Friday, April 13, 2007
Magma is not an easy band to describe to people. in fact, i feel like the term "band" is not adequate and is misleading. the same goes for labels and genres like "prog" or "fusion." sure, there are plenty of those styles represented within Magma's core sound; and their influences are easily felt in their music. but Magma, to me, are a force...a gigantic, almost monstrous presence that cannot be ignored. their sound is huge and massive, filled with moments of terror and beauty. stark minimal rhythms give way to colourful audio explosions, drenched with harmonious voices and thundering bass and guitar. and the drums...wow. well, the drumming is just brilliant. this French group has enjoyed legendary status for decades, and has been highly influential (spawing many Zuehl obsessed bands...Ruins, Guapo, The Flying Luttenbachers...just to name a few), but yet their overall appeal is quite limited. probably due in no small part to their choice of language to sing in (a language called Kobian, which Christian Vander, drummer and mastermind behind Magma, has invented in order to explain the concepts behind his group's music and lyrical stance). there pieces are long and full of complexities and brilliant twists and turns...dark, treacherous, disonant avant-prog with intense crescendos that bubble and boil with an electrifying power and joy that is both familiar and strangely alien to the senses.
Köhntarkösz has sadly gone out of print and it demands to be heard. Four tracks of spellbinding music that seems to open a crack in the fabric of reality and threaten to swallow the universe whole. The first two tracks take their time to make their statements, both clocking in around the 15 minute mark. They are deep, dark meditations on the plight of the people of Zeuhl Wortz preparing for battle. The final track is a solemn and beautiful melody to commemorate the life of John Coltrane. whose music Christian Vander has a lifelong obsession with (as do I, myself).
Sound The Ork Alarm!