Alfa Matrix History
Created in early 2001, Brussels-based label Alfa Matrix released its first product in August 2001.
Distributed via EFA Medien GmbH (exclusive for Germany / Austria / Switzerland) + export and Audioglobe (who are located in Italy and are specialists in exports) , Alfa Matrix also profiled its concept by releasing most of its albums as limited editions available in deluxe DVD boxes and holding a bonus disc with exclusive tracks+mixes and additional promotional items.
The year 2001 saw the label’s 4 first releases by their first signings: HUNGRY LUCY (dark trip pop - USA), MNEMONIC (intelligent electronics – D), AIBOFORCEN, for their 3rd album (future pop / melodic EBM) and REGENERATOR, for their 5th album (dark synth pop – USA).
By releasing the much anticipated 3rd volume of the famous Cyberl@b Double-CD compilation and its impressive track list, Alfa Matrix invaded the clubs and seized the opportunity to introduce several new artists which will later on eventually join the Matrix and release albums later that same year: EPSILON MINUS (future pop - CAN), IMPLANT, for their 4th album (industrial trance - B), NEBULA-H (modern EBM - B), NEIKKA RPM (industrial’n beat – USA), PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE (the legendary old school dark elektro band – D) and FRONT 242 members’ new project MALE OR FEMALE (progressive electronic - B).
It was in August 2002 that Alfa Matrix proudly announced that MALE OR FEMALE had joined the label: Daniel B. (Front 242), Patrick Codenys (Front 242) and Elko Blijweert (Dead Man Ray) having chosen Alfa Matrix as label & marketing partner for their new project MALE OR FEMALE. The "Art & Strategy" label-division would be devoted to all the 242-related release projects. The first M.or.F album "...recalled moments" and ep "and failed destruction" were released in October 2002.
It was also in 2002 that Alfa Matrix launched the Square Matrix conceptual split-album series giving the opportunity for electronic music fans to buy 4 4-track singles at the price of 1 CD album. A collection of club hits and exclusive remixes. The best way to discover and enjoy the diversified high-quality music of the Alfa Matrix label artists. The first 2 volumes allowed the label’s bands to infiltrate charts all throughout the globe.
The year 2002 was closed in beauty with the addition of the Seattle-based solo-project GLIS (melodic EBM – USA) to the Alfa Matrix stable to release "Balance".
2003 was a decisive year for Alfa Matrix with new releases by label bands HUNGRY LUCY, EPSILON MINUS, IMPLANT, GLIS, the 3rd volume of Square Matrix, the 2nd volume of the Venusa XX sampler (with only female fronted artists). MALE OR FEMALE’s "Invented Scenes" album closed their conceptual trilogy and REGENERATOR’s best of and remixed double-CD album “Regenerated-X” was released.
But it was especially the addition of some impressive artists to the label roster that would allow Alfa Matrix to establish itself amongst the most praised underground electronic labels: first came AYRIA (EBM – CAN), the successful solo-project of Jennifer Parkin (after her departure from EPSILON MINUS), the alluring and seductive SEIZE for their second album (dance pop – UK), the collaboration with COLLIDE (goth industrial - USA) for the European release of their new album "Some Kind Of Strange" featuring amongst others the talents of cEvin Key of SKINNY PUPPY as well as Danny Carey from TOOL, and especially the release of the highly anticipated “Forever” CD by the future pop charity super-group BRUDERSCHAFT in collaboration with Razorburn Records. This project featured: the famous New York DJ & promoter Rexx Arkana (lyrics), Sebastian Komor (ICON OF COIL) on music, Joakim Montelius (COVENANT) on electronic loops, Ronan Harris (VNV NATION) on vocals and Stephan Groth (APOPTYGMA BERZERK) on backing vocals and production. This first release "Forever" was dedicated to Rexx Arkana's father: Charles Richard Millhouse who died in 1999 after having lost the battle against cancer, he was only 57 years old. All the net profits of this release went to various cancer charities for the purposes of cancer research and treatment and to assist families with loved ones who are suffering from cancer so that they can be there to provide comfort in their time of need.
BRUDERSCHAFT would go on to be placed at no. 7 in the Top 100 singles DAC charts of the year in Germany, while Cyberl@b v4.0 reached spot 29 in the Top 50 albums charts.
In 2003, Alfa Marix also shook the clubs with the 4th edition of the Cyberl@b compilation, surprised fans with the marketing in Europe of the SPEED TRIBE and MALE OR FEMALE DVDs (both projects of FRONT 242 members) and the unexpected addition of DUNKELWERK (endzeit bunker elektro – D) to the matrix.
Another event that again put Alfa Matrix in the spotlight was the announcement that in collaboration with Alfa Matrix, Art & Strategy was to re-release “Geography”, FRONT 242’s debut album dating back from 1981 as a spectacular 2CD edition! Disc One featured a completely remastered and reassembled version (by Daniel B. himself) of the original album. Disc Two was full of special extras and previously unreleased material taken from the original multi-track recordings for Endless Riddance, the band's first singles and some very early recordings. Alfa Matrix seized this opportunity to offer The «Sounds From The Matrix 001» compilation to the first 1000 on-line orders from their website, a special label compilation not available anywhere on the market.
The year 2004 started off with a decisive change of distributors in Germany, from EFA Medien GmbH (who would happen to go bankrupt a couple of months later) to Soulfood/Sony Germany. Alfa Matrix also launched the innovative "matrix connexion - the DJ edition": a series of exclusive and very limited club-formatted EPs marketed in playstation boxes and serving as appetisers for forthcoming albums…
2004 was marked by the release of several highly anticipated albums by FRONT 242, NEIKKA RPM, PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, MNEMONIC, AIBOFORCEN, COLLIDE, HUNGRY LUCY, NEBULA-H and the 4th and final edition of the Square Matrix series.
2004 was also highlighted by several very promising new partnerships: the marketing of the prestigious living legend ANNE CLARK’s releases outside Germany, as well as two new high profile Belgian collaborations that allowed the Alfa Matrix group to put Belgian electronic music firmly back on the map of Electroland: the first with Eric Van Wonterghem’s Psycho Dynamics label and the second with Dirk Ivens’ own Daft Records. Both labels in collaboration with Alfa-Matrix would respectively release in 2004 albums by INSEKT and MONOLITH, DIVE and PRESSURE CONTROL (+ the complete back-catalogue).
In August 2004, Alfa Matrix celebrated its 3rd anniversary with the release of the deluxe digipak double-CD label compilation, “alfa matrix – re:connected [1.0]”. This exclusive release included an extended colour booklet and featured previously unreleased material from most artists in the matrix. 150 minutes of eclectic electronic music, an ultimate sonic postcard presenting the impressive alfa matrix constellation of artists and what they have to offer you musically and emotionally.
2004 also saw the addition of 4 new bands to the Alfa Matrix roster: VIRTUAL EMBRACE (elektro industrial - D), UNTER NULL (harsh dark EBM - USA), SERO.OVERDOSE (future pop –D) and AGONISED BY LOVE (romantic wave – PL).
Another hectic and successful year 2004 reflected in the label group’s reinforced reputation on the underground music market, widespread distribution network and several noticeable chart entries.
For example, The German DAC single charts 2004 polls Top 100 has resulted in some very nice surprises for our artists. Plastic Noise Experience hit the number 44 spot in this Top 100 with the "Maschinenraum EP" beating acts such as Felix Da Housecat, Beastie Boys, Morrissey and many more. Also featured in the top 100 list of best singles for 2004 was Neikka RPM with "Here´s Your Revolution" entering the list at 75 leaving bands such as Rammstein, Within Temptation, The Prodigy and even Fatboy Slim far behind! In the list of top-charting label(group)s, Alfa Matrix reached the 20(19)th position, while its albums reached position... 8(7)! In the Top 50 album charts, Alfa Matrix landed on 10 with the anniversary compilation "Re:Connected [1.0]"!
Alfa-Matrix ripped straight into it with new releases by AGONISED BY LOVE, SERO.OVERDOSE, IMPLANT (featuring ANNE CLARK on vocals on 2 tracks) , GLIS (featuring Jean-Luc De Meyer of FRONT 242 on vocals on 2 tracks) as well as the launching of the new 4CD box compilation series “Endzeit Bunkertracks” offering a brainwashing selection of the best dark, harsh elektro acts active on planet Hell.
The second half of the year 2005 welcomed new album releases by VIRTUAL EMBRACE, REGENERATOR, AYRIA as well as the much anticipated debut CDs by UNTER NULL and DUNKELWERK, the re-release of SERO.OVERDOSE’s debut album plus the brand new “reflected” EP, while Daft Records released GEISTFORM’s second album.
We also noticed new releases by some new signings: DISKONNEKTED (progressive electro dance – B), O.V.N.I. (tech-pop – UK), HEADSCAN (high-tech industrial dance – CAN) on Alfa Matrix and ADAM X (techno/EBM – USA) on Psycho Dynamics.
The 3 main highlights of the year 2005 were most probably the 5th volume of the classic “Cyberl@b” compilation series and its astounding track listing, the extremely successful “Catch The Men” live DVD by FRONT 242 (and their extended North American tour in November 05) and the signing of Danish EBM veteran LEAETHER STRIP to Alfa-Matrix for a forceful comeback with the “Suicide Bombers” EP.
The new year 2006 started fast and strong with LEAETHER STRIP’s new 2CD album “After The Devastation”, marketed in exciting various limited edition packages. 2006 also marked the beginning of digital distribution for the label’s entire back catalogue via digital matrix (division of alfa matrix caring for digital distribution with over 500 different platforms/digital distribution partners across the globe from Japan America, Germany, France, etc.) and the availability of the new releases in all major record stores in the USA at domestic prices thanks to a new collaboration with the American company Studio Distribution and later KGD Media.
Alfa Matrix also announced some new signings who all had a new release on the label in 2006: KLUTAE (aggro-elektro side-project of LEAETHER STRIP’s frontman), INURE (American EBM/industrial), MIND:STATE (Swedish dark melodic electronics), TAMTRUM (French harsh elektro), I:SCINTILLA (US intoxicating industro goth), MENTALLO & THE FIXER (the cult Texas avant-garde elektro), TECHNOIR (German dark edgy pop), ZOMBIE GIRL (grooving electro from the Canadian underworld – new project of ICON OF COIL’s genius Sebastian R. Komor) and MONOLITH (the famous Belgian tribal industrial dance solo-project of veteran Eric Van Wonterghem).
Next to these releases, the 2006 schedule for the label group also included new music from PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, DISKONNEKTED feat. DIVE, NEIKKA RPM, LEAETHER STRIP, as well as the second edition of the Endzeit Bunkertracks box set.
The second part of 2006 was also marked by the release of the second volume of the successful “alfa matrix – re:connected” label group compilation in celebration for the label’s 5th anniversary, very special twin EPs by the rising solo-project UNTER NULL which sold out before the street date, the astounding success of IMPLANT’s new album “Audio Blender” featuring both Anne Clark and Jan-Luc De Meyer of FRON T242 on vocals, as well as a unique Halloween party offered by LEAETHER STRIP with the “Faetish” EP and its spooky bonus disc “Haelloween”...
When looking at the German alternative music chart reports (DAC) for the year 2006, Alfa Matrix can once again be proud of its label artist's achievements. 6 EPs made the "Single Top 100" list, 3 EPs from LEAETHER STRIP (!!), DISKONNEKTED vs. DIVE, TECHNOIR and UNTER NULL. Add to this a remarkable 8 releases in the "Album top 50" category! With a very honorable #6 for "After The Devastation" confirming to the world just how strong the return of LEAETHER STRIP was for our scene. Other prestigious positions were also reached by the label’s 3 compilations of the year with "Endzeit Bunkertracks - act II" (#9), "Cyberl@b 5.0" (#11) and the anniversary compilation "Re:connected 2.0" (#30). Other highlights from the German club charts included PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, MONOLITH, IMPLANT and UNTER NULL's debut album which for sure made Erica Dunham one of the most promising newcomer acts in the scene for the year 2006.
Last but not least in 2006, as a label, Alfa Matrix reached position #6 in the Single category (in 2005, we reached #8), and the label took position #1 (!!!) in the album category (compared #4 in 2005).
It was also a nice surprise to see Alfa Matrix in the top 3 best-selling labels in 2006 for the famous export distributor Audioglobe. This was quite an accomplishment considering that Alfa Matrix worked with so many other export partners in 2006, which is not the case for many other labels who often prefer working with one main export partner, and without taking into account the success of our direct on-line sales via our own website with more than 9,000 unique customers in the last 5 years.
The magic year “7” started off with 4 new album releases from SERO.OVERDOSE, TECHNOIR, MENTALLO & THE FIXER as well as the debut CD from Swedish act MIND:STATE produced by Len Lemeire, while AYRIA embarked on a never ending and very successful North American tour together with THE CRÜXSHADOWS.
And while LEAETHER STRIP again hit everyone by surprise with yet another poignant dark new album “the giant minutes to the dawn”, two of the label’s fast ascending younger bands: ZOMBIE GIRL and I:SCINTILLA both delivered their much awaited full length album.
Alfa Matrix also seized the opportunity of Claus Larsen’s new opus to inaugurate an additional format for some if its album releases with a super-fan box including a T-shirt together with the traditional 2CD deluxe carton box.
In 2007, Alfa Matrix also welcomed some new talented artists to its roster who each brought new colours to the already quite diversified sonic palette of the label. After a “holy identification quest” through the net, the German combo CRISK. got signed to the Matrix to present their modern punk/house EBM cocktail.
Belgium’s most famous Goth rock band STAR INDUSTRY also joined the label for the release of their splendid album produced by Luc Van Acker while the eccentric Italian duo of HELALYN FLOWERS have already been qualified my many as the most promising and provocative newcomer of the year for the label. Last but not least, FRONT 242’s frontman Jean-Luc De Meyer also launched a new project together with the IMPLANT boys under the enigmatic name of 32CRASH.
Looking ahead, in the next several months, we have scheduled new releases from STRAY (side-project of Erica Dunham from UNTER NULL), SEIZE, the highly anticipated return of the BRUDERSCHAFT charity project, UNTER NULL, DISKONNEKTED, AYRIA, NEIKKA RPM…and possibly one…or two…surprising new signings to the label ;))
And we won't forget mentioning the new compilation project together with VampireFreaks.com under the evocative title "Fxxk The Mainstream vol.1” which was described as a must-have 4CD box anthology of the dark and electro/industrial scene.