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Magma - 1001░ Centigrades CD (album) cover

1001░ CENTIGRADES

Magma

 

Zeuhl

4.10 | 278 ratings

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laplace
Prog Reviewer
5 stars About half a year ago, I wrote a three star review of this album, which just goes to show a) how much of an idiot I am, and b) how long it takes to come to appreciate these formative Zeuhl albums; I've long considered myself a confirmed Magma fan and yet only recently have I come to terms with their pre-M.D.K. vision.

"R´ah Sah´ltaahk", the opening story here - and a track I had previously described only as "proto-Zeuhl" - has all the central Kobaian elements and musically conveys the loose plot of a chapter from an epic space opera, skipping past your likely rudimentary grasp of the celestial language and manifesting directly in your creative centres, and in a more melodic sense, is a voyage from upbeat beginnings akin to brass-rock through incidental filmic moments, the required electric piano motifs and mournful prayers of an uprooted galactic community, descending into volatile, jazzified marching dirges replete with shrieking Vanderisms, spluttering trumpet stab-rows and the grim determination of Master Blasquiz - there is an amazing amount of viciousness throughout "1001 Centigrades" and here is the first knockout dose. In my first draft I mourned that this song came before the arrival of Jannick Top but in truth, the Zeuhl bassoblueprint is equally strong here and in some places, the grooves make so much sense, so much cosmic correctness that it makes me think that the Magma bass chair is sentient in and of itself, and each player to don the Kobaian garb channels its wisdom.

Side B is actually JUST AS ESSENTIAL - something I wish I had realized initially. If "R´ah Sah´ltaahk" was momentarily vicious then "Iss Lanse´ Do´a" is full-on psychotic, and squalls throughout. "Ki ¤ahl ÷ L´ahk" starts with a Kobaian hymn, moogs out and then resolves towards brilliantly grooving jazz-funk-space-rock. I can admit that the chord progressions here are a mite too relaxing, but this would make the most ridiculous elevator muzak possible, space elevators excepted. Shades of Coltrane, Davis AND Hancock all in the same song? Buy.

I can't be sure whether my adjustment to this album came thanks to Stockholm syndrome, brainwashing or a legitimate fruition in understanding, and I hope it's not just the result of my desperation to justify a purchase, since I have plenty of derision for the Genesis and Rush die-hards who brave cognitive dissonance to do the same. All I can remember is that it wasn't easy. What I'm trying to say is this: if, like me, you're none too fond of jazz qua jazz, don't start here - it's "Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh" you need. Then, if you received it favourably, come back and dare to grok this much wilder album.

laplace | 5/5 |

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