AKSAK MABOUL - Une aventure de VV (Songspiel) / MTM Vol. 48 . 2LP
music by Marc Hollander - text by Veronique Vincent
In the wake of their acclaimed comeback album Figures (2020), Aksak Maboul took a playful sideways step to create this total work, a 63-minute, continuous suite of fifteen pieces, which could be described as an experimental audio play.
The thread running through Une aventure de VV (Songspiel) is Véronique Vincent’s text, an enigmatic philosophical-poetical tale unfolding through monologues and dialogues, spoken and sung by a series of characters.
The music was written & arranged by Marc Hollander and features his characteristic genre-hopping tendencies: strands of electronica, pop, jazz, collage, techno, ambient, improv, krautrock, contemporary classical & systems music are merrily woven together, in the inimitable Aksak Maboul style.
The album’s subtitle, Songspiel, highlights its theatrical/musical aspect: the work pays oblique homage to the those experimental radio plays that once emerged from the creative workshops of the BBC, the RTF and the RAI, and especially to those German Hörspiels which, at their best, might combine spoken word, instrumental or electronic music, songs and sonic research.*
Une aventure de VV also modestly alludes to certain stage works written by adventurous composers during the first half of the 20th century, which embraced singing, spoken dialogues and elements inspired by popular music. Those composers sometimes invented genre names to describe their pieces: fantaisie lyrique, mimodrama, or… songspiel).
Une aventure de VV (Songspiel) is released as part of the Made To Measure composers’ series**. This underlines the special character of the project: a detour though an unexplored zone, rather than the follow-up to the previous album (this could actually have been said about each of the records in Aksak Maboul’s discography so far…).
The front cover features a painting especially made by French artist Ronan Barrot, entitled VV ou le ciel renversé.
The double-vinyl version of the album includes a 24-page libretto with the texts and their translations.
* Incidentally, that tradition seems to be regaining ground thanks to the popularity of creative podcasts, which draw audiences into the experience of extended, active listening, rather than simply seeking to offer instant gratification.
** The recently-relaunched, legendary collection inaugurated by Crammed Discs in 1984, devoted to ambient, neo-classical, soundtrack and experimental music.
> Aksak Maboul in a nutshell
The seminal, shapeshifting band came back to life after a gap of several decades, and now revolves around founder (& Crammed Discs boss) Marc Hollander and Véronique Vincent. Aksak Maboul hasn’t stopped changing shape and form throughout its existence, exploring various musical styles while retaining distinctive aesthetics and musical foundations. The band’s current live line-up also includes Lucien Fraipont, Erik Heestermans and Faustine Hollander.
The project was initiated in 1977 by Hollander, soon joined by Vincent Kenis, and Aksak Maboul’s first two albums are considered avant-garde classics, a status reconfirmed by reactions to their recent vinyl reissues. Aksak Maboul’s rebirth was a consequence of the 2014 release of Ex-Futur Album, a collection of songs written & recorded in 1980-83 by Hollander & Véronique Vincent, which remained unreleased for thirty years. A string of live shows followed, and Hollander & V. Vincent then wrote, recorded and released their new double LP, 'Figures’ (2020), which got a fantastic reception. Since its return to the stage, the band has played around fifty shows across Europe (including performances at Le Guess Who? and Primavera Sound).
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