Label: OnderStroom Records
They were interesting times, the early eighties. Against a backdrop of cold war and economic crises, the DIY attitude of the earlier punk movement had spawned near countless new genres where artists and bands broke the three-chord guitar mould and experimented with new content matter, singular song structures and – in many cases – new instruments. Synthesizers became affordable and were no longer the sole privilege of rock millionaires. All around the globe, musical creativity boomed as never before, and Belgium was no exception: Digital Dance, Snowy Red, The Names, Pseudocode, Marine, 1000 Ohm, De Kommeniste, M.Bryo & D.M.T., De Brassers, Struggler, Siglo XX are but a few legendary names of bands and artists who started making a name for themselves.
In Leuven, things were happening as well. Until then, the music scene in this rather provincial town had been dominated by straightforward rock and blues acts. Not for much longer, though: in places like Arno'z and (later) The Gladhouse, where young budding artists met with kindred spirits, bands were often formed on the spot and, more importantly, started to make ripples.
Ludo Camberlin and Karel 'Bam' Saelemaekers already had a certain track record in Leuven's burgeoning music microcosm. But what they shared would become the cornerstone of A Blaze Colour (Against The Dark Trees Beyond): a fascination for new forms and instruments, a penchant for sonic adventure and a profound love for gripping songs. The full band name, by the way, was inspired by a phrase from the Irish-American novelist J.P. Donleavy, a writer who belongs in the definitely-worth-checking-out section.
After appearing on the first No Big Business LP (1981) with the instrumental 'Fisk', A Blaze Colour's first proper release, as was so often the case in those days, was a self-produced cassette. So there it is and there it was. Short, sweet, visionary, pioneering and highly influential. And as anybody listening to this first ever compilation will be able to assess probably one of the most colourful electronic acts of its time.
On a more a personal note, A Blaze Colour proved to be instrumental in my own coming of age as a lyric writer, when Ludo and Bam graciously adopted some of my earlier writings, warts and all. To hear them translated into songs was no less than magic, and it certainly gave me the confidence to start our own band a bit later. And the magic continued when Ludo became our producer and Bam designed our record sleeves. But that’s another story, obviously. Because this is the place and the time to dive back into the wondrous world of A Blaze Colour! - Bart Azijn