Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Aksak Maboul - Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits CD (album) cover


Aksak Maboul


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Much more accessible than their debut , but more in the RIO genre , this album is certainly rockier. Proof is the first track where they sound Velvet Underground pastiching Bo Diddley. Of most interest is the intervention of Fred Firth and Chris Cutler of Henry Cow (I think they had disbanded by now) who are noted down as regular members of the band. Not everything is good but this stays more accessible/listenable than all H C albums and also Univers Zero. The last track on here holds the name of the next group Honeymoon Killers. Only for confirmed RIO fanatics .
Report this review (#32725)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Beside the excentric tastes and the eclectism, "Un Peu..." first hit me right between my ears; "A Modern Lesson" reminded me of that melody-of-tones-composition technique, well- known for its use from Webern to Zappa, only this time the melodic line itself is made up by cut and paste technique; "Cinema (Knockke)", made up of episodes (from pseudo-Varese music to some strangely beautiful, punk-like guitar solo), is the mark of this album, one of the best Aksak Maboul moments; many times i had the impression that Zappa is hiding somewhere in the studio, behind his grin, wise in his reeds arrangement; there wasn't, of course. The impression grew even stronger when listening to "Palmiers en pots" and despite the bizzare styles added on one album already, i remembered i'm dealing with some Henry Cow agents, open-minded, avantgarde musicians. Next came some song which might be some turkish folklore recording, then a punk episode and so on... it never stops.Wether it's or it's not an essential piece of progressive music, i can't answer you that. (Ooooooooo, yes : it's an excellent addition to any prog music... blah-blah-blah... just listen to it !)
Report this review (#32726)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The R.I.O. music is by definition a challenge to the listener. This album from Aksak Maboul is in that tradition, difficult, but when you get into it, is a sumpreme joy...and it's even more enjoyable when came someone who is fan of mtv music, and you play this in your cd can look and laugh of the face of the guy saying: "What the Hell Is This??".
Report this review (#38961)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wicked little monsters return with their final statement, much more obscure than the first. The childish qualities of "Onze Danses pour Combattre la Migraine" and its kind of gentle naivety almost vanish here in favour of really complex piece of music. Henry Cow misses you ? Well, take a listen to "Geistige Nacht", you'll surely be satisfied. Fred Frith and Chris Cutler teaming up with the former members of the band, this is no surprise. But that's the main difference between the two discs : this one sounds as a collective effort while their first is much more like a solo piece, more prcisely a duet. Both sides are enjoyable, unless you enjoy some unpleasant ways of doing music...
Report this review (#43044)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Masterpiece of the rarities...

Eventhough I haven't heard the First Album, sometimes when the musicians explore new horizons s the music turns in to a a whole experiment, and in some cases they failed. Nevertheless, this Album it's the perfect mixture between experimentation; production, progressive aproach... and even now in 2005 sounds contemporary with a bit of 70's nostalgia. (Great Piece of delightfull music only if u are very well trained in to avant progressive...Stay away begginners. This is the Majors!!!!!).

In the other hand, if you like to explore new music please give a second glance to this Album, you will enjoy it very much.

Why Five? I will give Five Stars to this Akbum because it's great quality in all senses, but don't think that you will be hear something like E.L.P. Try Henry Cow first.

Report this review (#51692)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars So - personally I like this one much more than the first one of them... obviously because of essential participation of Chris Cutler and Fred Frith (from good ol' Henry Cow) and Michel Berckmans (from great Univers Zero). Really - this album includes large bunch of hints to the musics of very different cultures (for example musical sights to Argentina and Turkey). My personal fave is Geistige Nacht written by Fred Frith. Unfortunately this bonus track (Bosses...) doesn't fit with the other tunes because of thats toothless sound. Anyway - for the rest of the music - four stars!
Report this review (#70637)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Calling a band Maboul (French slang for crazy, nutty) creates certain expectations. And this album does hold up to them. The result might be called Ethnic-Noise-Chamber-Rock. This album alternates between the bizarre (A Modern Lesson) and the obscure (I Viaggi Formano La Gioventu) with the many oriental/arab sounds in some of the tracks and the classical instrumentation in others. I love the opening track for its disharmonic and contrasts between the female vocals and the instruments. The oriental sounds here add a great flavour to the music alongside the punk in several songs and the chamber-rock in others. Inoculating Rabies is a sort of post-punk track with its noisy guitars on the one hand which sound as if they were a bit far away from the microphones and the wind instruments (bassoon and oboe) which are more in the front of the music. The combination which may seem at first to not go together is actually working quite well, as do all other weird instrumental combinations in other tracks such as Bosses De Crosses. The 23 minutes Cinema starts as an abstract piece and then by ~6:00 gets into a more formed shape and becomes a chamber rock piece, and as it develops it brings in more elements into it. The end result is an eclectic album filled with very different styles that are put together and sound (to me) very good when played alongside. If you are a fan of RIO and the weird and avant-garde forms of music, then this album is for you. This receives 4 stars from me. It is a good album, which I enjoy tremendously. Maybe not the most essential RIO record, but it is worthwhile getting it nonetheless, it will enrich your prog collection.
Report this review (#88701)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Aksak Maboul's debut was, in my opinion, a near-masterpiece. The Rock-In-Opposition movement (which was at the time a collective of five avant-garde bands) thought so as well, and Aksak ended up being one of the three bands added onto the original movement. Unfortunately, though, the RIO boys couldn't leave well enough alone. The duo which produced Onze Danses soon found itself flooded with musicians from other bands in the movement; Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, and Michel Berckmans quickly displaced the Hollander-Kenis duo which had produced the first album.

With the change in musicians came a change in sound; the quirky and unique mixture of ethnic and non-ethnic influences was drowned, and we were left with a somewhat stereotypical RIO album; strange chord progressions, unusual instruments, and mixtures of genres are present, but in a far less inspired fashion than by the original and inspired duo. While there are more than enough moments of RIO joy to satisfy a fan of the genre, there are also many spots that seem to lack inspiration.

Closer to 3.5 stars than it is to 3, this album will be welcome in the collection of a Rock-in-Opposition fan. But do yourself a favor and pick up the debut as well.

Report this review (#152874)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Aksak Maboul - Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits

If I were asked to define what exactly Rock-In Opposition was and sounded like, I would do two things: I would first think of a clear, concise definition of what the movement represented, and list a few bands that partook in the movement. Alongside of this, I would compile a mix-album of RIO music--or at least that's what I would've done. Things have changed after hearing Aksak Maboul's Un Peu De L'Ame Des Bandits, and the group has actually made my life a bit easier (or would if ever I had to define the RIO movement), for this album alone stands to me as the epitome of what exactly this RIO business is, and on top of that, it's RIO done impressively well from start to finish, which is quite a feat, truthfully, as sometimes (to me at least), the quirks behind RIO tend to dampen the overall effect of the music at play. But not so with this one!

Now the music:

The album kicks off with some almost early Can-esque music and some eclectic vocal work on A Modern Lesson, and later we are treated to some very unique piano work alongside some interesting horn and percussion work. This song alone is enough to make many turn their heads in shame--I can only imagine the reaction if this song were to come on over a loudspeaker in an American high school or on the jukebox at a pool hall (I'll have to try it one day...)

We are then treated to several tracks of eclectic, playful, full-out RIO music full of twists, turns, drops, assaults, and other mishaps. The entire album comes off as one long-winded joke--but at least it's a good one. Some of the better highlights, besides the opening track include the entirety of the ballad-y (and closest to normal) second track Palmiers En Pots, as well as most of the swirling vortex that is I Viaggi Formano La Gioventú (track 4)...then of course there's Cinema, the highlight track of the album, which spans some 23 minutes. We are treated to ten or so minutes of experimental noise from woodwinds until the song picks up around 11 minutes with some extremely out-there guitar, piano, and percussion work--this song sounds like a mind going insane...what's great about it is, after the topsy-turvy first 25 minutes or the album, this song comes in to treat us with an on-edge break, before climaxing in a devilish swirl of oddities. The song continues in an odd manner, pausing for some nice, soft piano work now and then, before swirling to a close and ending in the same manner that it began, but in a much more chaotic manner...

The album ends on an unsettling note with Age Route Brra, which begins with yet more oddly arranged percussion and other odd noises (that's really what the album is: an assortment of organized, odd, fanciful, and immensely entertaining noises), before ending in a way reminiscent to the way it began. It's a fun feast, and we're all invited...

This album is deeply recommended for those who want a rather extreme (at times at least) first look at the RIO movement in a few fun doses, as well as for fans of RIO that have not heard it yet. Other than that, I'd say it would probably be a bit too eclectic for fans of more modern prog to enjoy in much of a great extent. Either way, it comes deeply recommended from me. Something like an 8.8 on my scale, which makes it 4 stars on this one.

Report this review (#171109)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second and the last Aksak Mabul album is strongly different from their debut. Three years of intensive concerts under RIO flags have gone, and Aksak Maboul is very different band on this release.

Besides of founding duo of Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis, all the bunch of RIO leading artists participates on the recordings: drummer Chris Cutler and guitarist Fred Frith from Henry Cow, wind player Michel Berckmans from UZ, vocalist Catherine Jauniaux.

If band's debut was beautiful very acoustic, melancholic European urban folk-avant, pleasant and enjoyable, this album from very first minutes opens with dissonances, dark atmospheres and tension. Not even traces of sunny aerial sound of it's predecessor could be found - air is nervous, very noisy, instruments distorted, compositions broken by rhythms and structures. Even more - being in fact quite characteristic RIO album, with strong chamber rock influences and some free jazz moments, every composition of this album is played in different manner.

From free jazz bulky songs to dark chamber rock to street-wise Argentinian tango to excellent Middle Eastern hypnotising tune to almost Iggy Pop-like punk. Such concept makes this album very eclectic, more close to collection of occasional songs, but from the other hand, every composition is very different and listener has no chance to become bored. 23+ minutes long Cinema is a culmination - complex contemporary avant composition ,minimalist by its nature, but with soloing of different instruments one after another over the basic sound.

It's very difficult to compare two this great band's releases: I really love their debut as excellence of European urban folklore-based avant, but this, their second release, has its nerve, its tension and its own world of real RIO against debut's beauty. Recommended as equally good pair for debut.

Report this review (#355461)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars At least the Prog Archives show the censored cover. Look at 'Rate Your Music' - they trembled in fear of opprobrium and instead show a big 'X' instead! It's political correctness gone mad I tell ya.

If ever the term 'Avant Prog' was suited to a band 'Aksak Maboul' are the culprits. "Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits" is a twisted concoction of Jazz Rock. A hugely overblown wacky chamber prog album that is superior in many ways to 'Univers Zero' and 'Art Zoyd', with their unpredictability and wide variety of instruments.

'Maboul' is very fitting as it means 'mental' in French and you won't hear a much more mental 'RIO' recording this side of Uzbekistan. Chaos reigns supreme with a whacked out Fred Frith and Chris Cutler pulling the strings along with ex "Cos" keyboardist Marc Hollander doing what he does best.

Many genres are pounced upon, ravished then left for dead as they work their way through the fields like a 12 man slaughterhouse team: Middle East, Chamber and Punk are all decimated as the 'Maboul' tank rolls on.

'Cinema' is a monster 23 minute track heavy with woodwind instruments. Despite the rather cacophonous opening it definitely gains shape and form the longer it progresses and at points almost gains some semblance of a tune.

'"Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits" is one of those annoying albums that sounds great when you're listening to it but where you find yourself unable to remember much about it afterwards. There's nothing 'hummable' which would want to make you go back and listen to it again.

Too erratic and random for five stars, too tuneless for four, An album that has very little wrong with it and probably deserves more than the measly three I've given. It's for a certain time and place - a time and place I don't have much time for...

Report this review (#613812)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars "Un Peu De L'âme Des Bandits" released in 1980 can be thought as an iconic album by a Belgian RIO legend AKSAK MABOUL. Consider this production can be quite appropriate for opposition either to pop / rock 'on the golden road' or progressive rock. Wondering what we feel if we listen to this material for the first time without any knowledge. We can hear sound variations via the creation - mysterious Latino vibes with continental tango hints, weird electronic movements, Catherine's quirky voices along with heavy, dull, and hollow percussion, complicated drumming not harmonized with saxophone sounds, squeezed atmospheric ambiance - almost all of 'hard to accept' experiments can be felt as Krautrock. Such an eccentric impression should come upon to the audience even only through the first track "A Modern Lesson". Like an expensive wine flooded with luxurious complex aftertaste, this album might be created enthusiastically and cynically enough with strong intention of the creators, I guess. Sounds like authentic avantgarde progressive rock but the fact should make the creation more and more interesting and innovative.
Report this review (#1866013)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2018 | Review Permalink

AKSAK MABOUL Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of AKSAK MABOUL Un Peu De L'Âme Des Bandits

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.