This record almost didn’t happen. It was an accident. A cheap gamble. A $4.99 lottery ticket marked vg++.
I knew nothing about “Camino del Sol” when I saw it sitting misfiled in my local record shop’s “psych/garage” bin, but there was something about the elegant simplicity of its jacket that said, “This record will probably get you laid.” Thinking back, the record was probably tucked away on purpose by someone who forgot their wallet.
Upon first listen it was obvious that this wasn’t a garage record. Drum machines, synths and harpsichord do not a garage record make. Instead, I was treated to a lush mix of “Desafinado Plays” and “Autobahn” misted with a French pop sensibility. The 12″ ep was flipped over and over throughout that weekend. Friends dropped by only to have to listen to me gush about Antena until they begged me to play it. They were forced to sit my sofa while I pontificated about it being the kind of music you listen to while playing cards.
Over the next few weeks I began compiling information about antena and their label Les Disques du Crepuscule. All told, what I discovered would only fill one side of a standard 3×5 note card; double spaced.
John Foxx, who produced their first single (included here), was the heart of the later highjacked-by-Midge Ure Ultravox, who, while a great and utterly representative band of its time, appear most often as a footnote in music history chiefly because Brian Eno produced one of their albums. Crepuscule had a brief partnership with Factory Records in the early 80s called Factory Benelux which produced a number of fascinating records by Crispy Ambulance, The Durutti Column, Section 25, and alt-dance pioneers A Certain Ratio. But beyond that, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to go on. No real contact information existed and my knowledge of Belgian geography was, let’s say, minimal. The project was at a complete standstill until I stumbled across Frank Brinkhaus’ insanely detailed website dedicated to Factory, which conveniently enough had just enough information about Antena to send me spinning in the right direction. It took me eight months of absolutely pummeling my then employer Rykodisc to agree to release the record, and I was heartbroken when they finally decided at the last minute to pull the plug. Their loss; our gain.
The original “Camino Del Sol” comprised only five songs. But still, in the short two years they functioned as a band they’d recorded over a dozen tracks that surfaced on compilations and 45s. All of those tracks have here been compiled, re-mastered, and re-sequenced and the original artwork preserved.
So here it is, the definitive version of “Camino Del Sol.” Before there was Air or Stereolab or Bebel Gilberto, there were three French kids running around the streets of Brussels making a record that no one wanted to hear. Amazingly, it sounds like it was recorded last week. Will it get you laid? Who knows? Try it. If it doesn’t work you can always listen to it while you’re playing cards. Maybe you’ll get lucky there.
Vinyl reissue of the second Numero album. Six years after its CD reissue, the original Camino Del Sol has been given back its spacious mini-LP quarters, packaged in a replica of its Benoit Hennebert-designed sleeve, while the remaining tracks have been given their own LP, recasting this short-lived combo’s forward-thinking mile marker as a modern-day masterstroke.