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Exmagma - Exmagma CD (album) cover

EXMAGMA

Exmagma

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.89 | 14 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With two young veterans from Germany's R'n'B scene who happened to be talented musicians and an extraordinary African American drummer who seemed to have the swing right there under his skins and all over his muscles and bones, it is no wonder that Exmagma came to be one of the greatest acts in the jazzy trend of krautrock. All it needed was a proper cohesion that could bring together Braceful's infinite dynamics, Balluff's avant-garde sensible creativity and Goldner's vigor and refinement for Exmagma to fulfill its inherent promise. and boy, did they achieve it dearly!! The 1973 eponymous debut album is an outstanding example of experimental jazz-rock with a high degree of psychedelic heat and a lucid progressive-oriented awareness. Funny how the band's name makes a straight allusion to the trio's resignation of its original name - this sort of humor that is evident in the album covers is also present in the music itself, among the obvious cleverness provided on the articulated jams, improvisational moves and strategic variations. 'The First Tune' is the first tune in the album, although more exactly it is a conglomerated series of various tunes. With a basis of organ, bass and drum kit, the band first indulges on a slow-tempo 3 minute jam full of psychedelic vibe; the second section is a brief interlude that states a denser aura, featuring distorted clavinet and a more distorted bass guitar (pretty much like Soft Machine at its noisiest), while the drummer brings complex adornments to his steady funky rhythm pace; the third and last section turns down the density a bit while retaining the power and the funk-oriented foundation. 'Tönjés Dream Interruption' further enhances the SM connection ("Third" and "Fourh" eras) in a very robust fashion, while 'Interessante Olé' travels to the North American territory of free jazz, featuring sustained flows on organ and bass conveniently supported by Braceful's precise swing and soaring rolls. Too bad that the fade-out arrives so soon!... Anyway, 'Two Times' follows with its 2-part sequence: the first one is very soul-oriented, led by the bass guitar's pounding line, while the second one shifts to an extroverted jazz-rock climax. Again, the "too early fade-out" syndrome settles in to destroy the hope of an expanded jam of epic proportions, but well, that's OK I guess. The album's second half is occupied by the gigantic piece 'Trippin With Birds / Kudu / Horny', a convincing manifesto of Exmagma's pretentious of explosive experimental jazz-rock. The artistic goal encompassed in this 19- minute musical journey is so challenging that it really has to be a crowning moment in the history of krautrock, rivalling with the quintaessential weirdness of Faust, the exquisite dynamics of Agitation Free or the Dadaist spirit of Amon Düül II. Rivalling with the commonly acknowledged greatest, I mean. The 'Trippin' with Birds'section is a deconstructive full of electrifying tension and surreal landscapes that include ultra- spacey organ effects, tortured sax improvisations and calibrated dramatic percussive interventions. The 'Kudu' section enters a gradual transition to a jazz-rock jam partially structured under a "free form" guise, plus some extra Hendrixian ingredients (on organ, not guitar). In moments like this I can feel a close relatedness between Exmagma and other jazz-krautrock heroes such as Embryo and Dzyan. Finally, the 'Horny' section finds Goldner switching to guitar, somehow emulating Guru Guru while the whole ensemble aims at a moment of solid dispersion. Well, then the fade-out arrives too soon to let us enjoy a prolonged elaboration of this motif, but by now the attentive listener is convinced that this monster track is the perfect closure for this spectacularly abrasive gem of krautrock.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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