Do Look Back: Les Disques Du Crepuscule

The golden period of Factory offshoot Les Disques Du Crepuscule...

Do Look Back: Les Disques Du Crepuscule

The golden period of Factory offshoot Les Disques Du Crepuscule...

An intimidating glut of devotional historicizing and eulogizing accompanies anything involving Factory Records. With the assistance of Martin Zero’s (aka Martin Hannett) divisive and domineering production approach, the serrated angst most notably blueprinted by Joy Division, and subsequently constructed with fluctuant ingredients by Section 25, and A Certain Ratio, assured the label a buoyant early life. Misty, sombre, jangling instrumental vignettes from Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column were also an important, regular fixture at the outset and throughout Factory’s lifespan. This early material would make a committed convert out of many.

With Ian Curtis’ death, the tide then turned and inevitably, the essence changed. Joy Division became New Order, Section 25 were similarly transformed and acts like Quando Quango embraced a more pluralistic agenda which generally produced more affirmative, dance-indebted synth pop, contoured by the vibrancy of New York disco and NY club culture, and later by The Hacienda, acid house, and Ibiza.

The veneration of Factory was not just established by the consistent quality and shifting nature of its music, but also by the innovative sleeve designs of Peter Saville; visual representations which made artful, irresistible objects of the Factory output, distilling form and colour to spare but arresting abstractions (If the Bauhaus movement made records…) Eccentric intellectualism and promotional daring also came perhaps most notoriously from Svengali-of-sorts; Tony Wilson. Some would occasionally level some of his escapades as crackpot pretensions and unmitigated failures; often they were. Though they never failed to make an impact, and often revealed a boundless ambition; one that would prove financially destructive but pivotal to the labels identity and growth, and one that would be posthumously estimated as fit for mythic admiration. 

Of course for even the most casual of music fans, the stories surrounding the label and the activities of its originators will be common knowledge, or at least the dedicated bootleg industry of Joy Division/New Order/Factory T-shirts which seem to cyclically flood onto high streets and web shops will be a familiar sight. 

Reams more could be written and often has, about any one of the persons and acts aforementioned. It’s therefore easy to see why some of the sidelines of Factory have been somewhat neglected, with the sound, the aesthetic and the context of the main ‘division’ combining to form such a compelling mystique and legacy, which few labels have emulated since. Less commonly known and explored however is the label’s associations beyond the radius of Manchester and the UK, not just in its later period; on New York dancefloors and Balearic climes, but on continental Europe, where a Northern European capital was the site of a short-lived but variegated group of acts, operating under a banner with a curious, Spirograph signature. 

Brussels was a city which, at the time, wasn’t exactly synonymous with breeding or appreciating cutting-edge modern pop. Plastic Bertrand had released this in 1978, but in the same year Suicide had been booed and abused in an infamous 23 minute set at the Ancienne Belgique, whilst supporting Elvis Costello. The sour mood affected Costello who was enraged by the treatment and consequently played a shortened set. And then came the riots – Alan Vega ended up with a broken nose. That kind of reaction seems to imply that the Brussels scene was primitive; hostile to and incapable of developing the kind of unified spirit that would parallel and possibly emulate what was happening across the channel and across the Atlantic as punk matured and cross-pollinated. But this was an isolated, misleading fury, not one apparently shared by increasingly insurgent groups and individuals; a selection of which made the city the initially inauspicious backdrop for the work of Les Disques du Crepuscule. This was a label which, after early patronage from Wilson & Co, grew out of Factory’s shadow by amassing a distinctive oeuvre arguably just as uncompromising in grey-cloud post-punk melancholia,  as unapologetically committed to conceptual, avant-garde works, and as interested (if not more so) in off-kilter pop as its parent imprint. The standouts in its early years even rival some of the most iconic and lauded Factory releases. 

The story of the label is, like Factory’s, rich in dysfunction, but one that’s defined by a more ‘auteurial' vein, a vein which reflected a convictive but wide ranging specialism in playful but sophisticated pop, blistering homegrown versions of aggravated funk and overcast coldwave, unflinchingly strange spoken word, opera soundtracks, and minimalistic, Satie-esque suites and interludes. As you’d expect, championing this kind of music didn’t guarantee commercial success, and in its early years this proved elusive –delayed releases, shelved records, and tours of middling success were frequent. Even so, Crepuscule’s most interesting work was released in these rich early forays, some of which has only been given fair due and recognition until relatively recently. Time then, to go over Factory’s erudite European cousin, the one that didn’t care if you called them pretentious and the one that thankfully didn’t fall for anything like the Happy Mondays. 

The inception of Les Disques du Crepuscule was rooted in the Anglo-Belgian connection established after Joy Division played at the Plan K in Brussels, the band’s first gig outside the UK. A labyrinthine former refinery, converted into an arts centre, and located on a street suitably named Rue de Manchester, the space was the reserve of the Plan K theatre troupe, a collective preoccupied with the avant-garde and keen on interpretations of William Burroughs work. 

Michel Duval was an economist-come-journalist and avid cinephile whilst Annik Honore later became a secretary at the Belgian embassy in London, after writing for the same magazine as Duval (‘En Attendant’) They began organising gigs at the Plan K in October 1979 and their first was a multimedia concert featuring William Burroughs, Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire; a perfect rally of influential, countercultural spark if ever there was one. Chris Watson from Cabaret Voltaire later described it as evocative of a ‘60s happening’. It was rumoured that this was the site of a dismissive rebuttal from Burroughs when Ian Curtis had approached him, but the significance and clarity of the situation has become blurred over the years, with differing accounts contesting the details (you can survey a few of them here…) With or without possibly fabricated, and almost certainly hazy analogies, the night wasn’t exactly the tepid beginnings of two bit promoters. 

Factory’s connection with Brussels and Plan K was cemented by Joy Division’s second gig in January the following year and later by the appearances of A Certain Ratio, Section 25, and Eric Random on the 26th of April. This was apparently the gig Tony Wilson decided to attend, and it was here that he agreed to set up Factory Benelux, following Duval’s suggestion. Intended as a continental outpost for less viable Factory releases, Factory Benelux shared its first three releases with Crepuscule; a separate label which Duval and Honore decided to set up in order to independently explore their own remit. Honore suggested the Crepuscule name, which roughly translates as ‘twilight’. Considering what was to come, at least in terms of Crepuscule’s own more significant acts, the name couldn’t have been more apt. 

The first shared single was A Certain Ratio’s interpretation of Banbarra’s ‘Shack Up’. Mancunian teeth cut on East Coast funk, it was a dingier rip on the original with rougher incision and blare, like funk but more temperamental. Still a dance number, but one that you imagine would be appropriately defined less by gliding groove and suavity and more by flailing elbows and awkward convulsions. In ACR’s appropriation the lyrics suggest a call for collective commune-like cohabitation, rather than the staving off of marital commitment and domestic stagnancy that the original inferred. 

This release and the two further collaborations between Benelux and Crepuscule seemed to signify a shrewd coat-tailing of Factory’s entrance into Belgium by Crepuscule; a practice seemingly halted by Rob Gretton and Wilson, who both expressly pointed out that Crepuscule would have to remain entirely separate from Benelux. Consistent with Factory’s tendency for shambolic ventures and decisions, it appeared that these beginnings were messier than they needed to be. But then, regimental outfits and neat narratives rarely ignite retrospective interest. 

Considering Belgium’s history with visual art (Felicien Rops, Rene Magritte, and Tin Tin to name a few) its unsurprising that the initial produce of Crepuscule came within that realm. Distributed in the same year as the Benelux collaborations, the Plein Soleil magazine displays a spirit synonymous with cheap fanzines, the style constituted by cut-and-paste, collage-like forms and roughly scrawled illustrations; budget, punk fodder, but with a style that belied or rather gloried in economic limitations. The visual traits in the labels aesthetic would continue to work with similar ideas but in a more refined way. 


(A page from the Plein Soleil – the zine ‘demo’ of Les Disques Du Crepescule)


(The first ever Crepuscule catalogue)

In the month that followed Benelux and Crepescule’s final collaborative releases, a new project was completed. ‘From Brussels with Love’ was a compilation born out of Duval and Honore’s three month collation of material. Their efforts produced a beguiling artefact with austere ancient sculpture cover art and an illustrated booklet by Crepescule’s main designer, Jean François Octave. The record itself was imbued with a lofty miscellany; dilapidated-concert-hall dirges, deep, moody, screeching, stalking post-punk, experimental oddities, a 10 minute interview with Brian Eno, and even the first tentative steps of what would become New Order (recording with vocalist Kevin Hewick)


(From Brussels With Love 2nd edition cassette)

The compilations sequence assures a finely hewn flow of mood; stony silences and oblique experiments are nestled among driving gloom. To cherrypick slightly, Repetition’s ‘Stranger’ stands out. Firmly in the latter ‘gloom’ camp, the vocals and drums are subtly daubed in vaporous, ghostly dub effects, the bass broods in cold, deep and full momentum and both of these elements combine with Sarah Gregory’s (who later worked with Marine and Allez Allez) ascendancy of hopeless anxiety. But what differentiates the compilation and much of what Crepuscule released from just another stockpile of North European post-punk ‘neurotica’ are the detours; the prevention of woe-is-me, woe-is-the-world overkill. Gavin Bryars ‘White’s S.S.’ isn’t so much a detour as an utterly spellbinding, tranquil end; great, droning, rumblings of tuba balancing whisper-thin tremolos of piano. Considering that Duval had in his mind Eno’s Obscure label as an inspirational model, it’s inevitable that moments like these would become a fixture. Yet this work and many of the other minimalist pieces which subsequently featured remain a fitting staple within the labels patchwork identity.  

Paul Morley remarked in a review of the release that the compilation was a reminder that ‘pop could be modern poetry’ but the compilation and the subsequent output of the label confounds any trace of disciplined, traditional hierarchy, any morsel of an idea that something ‘poetic’ was more supreme than something which could be perceived as ridiculous, nonsensical, ‘low’ or ‘mass’ (after all the compilation was so named because of Duval’s James Bond obsession) Pop is poetry, poetry is pop. Through Crepuscule’s lens, everything seemed to be levelled. In the space of a few years, Cabaret Voltaire, Tuxedomoon, Marine, Ike Yard, and The Names were released in succession with Antena, The French Impressionists, Paul Haig, and Mikado; the sharp, dark, and sometimes abstract intermingling with the light, the surreal and sometimes goofy. Peter Gordon and Lawrence Weiner’s collaboration, ‘Deutsche Angst’, especially, confounds the notion that these kinds of categorizations are mutually exclusive. Littered with tape samples, free jazz, clunky, mechanistic processes and a voice lobotomized of emotional tone, it’s hard to know what exactly it is. At this point, for a small label, such a strange and unfixed straddle is a risky agenda, but there’s a sense that kind of concern mattered little, judged by some of the actions and ideas adopted around this time. 

Along with their first (though not their last) compilation, the 1981 visual collection, ‘Umbrellas in the Sun’ provides another inlet into the scattershot revelry the label exhibited. Although culled from other Factory audiovisual compilations (including A Factory Video – FAC 56, A Factory Complication - FBN 7 - and A Factory Outing - Fact 71) the contrast established between the deconstructed, hallucinogenic commerciality of Antena’s ‘The Boy From Ipanema’, Cabaret Voltaire’s shrouded, strobe-flecked, anarcho-bunker performance on ‘Sluggin’ For Jesus’, and A Certain Ratio’s bleary carnival of contorted, fitful trumpets and frenetic, percussive flair on ‘Back to the Start’ (what looks like a mixture between a squat-disco and a pool party for misfit children) still gives an indication of what the label resembled during its early renaissance; utter disorder in terms of genre, sound, source and even image, but still completely transfixing. Only when you get to Marine’s ‘A Propositio dei Napoli’ do the images fit with what some might perceive as Crepuscule’s backdrop – light shimmering off canal water, everything with a grey veneer, cobbled alleyways punctuated by dim, sporadic streetlights. Belgium in monochrome, with a quintessentially surreal band practice shot from claustrophobic angles. As with the sound of Crepuscule, ‘Les Images Du Crepescule’ was by no means plain sailing. 


(Poster for Umbrellas in the Sun collection – by Claude Stasseart)

Along with the compiled videos, Benoit Hennebert’s (often singled out as the house designer) work was a vital component. Often with contemporary album artwork the substance can feel compromised by commercial infiltration; the gloss of boutique advertising and marketing infesting and cheapening the essence of the music’s accompanying aesthetic. But in Hennebert’s case the designs feel and look as defiantly distinctive as Saville’s. Claude Stassaert, Octave, Joël van Audenhaege and many others also contributed to the Crepuscule canvas. As with the content on Crepuscule records the style of these surfaces are consistently inconsistent, with these different artists and works favouring varying images across art forms; sculpture, photography, and paint works all arising within the designs, which - as with Saville – also display typographical devotion and refinement. Records visually represented by multidisciplinary openness and bold ambition. The artwork often has the grandeur of a Hollywood film poster muted by a more oblique art film aesthetic.  Frankly they make the inherent fetishism of record collecting understandable. But as well as creating artful, desirable objects, there was a mischievous streak too, specifically in how the records were administratively labelled. Often they would choose to miss out a catalogue number and randomly resume the chronology, confounding a typical subservience to consumer convenience and surely frustrating the more tragically fanatical and compulsively uptight of collectors. A little kick against the rules of commerce.  


(A few from Hennebert’s early period work for Crepuscule)

 



(And a few more from the archive) 

Although the aesthetic and outlook of Crepuscule at its outset suggests a successful label devoid of creative inhibitions, the tours organised by Crepuscule and headed by its acts were a less glowing source of pride. The labels showcase in London in 1981 at Heaven was inversely described as ‘hell’ on the notes for ‘The Fruit of the Original Sin’ another Crepuscule compilation, which featured a live segment of Marine recorded at the same show (more on that later) Although Marine impressed some, the majority failed to make a lasting impact with one particularly harsh journalist labelling the other acts - Swamp Children, Repetition, Eric Random, and Richard Jobson - as ‘sad, shallow shadows’ (ouch) 
Following this, the North-South tour in 1982 featuring The Names, The Durutti Column, and Tuxedomoon was devised as one in which hit singles (if ever there were ‘hits’ in the conventional sense for these acts) were eschewed in favour of more obscure material. Although on the back of one of Crepuscule’s tours, The Names became the first Belgian band to record a Peel session, the less accommodating approach the tours were characterized by did not translate to enduring, widespread acclaim, and the adventurous tactic of airing new material at the expense of safer favourites was abandoned by many as the tour wore on. There’s little favourable and significant remembrance of these acts and these shows, especially when compared with the cult worship of the Factory roster.  

Despite the ineffectual tour efforts, the label eventually attained a respectable presence and forged links with Rough Trade and Postcard, whilst spreading its activities into new territories (Japan, America – though this didn’t last) and expanding its expertise, dabbling in song publishing and more concerted video production around the time of the early 80s. This success had been paralleled by an incredible run of releases. Antena’s 1982 mini LP ‘Camino Del Sol’ was one of them; mesmeric samba electronics coloured by Riviera-melancholia and shaped by a sound which seemed to emanate from a palatial, vacant villa. A sweet, surreal and offbeat wonder, like Marcos Valle mixed with the Marine Girls. 

In terms of matching Antena for quality, Marine’s singles the same year and year prior were another testament to Crepuscule’s golden period. These works have been subsequently collected on 2004’s ‘Life in Reverse’ compilation and reveal something as similarly scintillating as Liquid Liquid and A Certain Ratio; an alacritous, malformed, overheated fix of roguish jazz and funk. They disbanded shortly afterwards with some members forming Allez Allez, almost as if the nature of this material assured an inevitable burnout for their first incarnation. ‘Dim The Light’, a standout dub version of ‘Same Beat’, is notable for its disassembly of hook, vocal, trumpet, and bass as well as its manipulation of tempo, like some subversive clown is taking the piss out of how a song is conventionally formed. 

Fellow Belgians, The Names, and their Martin Hannett produced LP ‘Swimming’ is yet another stellar work released the same year as ‘Camino Del Sol’, but is defined by a very different gait. Cloistered by steely, languid bass, breathless, wearied, apprehensive vocals, and gleaming synths it’s a nervous, often sullen record akin to early Cure but with enough of its own original departures to merit more than an imitative label. Split into two sides; ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ (at the suggestion of Hannett) the tracks ‘Life By The Sea’ and ‘Leave Her to Heaven’ are probably the most notable instances of complete distinctiveness, the former made up of more hopeful, fresh, driving mettle and the latter a serene, swaying, love-reverie. Aquatic echo effects were added too, heightening a sense of isolated, domestic privacy albeit one addled by an unreal, novel atmosphere; interludes of the most spaced out ‘bathtime’ you’re likely to hear. These effects apparently did little to ensure radio airplay as they interfered with the process of dividing the tracks, which might explain the slightly modest appreciation the record has been afforded over the years. Now it sounds like one of the best works of Crepuscule and more significantly, perhaps one of the best lesser known productions Martin Hannett was involved in. 

In and around the time of these releases is an extensive crop of singles and EP tracks from Isolation Ward, Josef K, Anna Domino, Ike Yard, and Thick Pigeon, hits and neglected castoffs that further vitalize and diversify Crepuscule’s best period. One of the earliest highlights from this selection comes from Michael Diekmann, Kenneth Compton, Fred Syzmanski, and Stuart Argabright’s Ike Yard project. Argabright would later carve dank and murky industrial techno noir as Black Rain and freakish beatbox electro as Dominatrix whilst Diekmann would produce turntable cut ups with avant-hip hop collective Death Comet Crew. At this point though the titular track of their EP ‘Night After Night’ reveals something more typically post-punk, unnerving but propulsive; a malevolent, steady searing of dub mixed with the screeching, bloodying jolts of anti-rhythm native to no wave. One of the most unflinchingly dark and intense moments in Crepuscule’s catalogue, its magnitude is only increased by Ike Yard’s unfortunately short-lived existence. 

A year later, on the ‘Tracy & Pansy/Dog’ 7 inch split, Carter Burwell and vocalist Stanton Miranda under their Thick Pigeon alias would encapsulate a similarly dread-defined mood. Though ‘Dog’ is weighted less oppressively, with clusters of ticking percussive patter, Miranda’s spritely, child-like eeriness and piano tuned to induce shudders of classic-horror-movie creep. Burwell would later work on soundtracks with the Coen Brothers but it’s a measure of the Thick Pigeon work - particularly this track – that it stands as one of his most interestingly uncanny early works. 

Coups continued with the first major release from Anna Virginia Taylor Delory (aka Anna Domino), a 1983 split single entitled ‘Trust In Love/Repeating’. As with a significant hulk of Crepuscule releases, on ‘Trust In Love’ there’s an impetus obtained through studio flair. The vocals are finely wrapped in echo, and guitar scales are made to flicker and scramble. A primitive prowl of bass and synth drives it all, and sax lines are added until they all orbit each other in a swell of sensuality. Delory’s vocals were once described as ‘Peggy Lee meets Nico’ which is a pretty accurate estimation, but here they veer into something wholly their own in enigmatic allure, with touches of the delicacy of Patty Waters and the playfulness of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. All told, these comparisons are still somewhat defunct, quietly and uniquely seductive as this is. Delory would remain eminent in the mid-80s Brussels scene and collaborate with Blaine Reiniger (Tuxedomoon) as well as Matt Johnson’s The The project. She stayed relatively prolific into the early 90s but it’s this early single which is one of her strongest; proof that she had it right, from the very outset. 



(Anna Domino, ‘Trust in Love/Repeating’ 7” artwork, Page from Crepuscule booklet, Autumn 1984)

Before this run, in 1981, the cult Josef K single ‘Sorry For Laughing’ was recorded for Crepuscule. As the story goes, the debut LP of the same name was shelved and abandoned by Postcard Records (the band’s original label) for its failure to capture the band’s raw abrasiveness. In December 1980, a month after recording their ultimately doomed first album, the band were invited over to Brussels to play a New Year’s gig at the Plan K space. Despite Alan Horne’s (the man behind Postcard Records) ‘disgust’ , he commented that the recording of the single was so well done it was a significant factor in the notorious decision to later scrap the full length on which ‘Sorry For Laughing’ was originally due to appear: ‘The Belgian single has the sound Josef K have been looking for all along, so much so that their first studio LP has been scrapped.'  Paul Haig agreed: ‘The manic and abrasive edge apparent when we played live was missing…we hadn't managed to capture that in the studio until the first Brussels trip' Whether or not the version stands above the earlier attempt made at Castle Sound in Scotland is not exactly sure-fire. The original effort, marked by cavernous drums and much more sonority, feels like an unnatural anomaly to the usual spirit exhibited throughout the Josef K catalogue, yet its an interesting enough deviation. But in distilling the band’s spirit the Crepuscule version stands as the more accurate reflection. Anxious, tetchy paroxysms of splintered rhythm and quavering, highly-strung vocals are steeped in neuroticism and absurdity (Sorry for Laughing/there’s too much happening…You know I’d help you if I could/but both my arms are made of wood) Its simultaneously heartrending and exuberant, a benchmark of post-punk which still embraced something playful and tuneful within its more complex, angular character. 


(Jean-François Octave for a Josef K concert in Brussels, April 1981)

Continuing where ‘Trust in Love/Repeating’ left off, in a loose chronology of lesser known standouts but similar in character to Josef K’s classic agitation, Isolation Ward’s 1983 EP ‘Absent Heart’ came the same year they unfortunately disbanded, following a series of line-up changes which seemed to plague their prospects. The project initially began after formative members, Stéphane Willocq and Jean-Pierre Everaerts (who also wrote for a punk fanzine of the same name) sold their skateboards for an electric guitar and a bass in 1979. After generating momentum through airplay on Belgian radio the band were eventually played to Duval and Honore by Pascal Stevens, a music journalist who had heard ‘Lamina Christus’. On the strength of it, Crepescule released a 7” via their short lived French division. It also appeared on the ‘Absent Heart EP’ in 1983, as the third and final track. You can see why it impressed them. It remains the apex of the band’s material. As with The Names, there’s a louring drive to the sound, as it plunges into a coldly impelled smog of deathly dub, filled out with looped whirs of melodica and pressurized, streaming effects which sound like they’ve been released from some otherworldly entrapment. Nanou Kinna, a vocalist recommended by IW’s first singer, provides yet more funereal chill with lyrics in keeping with Paul Haig’s distinctive anxiety, but more or less resigned to the fatalism synonymous with coldwave. She would shortly move on to other projects but the band continued until May 1983, attracting interest from Martin Hannett and Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers) whilst supporting The Birthday Party and Siouxsie Sioux. Even so new directions and differing opinions spelled their end. Dark and leaden but full of cold vigour, ‘Lamina Christus’ is a sad but potent reminder of the band’s unfulfilled potential and a highlight from Crepuscule’s finest period.

At the conclusion of this period, the label released another compilation similar to ‘From Brussels With Love’ in its range. Split into four sections each entitled ‘A Means To An End’, ‘A Rhythm’, ‘A Purpose’ and ‘A Landscape’, the ‘Fruit of the Original Sin’ collection runs a characteristically chaotic gamut, from an instrumental drone ‘sketch’ by Arthur Russell to a recorded reading by William Burroughs aptly called ‘Twilight’s Last Gleamings’, in which a farcical appendix-removal operation is conducted by Dr Benway, appearing for the first time in Burroughs work. Although there are other interesting oddities and efforts from Factory/Crepuscule natives (Durutti Column, Marine, Swamp Children, The Names) perhaps the most illuminating inclusion is Winston Tong’s spoken word piece ‘The Next Best Thing to Death’. Described as an ‘incantation’ and recorded on October 3 1981, the work is backed by distant sounding music culled from a Tuxedomoon concert performed the previous evening at Plan K. Tong admits from the off that he’s ‘making it up’ as he goes along, and there’s definitely a surreal stream-of-consciousness quality present, but the hesitancy with which he voices his words as well as the incessantly looping music (like a broken version of hypnosis) combine to form something intimate, diaristic, and even revelatory. There’s one line which may have resonances beyond Tong’s private sphere too; ‘This is it, moment by moment, putting it together, as we go along’. Crepuscule as a label seemed similarly inclined, yet from 1980 to 1985 its hard to think of a label which did so much so well in so idiosyncratic a fashion. 


(Alain Goffin designed poster for The Fruit of The Original Sin)

Post-1985 Crepuscule began to run out of steam, seemingly reaching an out-of-step, middle-age falter. The playful peculiarity imbued in the label’s version of contemporary pop became increasingly tame and formulaic as some of its roster became more focused with breaking ground in a more commercial - and thus more financially rewarding - sphere. Others failed to adapt to a shifting musical landscape. Isabella Antena ditched her band and was unable to emulate 1982’s mini-pop-opus, Paul Haig’s work became more and more stale, and Marine had morphed into Allez Allez and signed to Virgin, The Names drummer had been injured in a road accident shortly after Swimming’s release, and coupled with difficult financial circumstances and only a small, devoted fanbase, they eventually called it a day not long after. In terms of Crepuscule this spelled a waning of their early vitality but taking the scope beyond these acts still offers many works of interest. Tuxedomoon, Soft Verdict, Wim Mehrtens, and Richard Jobson continued to experiment and offer a more unconventional slant to the labels already atypical catalogue, beyond the wellspring of early endeavours. 

Despite the unceremonious end to many of the projects which defined Crepuscule and it’s crowning moments, what later ensued has done little to dent what was achieved in its infancy. Crepuscule made sound, vision and art in a whirlwind of non-hierarchical DIY inspiration, encouraged by uncurbed high art aspirations. Their cult influence is only now being properly recognised via the reissues of James Nice’s LTM Recordings. Undeniably not every release was gold, the label peaked and faltered, but it left significant remnants that still make an indisputably strong connection today; twilight discs which possess an abiding light.

"When you love music, you want everything related to it, closely or not, to be beautiful too." - Benoît Hennebert, December 1984.



(Advert for one of Crepuscule’s last cassettes)

 

Tim Wilson


Sources – 
http://home.planet.nl/~frankbri/
http://lesdisquesducrepuscule.com/

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