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Magma - Üdü Ẁüdü CD (album) cover

ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ

Magma

 

Zeuhl

3.72 | 274 ratings

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Shakespeare
4 stars Well, with the Bartók in them waning, and the Coltrane (and others) waxing, Magma produced this, their, sixth studio album, Üdü Wüdü. The mythology that was so important to the first three releases, and dimmed with Köhntarkösz, is all but gone here. The only traces of any mythology is in guesswork and song names. Half of me thinks it narrates the beginning of the ORK war or something rather. The People of ORK certainly have something to do with the lyrics' theme, but it's not clear how. Top's solo album Soleil d'Ork might have something to do with it, too. But since there is a significant lacking of Kobaïan scholars, I fear Vander and the gang may take the secrets of the plot to the grave with them. So this Magma review will not have a chain of five fat paragraphs describing the lengthy saga. I will say this, though: the word Weidörje is Kobaïan for celestial wheel which is believed to signify the flying saucer of sorts on the band Weidorje's cover. Sounds like imagery for an ORK invasion, perhaps.

As for the music, Üdü Wüdü marks a strong change in Magma's sound and direction. The grandiose scheme of Mëkanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh and Köhntarkösz is all but abandoned and a return to jazz is at hand. But not the Coltrane sort of jazz that was the bulk of the first two releases, but a fatter, denser jazz. The complexity, resonance, and scale is sacrificed for the celestial groovy jazz. Vocals are much more prominent, particularly after something like Köhntarkösz where vocals were just folded in. Bass is turned way up, and the emphasis on rhythm and its trance-inducing qualities is an integral element of the album. A lot of younger zeuhl bands took after this album, and its style of zeuhl is probably the most mimicked. Magma offshoot band Weidorje not only took the lead-bass, booming-beat style from the album, but their band name from a song off the album. More than a mere influence.

The centerpiece of the album, De Futura, is a monster of a track. Dark sequences, groovy jazz bits, oppressive percussion, haunting key drops, and the most addictive bass line ever mark this an absolute essential track. Not only intense and monstrously stimulating, but it's lingering and menacing. It features some of Vander's most inspired and furious drum work, which is saying a lot, as the man is truly a beast on the kit. Top is top of his game here, and rightly so, since this is his last studio appearance with the band ever. De Futura also marks a rare occurrence as it is one of the rare non-Vander composed tracks to grace a Magma studio album. Its title is a shortened form of De Futura Hiroshima, and a song perhaps about WWIII, nuclear war, and the girm future. I would say the atmosphere and, clearly, the booklet hint that the track is orbiting around the central theme of time travel, which must tie into the Kobaïan tale some how. I guess we'll never know.

Shakespeare | 4/5 |

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