Originally released in January 1980, the second album from (Crammed founder) Marc Hollander’s band was more intense and experimental than Aksak Maboul’s debut album yet often as playful. Containing complex written sections, free improv, and a wild variety of elements, Bandits was recorded with a band comprising revered UK musicians Fred Frith & Chris Cutler, and is described by All Music Guide as “a pinnacle of the RIO movement” (RIO being Rock In Opposition, the late-‘70s radical, pan-European coalition of bands, of which Aksak Maboul was part). The album reached #3 in the NME’s top ten European albums of 1980 (afterYello and The Nits, before Steve Reich and Faust!).
For this reissue, the album was remastered from original analogue tapes, and includes a booklet with abundant liner notes, documents, and recollections by all the participants.
Also included in the LP is a bonus album entitled Before and After Bandits (CD+download), containing previously-unreleased live and demo recordings featuring seventeen of the band’s successive members and guests. Over the course of ten tracks and 78 minutes of music, this collection charts the sinuous evolution of the ever-morphing Aksak Maboul sound, from the 1977 debut Onze danses pour combattre la migraine through the Bandits album, a little-documented avant-No Wave phase in 1980, the atypical, eclectic electropop of Ex-Futur Album, and until the project’s current live incarnation, which started in 2015 after a hiatus of some 30 years.
A1 A Modern Lesson
A2 Palmiers En Pots
A3 Geistige Nacht
A4 I Viaggi Formano La Gioventu
A5 Inoculating Rabies
B1 Ce Qu’On Peut Voir Avec Un bon Microscope
B3 Azinou Crapules
B4 Age Route Brra! (Radio Sofia)