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Moving Gelatine Plates

Canterbury Scene

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Moving Gelatine Plates The World Of Genius Hans album cover
4.31 | 192 ratings | 12 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The World of Genius Hans (14:00)
2. Funny Doll (4:25)
3. Astromonster (6:15)
4. Moving Theme (3:46)
5. Cauchemar (3:46)
6. We Were Loving Her (3:28)
7. Un Jour... (1:25)

Total Time: 37:05

Bonus tracks on 1994 CD release:
8. Synthème (3:28)
9. L'Alchimiste (3:20)
10. Les êtres d'or (5:50)
11. Ombres (3:30)
12. Rire de peine (7:07)

Line-up / Musicians

- Maurice Helmlinger / Hammond & Capri Duo organs, trumpet, alto, soprano & tenor saxophones, flute & backing vocals (1-7)
- Gérard Bertram / electric, 12-string & Leslie guitars, vocals (1-7)
- Didier Thibault / bass, guitar, synth & vocals (1-12)
- Gérard Pons / drums (1-7)

- Claude Delcloo / backing vocals (1-7)
- Jean-Pierre Laroque / bassoon (1-7)
- Michel Camicas / trombone (1-7)
- Guy Boyer / vibraphone (1-7)
- Jean-Jacques Hertz / guitar (8-12)
- Dominique Godin / keyboards (8-12)
- Jean Rubert / saxophone (8-12)
- Marc Profichet / drums (8-12)
- Mico Nissim / MiniMoog (12)

Releases information

Artwork: Henri Noblecourt

LP CBS ‎- 64146 (1972, France)
LP CBS - 64146 (2013, France)

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4101.AR (1994, France) With 5 bonus tracks taken from the 1980 "Moving" album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MOVING GELATINE PLATES The World Of Genius Hans ratings distribution

(192 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MOVING GELATINE PLATES The World Of Genius Hans reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Easily one of the most interesting group to come out of France in the early 70's along with Magma and the GonG galaxy , MGP's second album is certainly impressive having gained in writing ability what they have lost in enthusiasm. The ever-excellent Musea booklet explains the whys and hows of their relative success (and the lack of greater success), but these guys missed the golden opportunity to strike it big! Bankrupted right from the start (the bassist never even owned his bass and the drummer and KB player were forced to sell their instruments afyter the release of this album) , the lack of finances was probably the only reason for their failure because, talent they cretainly had!

The tiltle track , the monster 14 min+ World of Genius Hans is probably their magnum opus displaying excellent capabilities from all musicians even for guitarist Bertram - which had appeared a bit short on the previous album. But clearly the star of the show is Hemlinger and his never ending switch from trumpet to saxes , flutes and Kb works. Astromonsteris yet another highlight and Moving Theme is without a doubt a leftover of lenghty concert improvisations. The album ends on a calm note with a short sax-filled Un Jour... This is the only track to have a french title in their first two albums , but as in all cases , their vocals were sparse and in English and generally very Canterbury-like.

The bonus tracks are from the much later album they recorded as Moving. One might have feared that they would be bothersome (especially that they date from 1980), but nothing to worry about: although they are noticeably different (especially vocal-wise as they are much more present and in French) and have a vastly different line-up, they remain in spirit with the the first two albums.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars For their second release the band employed some guest musicians in the studio to add backing vocals, bassoon, trombone and vibes. I think it's fair to say that this is a more polished and mature effort. It took me a long time to get into this album. That was a surprise to me given my adoration for their debut. It just seems to lack the energy, enthusiasm and freshness of the debut. Check out the album cover ! Craziest picture you'll ever see.

'The World Of Genius Hans ' is the 14 minute opener and best track on the record. It doesn't measure up to "Last Song" from their debut but it is incredible nonetheless. It opens with some heavy fuzz bass as some funky guitar comes in. Sax takes over before some angular guitar joins in. A lot of sounds jumping in and out. The sax by now is dissonant. Vocal melodies, as drums fire off some rounds. Vocals arrive after 3 minutes. It sounds like a Zappa tune after 4 1/2 minutes and the drums and guitar to follow are excellent. Horns come and go. We get a calm 6 1/2 minutes in with lots of atmosphere. A nice sax solo 8 minutes in as drums beat and bass throbs. Organ 11 1/2 minutes in followed by trombone. The tempo picks up a minute later.

"Funny Doll" is a jazzy track that builds with drums and horns leading the way. Some fuzz bass before vocals and flute arrive 1 1/2 minutes in. Some prominant bass after 2 minutes. "Astromonster" features vibes early as sounds are added. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in. The guitar and drums sound great 3 minutes in. It calms down before it ends. "Moving Theme" is an uptempo track that is so impressive. The interplay and sound is fantastic ! It does settle down but they still amaze. "Cauchemar" features a lot of tempo shifts as bass, sax and drums lead the way.The vocal melodies 2 1/2 minutes in are a nice touch. Another great tune. "We Were Lovin' Her" is different as we get a spacey soundscape for the first 2 minutes including some fuzz. Some weird vocals come in although the spacey vibe is still presant. "Un Jour..." is a short instrumental to close the album.

Not as dynamic or impressive as the debut but well worth picking up. I found this one to be a grower. It grew to 4 stars.

Review by 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).
Review by Dobermensch
5 stars Good old Moving Gelatine Plates!. A first rate 'Canterbury' band from France who sound very unusual. I can't go any further without mentioning the wonderfully bizarre front cover... One of my all time favourites. A pig in a bomber jacket, smoking a fag with parsley on it's head and also stuffed up its nose is the stuff of genius... Genius Hans.

Music wise, the band are very tight. There's a fair bit of of jazz rock involved. The title track has some great vocals and also some very 70's keyboards which fit in brilliantly. The themes are similar to their first self titled album. This one however just does it for me. At times it sounds like late night Jazz followed by 'Test Card transmission Music' cheese.

There's some decent vocals on track two which devolves into 'Two Ronnies' jazz malarky.

An uplifting album which bounces about randomly over the place but which always seems to fall back together again beautifully. 'Moving Theme' pretty much sums up this strange album - beginning with some backwards tapes and transmogrifying quickly into jazz rock styled madness.

Now... here's where the big problem lies in giving 'World of Genius hans' a rating. The last third is taken up by half of the following album 'Moving' from '80. As an entity in its own right it's brillant, sounding like Sammla Mammas Manna at many points. I may even prefer this to the disc I'm reviewing presently. There's lots of French vocals and pretty instruments involved, sounding quite different from the '72 album

Does this mean I'm reviewing 'World of Genius hans' or 'Moving' ?

Baahhh! It's very confusing. The last 20 minutes push this recording to a perfect five stars. In an unusual way the tracks from the '80 album sit very comfortably with the original LP from '72. But it means I can't review 'Moving' on it's own.

I love this weird and wonderful album and would recommend it to all prog fans.

Review by Warthur
5 stars This one is slightly better than the group's debut, but there's not much to tell them apart. Once again, the Canterbury scene is the primary inspiration - particularly Soft Machine before that band took a turn into po-faced jazz, with Caravan also peeping through here and there and a bit of Zappa-esque humour to boot (check out that album cover - Cow Mask Replica, anyone?). This album sees them broaden their musical horizon a bit, the first track opening with a furious bassline which sounds like the more progressive end of the funk scene before developing into a Canterbury epic, but they don't diverge from the first album's approach so greatly as to alienate anyone who enjoyed that one. These first two Moving Gelatine Plates albums are essential listening for anyone who needs reminding that the Canterbury scene extended well beyond Canterbury.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here we have one of the greatest albums from the Canterbury Scene, and would you expect any less from a French band? Along with Gong and Magma this band is one of the more interesting and important French prog groups of the 1970s. Speaking of Gong, you can hear some similarities here with them but generally this is more pre-Third Softs influenced. This second album is much better than the first, as good as the debut was. The writing, playing and production are all an improvement. Oh, and that cover! Probably one of the most interesting and iconic album covers in prog rock, I bet more people are familiar with that cover than a note of the band's music!

This features the same line-up as the debut. Once again Maurice Hemlinger flawlessly switches between organ, trumpet, flute and saxes. Supposedly the members were having a lot of financial difficulty and had to borrow instruments from other French rock bands or sell their own. That's the price you pay for trying to make Canterbury style music in early '70s France. Again the lyrics are in English but there seems to be more wordless harmony singing than on the debut. Still lots of great fuzz-bass and wah-guitar.

The 14-minute title track is the highlight of the whole album and one of the best Canterbury epics. Great guitar and bass tones (including wah-bass). Before 2 minutes you hear some haunting "ohh" harmony vocals, this slowly turns into more Gregorian chant like vocals in English; one of the members has a cool deep voice. Gets almost Gong sounding after 4 minutes, not too surprising since both groups are based in France. I love when the sax and guitar play in unison. More great harmony vocals later. Before 11 minutes is one of the best parts with modified organ and wah-bass. This track keeps changing but nothing ever seems forced or out of place. A very flawless epic.

"Funny Doll" is a very jazzy track, almost reminds me of the first Henry Cow album. That is until the vocals come in, then it sounds more like the brass-rock of Blood, Sweat & Tears or early Chicago...except with no brass section. "Astromonster" starts out very Gong-like. Once the fuzz-bass kicks in things get exciting. When the drums enter the band goes into classic Canterbury jamming. In the middle is some awesome drumming with some great organ and guitar. I love the guitar filtered through a Leslie speaker sound, popular in the late '60s/early 70s.

"Moving Theme" begins slowed down then gets sped up to normal speed as the band jams away in full odd-metered jazzy Canterbury fashion with the obligatory fuzz-bass. Features a bit of start/stop playing. As is typical with this group the song changes into different sections (some not long at all) often. "Cauchemar" features what sounds like a harpsichord at the beginning. A very melodic song for the most part. More great guitar/sax unison playing. Later on is more of that great harmony singing, this time doubling the sax.

I like the sustained organ chord that opens "We Were Loving Her." Overdubbed sounds from an unidentified source and fuzz-bass are joined by more oddball sounds. Then the bass takes the band (without drums) into a song with English lyrics. Love the spacey sound in the background. "Un Jour..." is a mellow and laid-back closer with a great guitar tone. Like the previous song, there are no drums. That last song and "Funny Doll" are about the only things keeping this from being a masterpiece. Both are good but not quite as strong as the rest of the album, which is excellent Canterbury. I would rate this a 4.5 (almost masterpiece) but will round down to 4 stars. Highly recommended.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars What an amazing palpitation, what an incredible thunderstorm, created with lots of normal instruments and lots of abnormal music vibes. It's a remarkable surprise this album "The World Of Genius Hans" be released in 1972, the sunrise period of Canterbury / avantgarde scene all over the world. MGP members' power is fantastic and crazy, and their union of music status is very rigid really ... you will get shocked via their magnificent sound gems each of which should be tied confirmedly with others.

Their superb vibe above mentioned can be felt via the first titled track. Many essences this one has ... madness, delicacy, and intensive explosion ... all of them come from the inner space beneath their complex mind. But yes, not difficult to understand. You can keep yourself directly upon the soundscape, and purely enjoy their pleasant sound trip. They should make you happy and crazy along with their tricky bullet shower.

Let me say this album might be produced as a majestic satanic suite completely, and not be divided with pieces of tracks but all songs can be thought as movements of a suite. Until the last track "Un Jour ...", they might squeeze their quirkiness deep into our brain. Again I shout, what a surprise this album be completed in 1972. No suspicion their novelty and bizarre soundscape should construct permanently not only the Canterbury but also RIO / Avant music scene as a perfect sound credential. Bravo.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars MOVING GELATINE PLATES followed up their debut album only a year later with the phenomenal THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS. This was the pinnacle of the first wave of progressive rock when every band was trying to one-up the other and by the time we get to 1972 we have some of the most complex musical machines pumping out some of the most creative and bizarre music ever. MGP were particularly ambitious in their approach as even to this day, albums like THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS remain as some of the most ambitious and progressive music to ever hit the market. Like many similarly minded musical acts of the day who were pushing themselves so far and evolving musical ideas at the speed of light, the band found it impossible to coax the album buying public to hop onto their prog train and ended up breaking up after this album due to lack of sales, however time has been very kind to MOVING GELATINE PLATES and both of their first two albums have become regarded as two of the most adventurous musical extravaganzas to be had in the early years of prog and all of prog history for that matter. This is super complex music that takes time to seep in. There is simply too much to take in on after one, two or even ten listens but the rewards for the dedicated lover of complex music are immense due to the fact there are more than 450 developments leading to a fast and non-repetitive musical motif.

The distinct influences on board are from Soft Machine and Frank Zappa's jazz-fusion era only everything here is on steroids taking everything in the Canterbury Scene and jazz-fusion world and increasing the complexity manyfold while jettisoning the irritating solos of the debut album leaving behind a cohesive and mind-bending musical masterpiece. Despite the band only being a four-piece unit of Gerard Pons (drums), Didier Thibault (bass), Gerard Bertram (guitars and vocals) and Maurice Helmlinger (trumpet, saxes, flute and hammond organ)and a few additional guests that add trombone, bassoon, vibes and backing vocals, the music sounds more complex than an entire symphony in a music hall as it is the themes are elaborate offering instantly catchy melodies that turn into the hundreds of combinations of themes, instrumental tradeoffs and ridiculously labyrinthine song structures that keep this whole affair on a seemingly different musical plane.

This is for the seasoned prog lover and would surely alienate the uninitiated abecedarian. As much music as i have consumed in my ever growing addiction i would have to rate THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS to be one of the most challenging and difficult-to-grasp albums that i have ever heard, yet it is not so far out as to not be able to pick melodies up from first listen, it's just that the sheer number of melodic developments, their brevity and overall musical structure is a staggering affair. I love these kinds of albums and wish there were more of them. MOVING GELATINE PLATES is a band that has gained recognition over time due to their being so ahead of the pack at the time of release. Thanks to Musea Records for bringing this kind of music into the current era for this music is timeless. On the CD releases there are five extra tracks that are half of the third MGP's release that came out in 1980 only under the moniker MOVING. They are randomly distributed between the first two albums and although not anywhere near the complexity of the first two releases still make for a decent listen. THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS is a mega-masterpiece in my world and a desert isle pick for sure since even after a gazillion listens i can still listen to this at any given moment.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Definitely more on the jazzy side of what we call Canterbury music. Moving Gelatine Plates' second album--released only a year after their surprisingly mature debut--displayed a better quality of recording and engineering to equally mature and accomplished instrumental jazz arrangements. Other than the debut's "London Cab," I like this album hands down over the debut. There is more warmth in the songs and performances here--and a feeling that the band is more relaxed, as if they are just grooving and enjoying themselves and their unique sound.

The opening song, the fourteen-minute epic title song, 1. "The World of Genius Hans" (14:05), is a very jazzy piece with some quite technically challenging ensemble sequences all working coherently and cohesively together. (9/10)

2. "Funny Doll" (4:29) opens with some light, bouncy interplay between sax and lead guitar with snappy bass and drum play beneath. Towards the end of the first minute the band gels into a full sound just before a male voice sings to us in a kind of Benmont TENCH kind of raspy way. The following jazz section is quite lovely, with the band playing really tightly and with some awesome multi-insturmental melodies. In the fourth minute it starts to get a little more mathematical just before a very fun section with a circus-master like vocal saying "good-bye" to us. Awesome song! (10/10)

3. "Astromonster" (6:20) opens with a rolling bass playing beneath some guitar, bassoon, and percussive oriental- sounding staccato melody weave. Then things slow down for a bit, as if to reset, before opening the third minute with some more straightforward, driving ensemble jazz with organ and fuzz bass. The fourth minute then brings in another shift--almost a bolero kind of Latin section with a very Santana sound and feel to it (except for the drums). The Santana-like melody is carried forward by the guitar until, at the end of the fifth minute, a faster paced start- and-slow alternating pattern is established for about a minute. The final minute sees a very slowed down regurgitation of one of the song's main melodies--from the flute! Weird but awesome song. (9/10)

The next song, 4. "Moving Theme" (3:56), feels like an 'tude, like a song created to exercise the group's dexterity and entrainment timing. Not particularly melodic or enjoyable except in the way one can appreciate the band members' command of their instruments and their ability to play tightly. It could just be what its title says: a theme for moving! (7/10)

5. "Cauchemar" (3:53) is a fast-paced piece that kind of follows one format for its entire four minutes--even trying to establish a melody line that follows the pop ABACAB-type of flow. (8/10)

6. "We Were Loving Her" (3:19) is a slow-to-unveil-itself piece that has a kind of MATCHING MOLE/SOFT MACHINE experimental feel to it. The song has nice melodies expressed by the saxophone in the last minute. (8/10)

7. "Un jour..." (1:30) has quite a SATIE feel to it despite it's being a bass and saxophone duet.

Perhaps not as silly as their debut but not as serious either. While not my favorite type of Canterbury music--I go for the more melodic fun stuff of Caravan and Supersister--it is not my least. The musicians and compositional team of MGP are definitely amazingly good and awesomely confident. What feels like their step forward in World of Genius Hans is how relaxed and fun the band feels to be on this album. Too bad they never generated the interest or fan base to sustain their passion.

Review by ALotOfBottle
5 stars After their excellent Canterbury-fueled self-titled debut album, Moving Gelatine Plates re-entered the studios to record their sophomore effort The World Of Genius Hans. First thing that one is likely to notice is its bizarre cover. Seems like an allusion to something? Maybe Trout Mask Replica? Who knows. Didier Thibault, the band's bassist, guitarist, and vocalist recalls: "The genius resides in madness. This is the idea behind that wacky cover with a calf head and parsley in its ears. It was more of a concept album. Then things were working well, because during that year after the release of our debut album we played more concerts and spent more time working together."

The style presented on The World Of Genius Hans could easily be described as a natural development from Moving Gelatine Plates' debut album. And even though one will find differences between these two releases, their second work is quite similar to the first one. Great jazz-fueled passages, numerous jams, catchy themes, choral arrangements, instrumental workouts, funky vocal parts, tongue-in-cheek moments ? these are just some of the elements that contribute to the fantastic musical extract of Moving Gelatine Plates.

The group consists of fantastic, well-trained musicians. Whether it's Maurice Helmlinger's trumpet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute, organ, Gérard Bertram's guitars, Didier Thibault's bass and synthesizers or Gérard Pons's drums ? the instruments are handled with great ease and professionalism. The wide plethora of instruments used on The World Of Genius Hans provides a varied and diverse sound.

The original release comprises seven tracks (the CD reissue features five more). The 14-minute title track, "The World Of Genius Hans" highlights all of the previously mentioned characteristic elements of the band. Going through many segments, this is an incredibly pleasing musical journey. "Funny Doll" might have a little bit of a silly title, but since the very first notes, you know it's a masterpiece. It opens with a rapid Mingus-like passage with a funky vocal part in the middle. "Cauchemar" is characterized by great vocal arrangements. "We Were Lovin' Her" has fantastic, dreamy organ parts and is a bit different from all other pieces and has an almost Van Der Graaf Generator-like feel to it. The album closes with "Un Jour?", which features some interesting guitar sounds and great saxophone playing.

In comparison to their previous album, The World Of Genius Hans does not seem to bring anything new other than just the mature upgrade of the band's sound. Nonetheless, this is an incredible Canterbury scene album with a classy style that is by no means less tasteful or ambitious than the one of Soft Machine, Egg or Matching Mole. Personally, I slightly prefer their debut to The World Of Genius Hans, but this is an excellent work regardless. Highly recommended!

Latest members reviews

5 stars The first time I listen to THE WORLD OF GENIUS HANS, I was flabbergasted... As usual, what attracted my attention was obviously the cover, the least to say weirdo and unusual, and I always thought that an atypical album's cover must encompass atypical music as well, I was not wrong. We start ... (read more)

Report this review (#2756270) | Posted by OctopusFive | Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An interesting addition to the Canterbury scene from France. The name of the band kind of gives away the game here. It is jazz/fusion Canterbury scene prog. Those who think SOFT MACHINE and GONG is as far as you can go in the direction of fusion/jazz, this album will take you even further in ... (read more)

Report this review (#218676) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, May 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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