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PLACEBO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Belgium


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Placebo biography
Hot on the heels of Miles Davis and Nucleus, PLACEBO was the first Belgian group to advance in jazz-rock territories. Leader Marc Moulin (already a veteran by the early 70's since he started in 63 with saxman Scorier) was the main composer of this rather large group (they had a four-man brass section) somewhere between Nucleus and a funky Chicago Transit Authority but with that bizarre and sometimes weird/silly Belgian spirit/absurdism.

Their three albums (from 71 to 74) were widely played on the alternative scene in the early 70's, so much so, that they appeared in concert on National TV (still to be released commercially but aired two years ago). Their debut "Balls Of Eyes" is maybe their better one (it won a prize at 1972's Montreux Jazz Festival), but the 1973 album is not far behind. After a rather disappointing eponymous album (on the Harvest label), they slowly disbanded, giving their last concert in 76. Marc Moulin will then have a long solo career (his best album being Sam Suffy in 75), diddle in Eurovision spoof-group Telex, work with great Belgian group Cos (see their entry), produced many artist (Philip Catherine a.o.), host his own radio show, had his own record label and for the last 15 years has been a precursor in acid-jazz.

Although none of their vinyls have received a Cd reissue (yet), there is now a compilation that is really an excellent introduction and the track selection suffers no discussion: you are getting the best one possible. Actually their records gained back some interest since they were sampled a few times for Trip-hop records. Marc Moulin left us on Sept 26, 2008 at the age of 66


:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
One of the first belgian progressive groups.

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Placebo: Without You I'm Nothing (180g, Colored Vinyl) Vinyl LPPlacebo: Without You I'm Nothing (180g, Colored Vinyl) Vinyl LP
Limited Collector's Edition
Elevator Lady Limited
Vinyl$33.95
Once More With Feeling (Singles 1995 - 2004)Once More With Feeling (Singles 1995 - 2004)
UMe 2013
Audio CD$5.00
$3.20 (used)
Without You I'm NothingWithout You I'm Nothing
Import
Virgin Records Us 1998
Audio CD$4.34
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MedsMeds
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PLACEBO discography


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

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

3.02 | 8 ratings
Balls Of Eyes
1971
3.92 | 5 ratings
1973
1973
3.88 | 6 ratings
Placebo
1974
4.65 | 4 ratings
Marc Moulin - Sam Suffy
1975

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

PLACEBO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.45 | 5 ratings
Marc Moulin: Placebo Sessions 71-74
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Placebo Years 71-74
2007

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

PLACEBO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Balls Of Eyes  by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.02 | 8 ratings

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Balls Of Eyes
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Placebo was basically the first effort of Belgian Jazz-Rock legend Marc Moulin (later a member of Cos and Aksak Maboul) to create and present his own arrangements under a personal project to the public.The started around 1969/1970 from Waterloo and recorded the first album ''Ball of eyes'' in 1971, released on CBS Records.More recently the album saw a CD re-issue by the Japanese label P-Vine Records.

With a large brass section consisting of a 4-piece trombone/ trumpet/ clarinet/ sax personel (among them Richard Rousselet of Julverne fame), additional members on guitars, bass and drums and of course Moulin on keyboards and piano, Placebo's debut seems not quite intricate or adventurous to speak the truth.Moulin's first effort relies a lot on smooth and relaxed jazzy arrangements with a melodic approach and very light interplays, quite accesible to say the least with only occasional and non-risky solos.The sound flirts at moments with Horn Rock in a BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS vein with harmonic trombones and saxes but also with Funk and even Soul, especially when vocals are present.It is rather doubtful if such an easy-going sound will satisfy the progressive listener, however there are a couple of exceptions which deserve a specific mention like the short but nice ''Humpty Dumpty'', where the Canterbury-like guitars and electric piano meet the fine performance of the brass section, as well as the longest cut of the album ''Showbiz Suite'', a Canterbury-flavored piece with a definite SOFT MACHINE/HATFIELD AND THE NORTH edge, where the solos and instrumental battles are endless yet inspired, electric piano, saxes and bass are on the forefront and actually this is possibly the only piece in here prooving Moulin's great talent.

The album has some good moments to satisfy fans of Jazz-Rock,Horn Rock or Jazz-Fusion,but it is still very far from a demanding listening for the average progressive fan.Recommended only to lovers of the aforementioned closely related styles...2.5 stars.

 Marc Moulin - Sam Suffy by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.65 | 4 ratings

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Marc Moulin - Sam Suffy
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

5 stars The gradual demise of Placebo was a slow process, the group playing its last concerts during 76, but by that time, their leader Marc Moulin was already working on different project, often messing about with Cos, but also released his first solo album in early 75, which would, like Placebo's albums, become highly influential, especially in acid jazz and trip hop circles around the millennium change. Strangely enough, Moulin returned to CBS to release Sam Suffy (a pun on the expression "Ca me suffit" >> It suits me fine) with an artwork depicting the justice's highest court on a sandy beach of the North Sea, making it a semi-legend in its own country. With an un-credited bass player, wind player Rousselet (ex Placebo), the drum stool shared by Morales (ex-Placebo) or Castellucci, Marc Moulin handles all of the keyboards himself, except on a short track.

Musically, Sam Suffy is not far away from Placebo albums, but if anything the album is more even, because unlike the group efforts, SS had few covers (just one, a short Monk composition), which was always the weaker side of Placebo. So MM develops a superb melodic funky jazz-rock that will work wonders in samplings three decades later. Some will say that SS owes much debt to Hancock's Headhunter, but these typical Placebo grooves existed since their earliest albums, so it's not like the similarity is inspired or influence by Herbie.

The opening Le Saure is an enthralling funky piece with a cool groove, where Moulin switches from one keyboard to another, a bit like Herbie does. The short Thelonius Monk-penned Misterioso is probably the more experimental album with Rousselet's flugelhorn drawing monster sounds. The short From track is keyboard bonanza with Jasper helping out on electric piano. An interesting exercise, where Moulin toys with a Moog. La Blouse is another smooth-gliding funky groove, so typically early 70's. The short Bougie is a duo between Rousselet and Moulin's bluesy piano, probably the weaker track around. The closing playful jumpy Beau Galop has Marc tripping on his keys happily, without a sole care in the world.

The flipside is made from the sidelong five-movement suite, lasting (17 minutes) with Castellucci on drums (as opposed to Morales on the other side). The moods range from happy to sinister, from the sublime to the orgasmic, from dissonance and animal noises (the third movement) to pure heavenly grooves, with Rousselet blowing from a Miles Coltrane to a Ornette Sanders, the bassist pulling from you some spine shivers with his delightful touch.

Reissued in the late 90's on the Counterpoint Records label (also doing the Placebo compilation), the Cd came in handy for those looking to investigate Moulin's early 70's music, because the vinyls were fetching a small fortune, because eagerly searched for in the acid jazz and trip hop circles. MM's SS album is probably Marc' best works of the 70's, and this Cd is warmly recommended to everyone into JR/F, easily earning its fifth star.

 Marc Moulin: Placebo Sessions 71-74 by PLACEBO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.45 | 5 ratings

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Marc Moulin: Placebo Sessions 71-74
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BronDune

4 stars After years and years, finally, we have "Placebo Years 1971 to 1974" released in 2005. With the excellent "Sam' Suffy" (1975), this 'choosen titles' is a very exciting album with a mix of jazz-rock, jazz and sometimes (but you have find hard for) some prog sounds or avant-garde sounds. To know the best part of Marc Moulin history, please feel free to visit marcmoulin.com/news.html and try to hear "Placebo Years 1971 to 1974" published by the famous label Blue Note. It's a must from little Belgium !

 Marc Moulin: Placebo Sessions 71-74 by PLACEBO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.45 | 5 ratings

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Marc Moulin: Placebo Sessions 71-74
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

5 stars After years of neglecting a much in demand for Placebo vinyls, mostly due to Acid-jazz and techno artists (frequent sampling from his albums), some label finally took to interest to release at least parts of the Placebo records (that are becoming scarce on the market) by issuing this compilation of the best tracks of the three vinyls. If there is a real meaning to that famous "Best Of XXX╗, this album is really out for the best tracks of an album (which is actually rarely the case, usually being the "most commercially successful of XXX") but it would rather die out then call itself such defaming a title. AND QUITE RIGHTLY SO!!!

I really mean it here, somehow the tracks chosen on this compilation are up to 95% of the ones I would have chosen, so remarkably so, that I am taking the time to write down. Although a compilation album can never replace the album feel (as opposed to a collection of tunes), but in this case, the compilation is so well done that it could become its own album. So in a way very Moulin way, he actually sampled his albums to make a new. Will that circle finally be broken? Not likely ;-) !!! And we would hate Moulin to stop being himself!!!

 Placebo by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.88 | 6 ratings

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Placebo
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars The third album is rather disappointing in its goal to achieve what the previous album had promised, even if it came out on the "progressive" label Harvest, was probably the album showing that Marc Moulin was getting too restricted in the formula he had set himself.

The lenghty Stomp is a little too repetitive, but still a great moment, but it does have an end-of-era feel, while N W, also rather lenghty is a real reflective moment, the brassy funky Dag Madam is great change of pace, the closing S U S is again delving in Moulin's search for new electronic sounds (here almost a sonar), Plotselling being the main attraction the first side of the vinyl with its lenghty Rhodes lines (a little Ratledge- sounding here) while the winds induce a great added tension even if a drum solo comes in to ruin it a bit. Bosso is a Novo (I know;-) so typical of years to come.

Although Placebo will only disband at the end of 76, this will be their last album, and by giving an attentive ear to it (they do seem a little short of ideas), it seems that they stopped before making one more album, that would've been "l'album de trop". Luckily they did not!! However , before their eventual demise , Marc Moulin had put out a "solo group" effort called SAM SUFFY which is quite astounding, adventurous, eclectic and the perfect expression of what he wanted to do: expand from an octet to a trio: Grandiose!!!

He then will go on for an extensive and then extended career including a political and very satirical press-writing twist, an acid-jazz career, production of Cos and Philip Catherine albums and fronting electro-pop outfit Telex (ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons's preferred band) etc..

 1973 by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.92 | 5 ratings

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1973
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars As you might guess, this album is named after the year it came out (this does not mean that all tracks taken after Orwell's theme of 1984 were recorded that year;-), Placebo is taking the beat were it left it at the end of their debut album. With a relatively unchanged line-up but with a few guests that appear also in the next album, Moulin is going a step further with his research into electronic sounds induced by KB, although leaving all the room for the horn section to move. Unlike the debut, on this album, Moulin is definitely taking the forefront and really shines all the way through, while still providing a great backtrack for the horn section.

Balek starts out with a then-revolutionary loop dominating the background and the group just surfs throughout the track's 4 min while Moulin switches from Moogs to Rhodes and back, great stuff. Only Nineteen is another track where Moulin shows us his savoir-faire and here the horn section plays the faire-valoir. Phalene (recorded live) is a rather lenghty piece (a relative 8 min) that takes great pride in being slowly developing itself, content on following Rottier's great drumming and the brass clearly influenced by Nucleus's Ian Carr. Temse is also the occasion for Moulin to extend his electronic KBs to the max, while remaining at the service of the song - un trŔs grand monsieur - meanwhile the funky horns and no less enthralling rhythm section just take you to hell and back. Polk is another sizzling funky jazz-rock track induced by a great guitar, which makes you love every second of its short life.

Maybe their better albums and certainly the most even, this gatefold album (the debut was too) is one of those seminal albums for the Belgian jazz scene, and it is rather hard to understand how and why it never got a Cd release (outside the compilation) because this album was much sampled for acid-jazz and techno.

 Balls Of Eyes  by PLACEBO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.02 | 8 ratings

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Balls Of Eyes
Placebo Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars The first album of Placebo was a real shock in Belgium, and nobody was really prepared for it. All that had come about before was a few proto-prog groups such as Waterloo, Wallace Collection (actually a pop outfit) and a few others. So 71 saw Arkham (who never released an album per se) and Placebo (Lagger Blues Machine was to follow the year after). Leader Marc Moulin was already a veteran by the time of this album, but this was his first project.

The sound on this album oscillates between Bitches Brew and Nucleus's debut on one side and Chicago Transit Authority on the other. If there are some really superb tracks on this album, it is also somewhat uneven with some rather surprising (and clumsy) covers of Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes, but clearly the highlights are the self-penned tracks. From the superb Aria with an infectious groove greatly underlined by Moulin's electric piano, to Planes with its superb semi-free jazz intro and impeccable crescendo, and Humpty Dumpty's haunting slow pace, this album is a slap in the face to most historians not knowing of this group. Showbiz Suite being another highlight, it is clear that Moulin was a bandleader in the jazz style, providing a great platform for the other musicians - the four-man horn section is plenty of frontman - so he stays content of providing the solid base (rarely taking the spotlight to himself at this point), but he is the chief composer and pulls of some real stunts in making his role quite interesting.

This album was released on the historical jazz CBS label and unfortunately there has never been a CD re-issue from them, but exists from Brit label Counterpoint a compilation that really takes the best tracks available on this Lp.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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