Front 242

I wrote about the boiler explosion at the sauce factory in a previous entry. I know there are other references to that most hilarious of summer jobs around, if you look. In the first panel, I am filling catering jugs of Worcestershire sauce on a conveyor belt. Fill ’em, wipe ’em off and cap ’em. Actually, I think another worker was in charge of capping the jugs. Like I said, most hilarious.

The song playing in the second panel is “Light”, by KMFDM (of course). KMFDM doesn’t mean what you think it does. It’s a phrase in German that translates loosely as “no pity for the majority”. Just about any KMFDM album cover is awesome as wall art.

Front 242 were pioneers of “electronic body music”, from Belgium, who peaked in the 1980s. They have a lot of albums. My exposure to them was primarily through two of them, both from 1993; 06:21:03:11 UP EVIL and 05:22:09:12 OFF. 

Front 242’s style shifted abruptly with each of their next two albums, released in rapid succession in 1993 on Epic’s sub-label RRE (originally planned as a double-CD): 06:21:03:11 UP EVIL and 05:22:09:12 OFF (the numbers correspond to letters, spelling “FUCK UP EVIL” and “EVIL OFF”). The band describes the two albums as “based on the duality of good and evil.” However, strains were emerging, with the band members apparently having different artistic views. Despite these tensions, they performed on the main stage of the 1993 Lollapalooza tour. [Wikipedia]

I think strains were emerging because these guys were cranking out duds. I misremembered that “Crapage” was instrumental; it isn’t, but the remixes on the 1993 single for “Religion” are. I’ve managed to hold on to that single since 1993. I parted with the whole full-length albums long ago. They both looked like bargain-bin Windows games about demons, ghosts, and time running out.

Now, the CD single isn’t much prettier, but I’m glad I kept it, because I’ve never found it on YouTube. Turns out it’s not a single, but a promo, given away to the record store where I worked in 1993. Check out some of the names credited on the inside cover.

Does the name Andy Wallace sound familiar? That’s because of his absolutely insane pedigree as a producer.

J.G. Thirlwell is better known as Foetus. As if that wasn’t enough, he composed the spectacular score to the Venture Bros. cartoon.

Liam Howlett is better known as The Prodigy. And then of course, there’s The Orb. Front 242 really hit the jackpot on this disc. Here’s the track I like so much, which I had to upload myself:

The other remix by The Orb features extensive samples from the antique porno Deep Throat, where Linda Lovelace gets the news from a doctor that her clitoris is actually at the back of her palate. I mean, it’s the whole scene pretty much. I haven’t uploaded that track or the others because frankly, I didn’t like them as much. The Prodigy remix of “Religion” crops up in a couple of terrible movies, such as Beowulf (the Christopher Lambert one), which only supports my theory that it was a promotional item and not a single. It probably fell through the cracks of legal ownership sometime around the turn of the century.

You’ve never heard of Bigod 20. It’s more European EBM with guys croaking and squawking over it. Here’s their cover next to Garbage’s. I can’t decide which is less interesting. At least the Bigod 20 cover looks like you stashed your illegal steel knuckles in a strawberry snow cone. The Garbage one looks like actual labeled refuse.

Garbage’s looks like a logo for a shitty teen fashion store at the mall. You know, like the name is “ironic”, or “hip”, in that fashionable clothes are future garbage anyway. After the cashier rings up your overpriced purchase, it goes in a “garbage bag” which has a big glossy picture of that album cover on it.

Come on, tell me people wouldn’t shop at that place. There’d be hilarious tales of woe from employees, because when they take out the trash after closing, their dumpster is always full. Because it’s labeled “GARBAGE”! All the other stores use it!

Okay, maybe you have to have worked in a mall to find that funny, but my point is that is an ugly cover and no one cares because they like the music. I hate that. Maybe you don’t have the time or budget for decent album art; so what? Why is that an excuse? There is a literal world of art out there that could be licensed. Mr. Bungle did it by licensing art from one of the greatest comic book stories ever written; “A Cotton Candy Autopsy”, from Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children. Granted, they had Warner Bros. money, and the comic was published by their affiliate DC, but my point stands. Mr. Bungle is an even greater experience because of the art included.

Sex, there’s no such thing.

Like all Mr. Bungle albums, there are no songs that aren’t magnificent upon it. Every track is a masterpiece. There are few finer albums that you could own than the three Mr. Bungle releases. I’ve had them as long or longer than the Front 242 promo.

That’s a subtle reminder that you should hang on to things, because they may never end up on the Internet after all.

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