Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bootleg of the Week: Live In Sweden '87

Here we have one of those nice early Front 242 bootlegs on vinyl.
In our digital age, bootlegs are far more common and far more easier to obtain... but "Back in the day..." bootlegs like these took quite a deal of effort and were no small task in their creation or for a fan to easily obtain! Imagine recording the tracks and then having them pressed to vinyl!?

Here we have "Live In Sweden '87"  and is described as being issued by the "242 Corporation." Some sources state that perhaps the live recordings presented are actually from around circa 1985. This is a German bootleg and the copy states that it was actually printed/pressed in 1988.
It contains 7 live 242 tracks.
The artwork is very "industrial" but the vinyl label is plain. Reportedly copies originally had hand-lettered inlay with release details. Here is a picture from discogs:

The back of the cover states:
"Stereo records give full stereo reproduction when played on a stereo record player. Trademark usedbe authority and under control of 242 Corporation. made in Germany by 242GmbH D - 242 Trademark Registered-Marca Registrada. Printed in Germany * 1988"

The Track List follows:
Side A:

  1. Intro
  2. S. Fr. Nomenklatura
  3. Don't Crash
  4. Lovely Day
Side B:
  1. No Shuffle
  2. Body To Body
  3. Funkhadafi
Not as easy to find these days! Expect to pay upwards of $100 for heavy auction bidding!

Live In Sweden '87 Vinyl Front Cover

Live In Sweden '87 Vinyl Back Cover

Live In Sweden '87 Vinyl (No Label)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Memorabilia of the Week: B Side Magazine February/March 1991

Have been a bit away from the computer so a little behind on the blog!

For the next few weeks (months!) for the Memorabilia section, I will spotlight the numerous appearances, articles, and interviews in the mainstream (and not-so mainstream) press. While I have an extensive collection of 242 magazines, I am quite certain that this will by no means be complete, but hopefully informative. I am uncertain how to do the scans and the possibility of transcribing these articles is daunting. We shall see what the future holds...

First up is "B Side Magazine" cover dated February/March 1991. B Side was a relatively short-lived "alternative" music magazine in the United States. Of course what is eye catching here is seeing Front 242 on the cover. This is of course following on the heels of 242's "major-label" release of "Tyranny >For You<" and the upcoming "Tyranny Tour."

This magazine features an interview of Patrick conducted by Sandra A. Garcia, and is subtitled: "Front 242 The Ultimate Concept."
It is 6 fantastic pages of insight and photos of 242-goodness. The article talks about the early Wax Trax! days to the signing with Epic Records. Patrick elaborates on the 242 creative and sampling process and their overall feelings about signing with Epic. He comments about Cabaret Voltaire going "commercial." "But it is not gonna be that way for us." And we see that Front 242 never compromised their musical integrity!

B Side Magazine cover with Richard 23

Monday, February 14, 2011

Record of the Week: Geography CD

Here is an examination of Front 242's first album as issued on CD format. Later I will spotlight vinyl and cassette releases.

First we have the original CD by RRE, contrasted with the North American release on Wax Trax. Both issues are almost identical, aside from the differences with the label information presented on the artwork.
The cover art is a single piece of glossy paper on the RRE version, and is more glossy and folds out booklet style on the Wax Trax version.
The CD is also subtly different. On the RRE version, the 242 numbers are "clear", whereas they are colored white on the Wax Trax CD.
The track listings are the same.
The RRE version has the catalogue number CD MK 1.
The Wax Trax version has the catalogue number WAXCD 034
Note that discogs also lists a German release on the Animalized label (if you have one for sale let me know!)

Geography RRE CD (front artwork)
Geography RRE CD (back artwork)
Geography RRE CD (jewel case insert)
Geography RRE CD (note "242" is clear)

The Wax Trax version:
Geography Wax Trax CD (front artwork)

Geography Wax Trax CD (back artwork)

Geography Wax Trax CD (booklet foldout)

Geography Wax Trax CD (jewel case insert)

Geography Wax Trax CD (note "242" in white")

After signing with Epic/Sony, the 242 catalogue was reissued with bonus material and new artwork. This updated version was also re-released on RRE.
The differences here again are a little more noticeable. Both designs feature the "blue 242 Sphere". The blues on the Epic/Sony version are somewhat more of a pale blue in hue.
This time, the RRE version has a glossy insert, whereas the Epic/Sony is a firmer, almost cardboard paperstock.
The RRE CD itself is printed white, with black lettering and artwork printed on the disc. 
The Epic/Sony version is "clear" and simply has the artwork printed directly on the disc itself.
The back jewel case inserts are noticeably different. The RRE version simply has the song titles across the entire back. The Epic/Sony listings are shorter, giving more room to promote the other catalogue releases.
The catalogue number for the RRE version is again MK 1 CD.
The Epic/Sony catalogue number is EK 52408.
Note that discogs also has a bootleg version listed as "First Town Records". (If you have one for sale let me know!)

Geography RRE CD reissue (note that "Geography" has a light blue background)

Geography RRE CD reissue (back artwork)

Geography RRE CD reissue (jewel case insert)

Geography RRE CD reissue (black art on white cd)

The Epic/Sony version:
Geography Epic/Sony CD (note that "Geography" has a white background)

Geography Epic/Sony CD reissue (back artwork)

Geography Epic/Sony CD reissue (jewel case insert)

Geography Epic/Sony CD reissue (note black artwork printed directly on disc)

Flash-forward to 2004 and Front 242 reissued Geography yet again on the Alfa Matrix/Art & Strategy label. This was an exciting release as it came in a special limited numbered edition with bonus material.

First we have the digipak version.
The artwork is almost the same as the original versions, with the exception of the side color bars are of slightly different hues. The CD itself is strikingly different. The digipak version has the added track "He Runs Too Fast For Us" listed, but also has the hidden tracks "Ethics" "Principles" and "Body To Body."
It has the catalogue number AM 1030CD.
Geography Alfa Matrix CD reissue digipak (front artwork)

Geography Alfa Matrix CD reissue digipak (back artwork)

Geography Alfa Matrix CD reissue digipak (folded out with CD)

The numbered limited edition is beautiful! You can tell a lot of time, energy, and love went into the design and presentation.
The package consists of a "DVD-style" box. Disc 1 presents the original Geography album (remastered) along with the 13th track "He Runs Too Fast For Us."
Disc 2 has unreleased pre-242 material from Daniel B's Prothese, and Patrick/Jean-Luc's Underviewer. Instrumental and 2-Track versions are included and some live cuts complete this glimpse into the early days of 242.
In addition, this package comes with a lavish 12 page booklet with "the story" behind the early days of Front 242, early artwork, and some of the genesis and stories behind the songs.
(Someday I will likely spotlight this booklet itself!)

This limited edition has the catalogue number AM 1030CDLTD
Reportedly only 6200 copies were issued. My particular copy is #6073.

Geography Alfa Matrix Limited Edition double CD set (front artwork; note  reversed Noir image and slight color sidebar differences)

Geography Alfa Matrix Limited Edition double CD set (back artwork)

Geography Alfa Matrix Limited Edition double CD set (Disc 1 tray)

Geography Alfa Matrix Limited Edition double CD set (Disc 2 tray)

Geography Alfa Matrix Limited Edition double CD set (booklet)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poster of the Week: Wax Trax Catalogue

Here is another iconic and classic Front 242 poster. Issued by Wax Trax Records to showcase their Front 242 catalogue of releases, it is a beautiful illustration of classic 1980's Front 242.

The poster is printed on glossy paper (hence some glares in the photos!)  and measures approximately 36 X 24 inches. The central 242 picture is from the "A Selective Retaliation" photo sessions.
Surrounding the group photo is a then-complete Front 242 catalogue of releases found on Wax Trax and additional contact information.

Surrounding the photo is a very nice review:
"From the pioneering electronic soundscapes of "Endless Riddance" in 1984 through to the phenomenal successes of 1989's "Front By Front", Front 242 has become synonymous with Electronic Body Music in North America. Over the past 6 years Wax Trax and Front 242 introduced an unsuspecting U.S. audience to the sound of a whole new electronic underground. Front 242's aural terrorist tactics and revolutionary sampling techniques were integral components in the ground breaking Wax Trax sound of the 80's."

The key to collecting this poster is to find one unfolded, a very difficult challenge!

Wax Trax Front 242 Catalogue Poster





Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Compilation of the Week: Zillo Dark Summer

Here we have a German compilation entitled "Zillo Dark Summer - Best of Goth Open Airs 2000".
This is a "best of" or highlight of acts that toured many of the European Festival circuits during the year 2000. While I would not consider Front 242 goth, there are many other great artists and label mates on this 2 CD set.

The insert booklet features pictures of some of the artists featured and I was disappointed at first since there did not appear to be a picture of Front 242...until I realized that the main picture and the one also used in the center of the booklet and in the tray is actually one of 242 on stage. Richard's pose is unmistakable, even from a distance and Jean-Luc clutches the mic like no other!

The Front 242 track featured here is actually a rarity of sorts. It is the "Headhunter 2000" Blind Vision Remix. This remix is not featured on the standard 4 European Headhunter 2000 CD singles, nor the US domestic Headhunter 2000 Metropolis CD version as well.

Other standout tracks here include Funker Vogt, Skinny Puppy, The Cassandra Complex, and Mila Mar.

For 2 CDs worth of great music, it can be had quite cheaply. Expect to pay from 5-10 euros.

Zillo Dark Summer Booklet

Zillo Dark Summer Booklet 

Zillo Dark Summer Booklet center (note Front 242 in background picture)

Zillo Dark Summer jewel case inlay

Zillo Dark Summer jewel case insert back

Zillo Dark Summer CD1

Zillo Dark Summer CD2

Sunday, February 6, 2011

T-Shirt of the Week: Compact Tour 2000

Here we have another design available at shows during Front's "Compact Tour 2000". These shows continued to showcase the "Re:Boot Tour" material, adding a few more rebooted versions of 242 classics, such as "Funkadafi" and "No Shuffle". The tour hit most of the major North American cities, e.g. New York, Chicago, and L.A. as well as brief stops into Mexico.

The front of the shirt shows the "Rotor" artwork, with the reworked 242 logo. The back makes clever use of the 242 logo to include the year 2000, with all the relevant tour stops.

Compact Tour 2000 front

Compact Tour 2000 front detail

Compact Tour 2000 back

Compact Tour 2000 back detail