Magma - Felicite Thosz
Seventh A 37
Since re-emerging in the late 90s, Magma have put on countless simply great performances and 2 stunning albums. But both of those albums (Kontarkosz Anteria (K.A.) and Emenhntehtt Re (E.R.)) were both recordings of 'big pieces' written during the band's 1970s heyday, but unrecorded until now. So, for me at least, the big question has been, "What happens when they run out of old, unrecorded things to record? Can C.V. come up with new material worthy of the band he's assembled?" Happily, the answer is yes, as F.T. proves. The group has been performing this piece along with another new work, Slag Tanz for a number of years now (I've seen them do it 2-3 times and it isn't like I get to see Magma on a weekly basis!); why is this new album 'only' F.T. and why is it 'only' 32' long? Only Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanïk knows and they ain't telling. It's a great, vocal-oriented piece (but with fantastic instrumental backing and instrumental parts, of course) and like almost all Magma works, it comes very highly recommended. It's been out about 2 days and there's already a lot of nit-picking on the internet, but look: They've been a band (on and off) for over 40 years and just how many more works do you think Christian can squeeze out before he goes off to the big krematohm in the sky? Better to enjoy this album and the unique musical treasure that is Magma while we can, sez I.
The band on this recording is:
Stella VANDER : chant, chœurs, tambourin
Isabelle FEUILLEBOIS : chant, chœurs, grelots
Hervé AKNIN : chant, chœurs
Benoît ALZIARY : vibraphone
James MAC GAW : guitare
Bruno RUDER : piano
Philippe BUSSONNET : basse
Christian VANDER : batterie, chant, piano, clavier
Also included at the very end is a charming miniature of 4 minutes entitled Les Hommes Sont Venus, which is just piano and glockenspiel providing a pulse (ala "In C") and six voices, which reminds me a lot of something that could easily have appeared on "North Star" by Philip Glass! Very different, but quite heavenly!
A gem from Vander/Magma. It's just as complex and Stravinsky/Orff/Bartokesque as any of the classics, but it isn't as malevolent. And why should it be? We've left our Earth/carnal nature behind (Kobaia, 1001C, Wurdah Itah, MDK), we've braved the terrors of the underworld to find the secret of immortality (Emehntehtt-re, Kohntarkosz, K.A.), now it is time to revel in the celestial/eternal for a while. Think "Hhai", "Rinde", "Blum tendiwa", "Wohldünt Mëm Dëwëlëss", "Ima Suri Dondai" rather than "De Futura" or "Mekanik Kommandoh". And the final little track brings a new influence into Vander's catalogue: Morton Feldman. It sounds like nothing so much as Feldman's "3 Voices".
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