"We had hoped to finish last, but Portugal decided otherwise."
October 7, 2008 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Marc Moulin, Belgian pop culture polymath and electropop pioneer, has died. Moulin was probably best known outside of Belgium for the electronic group Telex, founded in 1978 with Dan Lacksman and Michel Moers. Telex scored an international hit with Moskow Diskow, made a great video for their version of Twist a Saint-Tropez, did anything but Rock Around the Clock and, most famously, entered the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest with a cheerfully mocking song titled Euro-Vision.

Telex's stated goal for Eurovision -- to finish last -- was thwarted by Portugal, who for reasons not entirely clear, awarded them 10 points. The band continued on until the mid-eighties with songs like We're All Getting Old, L'Amour Toujours and Temporary Chicken.

Moulin was a longtime presence on the Belgian jazz scene, from his early days with the fusion group Placebo up until his last release for Blue Note, 2007's I Am You. When not making music, Moulin was a playwright, journalist and radio producer.
posted by grounded (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
They were so early with their music videos.
I had never heard of them. Thanks.
posted by jouke at 12:47 PM on October 7, 2008

They were profoundly weird... if I had to guess I'd say he sat around listening to Devo and Kraftwerk back to back, fired up a vocoder and some synths, and went to town.
posted by phrontist at 12:57 PM on October 7, 2008

I liked their first two albums, liked Euro-Vision and I liked their covers--Sly and the Family Stone's Dance To The Music, Plastic Bertrand's Ca Plan Pour Moi.

Dance To The Music cracked me up almost as much as Yellow Magic Orchestra's Tighten Up.

And I thought their My Time had it's own artificial sweetness--as if a robot channeled Jonathan Richman for a moment.
posted by y2karl at 1:22 PM on October 7, 2008

Oh, I had totally forgotten about this. That Moskow Diskow track was all over the place during the Electroclash phase during the early 2000s. I think even Miss Kittin and the Hacker explicitly namedropped that video in their track, 1982 (on First Album). Lemme see if I can dig up the video...
here it is!
posted by LMGM at 2:48 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Telex was the heartbeat of my youth, the inspiration for me to pick up the synthesizer and make music that is fun and smart, and the reminder that it's okay to be an oddball with an oversaturated sense of personal style and a real glee for wordplay and lovely percussion-modulated vocoder chords. All around me, it was Foreigner and Styx and Air Supply and snarky mean kids sneering "what the hell is that?" and not one damn bit of it mattered.

Who else back then bragged, on their album covers, that all sounds were generated electronically, except for the voices, which are sometimes real.

I've been sometimes real ever since.

posted by sonascope at 3:36 PM on October 7, 2008

They were profoundly weird... if I had to guess I'd say he sat around listening to Devo and Kraftwerk back to back

Telex formed around the time Devo's first album came out, Devo was formed around 1973-74 but were almost totally unknown until around mid-'77. Kraftwerk was almost certainly an influence, though.

This especially sucks because they just recently started up again and made a new record in 2006. Farewell to a truly great, original band.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:08 PM on October 7, 2008

I was raised by snakes.

I lie all the time.
posted by zap rowsdower at 8:37 PM on October 7, 2008

Yeah, I dug 'em in their Belgian way. They strike me as progenitors of Daft Punk.
posted by Wolof at 11:14 PM on October 7, 2008

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