Belgium | POP ROCK
Founded by Crammed boss Marc Hollander, Aksak Maboul is the band which gave birth to Crammed Discs…
In the spring of 1977, two young Belgian musicians who called themselves Aksak Maboul (aka Marc Hollander & Vincent Kenis) set out to record an album, “Onze danses pour combattre la migraine”, in which they playfully fused and deconstructed all kinds of genres to create their own musical world. Three years later, Hollander founded the Crammed label. Many ingredients came in and out of the Aksak blender : fake jazz, electronics, imaginary African & Balkan music, minimalism… there were even pre-techno aspects such in as “Saure Gurke” and its characteristic keyboard stab pattern which will mysteriously find its way into many classic Detroit techno tracks some ten years later. Onze Danses became a cult album, and seems retrospectively to have mapped out the way for the various directions which have been explored by Crammed during the next three decades.
Aksak Maboul went on to record “Un peu de l’âme des bandits”, with an extended line up featuring a.o. Fred Frith and Chris Cutler (of Henry Cow and Art Bears fame). More intense and “experimental” than Aksak’s debut Onze Danses, this album’s music contains complex, completely written sections as well as totally improvised and ambient pieces, not to mention drum machines, bassoons, sampling before sampling, Bulgarian voices, tango, Turkish, crypto-punk or pseudo-Varese music…
In 81 Aksak Maboul joined forces with the Honeymoon Killers, and from then on made only a few appearances under that name (one third of the first Made To Measure volume, original music for fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto’s shows), but the spirit lives on, as both of the original protagonists play a very active role in many Crammed productions, either together or separately.
2014 saw the release of the mythical, 3rd Aksak Maboul album, which was announced ever since Crammed Discs’ first catalogue, back in 81. It’s the avant-electropop opus now known as “Ex-Futur Album”, which was written, recorded and unfinished in 1980-83 by Marc Hollander and Honeymoon Killers vocalist Véronique Vincent in collaboration with Vincent Kenis. The album was finally assembled (and partly mixed/retrieved from demos & cassete tapes) in 2014, and came out with a slight delay of… 30 years.
Marc Hollander & Véronique Vincent went on to form a new live version of Aksak Maboul, and have been playing shows around Europe ever since. They’re currently working on new music.