Friday, April 3, 2015

Magma - 2008 - Mythes Et Legendes Epok IV

Mythes Et Legendes Epok IV

01. Intro
02. Zess
03. In A Dream
04. The Night We Died
05. Otis
06. KA I
07. KA II
08. KA III
09. Kobaia *

du mardi 31 mai au samedi 4 juin

Stella Vander: chant, percussions
Antoine Paganotti: chant
Isabelle Feuillebois: chant, percussions
Himiko Paganotti: chant, percussions
Aymeric Avice: trompette
Hughes Mayot: saxophone
James Mac Graw: guitare
Emmanuel Borghi: clavier
Frederic d'Oelsnitz: clavier
Phillipe Bussonnet: basse
Christian Vander: batterie, chante

Klaus Blasquiz
Jannick Top
Fabrice Theuillon
Yannick Soccal
Remi Dumoulin

The fourth and final volume in the 'Mythes et Légendes' concert series, but the first and (so far) only that I have had the pleasure of watching. I had originally planned to review this after watching the others in order to give it some context, but this was such an incredible experience that I felt compelled to write it immediately.

The first half kicks off with Zëss, a track which doesn't feature on any of their studio albums, but has appeared on several live recordings in various incarnations. It opens with some spacey keyboards which are then accompanied by a female chorus and trumpet. Very atmospheric, building up to Christian Vander's lengthy monologue in the guise of some sort of post-apocalyptic prophet. I have no idea what he is saying, but the overall effect is quite hypnotic. Next he moves centre stage and performs this incredible skat/yodel solo with such intensity that I think his head is going to explode. All the while drums and keyboards are playing largely the same pattern, but with a gentle crescendo of variety as the piece evolves. This culminates in an equally excellent guitar section, which alternates between furious shredding and jarring chords. Then the female chorus returns for a stunning finale, with Stella Vander in particular showcasing a fine range. It's a truly incredible piece of music.

This is followed by a short synth section, In a Dream, then two tracks taken from their 1984 release 'Merci'. Whilst this album is generally shunned, these songs turned out to be quite enjoyable and brought a more relaxed turn to the proceedings. Of the two, Otis brought a stronger performance, but The Night We Died remained pleasant enough, despite sounding more like a Broadway musical reprise.

And then comes the main event. K.A. It did not dissapoint. Vander hunches over the drum kit like a silver-back gorilla, feeling every single beat with cartoon-esque facial expressions. He was already one if my favourite drummers, but since watching this my admiration for him has increased tenfold. He plays with such passion and emotion, it really is a joy to watch. The other performances are also truly excellent. My only minor complaint is that the first section is full of close-ups of the vocalists, and although this does even itself towards the end of the piece, I would prefer to see more of the other instruments. Having said that, it is nice to see a concert recording which doesn't feel the need to show footage of the crowd. As for audio production, it's pretty much spot on, and makes sure the quieter sections feel just as balanced in this live setting.

This is then followed by Kobaïa, the opening track from Magma's 1970 debut , and features guest appearances from ex-band members Klaus Blasquiz and Jannick Top. Another brilliant performance and to end this retrospective view of Magma's career at the very beginning is perhaps the perfect finale.

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