Monday, January 14, 2008


Kamikaze, 1977; reissued by Crammed Discs; available

17 tracks, 50:15

Another intriguing oddity, Aksak Maboul was a Belgian ensemble performing a truly eclectic range of music. Focused around Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis (plus a sizable supporting cast), the band utilizes everything from primitive drum machines and synths to saxophones and accordion. The tracks range from the ur-techno of "Saure Gurke" (this may possibly be the first true techno song) to the avant-jazz/chamber music hybrid of "Milano Per Caso", all the way to the minimalist workout "Mastoul Alakefak". This album in many ways points forward to the early years of post-rock, and post-punk as well! The only real comparison is probably ZNR, but Aksak Maboul is even MORE playful than those French tricksters. They even slip in a truly wonderful cover of Duke Ellington's "The Mooche"; this track is VERY far ahead of its time, as it sounds exactly like early digital dub! Adding to the mystery, the album title translates to "eleven dances to fight the migraine"; considering there's seventeen tracks, this title makes no sense. Aksak Maboul changed their name to Aqsak Maboul (since reverted to Aksak on CD) for their second album, UN PEU DE L'AME DES BANDITS. While an amazing album, UN PEU is far more serious in nature and much closer to RIO (no doubt due to the involvement of Henry Cow's Cutler and Frith!). ONZE DANSES is much more varied and more (primitive) electronic-oriented. From the "where are they now" department, Hollander founded the label Crammed Discs in 1980, and they continue to release innovative recordings from all over the world (they are Konono No. 1's label, for instance). For the roots of this experimental and open-minded eclecticism, definitely check out ONZE DANSES. HIGHLY recommended to fans of ALL music.

No comments: