix album, 1995)
** Re-Boot: Live '98 (live album, 1998)
** Pulse Pulse (Front 242 album) (2003)
** Geography Geography (album) (2-disc reissue, 2004)
** Moments 1/Moments...1 Moments 1 (Live CD/Live double CD, 2008)* 32Crash - Jean-Luc De Meyer
* The Art Corporation - Daniel Bressanutti
* Art & Strategy - Daniel Bressanutti, Patrick Codenys. Single-track CD included with book 'Art & Strategy 92'
* Bigod 20 - Jean-Luc De Meyer, on track "The Bog"
* Birmingham 6 Birmingham 6 (band) - Jean-Luc De Meyer
* Cobalt 60 - Jean-Luc De Meyer
* Coder 23 - Patrick Codenys, Richard 23
* Cyber-Tec Project C-Tec /C-Tec - Jean-Luc De Meyer
* Front Line Assembly - Jean-Luc De Meyer - Guest Vocals on track "Future Fail", Artificial Soldier Album
* Gaiden - Patrick Codenys
* Glis - Jean-Luc De Meyer - Guest Vocals on "The Irreparable" and "La Béatrice" ("Nemesis" Album)
* Grisha Zeme - Daniel Bressanutti, Patrick Codenys
* Holy Gang - Richard 23
* Implant Implant (band) - Jean-Luc de Meyer, on track "The Creature"
* the******S - Patrick Codenys
* LaTchak - Richard 23
* Male Or Female - Daniel Bressanutti, Patrick Codenys
* Ministry Ministry_(band) - Richard 23, background vocals on track "The Nature Of Love"
* Modern Cubism - Jean-Luc De Meyer
* Parade Ground - Patrick Codenys on Album "Rosary"
* Prothese - Daniel Bressanutti, Dirk Bergen
* Punish Yourself - Jean-Luc de Meyer, on Track "Voodoo Virus"
* Red Sniper - Patrick Codenys
* Revolting Cocks - Richard 23
* Speed Tribe - Daniel Bressanutti, Patrick Codenys
* Troissoeur - Daniel Bressanutti, as Remixer
* Under Viewer - Patrick Codenys, Jean-Luc De Meyer
 

 

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