Founded in 1977 by Marc Hollander with Vincent Kenis, this is the seminal Crammed band, which explored several directions later followed by the label (set up by Hollander three years later). Each of Aksak's three albums to date is stylistically different, yet shares a common foundation with the two others. The band's story unfolded in five episodes so far:

1.
The project started in 1977, when producer Marc Moulin commissioned Hollander to write and record an album for his ephemeral label Kamikaze. MH was soon joined by his friend Vincent Kenis, and the pair proceeded to playfully fuse and deconstruct all kinds of genres to create their own musical world in the Onze danses pour combattre la migraine LP, which soon became a cult album, and seems retrospectively to have mapped out the way for the various directions which have been explored since then by the Crammed label. 

2. 
Released in early 1980, Aksak Maboul's 2nd album Un peu de l'âme des bandits was recorded 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, "Bandits" contains complex written sections, free improv, and a wild variety of elements: drum machines, bassoons, sampling before sampling, Bulgarian voices, tango, Turkish, crypto-punk or pseudo-Varese music... During that period, the band became associated with the RIO (Rock in Opposition) movement, of which this album is still viewed as “a pinnacle” (All Music). The album reached #3 in the NME's top ten European albums of 1980 (alongside Yello, The Nits, Steve Reich and Faust!).

3. 
In '80, Aksak Maboul went through a little-documented avant-No Wave phase after enrolling three members of Brussels band Les Tueurs de la Lune de Miel, as well as vocalist Véronique Vincent. The new line-up then recorded the "Honeymoon Killers" album (1982) and continued performing under that name until 1986. During a long period, Aksak Maboul only made 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 lived on, as both of the original protagonists playd a very active role in many Crammed productions, either together or separately.

4.
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 project had gradually evolved into a strange artefact, closely mingling Véronique's dreamy vocals and deceptively bubbly lyrics with Marc's musical ramblings. Electronic pop music with genre-wrecking leanings. The album was finally assembled/mixed/retrieved from demos & cassettes, was released in late 2014,  with a slight delay of... 30 years (under the name Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul), was enthusiastically received by audiences, medias & many young musicians, and was granted a new lease of life with the tribute album "16 Visions of Ex-Futur" (2016), comprising cover versions and remixes by the likes of Flavien Berger, Aquaserge, Laetitia Sadier, Forever Pavot, Burnt Friedmann, Lena Willikens, Hello Skinny,  Jaakko Eino Kalevi etc… as well as two "auto-covers" by the 2016 line-up of Aksak Maboul.

5. 
Meanwhile, the reception of Ex-Futur Album convinced Véronique Vincent & Marc Hollander to form a new live incarnation of Aksak Maboul. They started to play live shows in early 2015, for the first time since the '80s with a new Aksak Maboul line-up including three people who weren't even born when the songs were recorded: Sebastiaan Van den Branden & Christophe Claeys (both from Amatorski) and Faustine Hollander. From 2015 à 2017, they performed 35 shows in several countries around Europe, where they enchanted audiences with a powerful, rich and modern set, drawing freely from the latest five decades in the history of pop music.

They also performed a series of special "AKSAK MABOUL 'REVUE':" shows in Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Cologne and London, on which they collaborated onstage with  Laetitia Sadier, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Julien Gasc & Benjamin Glibert from Aquaserge.  This ephemeral 9-piece band played Aksak Maboul music as well as some of the guests' own material.

6.  
In 2020, Aksak Maboul are returning with a brand-new opus entitled Figures, a double album containing 22 tracks, resulting from the flow of creative ideas which arose after such a long gap... Drawing again from the multiple sources which inspire the band (from electronic music and pop to experimentation, jazz, minimalism, contemporary classical etc), Aksak Maboul reconfigures them with its inimitable style. The album was wholly written by Marc Hollander & Véronique Vincent, and features contributions by the band's current live line-up (Faustine Hollander, Lucien Fraipont & Erik Heestermans) and by guests including Fred Frith, Tuxedomoon's Steven Brown, three members of Aquaserge, some former Aksak cohorts and more. 

Outro:
As summed up in 2017 by writer Mikey IQ Jones, “the roots of Aksak Maboul's appeal and longevity lie within the collective's shapeshifting lineup and their chameleonic aesthetic abilities; the group's ever-mutating sound is akin to a sonic möbius strip, always digesting and recontextualizing itself, where seams and edges show but continually fold in upon themselves as the madness evolves. The best part? That evolution hasn't yet ceased.

Reissues:

Onze danses pour combattre la migraine
was reissued on vinyl in 2015, in its original, 1977 artwork, with extensive, revised liner notes and three downloadable bonus tracks. 

 "Un peu de l'âme des bandits" was reissued on vinyl in January 2018, with a large booklet including documents & notes by all participants, as we as a bonus album (CD & digital) containing 78 minutes of unreleased live & demo recordings by 17 of the bands successive members and collaborators.


Aksak Maboul in the press: 

The Belgian experimental group Aksak Maboul were - and are - out there on their own… revelatory" (The Quietus, UK) 

On the reissue of Onze danses pour combattre la migraine:

A significant record… way ahead of its time (Gilles Peterson)

A truly extraordinary thing, prescient yet off-piste (The Arts Desk, UK)

One of the most beguiling albums released during the post-punk era… bafflingly timeless (FACT, UK)

A stew of imaginary world music, rock, electronics and proto-techno (MOJO, UK)   

On the reissue of
Un peu de l’âme des bandits:

As if Pere Ubu got together with Faust to cover Igor Stravinsky (Byte FM, DE)

Eclectic, inventive, inquisitively playful and surreal… simply indispensable (The Wire, UK)

Jazz meets avant-classical, while brittle electronics spray delirious nonsense into the air (Uncut, UK)

The Belgian art-rockers [in] a knotty experiment that freely slams together the sounds of contemporary classical music and free jazz (Pitchfork, USA)     

On Ex-Futur Album :

A floating pop dream (The Quietus, UK)   

An electropop miracle... Too avant-garde at the time, perfect for today (les Inrockuptibles, FR)

Adorably unfinished and delightfully imperfect (Vogue, DE)

So ahead of the curve it sounds like it was recorded yesterday (The Crack, UK). 

On recent live shows:

A miracle: the resurrected Aksak Maboul unfolds a brand of synthetic, fleshy pop, with fat, enchanting grooves, sparkling melodies and lyrics. Between echoes of Brigitte Fontaine circa 'Comme à la radio' and strains of Tom Tom Club. (Télérama, FR)  

The pop immediacy of the songs gets enriched by experimental tangents, between electronic music, krautrock and jazz, which raise the bar to unexpected heights (Le Soir, BE) 

Get/stream Aksak Maboul releases HERE

News

Aksak Maboul "Un peu de l'âme des bandits"


Deluxe vinyl reissue for the first-ever Crammed release

Aksak Maboul 'Revue' show in London


Feat. Laetitia Sadier, Aquaserge & Jaakko Eino Kalevi, this Saturday!

Aksak Maboul 'Revue'


Special shows feat. Laetitia Sadier, Aquaserge & Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Crammed's Autumn Releases Announced!


"Blue Velvet Revisited" (Tuxedomoon/Cult With No Name), Maïa Vidal album, Amatorski single, Tuxedomoon 10-LP vinyl box, vinyl reissues of Aksak Maboul, Honeymoon Killers

"Chez les Aborigènes", the first single off "Ex-Futur Album"...


... the avant-pop opus from 1980-83 by Véronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul

Soon out: "Ex-Futur Album" by Veronique Vincent & Aksak Maboul


At the extreme pop end of Aksak Maboul's broad musical spectrum, an album will soon be coming out with a slight delay of… 30 years!

AKSAK MABOUL ANNOUNCE THEIR NEW ALBUM WITH A HYPNOTIC VIDEO AND SINGLE


"Tout a une fin / Blaue Bleistift” - the 2-track single heralds the release of Aksak Maboul's new double LP 'Figures' (out May 15, 2020), which will be the legendary experimental pop band’s first real new album in decades. These two tracks are reworks, which won’t appear as such on the album. Tout a une fin (short version) (‘Everything ends’) A tight 3-minute track including a song part (in which Véronique Vincent’s voice performs sinuous variations around the words in the title) and a section featuring electronic, rock and orchestral instrumentation rising to a wild, crescendo finale. Blaue Bleistift Unveiling some of the more electronic and experimental aspects of the new LP, with its criss-crossing keyboard lines and sound collages. Kind of a mysterious, ambient cousin of Aksak Maboul’s Saure Gurke? Tout a une fin also comes out on Feb 26 in the shape of a dizzying music video directed by young animator/collagist Yoann Stehr (whose recent work includes short films for fashion designer Paul Smith). Just like the Figures album, this single was written and produced by Marc Hollander & Véronique Vincent (respectively founder of Aksak Maboul & Crammed Discs, and former vocalist with The Honeymoon Killers).

Live Dates

17/04/2020
BE
Brussels
18/04/2020
BE
Brussels
07/05/2020
BE
Gent
Democrazy
08/05/2020
BE
Antwerpen
Het Bos
14/05/2020
FR
Paris
15/05/2020
FR
Lyon
16/05/2020
FR
Dijon
MV festival
17/05/2020
CH
Lausanne
Le Bourg
03/06/2020
FR
Tourcoing
Le grand mix
03/06/2020
FR
Metz
Les trinitaires
26/08/2020
DE
Berlin
Pop Kultur