Floe Essi / Ektah
01. Floë Ëssi (2:58)
02. Ëktah (5:52)
- Stella Vander, Isabelle Feuillebois, Bertrand Cardiet / vocals
- James Mac Gaw / guitar
- Emmanuel Borghi / Fender Rhodes
- Phillipe Bussonnet / bass
- Christian Vander / drums, vocals, keyboards
Rarely does an EP come along that is such high quality. Magma released this little gem in 1998 during a long break between studio albums (1984's Merci and 2004's K.A.), and man does it ever show their want to get back into business! The Ep consists of two songs that (to my knowledge) are unique to this release, both are surprisingly short and concise for the band, but both demonstrate amazing musicianship. Magma's jazz side comes out more here than normal and the sometimes off-putting vocals seem to have been streamlined to become highly melodic and even catchy. Check out Vander's vocals during the longer track, Ëktah, they're great! For those of us who don't speak French (or Kobaian, for that matter) the vocals once again take on a quality that more turns them into another instrument. The female vocal section also makes for a great addition as it gives Vander's voice an ethereal quality as they harmonize with him. This song also has a wonderful opening that floats along like something out of a classic Yes tune before exploding into zeuhl with those crazy harmonized vocals.
Both songs are top notch, completely quality throughout. Ëktah is surprisingly catchy thanks to its rhythmic vocal section and mad drumming, while Floë Ëssi opens with a surprisingly nice drum line and the jazz bass takes over. Dominantly female vocals in this song are beautiful (and not at all scary, as can be sections of, say, MDK). Vander pops in and out of this song with his vocals but keeps relentlessly pounding the skins like there's no tomorrow. The ending to this one is just so fun as it ends on a single bass chord. Nice.
The unfortunate part is that the album doesn't go on for longer! However, sitting at just under 9-minutes this is a great album for a progger who is pressed for time. Most proggers I know (myself included) like to listen to a disc from one end to another, so this makes for a great travel cd as noted by Sinkadotentree in his review of the album. I would say that this would also make a great introduction to the band (if you can find it) since it is wildly accessible, which is very surprising coming from an obscure band like Magma.
The music on this cd is absolutely brilliant, but since it is a minor release and not a full fledged album it would be completely irrational to give it a full 5 stars. This may not be an essential masterpiece, but it makes for a great listen, and repeated listens are natural since it's so short it just leave you salivating for more. Heck, you may find yourself starting it over again after it ended. Good luck finding it, but if you do - don't hesitate to buy this thing.