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
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more