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Baker's Dozen

A Babylonian Tower: Marc Hollander's Favourite Music
David McKenna , June 17th, 2020 08:34

Marc Hollander's Aksak Maboul have released one of the albums of the year and his Crammed Discs label have consistently provided a wide-ranging soundtrack to the globe. He guides David McKenna through favourite albums in this week's Baker's Dozen


Slapp Happy/Henry Cow – Desperate Straights
This a good point at which to discuss Aksak Maboul’s involvement in Rock In Opposition.

MH: Well before I knew these people personally I loved the first Henry Cow records, which had the good side of Mothers Of Invention, the influence of contemporary classical, a rock rhythm section, and it was great. And then they did this record which is mostly cabaret and Kurt Weill-ish short songs and with Dagmar (Krause) – I was totally in love with that. You know, this way to encapsulate the whole world in a two-minute song like that. It’s charming but it’s also gutsy and exciting.

The story with Rock In Opposition is that I met Chris Cutler at a show, my record had just come out and I gave it to him after the show, like fans do you know. Then they wrote back to me immediately and said “it’s a really great record,” so the relationship developed and the connection with a whole network of people. And what they were doing was interesting because it was ’77 and this whole idea was that there’s life beyond the Anglo-Saxon world and music, and there are people doing great things in Spain, Italy, Belgium, France.

I then asked Chris Cutler and Fred Frith to be on the second Aksak Maboul record because my friend Vincent left the band, as he does sometimes, and went to Africa to look for Konono No1, which took him 20 years because he couldn’t find them. I took part in the recording of Fred Frith’s album Gravity. And he’s on quite a few tracks on the new album, he was coming to Brussels for a week so we spoke about the album and it came up that he was fine to do it, 40 years later!