AKA MOON

Eclectic Fusion / Third Stream / World Fusion / Fusion • Belgium
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Aka Moon is a Belgian avant-garde jazz band. Saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol, bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou, and drummer Stéphane Galland are the founding members of the core trio. All three were already active musicians playing in various groups including the Nasa Na Band (with guitarist Pierre Van Dormael), but came together to record as Aka Moon after spending some time in the Central African Republic studying the musical habits of the native Aka pygmies tribe. In 1992, they released their first album, inspired by the methodology that the pygmies used in creating their music. Their name is commonly mispronounced as "AKA Moon" referring to the acronym "also known as". The correct pronunciation is "AH-kah MOON".

Aka Moon's overall sound is a mixture of jazz, rock, world music, and avant-garde. They could be compared musically and philosophically with the M-Base movement and artists such as M-Base founder Steve Coleman, Belgian ensemble Octurn, Stéphane Payen's
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AKA MOON Discography

AKA MOON albums / top albums

AKA MOON Aka Moon album cover 3.96 | 5 ratings
Aka Moon
Eclectic Fusion 1992
AKA MOON Rebirth album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Rebirth
Eclectic Fusion 1994
AKA MOON Akasha Vol 1 album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Akasha Vol 1
Eclectic Fusion 1995
AKA MOON Akasha Vol 2 album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Akasha Vol 2
Eclectic Fusion 1995
AKA MOON Elohim album cover 3.21 | 3 ratings
Elohim
Eclectic Fusion 1997
AKA MOON Ganesh album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Ganesh
Eclectic Fusion 1997
AKA MOON Invisible Mother album cover 4.04 | 4 ratings
Invisible Mother
Eclectic Fusion 1999
AKA MOON Invisible Sun album cover 3.67 | 3 ratings
Invisible Sun
Eclectic Fusion 2000
AKA MOON Invisible Moon album cover 4.15 | 4 ratings
Invisible Moon
Eclectic Fusion 2001
AKA MOON In Real Time album cover 4.67 | 3 ratings
In Real Time
Eclectic Fusion 2001
AKA MOON Guitars album cover 4.00 | 6 ratings
Guitars
Eclectic Fusion 2002
AKA MOON Amazir album cover 4.14 | 5 ratings
Amazir
Eclectic Fusion 2006
AKA MOON Culture Griot album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Culture Griot
Eclectic Fusion 2009
AKA MOON Unison album cover 3.93 | 5 ratings
Unison
Eclectic Fusion 2012
AKA MOON The Scarlatti Book album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Scarlatti Book
Third Stream 2015
AKA MOON Now album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Now
Fusion 2017
AKA MOON Opus 111 album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Opus 111
Third Stream 2020

AKA MOON EPs & splits

AKA MOON live albums

AKA MOON Live At Vooruit album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Vooruit
Eclectic Fusion 1997
AKA MOON Live at the Kaai 31.3.1993 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Live at the Kaai 31.3.1993
Eclectic Fusion 1999
AKA MOON Aka Balkan Moon / AlefBa (Double Live) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Aka Balkan Moon / AlefBa (Double Live)
World Fusion 2015

AKA MOON demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

AKA MOON re-issues & compilations

AKA MOON Constellations Box album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Constellations Box
Eclectic Fusion 2018

AKA MOON singles (0)

AKA MOON movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

AKA MOON Reviews

AKA MOON Unison

Album · 2012 · Eclectic Fusion
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Sean Trane
Back to business after some health issues of one member, just one look could have you guess that AM’s latest album Unison is in the general direction of Amazir and Culture Griot, based on the album’s artwork that is now typical of their production for the Cypress label. And you’d be completely wrong about this issue, because it’s rather a 180° turn and Aka goes back to its roots, so far so that you’d guess in a blind test that you’re dealing with some kind of long-lost album from 92 or 93. Yes, just Hatzi, Galland and Cassol alone, with no guest to change their sound; even Fiorini (which had become thought of as the “fourth Aka”) is conspicuously absent.

This return-to-roots direction is plainly evident right from the first note of Omax 1 and keep going right on through Michel Is Back (is that Hatzi or soundman Andina?) and then throughout the album. Indeed, we’re dealing with a progressive kind of jazz that change rhythm, time sigs and melodies constantly. Some slight hints might tell you that we are 20 years into the AM’s musical endeavour and one of them is Galland’s sometimes over-mixed drums - notably in For Drummers Only, where he solos as well, the the following slightly mid-eastern Mirror. Most of the rest of tracks are of the same acabit/ilk, and the album is pretty even throughout.

So if you liked their debut album or its rework, you’re bound to love Unison, because even if not a carbon-copy, it’s really sonically close to the band’s genesis. A really high-quality release, even if somewhat less adventurous than their previous few, but if one wants to hear where Culture Griot is leading, you might want to check Fabrizzio Cassol’s latest album Strange Fruit, where the African direction continues. In the meantime, Unison while an excellent album, might not be as essential as its predecessors, because it’s been done before, some 20 years ago.

AKA MOON Akasha Vol 2

Album · 1995 · Eclectic Fusion
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Sean Trane
As one might guess by sheer power of deduction, this is the second part of Akasha and follows the first instalment of Aka moon's adventure into Indian Music. There will be at least two more albums after this one (Ganesh and Elohim) but this is the very apex of their research without losing their personality/soul (something that the German group Embryo could not avoid while venturing into ethnic music) and does it ever work out great at times on this album. They even revisited their Rebirth works for this one - re-adapting it to this formation. The three Indian guests (a wind player , a percussionist and Mrudangan player) are obviously given their share of spotlight but the star is Fabrizzio Cassol especially in the writing/composition dept. I personally enjoyed First Tchai and Eclipse.

AKA MOON Aka Moon

Album · 1992 · Eclectic Fusion
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Sean Trane
I am a fan of jazz giant John Coltrane especially on the Impulse Label era and A Love Supreme (with his astounding quartet; fabulous McCoy Tyner on piano and the immense Elvin Jones on drums) ranks in my top ten all styles included. What Aka Moon did on this first album sounds like if this was Coltrane in the 70's (the MAN died in 67) as Fabrizzio Cassol is clearly studying the master and the other are right up there. So One can think that If Coltrane had not moved into free jazz before his death , he would have sounded like this (minus the piano) . Even with this Homage to TRANE , this remains a masterfull piece of cd as this trio is simply flabbergasting in technique and feeling.

AKA MOON Guitars

Album · 2002 · Eclectic Fusion
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Sean Trane
This album came out in the frame of Eurpean Cultural Capital of the year 2002 which was Bruges (a superb Flemish medieval city still remarkly preserved) and was part of a 10 CD collection on Belgian Jazz - other titles likely to interest progheads are Octurn and Philippe Catherine the fabulous guitarist once in Focus. As usual Aka moon works in project and here was no different as the usual trio united with a trio of electric guitarist - Prasana of India , the African-American Dave Gilmore (not the Floyd guy) and their former mate Pierre Van Dormael (back when they were Nasa Na). They managed to do a sort of tribute for three guitarist in "Jimi's Three Words"Hendrix , "Last Call from Jaco " Pastorius and John "Scofield" plus another three part number about Paco de Lucia (not entirely succesful). The 3 number also pops in Yang- Yin-Yang and Three Oceans so one understands that the theme here would be the trio.

One of my personal fave from Aka Moon along with their debut.

AKA MOON Invisible Mother

Album · 1999 · Eclectic Fusion
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Sean Trane
The first in their Invisible series, Aka Moon's Invisible Mother is actually fairly different than their usual oeuvre. Generally you can divide their works into three categories: a solid jazz-rock taking its roots in Coltrane's works, an Eastern-influenced fusion (generally in a very much Indian or Arabian realm) and last (and usually least) a modern dissonant music that borders free jazz and modern classical (from Faure to Stockhausen and Varese). This album fits more into that third category, but does take some of the other two as well. This album is a collaboration of two different formations: Aka Moon (our usual heroes) and Ictus, from which you'll recognize Jean-Luc Plouvier on piano. The music was also part of an experimental film, Mathewokes' Adrift On The Remains Of A Grand Piano. Taken from the booklet, the group's explanation of what they tried to do will explain it so much better than I will: "The music of Invisible mother is based mainly on two ancestral schools of knowledge: the I Ching (Chinese book of changes), which follows the principle of mutation of the different elements and Karnatic Music (from South India), which includes specific rhythms and harmonics in keeping with the moods and colours of the different ragas and talas. We also try to connect two different approaches: the tradition of Western written music (Ictus) and improvised music (Aka Moon), which means the synchronizations of different attitudes to sounds, memories, times, spaces and intentions. It's a tribute to our unique, shared and only mother, the planet Earth aka Gaia". Quite intriguing is it not?

As for the music, it is divided in four multi-part tracks and if the first part (Genese) is mostly modern classical dissonant music, the second movement (over 22 mins) called Constellation (and indirectly being the title track as well as the centrepiece of the album) is actually quite excellent, managing fully their goals mentioned above: they managed to merge written and improvised music superbly and there are many heavenly moments especially with Hatzi burning his bass's strings.

The 12-mins third movement more or less attempts to repeat the excellence of the previous track, but does not really manage to match it, partly because it tries too hard: the classical parts are a little over-stretched, IMHO. The 9-min forth movement is definitely axed towards Ictus and can resemble some of Univers Zero's quieter works (Plouvier is a Zeroist).

A bit apart in Aka Moon's oeuvre, Invisible Mother is a rather pleasant album mixing jazz-rock and avant-garde classical music. Definitely worth a listen and with enough excellent moments to be almost essential. .

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