Friday, April 3, 2015

Magma - 2009 - Live In Tokyo

Live In Tokyo

Magma - Tokyo 2005 Live at O-East

101. Applause Debut (0:37)
102. K.A. I (10:38)
103. K.A. II (15:27)
104. K.A. III (22:38)
105. Applause Fin (1:37)

Les Voix de Magma - Tokyo 2005 Live at Club Quattro

201. Applause Debut (0:55)
202. Theusz Hamtaahk (13:40)
203. ?urdah Ïtah (16:53)
204. Mëkanïk Dëstruktï? Kömmandöh (19:44)
205. Applause Fin (2:19)

- Christian Vander / drums, vocals, percussion
- Stella Vander / vocals, percussion
- James Mac Gaw / guitar
- Emmanuel Borghi / piano, Fender Rhodes
- Frédéric d'Oelsnitz / Fender Rhodes
- Philippe Bussonnet / bass
- Isabelle Feuillebois / vocals
- Himiko Paganotti / vocals
- Antoine Paganotti / vocals

This 2 CD set is from performances done by Magma in Japan in 2005. The first disc is a very good performance of K.a. - it is fairly true to the original recording, but as is usually the case with Magma there is a high energy level and the band's performance is tight, technically proficient, and spirited. In particular, the keyboard work of Borghi on the third movement brought a new appreciation for that track such that I may prefer this live performance of it over that of the studio version. Bussonnet, MacGaw, and obviously Vander himself also deliver outstanding performances.

The second disc is certainly a bit of a curiosity. Entitled "Les Voix de Magma" (The Voices of Magma), it is a highly "stripped" version of the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie, performed only with vocals, piano, and tambourine. As shown in the track listing above, these performances are of compressed versions of each of the three movements, mostly out of necessity of omitting long instrumental sections, but sometimes not: unfortunately, a good deal of the beginning of Mekanik (including Ima Sura Dondai) is not performed. The result is mixed - it's something that captures the spirit of Magma, the passion of this Kobaian epic, but things that are essential to Magma are absent: Vander's relentless, forward driving drums; the characteristic zeuhl fuzz bass, and the keyboards that so often bring a majestic, triumphant atmosphere to the pieces. There are very wonderful moments to be found on this disc, but by the time you have come to Mekanik it does start to feel a bit monotonous, due to the sort of one-dimensional sonic nature such as stripped-down approach brings.

For many people this album will be an import, with a correspondingly high price tag. Therefore, I can recommend this only to those who are entrenched fans of this band and/or completionists. Certainly I would absolutely advise against this being any sort of introduction to the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie; instead seek out the incomparable Retrospektiw I-II or the Trianon shows to get the full effect of these masterworks. For those that do obtain this and are serious fans of the band, I believe it won't disappoint despite its flaws; and if you think highly of K.a. you will without doubt enjoy the band's performance of it.

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