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The Glimmers

The Glimmers

Every disciple has his or her core text, his or her point of reference from which all knowledge flows. Christians have the Bible, Muslims have the Koran and nympdmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel.

Deep within the bowels of its sublime and incendiary mix of Queen, Chic and Blondie, Flash's dizzying array of cutbacks and the track's funk-assisted forward motion, a secret was unleashed. A secret which resonates to this day: how to get the party started, how to keep the party going and, most crucially, how to take the party to places no-one dared imagine possible. Its potency is still recognised today.

So, imagine what it must have sounded like to Mo Becha and David Fourqaert back then, when the duo, who were barely into their teens, were taking their first tentative steps on a long and winding road which they continue to travel upon this every day. Today Mo and David are better known as The Glimmers, the most adventurous DJ partnership around (so says the UK's DJ magazine anyway). They're also known as Mo and Benoelie (David's nickname since school. It's meaning? It has no meaning. Well that's kids for you) and they used to be known as The Glimmer Twins until they decided not to risk crossing the path of the Rolling Stones lawyers; The Glimmer Twins having long been used to describe Mick and Keef. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. To understand the present you have to comprehend the past, hence Grandmaster Flash.

So, let's picture the scene: it's the early '80s and Mo and Benoelie have been seduced by the motion picture 'Beat Street', in particular its triple pillars of hip hop, breakdancing and graffiti. From their vantage point (Ghent, Belgium since you ask) that nascent and emerging culture is the most exciting movement imaginable. Block parties, scratching, electro... it wouldn't have taken a great leap of faith to be converted by its other-worldly qualities. Bitten by the music bug - Captain Rock, Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk, Roxanne Shante, Herbie Hancock and of course the aforementioned Grandmaster Flash and remembering what Flash had preached, they began to practise in Mo's attic: the techniques, the scratches, the beatmixes. They then moved their equipment to Benoelie's cave - four square metres - and readied themselves for the first public performances. sThese came at a bar in Ghent by the name of Mistral. Before school, at lunch and once again after school, the duo would head to the bar and spin all manner of musical madness. Too young to take advantage of the bar's tempting wares they'd play the pop tunes of the day - U2, Madonna, Prince, Tears For Fears, even Nick Kamen - and they'd rub them up against old disco cuts by Barry White and Bohannon as well as their beloved hip hop and electro. Even then they had no truck with musical fascism, their primary objective being all about the dancefloor and its perpetual motion.By the age of 16 they were DJing for Ghent's youth every Friday night at a bar called 't Vliegend Peerd, adding the early hypnotic rhythms of electronic body music to their alluring mix, but most importantly they were being turned onto the strange and experimental sounds coming from the city's Boccaccio club. There, the DJ Olivier Pieters was spinning the most delirious music: 12-inches were purposefully pitched down and extended, the result being a deep, metronomic, groove-laden experience, known as Belgian new beat. Always open to new musical revolutions, Mo and Benoelie adapted these sounds and took them to their new residency at Fifty Five. Playing from 10pm till 7am they would play new beat, early acid house, disco, new wave and classic rock'n'roll. As the '90s dawned Mo and Benoelie were playing all over Belgium, their sets consisting of the futuristic sounds that were emanating from Detroit and Chicago as well as the experimental electronica of UK acts like 808 State and the funk-driven cuts, which had always defined them. As the decade progressed the majority of DJs began to drift down specific roads, but the direction The Glimmers took was always the road less travelled. First and foremost lovers of music, they reasoned that they should never shut themselves off from any styles of music, that every blend, every genre, every movement was theirs for the taking.Their appearances at the monthly Free The Funk parties were legendary (they compiled the Free The Funk series for R&S) as were their sessions at the Kozzmozz parties, but it was with the emergence of the Eskimo nights in 1997 (often held in an old, disused underwear factory) that The Glimmers fame really began to spread outside of Belgium.

In 2000 they programmed the first Eskimo compilation. All over the place to the point of schizophrenia, and yet startlingly cohesive, their amalgamation of new beat, funk, dub, house, techno, party hip hop, new wave and edgy post-punk disco was a revelation to those bored of linear mix albums. It slayed the UK, as did its three follow up releases, its ethos summed up magically by its mission statement: 'Mix and merge, broaden your musical scope. The future is present in the past. The past presents the future.'By now the Twins were playing all over Europe - fashion shows in Milan, magazine parties in Paris and Bugged Out! in London - and to honour their roots in Ghent they compiled two new beat compilations, Serie Noire 1 and 2 for Eskimo (the label), and paid homage to its coolest club with Culture Club Volume I and II. Mo and Benoelie also began messing about with re-edits and remixes for the likes of Crosstown Rebels, Eskimo, Wally's Groove World, Blue Note and Relish and under their production nom de plume, Dirty Minds, they have set about translating their DJ skills onto tracks of their own.

And that brings us about up to date. In November 2004 The Glimmers released 'The Glimmers Remixed, Re-edited And Phucked Up', a glittering snapshot of where they've been and where they are going. In April 2005 K7 will release The Glimmers DJ Kicks mix. It's been an interesting journey soundtracking the best parties around, but you know what the best part is? Armed with the lessons that they learnt all those years ago soaking up Grandmaster Flash's exhortation, The Glimmers have only just begunŠ

Biography Written by Jim Butler

 
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