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Magma - Zss - Le Jour Du Nant CD (album) cover

ZSS - LE JOUR DU NANT

Magma

 

Zeuhl

3.79 | 125 ratings

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thebig_E
4 stars This album was quite the stylistic detour for Magma. On many Magma albums, such as K.A, Christian Vander's voice is used sparingly. His voice appears a few times, but he is mostly the drummer. On Zss (Le Jour Du Nant), he is the lead singer and doesn't play drums. Instead, a Swedish drummer named Morgen gren, provides the percussion. I don't know much about him or his band, but I've read that he's a very technical drummer. Unfortunately, Zss doesn't require him to be much more than a metronome.

Zss is another composition that has existed in the Magma catalog for decades before this studio recording. While this may not be the definitive version, it is good to contrast with other live performances of this song. The addition of an orchestra (provided by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra) is a good touch that separates this album from others in their discography. This, along with the fact that the album flows like one 38 minute song, makes it sound much more like a symphony. This is a very minimal and streamlined album, and it rewards patience. For that reason, I couldn't throw it on anytime and always be enjoying it like other albums they have produced.

The album starts with an ominous string and vocal arrangement. This section is the opening fanfare, and lasts for 5 minutes. From there, we go into a minimal 2 chord piano and percussion theme. Christian narrates in French over the music. This does not change for 6 minutes, and this is kind of where the album loses me a bit. It's the least musically interesting part of the record. Thankfully, a switch to the Kobaan language brings the string section back, and we get the first instance of a motif that will exist throughout the rest of the album.

The language seemingly changes from Kobaan to something that is unrecognizable. The main takeaway from the vocals is the repeated "hmhmh nhmhsn". This culminates in a final 15 minutes of chaos, beauty, and resolution. The segment at the end, titled "Dmghl Bla (Glas ultime), is a different ending that is unique to this version of Zss. A quiet piano leads into call and response vocals between Christian and the rest of the singers. The word "om" brings the album to a close, suggesting that there is peace after everything that has come before.

In the Kobaan lore, Zss represents the end of the universe and everything that has ever existed. This makes the album seem like a final farewell. If this is the last Magma album, I wouldn't mind. They have had an excellent run, lasting for 50 years. Zss was never going to be my favourite Magma song or album, but I'm glad this exists.

thebig_E | 4/5 |

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