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|Past members||Dirk Bergen|
Front 242 is a Belgian
Front 242 were formed in 1981 in
Their next single, "U-Men", was released in 1982, followed by the band's first album Geography that same year. In 1983, Dirk Bergen left the band to pursue graphic design, and
Front 242 became a popular musical group in Belgium. Their next album,
A broader public was exposed to Front 242's music in 1992 in the film
In 1992, Bressanutti returned to combining graphic arts with music, taking his lithographs on tour to three U.S. galleries. Bressanutti also composed a solo half-hour atmospheric recording called Art and Strategy (or The Art Corporation) to play during viewings of the lithographs, and released it in a limited edition of 1,000 CDs.
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
Neither of these albums had significant input from Richard 23, and 05:22:09:12 OFF only included their lead vocalist, Jean-Luc De Meyer, on a remixed track originally from Up Evil. On the other hand, a variety of new contributors were listed as members of Front 242 on these albums: Jean-Marc Pauly and Pierre Pauly (of the Belgian electronic group Parade Ground) on Up Evil, and 99 Kowalski and Eran Westwood on Off.
99 Kowalski is the stage name of Kristin Kowalski, making a tradition out of Richard 23's idea of number-as-name. Kowalski and Westwood were originally members of a
After the release of 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off, there was no new material from Front 242 under any lineup. Instead, the band released a stream of live recordings and remixes. However, this period also saw a proliferation of side projects, an inordinate number of which involved De Meyer.
Earlier, Richard 23 played in the
After the departure of Sharp and the demise of the Cyber-Tec label, the remaining group continued working under the name
The four core members of Front 242 regrouped in 1998 to compose radically reworked versions of many of their songs, which they then performed on their first tour in five years, appropriately called the Re:Boot tour. They acknowledged the influence of
The new tour material was the subject of Front 242's new recording contract in the U.S. with
2002 saw the beginning of a wave of new material from Bresanutti and Codenys, and then from Front 242. In August 2002 a DVD/CD two-disc set called Speed Tribe was released by Dance.com. The DVD was a collaboration with experimental documentary filmmakers Rod Chong and Sharon Matarazzo, who filmed the 2001 24 Hour Le Mans. In the video, the racecars, clouds, rain and spectators form an impressionistic visual backdrop for the music.
Several months later, the first release from Male or Female, also known as Morf, a new project for Bresanutti and Codenys along with vocalist Elko Blijweert. In 2002 and 2003, Morf released an album, an E.P., a double album, and a DVD/CD two-disc combo, on the Belgian record label
Then, 2002 and 2003 also saw the release of the new material from Front 242 in a decade: the EP
Front 242 promised a new U.S. tour to perform new material from these releases. They have made occasional appearances in Latin America and Europe, even being rejoined by Dirk Bergen for a reunion concert in Aarschot (De Klinker club) in 2004 under the original lineup of Bresanutti, Bergen, Codenys and De Meyer. This performance was kept secret until two days before the show but when the scene magazine
Side-Line and the band's label
The band has now also set itself to re-release its entire back catalogue both as a normal CD and as a limited edition consisting of a 2-CD set holding previously unreleased material. For this the band is working together with the Belgian label
Meanwhile, their enthusiasm for side projects has continued, as Patrick Codenys started appearing with a new group called
Red Sniper, Bresanutti started recording with a new group called Troissoeur, and Codenys and Richard 23 formed a quasi-DJ project called
Coder23 which toured in late 2004 and early 2005 as the opening act for
Front 242 toured through twenty venues in North America in November 2005, their first tour as a full band since 2000. The band performed at the
In December 2006, Front 242 announced from their MySpace page that they were writing music for a video game called
In 2007, De Meyer announced a new project: 32CRASH via the Alfa Matrix label. The band is preparing for an album release in October 2007 after the release of the EP Humanity.
In August 2008, Front 242 played live at the
In October 2008, Front 242 performed for the first time in Finland, at the
On June 1, 2008, the Alfa Matrix label announced that Front 242 would make an ultimate statement towards abusive audio compression by releasing the free two-track download, First Moment. By June 15 the same year, the tracks were made available for free on Alfa Matrix's site in medium and high bit-rate
On June 4, 2008, Alfa Matrix announced the release of Moments... The album was a live recording encompassing the best of Front 242's compositions. The album was shipped in several formats including limited CD box sets, vinyl in different colors including 300-copy limited editions, and as a one-disc CD release.