Telex (band)
The Belgian
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 synth-pop group Telex was formed in 1978 by Marc Moulin
Marc Moulin
Marc Moulin was a Belgian musician and journalist . He was a member of the avant-rock band Aksak Maboul in 1977 and formed the pop group Telex in 1978...

, Dan Lacksman, and Michel Moers, with the intention of "Making something really European, different from rock, without guitar — and the idea was electronic music." Mixing the aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

 of disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

, punk
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 and experimental electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

, they released a stripped-down synthesized cover version
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 of "Twist à St. Tropez" by Les Chats Sauvages.

They followed up with an ultra-slow cover of "Rock Around the Clock
Rock Around the Clock
"Rock Around the Clock" is a 12-bar-blues-based song written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954...

", a hilariously relaxed and dispassionate version of one-hit-wonder Plastic Bertrand
Plastic Bertrand
Plastic Bertrand is a Belgian musician, songwriter, producer, editor and television presenter, best known for the 1977 international hit single "Ça plane pour moi".-Early life and bands:...

's punk song "Ça Plane Pour Moi
Ça plane pour moi
"'" is a punk rock song by Plastic Bertrand, although the voice on the original recordings is of producer Lou Deprijck. It was issued as a single in December 1977. The song was composed by Yvan Lacomblez and produced by Lou Deprijck. "Jet Boy, Jet Girl", an adaptation recorded in November 1977 by...

", and a perversely mechanical cover of "Dance to the Music
Dance to the Music
Dance to the Music can refer to one of the following:*Dance to the Music , a 1968 album by Sly & the Family Stone**"Dance to the Music ", a 1968 hit single from said album....

", originally by Sly Stone.

Like Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008...

, Telex built its music entirely from electronic instruments
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

, and the sounds of the two groups have a certain similarity. However, unlike Kraftwerk's studied Teutonic irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

, Telex favor a more joyously irreverent humor.

The group's debut album, Looking for Saint Tropez, featured the worldwide hit single "Moskow Diskow," one of the first-ever electronic dance/pop songs.

In 1980 Telex's manager
Talent manager
A talent manager, also known as an artist manager or band manager, is an individual or company who guides the professional career of artists in the entertainment industry...

 asked the group to enter the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union .Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition...

. The group entered and were eventually sent to the finals, although it apparently hoped to come in last: "We had hoped to finish last, but Portugal decided otherwise. We got ten points from them and finished on the 19th spot." (Marc Moulin) The group's song "Euro-Vision
"Euro-Vision" was the Belgian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980, performed in French by Telex.The song was performed nineteenth on the night, following Spain's Trigo Limpio with "Quédate esta noche". At the close of voting, it had received 14 points, placing 17th in a field of 19...

" was a cheerful bleepy song with deliberately banal lyrics about the contest itself. The Eurovision audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

 seemed unsure how to react to the performance, and after the band stopped playing, there was mostly stunned silence, with scattered polite applause; Michel Moers took a photograph of the bewildered audience. The band walked off amid sounds of muttering. A mark of the confusion caused by the performance was when vote-counting began, and Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 awarded Belgium three points, the announcer thought she had misheard and tried to award the points to the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...


All of this was clearly bad news for the band's British record label, Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

, which was trying to pass them off as part of the New Romantic
New Romantic
New Romanticism , was a pop culture movement in the United Kingdom that began around 1979 and peaked around 1981. Developing in London nightclubs such as Billy's and The Blitz and spreading to other major cities in the UK, it was based around flamboyant, eccentric fashion and new wave music...

 movement. The self-mockery of tracks like "We Are All Getting Old" didn't help either.

For its third album, Sex, Telex enlisted the suddenly trendy US group Sparks
Sparks (band)
Sparks is an American rock and pop band formed in Los Angeles in 1968 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael , initially under the name Halfnelson...

 to help write the lyrics. However, the band still refused to play live and preferred to remain anonymous
Anonymity is derived from the Greek word ἀνωνυμία, anonymia, meaning "without a name" or "namelessness". In colloquial use, anonymity typically refers to the state of an individual's personal identity, or personally identifiable information, being publicly unknown.There are many reasons why a...

—common practice in the techno music artists the group later inspired but, nevertheless, unusual in 1981. The fourth Telex album, Wonderful World, was barely distributed.

In 1986, Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records is an American record label best known for its many recordings of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz...

, perhaps surprisingly, signed Telex and released the album Looney Tunes. By then, the band's earlier sound had influenced many other groups, but they had abandoned it in favor of sampling
Sampling (music)
In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrète and electroacoustic music, who physically...

 and a more up-tempo humorous style. "Temporary Chicken," for example, was a strange joke track about a man so desperate for work that he accepted a part time job in a chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to the artistic arrangement of accessories in a picture, statue, poem, or play, appropriate to the time, place, or other circumstances...

. It was social commentary
Social commentary
Social commentary is the act of rebelling against an individual, or a group of people by rhetorical means, or commentary on social issues or society...

 but so bizarre as to be almost incomprehensible to most listeners: the album found little commercial success.

In 1989, Telex revisited all of its old tracks and remixed them to resemble house music
House music
House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized in mid-1980s discothèques catering to the African-American, Latino American, and gay communities; first in Chicago circa 1984, then in other...

 and other genres that had followed in the wake of Telex and others' early pioneering work in electronic pop. The result was Les Rhythmes Automatiques, which apparently inspired Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk is an influential electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008...

 to do the same for its album The Mix
The Mix
The Mix is a 1991 remix album by Kraftwerk. It featured re-recorded versions of a selection of songs which had originally appeared on the albums Autobahn through Electric Café. Hütter stated in interviews that he regarded The Mix as a type of live album, as it captured the results of the band's...

in 1991.

After almost two decades of silence, Telex made a comeback in March 2006 with How Do You Dance on EMI Records
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

. It contained five original compositions as well as five covers. The group's last release, as of 2006, is a cover of "On the Road Again
On the Road Again (Canned Heat song)
"On the Road Again," a song recorded by the American blues rock group Canned Heat, was released as a single in April 1968, and appeared on their 1968 album Boogie with Canned Heat as well as the 1969 compilation The Canned Heat Cookbook...

", originally by Canned Heat
Canned Heat
Canned Heat is a blues-rock/boogie rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1965. The group has been noted for its own interpretations of blues material as well as for efforts to promote the interest in this type of music and its original artists...

. They also began producing remix
A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song ....

es for other artists' single
Single (music)
In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP or a CD. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it can still appear...

 releases, including "A Pain that I'm Used To
A Pain that I'm Used To
"A Pain That I'm Used To" is the second single and opening track of the album Playing the Angel by Depeche Mode, and the forty-second DM single overall. The single was released on 12 December 2005 by Mute Records. The single contains remixes by UK Mute label mates Goldfrapp, and Jacques Lu Cont ....

" by Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode are an English electronic music band formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group's original line-up consisted of Dave Gahan , Martin Gore , Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke...

 and "Minimal
Minimal (song)
"Minimal" is a song by British synthpop band Pet Shop Boys and is featured on their 2006 album Fundamental. It was released 24 July 2006 as the second single from that album in the UK, entering the UK Singles Chart at #19 in the first week of its release . It was their 37th Top 20 hit in the UK...

" by the Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasional guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards....



  • 1979: Looking For St. Tropez
  • 1980: Neurovision
  • 1981: Sex (released in some countries as "Birds and Bees" with a slightly altered track listing)
  • 1984: Wonderful World
  • 1986: Looney Tunes
  • 2006: How Do You Dance?

Compilations and remix albums

  • 1989: Les Rhythmes Automatiques (album of re-recorded back-catalogue))
  • 1993: Belgium...One Point (a box set of the first five albums plus bonus tracks)
  • 1994: Is Release A Humour? - We Love Telex (Japan only. remix
    A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song ....

    ed by Japanese DJs)
  • 1998: I Don't Like Music (remix
    A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song ....

    ed by Carl Craig
    Carl Craig
    Carl Craig is a Detroit-based producer of techno music, and is considered to be one of the most important names in the Detroit second generation of techno producers and DJs...

     and others)
  • 1998: I Don't Like Remixes: Original Classics 78-86 (a 'best-of' compilation)
  • 1999: I (Still) Don't Like Music Remixes Vol. 2 (DJ remixes)
  • 2009: Ultimate Best Of

External links

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