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Thread: MAGMA for the uninitiated? Help needed!

  1. #1

    MAGMA for the uninitiated? Help needed!

    Greetings everyone! I need your help please, particularly if you're a fan of Magma / zeuhl.

    For six years I've been hosting a fairly popular music show on the Russian FM radio. It's mainly dedicated to things that are literally popular, but I'm trying to squeeze in some more adventurous stuff every now and then, and, for example, I did cover most of the classic prog bands over the years, like Genesis, King Crimson or ELP, and the reception was pretty fine.

    Now, with the program running for almost 6 years straight, I thought it's time to take it one step further, and miraculously, I've managed to pitch the idea of the show devoted to Magma to the folks up top (I always need to secure their agreement before doing anything). Magma have likely never been played or otherwise featured on the Russian FM radio at all, so it's a big "first". But now I'm a bit puzzled and want to ask your advice.

    The duration of the show is approximately 50-55 minutes, which includes my more or less detailed account of the band's doings and history, placing it in the context of the popular music of its time, as well as some musical illustrations. And of course, we all know that Magma's discography is quite a labirynth, not to mention that it is mostly based on the long, extended pieces that are of course impossible to play on the show in their entirety.

    So, the question is which selections would you pick from their oeuvre for a show like this? What are your favorite Magma moments? Please consider a few things:

    - It is pretty likely that no one from my listeners heard a note of Magma before, so we have to keep it novice-friendly, but still showcase the amazing qualities of the band and its music;

    - Normally I manage to squeeze about 9-10 3 to 4 minute songs in each program. Occasionally I can play one or two longer pieces (say, 6-7 minutes), but that, of course, means that I have to throw away a few other songs, because the total running time is limited. Anything longer than 7 minutes is out of question;

    - It is allowed to use a section of a piece when it is impossible to play a complete one;

    - I'm always trying to play selections from different periods of the band's history to highlight its musical evolution. There is no need to waste time on the obvious low points of the band's career (so we can easily skip "Merci", for instance), but otherwise it's always nice when the listener gets to hear as much different music as possible.

    With this in mind, what would you recommend to feature? What can't be ignored? What are your favorite parts of Magma's music that wouldn't scare away the average listener? I'd be grateful for any suggestions. And if this show is successful, that would mean I'll have a "carte blanche" for future experiments. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I love the tracks that scares away the average listener!

    Kobah on Hhai live (75) could be a great start (and then fade after 4 minutes)...

  3. #3
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Zombies (Ghost Dance)
    Udu Wudu

    both from Udu Wudu are short and are not any less potent due to shortness, imo.

    they are also (as is all Magma) weird as hell, if you've never heard them
    Steve F.

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  4. #4
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Attahk has relatively short tracks:

    The Last Seven Minutes
    Nono
    Maahnt
    Lirk Ncronomicus Kanht

  5. #5
    Great suggestions, thanks! I was definitely planning to include "Udu Wudu" (the song) and something from Attahk, as that is, I think, one of the more (relatively) accessible releases. Of course, as Steve rightly says, it is still weird as hell like all Magma!

    Good call on "Kobah" (as opposed to the original "Kobaia") and "Zombies" too.

    But can a program about Magma be okay if there's nothing from Theusz Hamtaahk? Or Kohntarkosz? Or K.A.? Do you think any portion of those larger pieces can "work" on its own, cut from the original long form suite?

  6. #6
    An edit of Hhai that gets it to seven minutes maybe? It ended up in E.R. so close enough .

    As you know well a lot of the music builds on repetition so it's a challenge to the format... hard to see Kohntarkosz working, for example, even if we would consider it essential.

  7. #7
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ Half of Lev's audience will be in the E.R.

  8. #8
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Kohntarkohz - Hhai Live (75) fade in 6:05 and get some of the most goosebumpy suspensed they ever recorded - there ar plenty of fadeout possibilities, but I would wait until after the 10'th minute or even longer.

    A part of KA is 'Om Zanka' - besides the mediocre sound of Inedits the version there is unsurpassed.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by smcfee
    An edit of Hhai that gets it to seven minutes maybe? It ended up in E.R. so close enough
    Sorry if the question is dumb, but — what do you mean by E.R.? The TV series?!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levgan View Post
    Sorry if the question is dumb, but — what do you mean by E.R.? The TV series?!
    The song and album mhnthtt-R :-)

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Bytor
    The song and album mhnthtt-R :-)
    LOL. That would be .R. (But funny I didn't recognize the acronym — got carried away by Marc's comment!)

    Also, wouldn't it be cool to hear some Magma in the ER series?

  12. #12
    Jazzbo manqu Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levgan View Post
    - It is pretty likely that no one from my listeners heard a note of Magma before, so we have to keep it novice-friendly
    Throw in what is probably Magma's prettiest song: "Lihns" from Live/Hhai.

  13. #13
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    I would consider including at least one of the songs released in the single Floe Essi/Ektah. They are both personal favorites and quite representative of the Magma sound IMO.

  14. #14
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Magma is only really weird music I like. Hhai/Live is sublime.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Conti
    I would consider including at least one of the songs released in the single Floe Essi/Ektah. They are both personal favorites and quite representative of the Magma sound IMO.
    Brilliant suggestion, thank you! I completely forgot about that one.

  16. #16
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    You could also relate their music to some of Vanders inspirational sources

    Stravinsky: Les Noces (This version is a missing Magma album)



    Carl Orff - Carmina Catulli and Trionfo di afrodite, I have just relistened to both, and there is a lot in common with Vanders writing.


    Motown music, Coltranes music and perhaps

    Elvin Jones (probably Vanders biggest influence as a drummer, Jones was btw a friend of his mothers)

    Last edited by Zeuhlmate; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:31 AM.

  17. #17
    Kohntarkosz, to begin because it is epic beyond belief!
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  18. #18
    Go for Attahk if you want to ease yourself into their world, or MDK if you want the trial by fire. I started with d Wd and never looked back.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  19. #19
    Member Bake 2's Avatar
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    If the audience can hang w/ stuff like Don Ellis, FZ horn arrangements, and maybe the Flock, the second track on 1001 Centegrades (Iss Lansei Doia) might sink in, (some of it is almost like Passport). For a lot of people the chanting "sing songy" stuff can hit a gag reflex. Another possibility is to go w/ something like the Locckwood /Vander/Top/Widemann Fusion album as a bridge.

  20. #20
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    If I may, I’d like to suggest a few more short Magma songs for your radio show.

    In the Myths and Legends CD there is a shortened version of “Stoah”, from the first album, that is less scary than the original version (i.e. without the initial Vander screaming) but still very effective, topping at 4:20. I think it is a good call. In the same CD there is also “Klaus Kombalad”, which is cool but not essential IMO.

    Maybe you should also check the CD/EP Simples, where there are less known songs like “Hamtaak”, “Tende Kobah”, “Mekanik Kommandoh” and “Mekanik Machine” that were originally released as b-sides, none of which exceeding 5:20. “Klaus Kombalad” also appears here. These songs could be viewed as representative of the band's sound at the time.

    For taking a break off the insanity, maybe “Lihns” from their live album from 1975, or “Les hommes sont venus” from Felicite Thosz could be appropriate.

  21. #21
    I'm a big fan of the Puissance 13+2 version of "Mekanik Kommandoh" which serves as a great bridge piece between their early and later work, and it clocks in at 6 minutes. "Zain" from the Bobino album is also another Attahk styled short funk/zeuhl piece at almost 8 minutes that could work. Excerpts from longer pieces might work on the more through composed pieces like MDK, Wurdah Itah, KA, and possibly Emehntehtt Re and Theusz Hamtaahk since they have pretty clearly defined sections, but I wouldn't suggest doing excerpts of Kohntarkosz or Zess since they are essentially entire pieces based on the building of an idea over an extended period of time, and sections may not necessarily make sense out of context.

    Playing Magma on a radio show is pretty tough. At my station we don't really have time constraints on what we play but we can't play more than 3 songs by a particular artist in a row, so the albums that are separated into particular tracks are out of the question.
    A vie, a mort, et apres...

  22. #22
    Thanks so much once again for all your input — that was very helpful! Here's the final tracklist, in case you wondered:

    1). Udu Wudu
    2). K.A. I (excerpt, basically the beginning of the track up until 3:55 or so)
    3). Zombies
    4). Tsai
    5). Floe Essi
    6). M.D.K. II (Kompila edit)
    7). Liriik Necronomicus Kanht
    8). Hamtaak (or maybe Sckxyss from the 1st LP, the only part I haven't decided yet)
    9). M.D.L. I (Kompila edit)

    Hopefully there won't be any setbacks, and the show will go live on air as planned, and there'll be at least a small bunch of folks who won't turn off the radio once they hear the first minute of the music!

  23. #23
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Hope your broadcast goes well, Lev, and you have fun.

  24. #24
    Thanks, Marc. The show is recorded and is scheduled to go live on air on Sunday.

  25. #25
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levgan View Post
    Thanks, Marc. The show is recorded and is scheduled to go live on air on Sunday.
    Out of curiosity, is there an online simulcast, and if so, can you post a link?
    "If you want to see the true nature of humanity, just look at the internet."

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