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Magma - K.A CD (album) cover

K.A

Magma

 

Zeuhl

4.29 | 418 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars After the release of "Köhntarkösz" I started to loose interest in MAGMA, they seemed to loose that lunatic freshness and started to sound as part of the machinery, what surprised us in their first albums, became boring and predictable.

So I stopped buying more of their albums, but reading the reviews in Prog Archives (due to a mention of my friend Atkingani) decided to give "K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria)" a chance, and I don't regret this decision, even when I bought the album a few days ago, I feel in capacity of reviewing it, because I have listened it several times with extreme attention, and believe me "K.A" is in the level of the best MAGMA albums, only that sounds better because of the technology used.

Sometimes a band has to recognize that their early works are their best, and even when some people believe they should keep evolving, is better to return to the roots and produce great material rather than keep experimenting and loose coherence with each album. This is what MAGMA does in "K.A" (well, not properly a return, because "K.A I" and "K.A II" are previously unreleased material from 1974 -if I'm not wrong-), they return to the roots and release an excellent album that sounds as fresh as "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh" or "Köhntarkösz" did on their time, as a fact sounds as a long time delayed sequel of second mentioned album.

"K.A I" opens the album with strength and originality from the first instant, "Christian Vander" sounds better than ever and the chorus with male and female voices is amazing. Even when it may sound a bit repetitive, the originality of the concept and the magnificent piano performance by "Emmanuel Borghi" it doesn't bore for a single second.

The song gives no rest to the listener, they use each and every free second and cover it with music, no silent spaces, as if they didn't required to breathe. The changes are not as violent as we are used in Progressive Rock, they are gradual, but more radical than the listener can imagine. Even the habitual lunatic touches as rings, whistles and wheezing sound absolutely coherent and perfect in the context of the track.

The instrumental passages give a bit of relief after the madness, and the balance required, this is Zeuhl at it's best.

"K.A II" starts dramatic and epic, with the excess of pomp and brightness that I love so much, maybe the casual listener will find it too excessive, but the clear "Karl Orff" reminiscences are simply delightful.

Even though is as frenetic as "K.SA I" in some moments, MAGMA adds several calmed and soft passages with jazzy atmospheres and beautiful melodies, but never loosing their typical horror to silent spaces.

The blending of male and female voices is as tasteful as it can be reminding of WAGNER'S operas, not a single weak moment, the arrangements are perfect from start to end, another outstanding track.

For what I know, "K.A III" is the only really new material ("K.A I and K.A II" were written in the early 70's but never used by the band), and the difference is clear, unlike the previous songs, MAGMA starts with an instrumental section, in which they seem to jam creating a Psychedelic atmosphere only interrupted by the feminine howling chorus that provides a mysterious edge, somehow it's basic and tribal but full of beauty and imagination, but this is the longest track in the album (21:43) and we should expect some surprises.

Around the eight minute and after a vibrant transitional passage, the usual weird vocals start, they move from celestial chorus to more tribal explosions, the contrapuntal encounter between male and female voices create a violent atmosphere and Vander helps to create this controlled cacophony with the strong percussion, this guys haven't lost the touch, the music is as strong as 30 years ago.

As the time passes, the vocals become more and more aggressive, the dissonant singing is the general rule, simply delightful and brilliant specially with the unusual and frantic Hallelujah chorus that has nothing in common with Handel's. A great song from start to end.

Despite I have reviewed more than 300 albums in Prog Archives, few times I had so little problems in rating an album, in the 70's or in 2004 , "K.A (Köhntarkösz Anteria)" deserves 5 solid stars without ay doubt, not a problem is other albums are more solid, I rate the releases individually and this one deserves full rating.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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