Front 242

Front 242 lineupPut simply, Front 242 is one of the most influential and most important bands in the history of electronic and industrial music. The Belgian group started in 1981 with collages of sound, thumping basslines and catchy beats. The kind of music which would only become familiar to people many years later. They effectively created the form of electronic industrial which would later be used by artists such as Front Line Assembly and VNV Nation. This they dubbed Electronic Body Music, or EBM, and thus created a whole new genre. Their impact does not, however, end there. Hits such as the ubiquitous Headhunter -- a track which is still a number 1 club hit -- guaranteed their spot amongst the pioneers of the field. Lyrics from this iconic track were even used on Apple's main website, not very long ago. Indeed their reach extends beyond the realms of industrial music with artists such as Underworld and Prodigy being offered a chance to remix for 242 when both of them were still merely dabbling. Ministry too only really developed their harsher sound as a result of touring as 242's warm-up act.

Front 242 live

The demoscene itself was not spared. 242's superb album, Tyranny >For You<, became one of the pillars of the early 90s scene and was often sampled and certainly listened to while hacking away through the nights. Several demos directly show this:

  • The 'Punish Your Machine' megademo on the Atari ST stole both imagery and the name of a track as inspiration for what they were definitely doing.
  • Omega's 'Grotesque' is one of the most famous demos for the Atari STe, and still enjoyed by many. Again, imagery from TV and 242 were both used and the main track was a remix of, again, Punish Your Machine (fully credited).
  • Fairlight's demo '242' on the Amiga does not even attempt to hide the fact someone liked them.
Front 242 live

These are only three of the most famous examples. Their music and imagery has impacted both directly and indirectly on many demos of that era. In fact the Alternative Party has itself felt this power, mostly notably with the website design for the third party, although every website was created with their music in the background. Front 242 has indeed been credited several times as influences when building various versions of our party design.

But don't take my word for it. Have a look at their side project's video Skeleton Toy for proof of how closely related they are to what people are doing with their computers at our events.

242's live performances are famous the world over and they will be bringing that energy to us on Friday night. Fantastic imagery combine with a truly involving live experience that goes beyond simply seeing a band on stage. It will most definitely be bigger than any performance we have previously seen at any computer party.

Front 242 lineup

This is the first time Front 242 has appeared in Finland and with their passion for architecture they are very much looking forwards to it. They are planning to stay the whole weekend and enjoy the other artists and the demo compos. Apparently they have also gone as far as to have purchased an old Amiga to dig up some of their old material, just for the Alternative Party.

The importance of this visit simply cannot be exaggerated and anyone even remotely interested in electronic music, industrial music or digital culture simply has to witness this historic event. No excuses allowed.

Front 242 will give a full concert with breathtaking music, visuals and lights on the evening of Friday 24th October at Alternative Party 2008. They will also give a presentation covering their art on Saturday 25th October. See also Front 242's message to you.