Exposé Online banner

Moving Gelatine Plates — The World of Genius Hans
(Musea FGBG 4101.AR, 1972/1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-08-01

The World of Genius Hans Cover artMGP 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?).

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 4, 1994 releases, 1972 recordings

Related artist(s): Moving Gelatine Plates

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

III Milenio - Aliança dos Tempos – Here's an example of where vocals can be quite innovative and then subsequently make you wince. The album is obviously a concept album and in the vein of Ange, the vocals are theatrical often being...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues