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Magma - K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria) CD (album) cover





4.25 | 720 ratings

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5 stars When you think of comeback albums, you generally think of bad ones. A band is not as good as they used to be, when they return after a 10 year or longer absence. There are a few comeback albums that are excellent. Those are less common, but they exist. K.A (Kohntarkosz Anteria), is one of those albums. Released in 2004 after a 20 year long hiatus, K.A ranks as one of Magma's very best records.

This album had it's musical concepts created as early as the mid 1970's. It is also the first album Magma released in the 21st century. As a result, it has the benefit of being "classic" era Magma, but it sounds more modern. The first track wastes no time by going right into a chorus. The vocals are a big part of this record, and a big part of the Magma sound. The lyrics are in Kobaïan, as are the majority of Magma albums. Kobaïan is the constructed language made by Christian Vander, extracted from Germanic and Slavic languages. The words however, are inconsequential, because they have no meaning. What matters are the complex vocal arrangements, and how they are layered.

K.A has only three tracks, but there are plenty of musical ideas in each one. K.A 1 has the lyrics "Üts Köhntarkösz", which hints at the album's placement in the Kohntarkosz trilogy. This is introduced 5 minutes into the song, and is repeated again with more intensity towards the song's end. We have a climax at 7 minutes with someone rolling their tongue, followed by loud hissing. This part is certainly a weird moment, but it fits the eccentric music. K.A 2 starts with tambourine and vocals. This is one of the few parts on the album that includes Christian's vocals. He is mostly assigned to the drum kit here. This track features a main theme with the lyrics "Wïwï wowo Sëhndö", which is continually sung throughout the song. This gives way to a guitar solo by James Mac Gaw, and new verses. Suddenly, it goes back to the main theme until the 8:45 minute mark. At this point, "Les musiciens du bord du monde" is introduced. The melody here can be traced back to 1974's Wurdah Ïtah, and its last track "Da Zeuhl Undazir". In my opinion, this is the first callback to one of their older compositions. A softer section is introduced before the song ends quite dramatically. The background singers are doing their own thing, while Antoine Paganotti can be heard singing "Allëhlüia". There will be more of that later.

K.A 3 starts with a cymbal crash and a slow build. What follows is a long instrumental jam. This is dominated by drums, keyboards, and voices floating in and out. This may go on for too long, but most of the time I find it entrancing. The earliest appearance of this piece is in the Inédits live album as "Om Zanka". After 9 minutes, the segment abruptly ends. A new song is introduced. This was originally called "Gamma Anteria" on the aforementioned live album. Antoine takes the lead vocal here. There are at least two separate verses going on at the same time. You don't truly realize the complexity of the vocal arrangements until you have looked up the lyrics, and played the song while reading them. The "Allëhlüia" part returns and is stronger than ever, with all vocalists participating. It's at this point that the music becomes a religious experience. Maybe it is here to remind us that Kobaïa is indeed a planet inhabited by humans. They brought their religion with them. This is repeated many times, then the tempo slows down for the final celebratory "Allëhlüia". K.A closes with some words from their debut album. "Hoï Hamtaï Sïm rïm Hamtaï" is spoken, and it ends the record in a quiet way.

Throughout its 49 minutes, K.A is always intriguing and never boring. The music has many parts that sound like a rock opera, with an emphasis on the opera. It's a beautiful and enigmatic journey of an album. All the good things that have been said about this album are true. It really is up there with M.D.K as one of Magma's greatest albums. However, just like M.D.K, don't expect easy listening. This will most likely take time to grow in your mind, if you are willing to let it. This is mandatory listening for a Progressive Rock fan in my opinion.

thebig_E | 5/5 |


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