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Magma - 1001 Centigrades [Aka: 2] CD (album) cover





4.13 | 378 ratings

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4 stars Kind of a wonder of the prog rock world. I still wonder what genre this encompasses other than Zeuhl, and it's probably better just to leave it at Zeuhl.

Those unfamiliar to Magma might be very turned away from their works unless they have open minds or of the adventurous sort. Think meaty fusion type compositions with brass and opera backdrops all done in pretentious, fixated language system. Many a prog fan might get a fancy tickled in them because of how 1001 CENTIGRADES is set up; very CLOSE TO THE EDGE style with the massive epic kicking it off followed by two shorter pieces and that's it. But, I can't stress enough, APPROACH AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! This album/group might be something that you just won't like.

Let's take the monster ''Riah Sahiltaahk''; there are so many themes going on that it's just crazy. It seems that every one to two minutes, the theme has to all of a sudden change into something different. Any typical progster will enjoy the constant inflow/outflow of themes, but it happens too often for me to really enjoy it. The piece contains several different dynamic levels, multiple odd metres and prominent clarinet/bass clarinet in the first half in style that I've already described.

The two things on the second side have more focus to them; both take themes and lay them out for a few minutes at a time while constantly expanding them. The only low point of the second half is the very bland fusion at the end of ''Ki Iahl O Liahk''. The vocals here are sparse as opposed to ''Riah Sahiltaahk'', and the sparseness helps the enjoyability factor. The electric pianos here are absolutely mesmerising and layered over fantastic bass grooves by Francis Moze (not surprising considering what he'd do for Gong on FLYING TEAPOT).

If the name Magma ever strikes an interest, try this album first as it has things that many typical progsters and fusion-ites will enjoy. Be mindful of the vocals as they are an acquired taste and the general bizarreness of everything presented. I made my Magma start here and I am very proud of doing so.

Sinusoid | 4/5 |


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