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Aksak Maboul - Onze Danses Pour Combattre La Migraine CD (album) cover


Aksak Maboul


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Eleven dances to fight off the headaches - now there is a typical Belgian title for a strange album. Maboul is crazy or nuts or mad in popular french - and these guys were. Definitely to classfy in the RIO vein , this album is quite different than their second one and barely classify as rock and almost entirely acousic somehow not far away from the first two albums from Univers Zero. This group had in it some jazz musicians still active nowadays and were helped by genius Marc Moulin but the music stays too strange even though I had a couple laughs at it (or should I say with it ) because of the sillyness of it. Only for those who liked the other album enough to want to investigate this one.
Report this review (#32724)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely essential if you are into bands like Picchio dal Pozzo, Robert Wyatt and ZNR. Intelligent compositions in a gentle yet powerful canterbury styled rock. Great and truly unique. The whole album feels like one song as the pieces segue. I even like this better than their 2nd effort (which is great too)beause is really is more of a Fred Frith/ Henry Cow styled project (thanks to the inclusion of F. Frith , of course). One of my personal favorites and on the top of the list of my 3,500 lp/cd collection.
Report this review (#35187)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Published for the first time on cd in 2003, the first Aksak Maboul gives a new perspective to the band that many of us knew at first as a strange RIO act like they were on "Un Peu de l'Ame des Bandits". Retrospectively,it seems the later album was more influenced than we first thought by the pair Fred Frith/Chris Cutler who brought a lot of Art Bears attitude on the mix. That does not mean that "Onze Danses pour Combattre la Migraine" does not contain its own quantity of weirdness. Weird it is but also far more focused. The pieces are short with sometimes an humourous feel that bring to mind the likes of Albert Marcoeur or Débile Menthol. It's definitely not a mainstream listen but will surely appeal to people in search of a bit of lunacy to keep them away from the real madness in the world outside. Almost childish sounding, "Onze Danses pour Combattre la Migraine" also shows a great curiosity for the eastern culture, the jazz idiom and the evergrowing electronic music that they succeed at melting together in one of the most intimistic progressive release ever.
Report this review (#42635)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mark Hollander and Vincent Kenis--overdubbing massively and assisted by a small army of session players--produce a wonderful "dog's breakfast" of music, covering a vast spectrum on this album; everything from various regions' ethnic music to "fake" jazz to proto-techno is covered. Each is twisted, spun, flipped, and combined with other types of music to create a classic of the avant-prog genre. Most of the pieces are well written, but there are a few pieces that drag. However, these tracks are short and quite excusable on a 17-track album.

Ultimately, this is a quite well-written effort which should be enjoyable to fans of the genre. After all, he quality, variety, and uniqueness of this album was considered to be of a high enough caliber for the band to be included in the RIO movement. If you aren't an RIO fan, however, this would probably not be the best introduction.

Report this review (#132536)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have reviewed each track in order below. My summary is that this is one of the best RIO/Canterbury influenced albums I have heard this year. Several tracks (I have called them standout below) should be in any serious listener's library. Thanks to Ronan Griffin for introducing me to this excellent cd, 1. Mercredi Matin: short folk-dance melody with beautiful ringing tones. 2. (Mit 1) Saure Gurke (Aus 1 Unwald Gelockt) Nice electronic groove with a moving melody 3. Animaux Velpeau Like Dolphy one of the greatest 36 seconds of bass horn playing ever recorded. A standout track! 4. Milano Per caso: lovely acoustic guitar and piano over a central European folk grounding. Magnificent clarinet. A strong contrast with the electronica and even features some elegant vocal work. 5. Fausto Coppi Arrive!: Great Henry Cow/ Picchio Dal Pozzo horn opening. Runs into.. 6. Chanter est sain: now we are in desperate straits territory. Lovely solo vocal piano. Then over-dubbed minimalism. More of the splendid melodic sense which informs the whole. Another standout track as piano dominates beautifully before the return of the lyrics. 7. Son Of L'Idiot: Hand beaten drums provide a platform for great ensemble playing. Keyboards sounding like glockenspiels, a very Canterbury riff and guitar sound. Derivative but brilliant. Would not be out of place on Hatfield album. Great bassoon figure at the end. 8. DBB (Double Bind Baby). Solo piano, introspective but not miserable, lovely chordings, very open and then horn statements. Great composition and like a good abstract painting every second fascinates. 9. Cuic Steppe: time for percussion instruments piano and glocks. Zappa loved glocks and so do I. Bass horns too. This has all the sound textures you need for musical heaven, and they work together in a perfect way as the tune progresses. Standout track. Unfair to say it's like Henry Cow. I hate to say it but it's better than Cow! Best track so far. 10. Tous Les Trucs... a child singing. You can hear the proof that so-called difficult melodic phrasing is innate. The keyboard working from it actually takes away from the point. 11. Ciobane: odd fragment. 12. The Mooche: Ellington gets a treatment. Annoying, but lovely sounds, although the Casio keyboard wrecks it. 13. Vapona Not Glue builds from The Mooche and the improvised keyboard lines are uninspired unlike the soprano sax which is very good. This track drags because of the same pointless Casio ground. Great horn and bass near the end but the keyboard and programmed percussion are killers. To be fair they are eliminated before the finish which is very good. 14. Glympz: hand percussion again with lovely chords on keyboards and horns. Very mellow. 15. Three Epileptic Folk Dances: Great opening riff, more glock, so good. Then we get a splendid staccato phrased melody on bass keyboard and squeaky higher register leading to part three which has lovely bassoon and soprano sax. Another stand out track. 16. Mastoul Alakefak: classic stuff, really like Hatfield. An absolute joy to experience. Great fall apart and make noises ending. Standout again. I regret never seeing them play this live. 17. Comme On A Dit: and indeed as I have said this picks all the best aspects of the acoustic elements of the band for a few seconds to sum up.
Report this review (#239110)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Aksak Maboul's debut is excellent and quirky European elegant urban folklore known as RIO as well. 17 short compositions indicates more punkish album's structure, but you wouldn't find punk influences there.

Crispy, very acoustic music, based on analog keyboards sound, with addition of many other instruments, including accordion, saxes and electric cello between more traditional others. Musically this album contains short sketches from European street life, but reworked by talented artists with non-mainstream vision of the world. French traditional urban songs, Alpine reeds, some contemporary avant music, plenty of well-balanced European jazz-rock , saloon music, theatrical pieces soundtracks - there are mentioned only a part of their influences.

Music in all is very elegant, a bit melancholic, melodic, with some distortions, but very controlled, some occasional vocals and very imaginative atmosphere. Differently from many RIO genre colleagues, this album is more beautiful, harmonic and in some sense - easier accessible one ( speaking about avant garde music though).

Differently from many other similar recordings, this album has quite limited chamber music influence (or better to say - controlled influence), what is a strong side for me. I really am not a big fan of self-closed chamber rock, where musicians are so attracted by what they are playing, that just often forget that listener exists as well, and very soon such releases become boring to death. This one isn't, and it's a big luck!

In all - still release for fans of experimental music, and possibly will shock symphonic rock purist, but one of great listening for open ears fans of good and interesting music.

Report this review (#355375)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars AKSAK MABOUL was formed in 1977 Belgium by Marc Hollander (keyboards, reeds, percussion) and Vincent Kenis (guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion). ONZE DANSES POUR COMBATTRE LA MIGRAINE (Eleven Dances For Fighting Migraines) is the debut album and delivers a seriously healthy dose of RIO / Avant Prog and sounds a bit like Zappa collaborating with the Art Bears and Univers Zero. This album also takes a few cues from the 19th Century French avant-garde pianist Erik Satie who was known for his minimalism as well as his screen plays of absurdist fiction called "Theatre Of The Absurd." Originally the first two AKSAK MABOUL albums were released on the independent Belgian label Kamikaze Records, but in 1980 Hollander created his own Crammed Discs label where the albums have since been reissued and remastered. The sound quality and production is outstanding for the time.

ONZE DANSE... is a collection of nicely played avant-prog with, in addition to Hollander and Kenis, has seven other musicians contributing everything from sax, violin and more guitar to lots of vocal contributions. The music is nowhere as out there and alienating as lots of RIO can be. There is enough melody to reel in the casual listener and enough avant-prog to engage the serious addict of the bizarre. This album has been described as a playful mix of musical forms, cultures and genres and i would have to agree with that. While the "typical" RIO / avant-prog sound of the chamber rock sort of such bands as Henry Cow, Univers Zero and The Art Bears can clearly be heard throughout the disc's run, there are also African drum bits, Zappa-esque spastic outbreaks and plenty of attention to electronic effects and classical music. There are also lots of jazz elements sewn into the tapestry. The sound here is quite distinct from any contemporaries.

I find this to be a really intriguing and captivating debut that is the perfect place to dive into the world of AKSAK MABOUL because the band really takes off into the world of the avant-garde with their second release "Un Peu de l'Âme des Bandits" with the addition of Henry Cow veterans Fred Frith and Chris Cutler making it a more dynamic and bizarre experience. ONZE DANSES... contains on the other hand a nice mix of the accessible and bizarre and would sit nicely next to the albums by News From Babel in that regard. Highly recommended for anyone who finds RIO and avant-prog a bit too weird but also for those who don't mind their RIO on the medium spicy side. I personally like it all and find AKSAK MABOUL to be one of the more interesting bands of this movement at this time in the small country that has produced more than its share of strange music.

Report this review (#1419331)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2015 | Review Permalink

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