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Magma: Zhn Whl nsa Live 1974

It is always nice to see and hear live documentations of those classic progressive rock bands that were so important to the start of the genre all those years ago. There has never been a band quite like Magma and I doubt we will ever see the likes of anyone like them again.

Perhaps no other band has been as cemented in the underground culture as Magma. Hell, they even invented their own language called "Kobaian" to help listeners better understand the music. And folks, this music is pretty hard to understand but that is precisely what makes this band so intriguing.

The band formed in 1969 by classically trained drummer Christian Vander. He needed a platform upon which to expand his musical vision and Magma fit the bill. This performance took place on February 6, 1974 at Radio Bremen Sendesaal in Germany. The rest of the lineup consisted of Jannick Top (bass), Michel Graillier (keyboards), Gerald Bikialo (keyboards), Claude Olmos (guitar) and Klaus Blasquiz (vocals, percussion).

For the uninitiated it is hard to know where to begin describing the band's sound. Intensely frenetic sections, swirling dream-like motifs, unique vocal arrangements and supreme musicianship often taking an avant jazz slant is just a start. Take the first track off disc 1 entitled "Sowilo (so so)". Weird vocalizations, angular guitar structures, riveting cymbal work and squealing sound effects is just the beginning. Dreamy sections with the vocals floating in and out of the mix to more intense muscular workouts with some pretty cool guitar feedback is what you will hear. There is still a resemblance of structure even as the song breaks into a chaotic frenzy. The rest of the disc is taken up by the seven part suite "Mkank Dstruktw Kmmandh" from the album of the same name. It is a mixture of jazz, rock and classical elements with vocals that at times will make your head shake. I have to admit the operatic excursions are a little hard to take at times, especially the harsh trills and screams in "Part V".

Disc 2 features two tracks, both over twenty minutes. "Korusz II" starts with unearthly voicings leading to a pretty wicked drum solo which takes up the entire piece. Vander is a monster on the kit, especially his use of cymbals which becomes quite ferocious. "Theusz Hamtaahk" builds from a moody beginning to complex jams with shifting tempos and time signatures. Some parts delve into a bit of space rock as well.

Although this is a difficult band 'to get' and the music generally screws with your mind, one can't deny the creativity this band has. For newcomers interested in hearing what Magma are all about, Zhn Whl nsa wouldn't be a bad place to start and the sound quality is quite good considering the year it was recorded.

Track Listing:
CD 1
1. Sowilo (so so) (12:24)
Mkank Dstruktw Kmmandh (35:12)
2. I. Hortz Fur Dhn Stckhn West (8:46)
3. II. Imah Sr Donda (4:42)
4. III. Kobaa Iss De Hndn (2:23)
5. IV. Da Zeuhl Wortz Mkank (7:41)
6. V. Nbhr Gudahtt (7:40)
7. VI. Mkank Kmmandh (4:01)

CD 2
1. Korusz II (20:09)
2. Theusz Hamtaahk (25:49)

Added: September 14th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band @ Seventh Records
Hits: 1780
Language: english

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