originally released on 20 november 1980, the deluxe cassette compilation from brussels with love featured 22 exclusive tracks from the front rank of the international avant-garde and new wave, as well as several artists from the feted factory records stable in manchester. although the first proper release on boutique belgian label les disques du crépuscule, the catalogue number assigned to the project (twi 007) betrays the fact that the early history of the label (and thus its debut) is a little more involved.
the label had been formed at the beginning of 1980, by brussels scenesters michel duval (an economist by training, and journalist for several arts magazines including en attendant and plein soleil) and annik honoré (then working in london, but a booker for the seminal plan k venue, and also writing for en attendant). a strong cultural link was forged between brussels and the factory/manchester cadre after the joy division concerts at plan k on 16 october 1979 and 17 january 1980, and cemented when a certain ratio, durutti column and section 25 performed at plan k on 26 april. in addition, brussels band the names had joined the factory roster.
since the factory bands were so prolific, it was agreed that 'spare' recordings could be released on the continent via a new label, factory benelux. the first three releases were 7" singles by a certain ratio (shack up), durutti column (lips that would kiss) and section 25 (haunted), which appeared in august, september and october respectively. all carried dual catalogue numbers (facbn 1-004, 2-005 and 3-006), which in september 1980 resulted in factory directors rob gretton and tony wilson insisting that a clear division should be established between factory benelux and les disques du crépuscule, the new label planned by michel and annik. at an early stage the duo were joined by gifted designer benoît hennebert. crépuscule, of course, translates as 'twilight', an evocative name suggested by annik. the two labels shared a de facto office at 32 avenue des phalenes, 1050 brussels.
the first true crépuscule release was a deluxe cassette/booklet package, from brussels with love. compiled between july and october, this stylish 80 minute compilation arrived housed in a plastic wallet and reflected current musical events in manchester, london and brussels during the middle months of 1980. in may joy division singer ian curtis took his own life, leaving the remaining three members to re-group as new order, who entered the studio for the first time in june as backing musicians for factory troubadour kevin hewick. bill nelson and richard jobson came into contact with crépuscule for the first time on 27 june, after playing at a cocteau-themed event at plan k, at which vini reilly of the durutti column also performed. london band repetition joined crépuscule via annik and (surprisingly) found themselves produced by rob gretton, while a certain ratio contributed a live track taped at hurrah's in september, during the first factory trip to new york, another cultural watershed for all involved.
besides factory, another crucial influence on from brussels with love was radio producer and new music composer wim mertens, whose book american minimal music had just been published by kahn & averill. the featured interview with brian eno had been recorded by wim in new york in june 1979, as was the recording by phill niblock. it's therefore hardly surprising that michael nyman and gavin bryars also agreed to contribute tracks. mertens would make his own debut on crépuscule (initially as soft verdict) the following year. eno's obscure label was another key influence on early crépuscule.
the compilation was purposefully international in scope, with france (radio romance), belgium (the names), germany (der plan) and even scotland (richard jobson) all represented, as well as the more familiar british and american contingents. the design, too, was seductively continental, with text printed in a variety of languages, and copious line/cartoon illustrations by jean-françois octave which reflected the belgian and french obsession with bande dessinée. the james bond references in the title and catalogue number may be credited to cinephile michel duval alone.