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Ma Banlieue Flasque

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Ma Banlieue Flasque Ma Banlieue Flasque album cover
3.86 | 21 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 13'20 D'happiness (10:12)
2. NSK (5:05)
3. HBHV (7:51)
4. Aller Retour Les Grésillons (6:35)
5. Un Soir (4:52)

Total Time (35:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Philippe Botta / flute, saxophone
- Christian "Chypo" Cheype / drums, vocals
- Loic Gautier / bass
- Marc Ledevedec / guitar
- Philippe Maugars / guitar, vocals

Releases information

Celluloid LTM 1.021

Thanks to avestin for the addition
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MA BANLIEUE FLASQUE Ma Banlieue Flasque ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

MA BANLIEUE FLASQUE Ma Banlieue Flasque reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Protocol has it, if a band exults a work till the point of artistry (and, to embrace the warm idea, produces a splendid spark of progressive rock), that band is either rare and obscure, either a popular group with a very unusual and unexpected release - it can also have a special sound or rather contemplate an overdoze of a musical vision, fit a peculiar/particular frame of styles or swipe the floor with the competition.

Ma Banlieue Flasque is typical for the first category (in each case). However of a rare goody, an atypical flavor, an insensible grandeur and an unspectacular energy their music would appear, it is still a well-spotted, heavy, curious and upside-down trendy act, close to perfect for those who see in prog rock a hobby of sizes, a real treat and a place for pure art trying to be born out of rock. Their fizzy and snappy moment is not even part of prog rock's beginning cult, but rather of its ending years of classic jubilation, performing with much of the expanded, vulturous, emphasized or honest progressiveness, while a second style of post-modern sounds or strange jamming is also part of their view. There's only one album to prove their worthiness, and despite that the rock quintet didn't start nor ended their rock life with it, everything focuses on the album and how it can enchant. Ma Banlieue Flasque pretty much play all their cards with this short one-off project.

Even if a rather bolted choice of heavy music, Ma Banlieue Flasque is yet far from a mash of emotions and unbearable rock, the same thing going for the pleasure of listening what looks like a more critic-oriented composition. Admirable, at least for me, is that the influence taken from the RIO/Avant classic courses (apparently Zappa was a great inspiration and a musician to be improvised for them) doesn't trim the feeling of a prog rock classic beat, meaning, on one hand, that there are other artists doing a more extorted or impossible to describe art out of their music (most being RIO-ists or crazy Zeuhlists), and that, on the other hand, a few elements (like the ragged dark-bass tone or the cool-headed improvisation of symphonic, art rock, avant and jazzy chords) keep the album's special warmth inside the culture of pure and artistic, only dependent on difficulty and curiosity rock. For such a reason the links with Gentle Giant or Van der Graaf Generator sound promising, even if it doesn't mean a proper comparison. The music is, essentially, a lot freer and unbounded upon listening, it only stays of a fuzzy virtuosity.

The five musicians impress not by a cleansing emotion, but by a staggering energy (called "fooling around" whenever it lacks rigorousness), leaving the music a bit impure, yet more loaded. The thrills of a special sound, like the mellow one created by the saxophone or the flute, alternates with the pressured high strung of the usual instruments, like the firing drums, the serious drums or the well-dozed bass. A bit of the sound and the music is hard to categorize, otherwise there is a lively special approach of music, rock and post-modern tensions. Ledevedec's and Maugars's electric guitar spectacle is one thing, whilst the delicacy of a few acoustic hidden harmonies is touching. The vocals are not stunning (nor too important), but give an air to the rest of the whirlpool jam.

Ma Banlieue Flasque lasts under 40 minutes, with a treacherous and unequal epic being anyway supreme in comparison with the rest of the album (the four pieces left are from light to dissonant and clothed), is intense and creative, and proves a pleasant model in combining the more unusual prog rock with the complex character of an artistic sensibility and the cold ambiance of a dynamic chromatic.

This band's rare pearl isn't perfect, neither sensational (for the masses), but feels a lot like an obscure record with an authentic sound of hard-worked rock. Turning a harsh strip of difficult listening into impressive music, solid art and veracious prog, Ma Banlieue Flasque's fumigating underground realization is, nolens volens, worthy. Four stars from the heart.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Let's have fun!

Good humor, cheerful atmosphere, uplifting and amusing. That can pretty much sum this up but still not give it proper credit for the band's creativeness.

It would seem they were having fun while recording this. I can picture them smiling while playing this. The singer sounds as if he's about to laugh at certain points, and the different vocals he's employing, some of them deliberately odd and squeaky, emphasize the good mood and humour embedded in this album. Not only the vocals and lyrics, but the music itself tells you that this album is about goofiness, having a good time, and enjoying the tunes, and not at the expense of the music. This attitude towards the music, not entirely bereft of the theatrical aspect that I often hear in French rock-progressif though not as prominent, reminds me a but of the deliberate foolishness of Komintern's Le Bal Du Rat Mort and of course one can hear the Zappa-esque characteristics and influences as well. Moreover, the first track is called 13'20 d'happiness; what more evidence do you need? But don't think the humor comes at the expense of the music; not at all. There are fabulous melodies, great rhythm and good musicianship and instrumentation. The sax and flute bring a nice contrast to the frisky guitars which seem to have a ball. There is good variation in terms of style; from rock forms (whether progressive or not) to fusion, avant-rock/experimental and even some blues thrown in there and the ever present French charm and theatrical style. It is happy, joyous and fun - A great listening experience. It may not be the most original, but the way they mix all their influences is efficient.

While not a straightforward avant-rock album, this is quite the experimental album that would please listeners of avant-rock/RIO and also those who like Jazz-rock and Canterbury or alternatively fans of Frank Zappa, Komintern, Moving Gelatine Plates and other like-minded eccentric, experimental and humorous bands and musicians.

Note - if you go to their website through the link in their PA page, you can hear excerpts of each of the songs on this album.

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well this baby haven't seen the front page in 5 years! This is yet another jewel sitting in its shell dying to be reissued, I hoped Musea would release this one by now because they did intended on doing so, but that didn't happened yet. Ma Banlieue Flasque are a french quintet who released their only album in 1979. Although they definitely arrived late to the french prog scene, that doesnt mean they compromised on their music in any way or tried to reach the pop market by including lighter accessible songs. On the contrary, this band is much more crazier and demanding than most of their local country bands. MBF didn't invent the wheel but they certainly know how to use it. Their take of eclectic prog is so cool because they are drawing influences from all kinds of places, from Zappa like zany vocals to the amusing interplay of Moving Gelatine Plates, Komintern or simply high energy Gong.

The music is upbeat and sometimes very fast and intricate which means we are looking at a very capable and professional set of musicians. But in spite of the high level of musicianship no one here really steals the show and there isn't even an ounce of arrogance. The remarkable interplay between those guys is very close to the one found in groups like Cherry Five, Cathedral and Yezda Urfa. Aside from the usual instrumentation we have a full time manic Gongish saxophone and some flute too, no keyboards though.

The album is only 35 minutes long but there is so much to enjoy, the vocals are used rather sparsely and is about 85% instrumental, strange that most of the remaining 15% appear in the first track. "13'20 D'happiness" opens the album and pretty much sums what they are all about...Happiness! The first thing you will notice are those weird vocals, and there are all kinds of 'em, very Zappa inspired, but 1.5 minutes through the song the band is going on a long and tasty instrumental including excellent solos from both guitars and sax. 2.5 minutes before it all ends the vocals return for a big finale, it's like something out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. No doubt that this is a good opener but things are even getting better from now on. The rest is simply superb, a mindblowing freaky extravaganza of guitar and sax solos, cool and fast dueling between all and a dazzling interplay that will make your head spin, I think this will take a few more spins to fully appreciate. No dark or strange atmosphere, it's all very playful and so fun to listen to. Don't get me wrong this is still very progressive in the sense that it is constantly changing, the band have no problem to switch to something else and never look back in any given moment. In addition to all of that there's even some Zehul influences (not surprising...) most notably on "H.B.H.V", beautiful stuff really which makes this album even more diverse. It could also be qualified as a jam but not like in the fusion/jazz rock kinda style, the songs are more structured and goes from one part to the other instead of just jaming on one or two ideas. The rhythm section is of course top notch, the drummer is pounding on that splash cymbal like there is no tomorrow and the bass player reminds me of Geddy Lee on too much red bull. As I said it doesn't sound like the band is showing off, they are just good.

Apparently there are two more songs circulating the web that can be heard on myspace, one of them is surprisingly listenable here on the band's page. Strange that it's here because I couldn't find any evident that it was properly released anywhere. It's a very good song (not their best) that can give you a slight idea about what I'm babbling about.

So I can't see how this wouldn't knock anybody that is into the bands I've mentioned or anybody into those obscure wild and furious jams. Unfortunately it will be hard to locate a copy since it wasn't released on CD, but I think it is possible to download legally. An easy 4 stars.

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