Friday, April 3, 2015

Magma - 1999 - BBC 1974 - Londres

BBC 1974 - Londres

01. Theusz Hamtaahk (30:03)
02. Köhntarkösz (27:26)

- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion
- Claude Olmos / guitar
- Michel Graillier / Fender piano, keyboards
- Gérard Bikialo / Fender piano
- Jannik Top / bass
- Christian Vander / drums, vocals

Of Magma's many live releases, this one deserves special note because the performance in question was recorded for the BBC, resulting in a higher than usual sound quality for live albums from the era. It also presents two of the band's major epic pieces - an early draft of Kohntarkosz, a greatly retooled studio version of which would be recorded a few months later, and one of the earliest recorded performances of Theusz Hamtaahk.

Both performances are great, but Theusz Hamtaahk is absolutely storming, with brooding, pulsing rhythms building up to a wailing, frenzied crescendo, before a sensitive and plaintive sung interlude marks the transition to a wild jazz-funk-zeuhl conclusion to the album. From what I understand of the Magma myth, the song tells the story of how Theusz Hamtaahk was sent to Earth by the Kobaian colonists to bring word of the wonderful discoveries they had made on Kobaia, only to be persecuted and killed by the spiritually unenlightened Earth people, and without the use of any language intelligible to folks outside of the band the group manage to convey this emotional journey, the wild conclusion to the track seeming to correspond to the outraged declaration of war against Earth that leads into Wurdah Itah and Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh.

Whilst I wouldn't suggest anyone should start their Magma explorations with this one, the album is a valuable document of the band in the midst of a creative peak - MDK came out a few months earlier, and the studio sessions for Wurdah Itah and Kohntarkosz would take place a few months afterwards. I wouldn't call it the essential or definitive rendition of either of the pieces offered, but any Magma fan would find it a rewarding document.

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