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Front 242

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Aarschot, Belgium (1981 – present)

“Front 242” is a pioneering Belgian group that came into prominence during the 1980s. For years to come they took the lead in electronic music composition. During their most active period (they decided to quit in 1993 with the albums “06:21:03:11 UP EVIL” and “05:22:09:12 Off”) they were influential to many and artists.

The origin of “Front 242” should be understood within the rise of industrial music, which originated in England in 1975 with the first performances of “Cabaret Voltaire” and “Throbbing Gristle”. These revolutionary groups introduced elements of style later taken up by “Front 242” such as electronic instrumentation, overwhelming percussion often with found objects, and looped samples of found soundbites. Going back earlier, these innovations can be seen as an extension of the work of William S. Burroughs and of Edgard Varèse, the first significant composer to adopt electronic sources of sound as musical instruments, and who also used overwhelming percussion including with found objects. It is perhaps no coincidence that Varese’s great mark on the music world took place at the “1958 World Fair” in Brussels, where Front 242 would work a few decades later.

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