The legendary Belgian label Antler returns. Pioneering in the 80s and 90s and an absolute vanguard in the world of post-punk, cold- and new wave, EBM, electro… a series of albums and compilations from the extensive Antler archives are now being re-released. Following the earlier released remastered version of the double album of the Limburg Cold Wavers Siglo XX, a first compilation of tracks from the early period of the label: “Antler Records – Early Years Vol. 1” is now following.
Roland Beelen: “For almost half a century, Antler has been my life, my love, and my soul. I founded Antler Records more than 40 years ago. In the early days, I was not only chasing my own dreams, but those of many new and groundbreaking bands in Belgium in an exciting new world of music and an emerging music scene. After the collaboration with Maurice Engelen, there was no turning back. Our label has broken barriers in many different genres with our joint forces, from dark electro, EBM, pop, dance and techno, singer-songwriter to even reggae. It’s now 2023 and I’m proud to put parts of this legacy back in the spotlight with a series of releases and reissues. After more than 40 years, Antler will come back to life and bring joy to all fans who have cherished the label over the years.”
The history of Antler
Neue Sachlichkeit and their single “Ice/Painless Rage” was the last release on Roland Beelen’s Kleo Label and came out in 1981. It also became the first release on the Antler label founded after a meeting in café De Knoet in Aarschot with Maurice Engelen. Kleo Records became Antler Records and both gentlemen entered into a collaboration that would last until 2005. Beelen had a serious accident and withdrew from the music biz in 2005, Engelen continued with Praga Khan and Lords of Acid.
In 1995, Antler (by then transformed into Antler-Subway Records) entered into a collaboration with EMI Records. The legendary Belgian alternative-new wave catalog was supplemented with a series of striking and still current and unforgettable Belpop hits in 2023. From 1995 onwards, even more Belgian and international hits were scored and millions of records and CDs were sold, including Black Uhuru, 2 Fabiola, Kate Ryan, Milk Inc, Lasgo, Ian van Dahl, but also Praga Khan, Lords of Acid and in Belgium Leopold 3)
With the disappearance of EMI Records and EMI Music, the label was swept under the rug, archives were lost and Antler eventually ended up at Warner Music via Universal after wanderings.
Starman Records acquired the right from Warner Music in 2022 to use the name Antler and Antler-Subway again to breathe new life into the more than 40-year-old label. Two compilations (vinyl only) with the rarest and long-lost tracks from the early Antler period were compiled by Lieven De Ridder (Walhalla Records) with the greatest care and remastered by Pieter De Wagter. The first of these: “Antler Records – Early Years Vol. 1” will be released on January 5, 2024.
The logo has now a very sustainable green colour.
Siglo XX returns as well, more or less
Also to be re-released on Antler will be the Siglo XX “Double album” which is the last album of the Limburg coldwave band that appeared on the Antler label. The release is the result of the last artistic collaboration between Roland Beelen and Siglo XX in the mid-1980s. The record is considered a masterpiece and numerous renowned artists from the then Belgo-Manchester Scene collaborated on it.
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