Moving Gelatine Plates — The World of Genius Hans
(Musea FGBG 4101.AR, 1972/1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-08-01MGP was an early French underground band that eschewed the tendency of other bands of that period in France to propogate a left-wing political message. By contrast, MGP's lyrics (in English) were intentfully benign and sometimes silly, that is - if they used lyrics at all. A full half of the songs on this, their second album, are completely instrumental, and those that are not have a clear instrumental focus. The band was the four-piece of Gerard Pons (drums), Didier Thibault (bass), Gerard Bertram (guitars and vocals) and Maurice Helmlinger (trumpet, saxes, flute and hammond organ); in addition, guests contribute trombone, bassoon, vibes and backing vocals. Their music was a powerful jazz-rock with a strong improvisational quality, yet all was tightly arranged and played fluently. Because of Thibault's fuzz-bass and Helminler's smooth alto and tenor sax delivery - as well as the overall feel of their sound, one might be reminded of Soft Machine around their second or third album, yet MGPs tunes are more pure and playful, from a strictly compositional standpoint. Another point of reference might be early pre-zeuhl Magma, maybe circa 1001 Centigrades, as well as The Muffins (this was still a few years before the Muffins formed, but the comparison still holds true.) Their command of melodics is solid, yet the tunes take a few listens to sink in, mostly due to the band's not indulging in the endless use of hooks and repeats. Signature and tempo can change at any time unexpectedly, as the instrumental "Astromonster" capably illustrates. The vocals on "Funny Doll" give that song an almost Blood, Sweat & Tears-in-high-gear feel. The fourteen minute title track delivers some of the sweetest yet energetic sax soloing on the entire disc. The five bonus tracks Musea included were from the 1980 album by Moving, a band formed by Didier Thibault many years later in an attempt to re-create the MGP sound (other tracks from Moving's album are on the first MGP reissue). Unfortunately, these bonus tracks hardly live up to the quality of Genius Hans, yet if taken on their own are still quite good. In all, this is a most welcome reissue. In closing I should at least mention the cow's head decorated with parsley and cigar that graces the front cover (was this their answer to Blodwyn Pig's Ahead Rings Out?).
Related artist(s): Moving Gelatine Plates
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more