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Moving Gelatine Plates - The World of Genius Hans CD (album) cover

THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS

Moving Gelatine Plates

 

Canterbury Scene

4.20 | 70 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Being one of the most relevant bands in the seminal age of French prog, Moving Gelatine Plates was a peculiar musical force influenced by "Third"-era Soft Machine and Supersister, in this way anticipating (to a certain degree) the kind of sophisticated folly that Gong will turn into an essential part of its signature sound. The progressive element abundantly instilled with jazzy overtones, the touch of psychedelia and the patent humor are the three core aspects of MGP's sound: their sophomore effort "The World of Genius Hans" is really worthy of the word genius that appears in the title. Because of the flamboyant styles provided by Helminger on sax and Thobault on bass we can appreciate the influences from Elton Dean and Hugh Hopper, which makes for the powerful SM element in MGP. All in all, it would be unfair to label this band as a mere clone of Ratledge, Wyatt & co., since the ensemble manages to create a refreshing proposal in a global level. The band really knows how to approach the complexity of the musical arrangements with precision and sobriety. Some guitar inputs by Bertram together with some vocal passages remind me of yet another icon of experimental rock on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean - that is, Frank Zappa (big band era). With its 14 minute span, the namesake track stands out as a well- ordained mini-epic that goes fluidly through its various motifs. 'Funny Doll' finds the band going for more candid ambiences: despite the fact that the sax and lead guitar lines are noticeable dissonant, this piece is predominantly gracious, closer to Hatfield & the North than to Soft Machine, with an extra touch of Zappaesque humor. 'Astromonster' bears a more mysterious feel, not in a creepy sense, but ethereal: the initial lines on flute and distorted bass are a pertinent initiation to the elaboration of the intricate passages that emerge from minute 3, creating a combination of jolly and hypnotic vibes. 'Moving Theme' digs deeper in the band's extroverted side, and so does 'Cauchemar': comparing both, I feel that the former is more aggressive. 'We Were Loving Her' is based on a series of monochromatic organ layers upon which various effects and ornaments on sax, guitar and bass go floating by. The emergence of a sung section is a pretext for the elaboration of a cohesive arrangement. This particular piece is closer to late 60s psychedelia than to standard Canterbury (if there is such thing, I mean.). The closing track 'Un Jour...' works as a brief epilogue on soprano sax that bears a very lyrical feel: I wouldn't have minded if it had been a bit longer, at least. Anyway, this is all there is and it is fine by me - actually, more than fine, since this albums is a real prog masterpiece in my book. This gem should not be missing in any good prog collection, regardless of the collector's pet sub-genre(s).
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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