Fusion • Belgium
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Belgian jazz band led by Marc Moulin
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PLACEBO Ball Of Eyes album cover 3.81 | 4 ratings
Ball Of Eyes
Fusion 1971
PLACEBO 1973 album cover 3.88 | 3 ratings
Fusion 1973
PLACEBO Placebo album cover 3.77 | 4 ratings
Fusion 1974

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Album · 1974 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
The third album is rather disappointing in its goal to achieve what the previous album had promised, even if it came out on the "progressive" label Harvest, was probably the album showing that Marc Moulin was getting too restricted in the formula he had set himself. The lenghty Stomp is a little too repetitive, but still a great moment, but it does have an end-of-era feel, while N W, also rather lenghty is a real reflective moment, the brassy funky Dag Madam is great change of pace, the closing S U S is again delving in Moulin's search for new electronic sounds (here almost a sonar), Plotselling being the main attraction the first side of the vinyl with its lenghty Rhodes lines (a little Ratledge- sounding here) while the winds induce a great added tension even if a drum solo comes in to ruin it a bit. Bosso is a Novo (I know;-) so typical of years to come.

Although Placebo will only disband at the end of 76, this will be their last album, and by giving an attentive ear to it (they do seem a little short of ideas), it seems that they stopped before making one more album, that would've been "l'album de trop". Luckily they did not!! However , before their eventual demise , Marc Moulin had put out a "solo group" effort called SAM SUFFY which is quite astounding, adventurous, eclectic and the perfect expression of what he wanted to do: expand from an octet to a trio: Grandiose!!!

He then will go on for an extensive and then extended career including a political and very satirical press-writing twist, an acid-jazz career, production of Cos and Philip Catherine albums and fronting electro-pop outfit Telex (ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons's preferred band) etc..


Album · 1973 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
As you might guess, this album is named after the year it came out (this does not mean that all tracks taken after Orwell's theme of 1984 were recorded that year;-), Placebo is taking the beat were it left it at the end of their debut album. With a relatively unchanged line-up but with a few guests that appear also in the next album, Moulin is going a step further with his research into electronic sounds induced by KB, although leaving all the room for the horn section to move. Unlike the debut, on this album, Moulin is definitely taking the forefront and really shines all the way through, while still providing a great backtrack for the horn section. Balek starts out with a then-revolutionary loop dominating the background and the group just surfs throughout the track's 4 min while Moulin switches from Moogs to Rhodes and back, great stuff. Only Nineteen is another track where Moulin shows us his savoir-faire and here the horn section plays the faire-valoir. Phalene (recorded live) is a rather lenghty piece (a relative 8 min) that takes great pride in being slowly developing itself, content on following Rottier's great drumming and the brass clearly influenced by Nucleus's Ian Carr. Temse is also the occasion for Moulin to extend his electronic KBs to the max, while remaining at the service of the song - un très grand monsieur - meanwhile the funky horns and no less enthralling rhythm section just take you to hell and back. Polk is another sizzling funky jazz-rock track induced by a great guitar, which makes you love every second of its short life.

Maybe their better albums and certainly the most even, this gatefold album (the debut was too) is one of those seminal albums for the Belgian jazz scene, and it is rather hard to understand how and why it never got a Cd release (outside the compilation) because this album was much sampled for acid-jazz and techno.

PLACEBO Ball Of Eyes

Album · 1971 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
The first album of Placebo was a real shock in Belgium, and nobody was really prepared for it. All that had come about before was a few proto-prog groups such as Waterloo, Wallace Collection (actually a pop outfit) and a few others. So 71 saw Arkham (who never released an album per se) and Placebo (Lagger Blues Machine was to follow the year after). Leader Marc Moulin was already a veteran by the time of this album, but this was his first project. The sound on this album oscillates between Bitches Brew and Nucleus's debut on one side and Chicago Transit Authority on the other. If there are some really superb tracks on this album, it is also somewhat uneven with some rather surprising (and clumsy) covers of Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes, but clearly the highlights are the self-penned tracks. From the superb Aria with an infectious groove greatly underlined by Moulin's electric piano, to Planes with its superb semi-free jazz intro and impeccable crescendo, and Humpty Dumpty's haunting slow pace, this album is a slap in the face to most historians not knowing of this group. Showbiz Suite being another highlight, it is clear that Moulin was a bandleader in the jazz style, providing a great platform for the other musicians - the four-man horn section is plenty of frontman - so he stays content of providing the solid base (rarely taking the spotlight to himself at this point), but he is the chief composer and pulls of some real stunts in making his role quite interesting.

This album was released on the historical jazz CBS label and unfortunately there has never been a CD re-issue from them, but exists from Brit label Counterpoint a compilation that really takes the best tracks available on this Lp

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