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AKA MOON

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Belgium


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Aka Moon biography
This astounding trio of musicians started out as a Quartet at the end of the 80's and they were called NASA NA and included the guitarist Pierre Van Dormeal (brother of film maker Jaco - Toto le Hero). Sax man Fabrizzio Cassol is a giant in Belgian jazz scene and works in many projects. Stephane Galland is one of those drummers that can play almost anything and is not afraid to play with percussionists from all over the world - as you will see in the records. Finally of the actual trio is Michel Hatzigeorgiou (Hatzi for most everybody in the Belgian scene) is not only known worldwide as the premier fan of the now defunct giant bassist Jaco Pastorius (WEATHER REPORT) but has now surpassed him easily. Although the line-up remains constant, they have many collaborators that have been included at times into the band. Lately Fabien Fiorini on keyboards. Their albums are all different from each other sometimes doing India music sometimes avant-garde dancing jazz ballet.

Very demanding to the average proghead, AKA MOON is only for confirmed fusion-Canterbury fans.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

Aka Moon official website

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AKA MOON Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy AKA MOON Music


UnisonUnison
Cypres 2012
Audio CD$20.14
$16.05 (used)
Amazir (Dig)Amazir (Dig)
Import
Cypres 2007
Audio CD$12.75
$11.48 (used)
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AKA MOON shows & tickets


  • Aka Moon + Tcha Limberger + Fabrizio Cassol at le parc, Droixhe on 25 Sep 2014
  • Festival des Libertés 2014: AKA Moon & Friends on 22 Oct 2014

AKA MOON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AKA MOON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 9 ratings
AKA Moon
1992
3.85 | 7 ratings
Rebirth
1994
3.67 | 3 ratings
Akasha Vol. 1
1995
3.00 | 3 ratings
Akasha Vol. 2
1996
3.00 | 3 ratings
Elohim
1997
3.05 | 6 ratings
Ganesh
1997
4.00 | 3 ratings
Invisible Mother
1999
3.46 | 8 ratings
Invisible Sun
2000
3.67 | 5 ratings
Invisible Moon
2001
3.17 | 6 ratings
In Real Time
2001
3.96 | 6 ratings
Guitars
2002
3.89 | 8 ratings
Amazir
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
Culture Griot (Aka Moon and Baba Sissoko + Black Machine)
2009
3.96 | 4 ratings
Unison
2012

AKA MOON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Vooruit
1998
2.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Kaai
1999

AKA MOON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AKA MOON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Carbon 7 Compilations, Vol. 2
1998

AKA MOON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AKA MOON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Unison by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Unison
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Back to business after some health issues of one member, just one look could have you guess that AM's latest album Unison is in the general direction of Amazir and Culture Griot, based on the album's artwork that is now typical of their production for the Cypress label. And you'd be completely wrong about this issue, because it's rather a 180° turn and Aka goes back to its roots, so far so that you'd guess in a blind test that you're dealing with some kind of long-lost album from 92 or 93. Yes, just Hatzi, Galland and Cassol alone, with no guest to change their sound; even Fiorini (which had become thought of as the "fourth Aka") is conspicuously absent.

This return-to-roots direction is plainly evident right from the first note of Omax 1 and keep going right on through Michel Is Back (is that Hatzi or soundman Andina?) and then throughout the album. Indeed, we're dealing with a progressive kind of jazz that change rhythm, time sigs and melodies constantly. Some slight hints might tell you that we are 20 years into the AM's musical endeavour and one of them is Galland's sometimes over-mixed drums - notably in For Drummers Only, where he solos as well, the the following slightly mid-eastern Mirror. Most of the rest of tracks are of the same acabit/ilk, and the album is pretty even throughout.

So if you liked their debut album or its rework, you're bound to love Unison, because even if not a carbon-copy, it's really sonically close to the band's genesis. A really high-quality release, even if somewhat less adventurous than their previous few, but if one wants to hear where Culture Griot is leading, you might want to check Fabrizzio Cassol's latest album Strange Fruit, where the African direction continues. In the meantime, Unison while an excellent album, might not be as essential as its predecessors, because it's been done before, some 20 years ago.

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 Amazir by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.89 | 8 ratings

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Amazir
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars After a few years of silence (the reason is still unknown to me, but I must admit I never searched for it either), Aka Moon resumed their recorded adventures that were so brutally stopped in 2002. Amazir is sort of a return to the trio's jazz roots, even if there are some avant- garde forays and some ethnic (Caribbean) dabblings into the album. This still the same trio, with the faithful Fiorini on piano, Malik on flute and Northettes/Wyatt-ian type of scats vocals and a few more guests. Obviously, part of the delay between albums is that Amazir is the first record released by the Cypres/Kastafior label, but it is nice digipak with sober artworks, much the same that will be used for their next album Griots.

Opening with the title track, the album appears mainly syncopated jazz with a slight dissonant flute at times and a slightly funk bass, but soon enough in the following Cuban 1 appears Malik's thrilling flute and his high-perched scat vocals and the track takes on an addictive side. The 11-mins Vasco and the 7-mins Lila are definitely a bit more dissonant and brings a lot of substance to the album, Hatzi's bass being hypnotizing and Galland's drumming always right on the dot and at the same time surprisingly complex. 7 Wheels come back with Malik's Northettes scatting and the next Cuban 3 sees his flute coming to the fore, while Galland drums up a storm. Fiorini's piano is still as discreet but so useful to underline his partner's small tour-de-force, but he soars like an eagle in Vasco. And of course there is Cassol: Fabrizio's sax is of course the signature of the group's sound and sides up with all of the tracks >< he signs them all.

Those that were missing a bit the early Aka Moon and thought they were getting lost in their ethnic endeavours, will definitely like this album, probably their most "straight jazz" since the early 90's, but there is a lot more to it than that, too.

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  Culture Griot (Aka Moon and Baba Sissoko + Black Machine) by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Culture Griot (Aka Moon and Baba Sissoko + Black Machine)
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Belgium's premium trio is always looking for new adventures, and even if they aren't as prolific as they were a few years back, they can still pleasantly surprise us, as is the case in Cuklture Griot, where they collaborate with the Sissoko clan. The trio always claimed some African influences (their name is linked with Pygmy tribes), even though this writer prefer the Soft Machine tracks on Vol 2 as more descriptive of their music.

The album opens on a confirmed African touch, Western-African (a Griot is a Malian wiseman/shaman) at that and sets the tone for the album. It is sometimes amazing that AM is actually taking a backseat, letting the African group take all of the spotlight on some tracks as if they were powerless to bring something more than African bass and drums, making the second half of the album quite overlong and repetitive. AM is still very much there as can be heard on the superb Aka Teri Ya (Amitié), where they really shine, and on Aka Giulia (Giulia), where the trio is meddling completely with the Black Machine. If the first five tracks are quite enjoyable and even a bit of a novelty, the surprise effect slowly disappears and leaves a sensation of just more-of-the-same. Obviously the trio is out to show all of the subtleties of West-African music, but my poor under-developed European ears (since AM is always busy telling us that others do music soooooo much better) are simply not able to do so, or simply don't care. If Galland almost disappears in the African rhythms , Hatzi's bass often shines and is more audible. Cassol's interventions are always appropriate, but obviously he must wait for the right moments, which come numerous enough to make it interesting still for him.

One idea would be to play the album starting from track 5 to maybe give the latter pieces a better chance to shine as would probably Aka Folo Folo (Auparavant). But as the album unfolds, the mood remains a bit too much the same throughout a duration on an hour+. Overall, the trio manages a fine album, one that will grace their lengthy discography filled with ethnic experimentations, where this

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 Invisible Sun by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.46 | 8 ratings

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Invisible Sun
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars AM's second Invisible instalment is about the traditional jazz where the other two were about Carnatic music (mostly delving with eastern music and its improvisations patterns) on Moon (not yet released then) while Mother was about the meeting of written western music (with the group Ictus as guest) and improvised music (the trio). While you can find all three elements in all three albums, this one concentrates on jazz, even the very traditional jazz of Duke Ellington's big band music. And for this occasion the Aka Moon quartet asked the usual friends to come and beef up the "horn section".

Most of the album is a succession of Ellington-type of music beefed up by the jazz rock trio, especially Hatzi's bass often giving a bit of a Magma-esque feeling and that you can still hear a bit of Coltrane's spirit haunting the album. The album glides smoothly from track to track, with many good moments, but nothing extraordinaire either, especially if you're not into big band jazz. Then, all a sudden, the mood changes to the extreme with guest Foccroule (the head of many of Belgium's high culture institutions) playing a lengthy but completely-out-of-context Church Organ solo. Actually I'd say it would drag on way too long if the last three minutes were not a slow evolution from the organ alone being joined by Cassol's sax and its slow but implacable metamorphosis from classic into jazz. The last track is a pure joy to listen to and still spins regularly a few years after this album's first listens in my deck.

Not as essential as the other two Invisible albums, this album might have been a bit of a bore if it was not for the last 12 minutes.

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 Invisible Mother by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Invisible Mother
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars The first in their Invisible series, Aka Moon's Invisible Mother is actually fairly different than their usual oeuvre. Generally you can divide their works into three categories: a solid jazz-rock taking its roots in Coltrane's works, an Eastern-influenced fusion (generally in a very much Indian or Arabian realm) and last (and usually least) a modern dissonant music that borders free jazz and modern classical (from Faure to Stockhausen and Varese). This album fits more into that third category, but does take some of the other two as well. This album is a collaboration of two different formations: Aka Moon (our usual heroes) and Ictus, from which you'll recognize Jean-Luc Plouvier on piano. The music was also part of an experimental film, Mathewokes' Adrift On The Remains Of A Grand Piano.

Taken from the booklet, the group's explanation of what they tried to do will explain it so much better than I will: "The music of Invisible mother is based mainly on two ancestral schools of knowledge: the I Ching (Chinese book of changes), which follows the principle of mutation of the different elements and Karnatic Music (from South India), which includes specific rhythms and harmonics in keeping with the moods and colours of the different ragas and talas. We also try to connect two different approaches: the tradition of Western written music (Ictus) and improvised music (Aka Moon), which means the synchronizations of different attitudes to sounds, memories, times, spaces and intentions. It's a tribute to our unique, shared and only mother, the planet Earth aka Gaia". Quite intriguing is it not?

As for the music, it is divided in four multi-part tracks and if the first part (Genese) is mostly modern classical dissonant music, the second movement (over 22 mins) called Constellation (and indirectly being the title track as well as the centrepiece of the album) is actually quite excellent, managing fully their goals mentioned above: they managed to merge written and improvised music superbly and there are many heavenly moments especially with Hatzi burning his bass's strings.

The 12-mins third movement more or less attempts to repeat the excellence of the previous track, but does not really manage to match it, partly because it tries too hard: the classical parts are a little over-stretched, IMHO. The 9-min forth movement is definitely axed towards Ictus and can resemble some of Univers Zero's quieter works (Plouvier is a Zeroist).

A bit apart in Aka Moon's oeuvre, Invisible Mother is a rather pleasant album mixing jazz-rock and RIO-like classical music. Definitely worth a listen and with enough excellent moments to be almost essential.

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 Invisible Moon by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.67 | 5 ratings

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Invisible Moon
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Third stage of the Invisible series, Invisible Moon boasts the now-usual quartet plus the now-usual friends guesting on different tracks. As you might guess, this album is a bit the answer to their Invisible Sun album. This album (their twelfth if I'm not mistaken, and still on Guy Seghers' label Carbon 7) is one of their better one in recent years and comes with one of their more interesting packages with an intriguing booklet. It is made of three recording sessions (on Cassol's initiative, ranging from 97 to 2000 and mixed two years later. Indeed the groups had taken a bit too much of India's culture as most of their newer albums were indulging a bit too systematically in that realm. Not that you won't find any Indian influences in this album, far from it, but Aka does return to their first love, a mix of straight jazz and some jazz-rock, that made their early legend.

By now Fiorini's keyboards are fully integrated in the band's sound and in this album's case, it even starts the opening Worlds Of Possible that immediately reminds you of their earlier days even if the track is loaded with Arabian ambiances from Cassol's sax and Chandra's violin plus Gilmore's guitars provide growling replies. But the album climaxes a first time with the awesome 9-min Brothers And Games, where the group clearly alludes to the great Trane's world while Hatzi's bass is clearly taking a Zeuhl twist (somewhere between Magma and Present), but Cassol is the star of the show, even Fiorini is giving him a run for it, much like Tyner always pushed Trane further. You will also hear some definite King Crimson in the lengthy Dragon, which shows the Trane world slowly moving before fully delving into with an Indian percussion interlude House Of Shiva.

The album does a sudden volte-face with the modern with Three, a sung (by David Lynx) contemporary cool jazz, bordering dissonant at times. Another climax is the other "epic" The Wedding, played with the same Indian section as on Dragon, but climaxing on the amazing second third of the track, where Hatzi and Gallant groove with Fiorini's complicity over Cassol's awesome improvs. Wow! I'm sure Vander is listening.

An excellent return to form from one of Belgium's leading formation for adventuring music, but I must say that its material coming from three session is enhancing and hampering the album's success. Fortunately the former than the latter.

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 Invisible Moon by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.67 | 5 ratings

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Invisible Moon
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rainer Rein

3 stars This is my first attempt trying to write a review about a record of now-existing band...

Aka Moon was the first band who recordet at little Belgian record company Carbon 7 led by ex-Univers-Zero-men Guy Segers and Alan Ward. Invisible moon is one of the very few sold-out-items at Carbon 7 homepage.

Reading between the lines it seems to me that Invisible Moon would be one of the best recordings of Aka Moon. Maybe because of participation of so many quest musicians from India (playing violins and mridamgam). The line-up of Aka Moon itself is sax-bass-drums new jazz trio. My personal faves because of complexity and more variable sounds are Dragon (with incredible drums' playing of Stephane Galland at the final part) and The House Of Siva (there is mridamgam-playing). In addition some conversations between sax and violins.

All in all - this band is quite interesting and worth to check out. 3,5 stars really.

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 AKA Moon by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 9 ratings

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AKA Moon
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by progmonster
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What a pleasure to see Aka Moon here ! The great trio never did something as good as this first effort, even when you count their second rightfully titled "Rebirth" as they give on this one a new light upon the existing material presented here. Further developments will see Aka Moon pairing with african percussion, indian percussion or guitar... Only the context will change, the only way the band found to sound a bit different everytime. But on this record, inspired by their trip to the Aka Pygmies territories, the first Aka Moon is to be experienced like a journal into modal writing and evermoving structures. Rhythm section (Earth) played by Michel "call me Jaco" Hatzigeorgiou and Stephane "four arms three legs" Galland is both solid and flexible. Take a listen to their impossible time signatures and you'll get the point. Fabrizio Cassol (Spirit) and his alto saxophone have an oblique way of printing melodies in your brain, but once it's done it's too late to escape. If you can stand hip hop and slam technique, i urge you to discover Greetings from Mercury, another out jazz band from Belgium with Stephane Galland on drums and Steven Segers on vocals (son of Guy Segers' Univers Zero).

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 Invisible Sun by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.46 | 8 ratings

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Invisible Sun
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars From Belgium come AKA MOON, a very talented and intriguing avant-garde Jazz band. On their latest album "Invisible Sun" they are taking us on a musical journey into space with their compositions. There's reminiscences to Ian Carr and Nucleus, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Gil Evans but with a modern sound and mostly more adventurous performances. The result is very refreshing and experimental with lengthy solo excursions. Sometimes it's free-form jazz and on one track I could even hear similarities to Santana's "Caravanserai" album from 1974.

This is definitely not a album for new-beginners in Jazz, but an astounding, breathtaking example of splendid musicianship combined with great compositions.

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 Ganesh by AKA MOON album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.05 | 6 ratings

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Ganesh
Aka Moon Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I've to admit, on the first spin this album did not do too much to me, maybe because I'm not that fascinated by traditional Indian music in general. But I changed my opinion, after I listened to it by headphones in a quiet moment. It's quite an interesting one actually and I like the parts with percussion. My favourite song is "Birds Talk To You", but I find as well the percussion solo in "The Grace Of Vishnu" great. I think this band is quite worthwhile for checking out, if you are deeply into jazz fusion. 3,5 stars for this one!

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