Aksak Maboul  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Aksak Maboul (also spelt Aqsak Maboul for a while) were a Belgian avant-garde rock band founded in 1977 by Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis. They made two studio albums, Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine (1977) and Un Peu de l'Ame des Bandits (1979), the last one with ex-Henry Cow members Chris Cutler and Fred Frith. They were also active in the Rock in Opposition movement.


Aksak Maboul began in 1977 as Marc Hollander (keyboards), Vincent Kenis (accordion, guitar, bass guitar), Marc Moulin (keyboards) and Chris Joris (percussion, keyboards). With this line-up, plus guests Frank Wuyts (percussion, keyboards), Catherine Jauniaux (voice), Denis van Hecke (cello), Michel Berckmans of Univers Zéro (bassoon, oboe) and others, they recorded their first album, Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine (French for "Eleven Dances to Fight a Migraine").

Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine was a playful mix of musical forms, cultures and genres. With primitive drum machines and looping organ lines, it shuffled between improvised jazz, ethnic music, electronics and classical music. It was largely an instrumental album with snatches of singing and voices.

In late 1977 Aksak Maboul started performing live, during which time Wuyts replaced Joris and Moulin. In early 1979, Hollander invited Chris Cutler and Fred Frith of the recently defunct avant-garde rock group Henry Cow to join Aksak Maboul on their next record. They rehearsed together, performed in a few concerts and then went to Sunrise Studio, Kirchberg in Switzerland to recorded Un Peu de l'Ame des Bandits.

Un Peu de l'Ame des Bandits was more intense and experimental than their first album. It contained complex written sections as well as improvised ambient pieces. It used sampling before samplers were invented and was a mixture of tangos, Turkish tunes, chamber rock, noisy punk rock and pseudo-Varèse music. Like the first album, it was instrumental with a little singing and voices.

Back on the road again, Aksak Maboul joined the Rock in Opposition (RIO) movement and in April 1979 they performed at a RIO festival at the Teatro dell'Elfo in Milano, Italy. Aksak Maboul were one of the last of the original RIO bands (see Rock in Opposition).

In early 1980, Hollander founded the Crammed Discs independent record label. A few months later the original nucleus of Aksak Maboul (Hollander and Kenis) and the core of a Brussels band Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel joined forces to become The Honeymoon Killers. They toured Europe between 1980 and 1981, although still under the name Aksak Maboul. "Bosses de Crosses", one of the first pieces they composed, was included on the CD re-issue of Un Peu de l'Ame des Bandits. They later recorded an album Tueurs de la Lune de Miel / Honeymoon Killers and toured for a few months under that name.

By the mid-1980s Aksak Maboul ceased to exist as a group, but Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis still play an active role in Crammed Discs' musical policies.

Discography and personnel

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