In 1978 a few friends started rehearsing and playing music together in a garage in Genk, an industrial and former mining town in Belgium. They called themselves Siglo XX. The group's name is Spanish for "Twentieth Century" and refers to a Bolivian mine named Siglo XX, where there was social unrest, so the link with the city of Genk was obvious. Genk also had to cope with social issues as unemployment, poverty and drug related problems after the closure of the coal mines.
The members of Siglo XX were Erik Dries (vocals), Antonio Palermo (guitar), Dirk Chauvaux (guitar, bass), Klaas Hoogerwaard (drums), Chris Nelis (synthesizer ; 1980–1982) and Guido Bos (bass ; 1978–1984). Under influence of the punk spirit coming from England, they wanted to make their very own kind of music that expressed their feelings, emotions and views on society. Technical skills on musical instruments were only required to a lesser extent. In 1980 their debut 7" single “The Naked And The Death” was released on their own independent label Straatlawaai Records (the label still exists today). This single was followed by the release of a selft-titled cassette in 1982, distributed only in very small quantities and reissued on Onderstroom in 2010 on vinyl.
Shortly after they signed to Antler Records. This was probably the most important and prolific era of the band’s existence. In the time span of a few years the band released two EP’s and one mini-album: The Art Of War (1982), Answer (1983) and Dreams Of Pleasure (1983), containing altogether 13 songs, which constitute the heart and soul of the oeuvre of Siglo XX. On these songs produced by Siglo XX and label owner Roland Beelen, the band lingers between cold wave, new wave and post punk. They were often named the Belgian Joy Division, which makes sense listening to their dark and gloomy sound, but they also experimented with strange sounds and incorporated these cleverly in their songs.
Listening back to the tracks such as The Art Of War, La Vie Dans La Nuit, Youth Sentiment, Autumn, Until A Day and Endless Corridor, it still moves me and brings up memories of that exciting period in the eighties, when we were much younger, living the life and listening to music that we associated with our life, our dreams, plans and expectations. That’s the essence for us in the music of Siglo XX. That’s the simple reason why these songs still mean so much to us, and why they always will. (MARC VOS)
Remastered by Martin Bowes
Artwork by Tone Loenders
Edition of 300 copies
A1 The Art Of War
A2 La Vie Dans La Nuit
B1 Youth Sentiment