release date: 22.10.2021 via Crammed Discs
Following the release of Aksak Maboul’s acclaimed Figures double album (in mid-2020), fifteen artists have revisited songs from the legendary experimental pop band’s ‘comeback’ opus (mini-biography below).
These diverse, colorful interpretations range from simple remixes to reconstructions and cover versions, or a combination of all of these. They’re now ready to be released on two separate, limited-edition vinyl LPs, as well as on two digital albums.
The participants include experimental pop luminaries The Notwist (DE), Cate Le Bon (GB), Kate NV (RU) and Vanishing Twin (GB), respected electronic music artists Felix Kubin (DE), Tolouse Low Trax (DE), Hello Skinny aka Tom Skinner (Thom Yorke’s new bandmate in the Smile project, GB), Matias Aguayo (CL/DE) and Stubbleman aka Pascal Gabriel (GB/BE), revered experimentalist Carl Stone (US), up-an-coming beat makers Shungu (BE) and ohh_luuu (US), Nihiloxica’s Spooky-J (GB) and Chicago house veteran Jordan Fields (US). The collection is rounded off by four reworks made by Aksak Maboul’s Marc Hollander. More details below.
So the artwork for Redrawn Figures 1 will display 16 “redrawings” of the original cover, done by most of the artists mentioned above, each in his own personal style.
As for cover of Redrawn Figures 2, it features a visual remix of Véronique’s painting by renowned French painter Hervé Di Rosa (co-founder of the Figuration Libre movement, which, drawing inspiration from comics, graffiti and outsider art, blew a breath of fresh air into museums, in France and worldwide).
FIGURES REDRAWN 1
A1 VANISHING TWIN REMIX SILHOUETTES
A2 SHUNGU REMIX C’EST CHARLES
A3 THE NOTWIST VERSION TOUT A UNE FIN
A4 AKSAK MABOUL RECONSTRUCTION EYELIDS & PHOSPHENES
A5 CATE LE BON INTERPRETATION SOPHIE LA BEVUE
B1 CARL STONE REDESIGN HOTEL SUITES
B2 SPOOKY-J REMIX UN CAÏD
B3 AKSAK MABOUL FULL VERSION UCCELLINI: THE MENACE
B4 KATE NV REMIX RETOUR CHEZ A.
B5 AKSAK MABOUL EDIT CHARLES UNDRESSES (AND GOES TO BED)
FIGURES REDRAWN 2
A1 AKSAK MABOUL RECONSTRUCTION TOUS KO
A2 HELLO SKINNY REMIX UN CAÏD
A3 OHH_LUUU REMIX DRAMUSCULE
A4 FELIX KUBIN REMIX RETOUR CHEZ A.
B1 TOULOUSE LOW TRAX REMIX L’ADIEU À L’HISTOIRE
B2 STUBBLEMAN REMIX FIN
B3 JORDAN FIELDS X MARC HOLLANDER UN CAÏD (OLD SCHOOL RMX)
B4 MATIAS AGUAYO INTERPRETATION ANATOMY OF DRAMASCULE
THE PARTICIPANTS (BY ORDER OF APPEARANCE)
Led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas (ex-Innerzone Orchestra) and comprising members from Italy, Japan and the UK, London’s cosmopolitan popsters seem to have set out to synthesize psychedelic traditions around the globe, from tropicalía to kos- mische rock and Brazilian psych-jazz, with a twist of their own. The’ve have come up with a poetic remix of Silhouettes, produced by Cathy Lucas. They’re soon releasing a new album, and Aksak Maboul will be reciprocating by doing a remix of one of the new VT tracks.
The young Brussels-based beatsmith has carved an ever-changing sound of his own, with records such as A Black Market Album and A Book of 100 Spiritual Beats. He’s developed a connection with the Californian underground hip hop scene, where he’s been collabora- ting with several MCs and producers. His contribution to the project is a streamlined, elegant remix of C’est Charles.
Following the influential German indie/postrock band’s recent collaboration with Juana Molina, we learned incidentally that The Notwist’s Markus Acher is a longtime Aksak Maboul aficionado… The band were delighted to take part in this project, for which they turned Tout a une fin into a full-blown pop mini-symphony, with new arrangement performed by the band and by guest musicians on viola, bassoon, bass clarinet & flute.
Cate Le Bon
The outstanding Welsh singer, musician & composer has gradually expanded the scope of her music, incorporating elements of daring experimentation to her guitar-based songs. She’s also been working as a producer, with artists such as John Grant, Deerhunter and more. A longtime Aksak Maboul fan, she chose to arrange and perform a haunting cover version of Sophie La Bévue for this project.
Ever since the early work he produced in the ’80s, American composer Carl Stone has been considered as one of the most original experimentalists in electro-acoustic music, often using voice manipulations and collage in a playful way. Hotel Suites, his Aksak Maboul rework, is a mind-blowing sonic anagram of Silhouettes.
… is the alias of Jacob Maskell-Key, co-founder and drummer of brilliant Anglo-Ugandan band Nihiloxica, whose breathtaking, abs- tract, percussive album came out last year. Just like his bandmate pq, Spooky-J produces his own electronic tracks, which they release on their Spooky Shit mini-label. For this project, Spooky-J produced a sweet, intriguing minimal rework of Un Caïd, which grows on you with every listen.
The avant-electropop music of Moscow vocalist, composer and designer Ekaterina Shilonosova incorporates melodies & tunes as well as various sonic experimentations. She’s also a member of a postpunk band and of a collective which makes music inspired by British compo- ser Cornelius Cardew, quite a scope! We found out that Kate NV likes Aksak Maboul when she included several AM tracks in a mix she did for DJ Mag. She chose to rework Retour chez A.
…aka drummer/composer Tom Skinner, also known for his work with Sons of Kemet, Matthew Herbert, and Melt Yourself Down, and is now part of Smile, a trio with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood. His Hello Skinny project records for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, and his latest album features trombonist Peter Zummo (who used to work with Arthur Russell). Tom’s elegant rework of Un Caïd features spectacular drum programming.
The mysterious, up-and-coming Brooklyn-based electronic music producer creates tracks ranging from dark & abstract to outright clubby. He’s also known as Omo Igi (or Oluwaseun Odubiro, his real name). He’s contributed a wild, entrancing rework of Dramuscule.
The hyperactive Hamburg musician, DJ & curator has been deploying innumerable, fascinatingly transdisciplinary activities across Europe. He’s the subject of French filmmaker Marie Losier’s awarded Felix in Wonderland documentary. Does Felix’s lovely version of Retour chez A. bear witness to his longtime affection for Neue Deutsche Welle and 1980s electronic pop music?
Tolouse Low Trax
Detlef Weinrich is known for the dubby, latter-day krautrock tracks he produces under his Tolouse Low Tax moniker. He is also part of the band Kreidler, and a co-founder and resident DJ at the now-legendary Salon des Amateurs, the “post-rock Hacienda” (according to Resident Advisor) nestled in Düsseldorf’s Kunsthalle museum, where he invited Aksak Maboul to perform a live show during their first 21st century tour, back in 2015. Detlef recently recorded a collaboration album with Emmanuelle Parrenin. His psych-dub take on Histoires de fous is entitled La Fin de l’Histoire.
This festive, happy version of Tout a une fin was produced by legendary British-Belgian producer Pascal Gabriel, known for producing and co-writing two of the landmark tracks which spearheaded the ascent of a new wave of electronic music in the UK (Theme from S’Express, and Beat Dis by Bomb The Bass), and later for his writing & production work for acts ranging from Miss Kittin to Can. He’s now gone back to creating his own music with his Stubbleman project, whose beautiful ambient instrumental debut album recently came out.
The Chicago house veteran has released a number of fine tracks and EPs since the ‘90s, including two EPs on Crammed sublabel SSR. Aksak Maboul invited him to do an old school remix of Un Caïd, a fresh, bouncing affair which ended up being transatlantically copro- duced with Marc Hollander.
The renowned Chilean-German electronic music producer and DJ has created a varied body of genre-defying work since his early ‘00s minimal techno tracks, gradually veering into diverse territories, and pioneering the use of live vocals during his DJ sets. His Anatomy of a Dramuscule remix is like a a dissection of the original tracks, or maybe rather best described as a visit inside the track, with projectors throwing light on some parts that were in the shadow on the album version.
Aksak Maboul auto-remixes (by Marc Hollander):
Tous KO uses elements from Retour chez A. (including traces of Fred Frith’s violin and Benjamin ‘Aquaserge’ Glibert’s guitars) and from the track to which Retour was a sequel (Véronique’s vocals and some of the melodica lines come from the 1982 recording of Chez les Aborigènes), as well as new arrangements and recordings. Since its digital release in April 2021, the track has been gaining traction and is featured in many playlists.
Uccellini: The Menace is the complete version of a track which appeared on Figures. It’s an abstract piece for processed piano improv and recycled vocals.
Eyelids and Phosphenes is a reconstruction which starts off as a remix of Un Caïd and morphs into a totally wild new piece, with new vocals, keyboards and horn arrangements recorded by Véronique Vincent & Marc Hollander.
Charles Undresses (and Goes to Bed) is a re-edited instrumental version of C’est Charles, which puts the album to bed.
*** BIO ***
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’s current live line-up also includes Faustine Hollander, Lucien Frai- pont and Erik Heestermans. The band was founded in 1977 by Hollander, soon joined by Vincent Kenis, and its first 2 LPs are avant- garde classics. The Aksak Maboul 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 30 years. A string of live shows followed, and Hollander & V.Vincent then wrote and recorded a brand-new double LP, ‘Figures’, which came out in May 2020.
SELECTED FEEDBACK AND REVIEW’s QUOTES on AKSAK MABOUL’S – FIGURES
has the surrational coherence of montage, thriving on ingenious juxtapositions and sudden rerouting along another trajectory or onto a different plane. – The WIRE
75 minutes of scampering, genre-agnostic fun… Aksak’s questing spirit is very much intact… 8/10 – UNCUT
Their finest work. Totally pop, yet psychedelic… – The QUIETUS
…. Their dense and convoluted world of sound is like an aural Mandelbrot Set…played with such a casual élan that you barely notice just how extraordinary it is. – LECTRONIC SOUND
Aksak Maboul will finally be performing the music from Figures in concert, here are the first announced dates, more will follow soon:
1 Dec 2021: Beursschouwburg, Brussels (BE)
6 June 2022: Primavera Sound, Barcelona (ES)
AKSAK MABOUL – Redrawn Figures 1 (cram 307) and Redrawn Figures 2 (cram 308) out 22 Oct 2021 on vinyl and digital