Brussels-based electronic producer Lawrence Le Doux (real name Laurent Badoux) first started releasing music in the late nineties alongside his brother as Scratch Pet Land, and he’s continued to remain active over the ensuing two decades, both under under the aforementioned pseudonym, and as Sun OK Papi K.O. and Baleine 3000. On the heels of last year’s ‘Music For Documentaries’ mini-album, this latest 12” EP ‘Host’ offers up what Badoux describes as “a sampler of the Belgian history of electronic music covering the various fields the Belgians have explored over the last 30 years.”
Adding to the conceptual theme, he’s also crafted fictional histories behind the six tracks collected here, which range from tracks on dusty cassettes salvaged from the Royal Library of Ghent, to early nineties digital squat reggae and ambient trance commissioned for mobile phone companies. Whatever the reality, there’s an undeniable library / documentary music feel to much of this EP.
Opening track ‘Je Reve Xanadou’ calls to mind the sort of documentary synth soundtracks that the likes of Boards Of Canada and Pye Corner would later transport to eerier places as delicate electronic melodies wind their way against ripples of whispered spoken dialogue and gently strummed chords, the resulting beatless wander seemingly tailored for a slow pan over some seventies rural landscape.
‘Fabiola Riddim’ meanwhile offers up one of the most deliberately thin and antiseptic takes on digi-dub that I’ve heard in a long time as icy gamecore synths twinkle against bone-dry drum machines, the curiously rattling bass tones that lurk at the heart of the rhythms calling to mind croaking frogs. Elsewhere, ‘Digital Butterfly’ sees motorik-driven rhythms merging with a pared-down minimal wave aesthetic as 808 toms and snare shuffles roll beneath wavering analogue synths and flashes of melodic colour, the brittleness of the mix making the grooves sound as though they’ve been built from aluminium foil.
It’s ‘Tronf 424 (Tape#2)’ that offers up what’s easily this EP’s most spiky moment as metallic percussion gets filtered into atonal frequencies against dark analogue bass murmurs and industrial snare crashes, and the end result could certainly pass for some previously undiscovered cassette that’s been newly unearthed from Belgium’s storied New Beat / EBM history. More than anything this EP feels like a curious alternate history that’s perhaps not too far from the truth.