Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recommendation/Review: Aksak Maboul - Un peu de l'âme des bandits (1980)

Live a little, go crazy...

This is an old review of mine for this album; it was initially posted on Prog Archives.

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, or at least make it colourful.

Read more about the album and band at Gnosis, Prog Archives, Ground & Sky, GEPR, Wikipedia
Stream on Spotify
Amazon MP3


  1. This has been a favorite since it first came out. I really like the way they categorized each piece on side one as a particular dance form. Onze Dances is a great deal of fun also. I worked for a punk record shop in the early '80s and because I was into RIO, Rough Trade Distribution would send me promo material for bands like Etron Fou. I still have a beautiful color poster of Aqsak Maboul, which RT sent me.

  2. A poster of the cover of this album would be cool!

    What are your favourites from that time and "style/genre"?


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