PART 1 : 1979-1984

Actually, Polyphonic Size has never been a real band, but Roger-Marc Vande Voorde's project. Born in Charleroi (Belgium) in 1959, the young teenager Roger-Marc spent some time in Germany, near Cologne. Being a true Rolling Stones fan, he started to learn guitar and began to play in small local bands : Berk, Reynolds, Magnetix and mostly Melody. Some live tapes still exist, recorded late 76, early 77, with an overexcited Roger-Marc singing 1960's/70's classics : Get Back, Jumping Jack Flash, Walk On the Wild Side, Gloria...
In 1978, back to his home land, RM starts some psychology studies and forms a new band, the Cookies, with Johan Van Mullen on bass and Michel Verbeek on drums. No more 60's cover songs this time, the Cookies only play their own stuff. A strong punk/new wave rock, not far from the Modern Lovers, or Police in their early days. Roger-Marc becomes a member of the B Clique, Brussels punk scene.

Meanwhile, RM creates the Oblik Mouvement, centred on electronic music, with Kraftwerk and Devo influences. Other people involved in Oblik : Jerry WX (lately in X Pulsion and Revenge), Daniel B (Prothese, then Front 242) and Michel Lambot, who's running a record shop, Casablanca Moon (years later, Michel will manage Play It Again Sam records). Alain Neffe's band, Pseudocode, is also around. At this point, Oblik is just a concept, but Roger-Marc writes down some ideas in little notebooks, filled with collages and drawings.

Daniel B is working in a Bruxelles music shop, Hill's Music. Together with Roger-Marc, they discover the very first "cheap" Korg synthesizers. RM buys some stuff and soon changes his room into a kind of home-studio. The result will be Algorythmic EP, the very first Polyphonic Size EP, released in december 1979 on Sandwich Records, a small underground label, founded by Michel Lambot.

Four songs on this record : Saison, Space Rejection, Mode and Plage Privée. Small extraordinaire electronic pieces, with spoken french or english lyrics. RM plays all the instruments, sings, produces and even designs the sleeve artwork.

Dominique Buxin wrote the lyrics. RM met him in Germany in the Melody days, when Dominique was more or less singing in another band called Kolossal. Although he will never appear on stage, Dominique will always be a main part of Polyphonic Size, writing brilliant lyrics, not far from Serge Gainsbourg or Jacques Lanzmann (Jacques Dutronc's 1960's author).

A second 7" EP quickly follows : Pragmatic Songs. This time, Roger-Marc is not alone in the studio : Régine K sings Ommatidia (with her own lyrics). She's a very strange girl, fond of S & M, and breeding snakes in her flat... The 3 other tracks are Logique Polygonale (then changed into Rendez-Vous on the first LP), Party and Travelling Things, a fantastic collage of tapes, sirens, dialogues and electronics.
Roger-Marc is also running a belgian Stranglers fanzine : Strangled. He first met Jean-Jacques Burnel in Cologne in 1978, then sent him the 2 Polyphonic Size EP. JJ has just released Euroman Cometh, his solo European / electronic, rhythm boxes / english and french LP. He listens to the singles and offers to produce the next one right away. This third single, Nagasaki Mon Amour/Hiroshima 1945 is recorded in England, in April 1980. RM will publish the story of this fascinating session in Strangled # 5, under the title of "Chronologie d'une production". Japan, electronic, Europe... JJ and RM share many passions. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and musical collaboration.

Roger-Marc goes to Japan for summer and meets (among others) YMO and Ryuichi Sakamoto. In early 1981, Polyphonic Size records a new maxi single, PS, including a robotic cover version of the Rolling Stones classic, Mother's Little Helper. RM has written a few words on the vinyl : "Fuck the Stones"! But he will still give it to Keith Richard himself some time later. The four other tracks are "Girlscout" (sung with an english friend called Angie), Men & Construction (obviously inspired by Kraftwerk), On the Way To Medora (the opening track for the 1982 tour) and a brand new version of Saison. This time, Polyphonic Size is also Martine Bourlée (who is also RM's girl friend) and Jean Marc Lederman (lately in Kid Montana and Weathermen).

In March 1981, Sandwich records release a compilation LP sampler, B9, including one PSize new track : Kyoto (with Akiko, a japanese journalist, on vocals). A different version of Kyoto will be available on the B-side of Nagasaki french pressing (on Radical records).

The very first Polyphonic Size concert happens in Brussels, April, 3rd, 1981. In a small festival called The First Belgian Rhythm Box Contest, with Etat Brut, Nausea, Pseudo Code and Snowy Red. No drums on stage (just a cassette with all the basic rythm tracks). Two new singers : one girl, France Lhermitte, and a guy named Bernard Dradin (who will lately be part of Noh Mask). Kloot Per W plays bass. On stage, Bernard sings a smashing speed version of Space Rejection, wearing a ski mask on his face.

There are still many unreleased tapes from these days ; different version of Nagasaki, Kyoto, Girlscout, Mother's Little Helper, Saison,... lots of electronic instrumental pieces, and even a couple of weird Stranglers covers : Meninblack, Don't Bring Harry, Duchess.

After 3 years and half a dozen singles, Polyphonic Size decides to record its first LP in Brussels, from January to April 1982, with Roger-Marc, Martine Bourlée (vocals), France Lhermitte (vocals), Kloot Per W (bass) and Dominique Buxin (lyrics). JJ Burnel produces, sings and plays some bass guitar too. Other guests are Luc Van Acker (guitar), David Salamon (saxophone in Arbeid Adelt, another belgian band) and Phil Wauqaire (who plays stick-bass in Digital Dance). . Live For Each Moment/Vivre Pour Chaque Instant will be PSize masterpiece, released in September 1982, under 2 different picture sleeves (french or belgian). At this time, we can say that JJ became a real member of the band, as he's the one who sings Winston & Julia (from Orwell's 1984), and Je T'ai Toujours Aimée (recorded in 2 hours, with JJ on bass guitar).

Polyphonic Size goes on tour for the very first time. First date is Gand (Belgium), October 29th 1982. The second one is Paris, Bains Douches, November 4th. A fantastic performance, broadcasted on the national french radio (France Inter). As for the 81 festival, PSize plays without drums, just voices, synthezisers, guitars and tapes.

A remixed version of Winston & Julia soon follows, with a crazy Parties Dance on b-side, improvised in the studio by JJ and RM, with Dominique Buxin's lyrics. Dominique also writes the extraordinaire Detective Privé for JJ and Dave Greenfield duo LP, Fire & Water. The french label New Rose releases a free promo single of Je T'ai Toujours Aimée, then a new LP sampler called Rose 83, including Girlscout and Parties Dance. Meanwhile, France Lhermitte sings backing vocals on the Stranglers Feline album.

May 1983 : PSize got a new contract with Clouseau Musique, a small Virgin Records subsidiary, managed by Philippe Constantin. Then JJ, Martine and Roger-Marc spend the whole summer in the studio to record the second album. JJ sings, composes, plays bass, produces, and brings lots of ideas into the band. Seems like Polyphonic Size has becomed a kind of alternative project to him, smaller but more european than the Stranglers. But JJ also takes some definitive decisions : he decides that Kloot Per W won't be on the record. Of course, Kloot doesn't appreciate at all.

Walking Everywhere is released in January 1984, with more great lyrics written by Dominique Buxin and new guests : Daniel B, Dave Greenfield (Stranglers) and several others. The whole LP is a kind of Tour du Monde, from Europe (Brussels Waltz), to USA (Le Rocker de la CIA), via Africa (Irrigation) and the Middle East (Mohammed & Sarah).

Although it doesn't sound as spontaneous as the first album, Walking Everywhere is a real great record, and Walking Class Hero is a great single. At this point, everything sounds perfect for Polyphonic Size, but that's when things will start going wrong...