Aksak Maboul’s Figures Reviewed

Source: Pitchfork.

On Figures, Belgian avant-garde fixtures Aksak Maboul offer a compelling détournement of French pop’s gender assumptions. Led by Marc Hollander, Maboul emerged in the late 1970s as both globally minded experimenters and malcontents of convention. Their innovative 1980 album Un Peu de l’Âme des Bandits begins with a song called “A Modern Lesson” in which a signature Bo Diddley rhythm—the sort of clavé beat that courses through the bubblegum sounds of the ’60s—dissolves into distorted punk guitar work and discordant samples of Un Peu’s other tracks. The rest of the album thumbs its nose at Western pop, mixing in musical traditions from cultures as varied as Turkey, Polynesia, Baka, and the Mississippi Delta.