Moving Gelatine Plates - Removing. 2006 France

As far as this author is concerned, the first two albums from the French group Moving Gelatine Plates are as superb as any albums ever recorded. It is, in fact, their raison d'être. As such, I'm separating this newer album from their two classic 1970s works.

It was with great anxiety, trepidation and anticipation that I approached their brand new recording, some 34 years later (not counting 1980’s Moving project). Most reunion albums are disasters, perhaps pointing out that the band in question may have not ever understood why their previous works are held in high esteem. Occasionally a band will reform, like fellow countrymen Magma, and pick up right where they left off and wow audiences as they did in the past. With the original logo intact, and montage cover art, there were some propitious signs to hold out hope. When I heard the loud, aggressive and massively fuzzy bass to start the title track, I was certain that MGP did truly understand their place in history. But my excitement was quickly quelled with the brassy-patch digital keyboard that followed, suggesting this was going to be another modern instrumental rock album that has as much in common with smooth jazz as it does with old school prog (the obscure French 90s band Alambic comes to mind here). And, more or less, that’s about right. “Removing” is much more rock based than the jazzy Canterbury inspired group of yore. The drumming is very straight forward and there’s none of the quirky charm from before. As a plus, the fuzz bass continues throughout, the guitar playing is generally excellent and the violin is a very welcome addition. With one exception, “Removing” is split between two styles: 1) Harder rocking tracks and 2) Light rock-jazz instrumentals with soprano sax in the lead.  Both styles feature some sparse, unobtrusive vocals. Songs such as ‘Like a Flower’, ‘Comme Avant’, ‘Nico’ and closer ‘Theo’ represent the former while ‘Enigme’, ‘Bellidor’ and ‘Waiting For the Rain’ are of the latter. The one track that moves the ball forward in a positive way is ‘Breakdown’, which represents both something new (for MGP), challenging and satisfying, with a slight nod to past glories. So a mixed bag, that neither completely disappoints or rewards. It’s a relevant release and, for reunion albums, comes in maybe a notch below Trettioariga Kriget’s “Elden Av Ar”. It does take awhile for a group to gel and regain that old magic (even for a band like Magma this was the case), so hopefully they’ll hold it together a bit longer and create some brilliance as they once had done. (sigh... it does not appear that transpired).

Personal collection
CD: 2006 Musea

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