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Thread: Magma - where to start ... recommended albums / tracks for a newbie?

  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicky Cupcakes View Post

    However, the end of that song was amazing (I listened to the studio version, not sure if this particular live version differs) and leaves me wanting to hear more.
    If you mean Köhntarkösz, there's at least a couple diffferent "rough draft" versions that exist, including the studio version that was on the original LP.

    I guess Vander didn't have the piece fully mapped out in his mind initially, so for instance, there's a section in what we now know as part one, where they launch into Om Zanka, which later found it's way into KA, after being nixed from Köhntarkösz. There's also a totally unique as compared to any of the later versions. This is what you hear on the BBC recording from, I think, February 1974 (which I had on a cassette my friend Bill gave me several years before they put out the official CD release).

    By the time you get to the studio recording, the basic structure of the piece as it would be played for the next 40 years is worked out, but there's a couple difference. Part one fades out an acoustic piano preview, as it were, of the start of part two. And part two ends with a completely different coda, with a rather ominous sounding descending chord progression on electric piano, with Vander doing this sort of militaristic thing on the drums, before crossfading into an ohm chant, which fades out, ending the piece.

    Apparently, at some point after the studio version was recorded, Vander again revised the coda, dropping the descending chords and martial drumming, and instead having this totally new bit of music.

    Personally, I've always preferred the ending ont he studio album. It's how I first heard it, and I've always though it sounded way dramatic, and maybe even just slightly ambiguous.
    The energy, vibrancy and soul of Magma's vocals connects with me more than those of most bands singing in English, regardless of the fact that I only ever have the vaguest idea what they are singing about.
    The "I don't know what they're singing about" is one of the things I like about Magma, and indeed most other bands who don't sing in English. The vocals almost become just another instrument in the band's sound, and I'm not worrying so much about what the words are. I've also been advised in some bands, it's not worth knowing the words. I've heard that, for instance, with Le Orme, a lot of the lyrics just aren't all that great, according to those who know Italian.

  2. #27
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    First thought - Hai/Live - incendiary!!!

  3. #28
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alucard View Post
    Option 1 :
    Chronological , this gives you a good idea over the development of Zeuhl and the first one is kind of important to understand the Magma Saga if you want to dig deeper

    Option 4
    Try to see them in concert or get the mythes et legendes live at Le Triton DVD series. Always impressive to have the visual aspect of Magma
    I'd keep option 1 (my fave) and Option 4

    Indeed, a soft introduction to the band implies top start with Kobaia (which is my fave with Kohntarkosz), and certainly not with MDK (which is the mistake I did way back then)

    Or indeed start with a live introduction: I should've started with Haaï Live, but nowadays you might want to jump in with a filmed concert on DVD (avoid the Bobino one, though, as it is totally unrepresentative)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I believe the best way in is via Kohntarkosz or Udu Wudu. My first serious exposure to Magma was Mekanik Destruktiv Kommandoh, and that put me off for quite some time. The brass/crazy operatic voices extravaganza was a bit too much for my stomach. I still think that MDK - despite parts of insane glory - is a marred masterpiece because of this reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by jazz2896 View Post
    I started with MDK, and that honestly put me off for awhile, I thought it was boring and repetitive, especially since I was very new to the style of music and had yet to "get" it. I put the band off for a little bit, and then I believe I tried Wurdah Itah, and that one sealed the deal.
    You, and I don't think it's that well recorded either... at least the vinyl pressing I owned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicky Cupcakes View Post
    Magma is a band that's been on my "to listen to" list for a while now. I had never given them any dedicated time because I feared I would find it impenetrable - what little I've heard has been enjoyable musically, but knowing that a story is unfolding in lyrics that I can't understand always turned me off.
    However, the end of that song was amazing (I listened to the studio version, not sure if this particular live version differs) and leaves me wanting to hear more.
    Well, the band's whole oeuvre can sound samey for a newcomer (and not just them, TBH) and I've stopped a long time ago trying to understand the storyline (that's really for hardcore fans), so I just concentrate on the vocal prowess of the different singers.

    BTW, in recent years, Vander has become my fave vocalist, and Blasquiz has regressed onthat scale, despite his presence on my fave Magma albums.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  4. #29
    My fave singer has always been Isabelle- she is always hiding somewhere in the mix, but has to deliver incredibly difficult counterpoint vocalese.

    Nicky- each version of Kohntarkosz is different. here are two more, one a snippet with the most amazing guitar solo of James's career. (second clip).



    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Dana5140 View Post
    My fave singer has always been Isabelle- she is always hiding somewhere in the mix, but has to deliver incredibly difficult counterpoint vocalese.

    Nicky- each version of Kohntarkosz is different. here are two more, one a snippet with the most amazing guitar solo of James's career. (second clip).




    Haha, I can see myself in the Utrecht crowd
    Also been to 2 of the triton Kohntarkozs nights, so I can die happy

  6. #31
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Hhai Live did the trick for me too!
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year — the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  7. #32
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  8. #33
    Champion of Nothing Nicky Cupcakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana5140 View Post
    Nicky- each version of Kohntarkosz is different. here are two more, one a snippet with the most amazing guitar solo of James's career. (second clip).
    Cool stuff! Vander's drumming is such a great mix of intensity and color... I got to see them play at NearFest and remember that being my biggest takeaway from the show. I'm really enjoying the suggestions in this thread so far, enough so that I might dip my toes in. I'm finding that I enjoy the live videos a bit more than the studio stuff, so might start with a DVD.

  9. #34
    Have fun!
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  10. #35
    Have fun! Here is a mix from the gorgeous (Blum Tendiwa) to the brutal (KMX B12) to the one that is full of dread (De Futura).





    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  11. #36
    Thanks for all of the contributions to this thread - they're very much appreciated.

    I can happily report that I've spent most of my free time this week discovering incredible tracks that I didn't know existed & I'm now massively converted to both Magma in general & Christian Vander's unbelievable drumming skills. He's right up there with Pierre Moerlen, Bruford, Andy Ward, and Brand X version Phil Collins for me now. I've just ordered all 5 of the Epok DVDs from the Magma music site... can't wait! ... and the exciting part is that I've got so much more to discover!

    Me thinks I'll be off to London in October to see them live.

    Cheers guys!

  12. #37
    Congratulations on your conversion!

    I'm a bit late to the thread but for what it's worth my route in was Live/Hhai as an Amazon download. It was only £2 or so for some reason and I had been curious for a while so I thought what the heck. Coincidentally, I heard MDK on the radio a few days later and that decided it for me. I bought the Studio Zund boxset which was out at the time, followed by lots of live albums, including a full price copy of Live/Hhai.

    In terms of how to approach the live box, which was your original question, I concur with what Nogbad said.

    Speaking of live recordings, I have always felt that the various live albums and DVDs are the real Magma. Not that there's anything wrong with the studio albums, but if I'm in a Magma mood it will usually be something live that I reach for. In particular, you won't regret the Epok DVDs. The Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy DVD is worth having too

    Finally, yes you definitely should get yourself to London in October. It's a relatively rare opportunity and who knows how many more there will be.

  13. #38
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    I finally got to see Magma on their most recent American tour. I was really glad I did. My wife, who has been a Magma skeptic, looked at me after about 10 minutes into MDK and said, "This must be what you've been hearing all along!"

    To really play Magma music, there is simply no phoning it in. They don't, and when you realize they are putting all out there for you, it is humbling. Go!
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by zzorchering View Post
    I've spent most of my free time this week discovering incredible tra cks that I didn't know existed & I'm now massively converted to both Magma in general & Christian Vander's unbelievable drumming skills. He's right up there with Pierre Moerlen, Bruford, Andy Ward, and Brand X version Phil Collins for me now.
    You've scratched the surface of the dreadful dungeon named "avant-prog", so there are virtually hundreds of artists, movements, cliques and traditions to be discovered. Check threads on Zeuhl in general (like this one: http://www.progressiveears.org/forum...ighlight=zeuhl), on Canterbury, on Rock-in-Opposition (RIO), on math-rock, on Japanoise… The well is deep and almost bottomless and it gets -HOT- down there.

    And don't believe them when they say that it's incompatible with former preferences, 'cause that's untrue.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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