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Magma - mhnthtt-R CD (album) cover





4.19 | 466 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
3 stars Zss Zeuhl

A new Magma album is surely to attract some hype. With the massive success (critically) of the band's 10th studio release Kohntarkosz Anteria in 2004, the band's 11th studio album mhnthtt-R was sure to be a massive, incredible album. The album is more of a compilation, with the massive suite that conquers the vast majority of the album actually being bits and pieces of a three decade-long concept being patched together. Vander took compositions from nearly every studio album and even live albums to construct this massive 45+ minute epic. The album is the completing album in the "Kohntarkosz" trilogy that began in 1974 with the album of the same name, continued in 2004 with K.A. , and is completed here. This album tells the story of the album's namesake, and seeing as I have no idea what the lyrics mean, I can't really explain its intricacies. The album musically is a continuation of the trilogy and much of the band's former material as well, with celestial (hence the genre title Zeuhl) sounding choral vocals (Carl Orff style), jazzy instrumentation, and complex rhythmic elements. There is a heavy presence of bass, Rhodes, and piano, giving Magma and Zeuhl in general its unique sound. At this point I have immersed myself in the Magma sound, beginning with K.A., moving to M.D.K., sampling <1001 Degrees Centigrade and Attahk, and then moving to this massive album. Sadly, I can't say I hear anything new. The album has fantastic production and a modern feel, but the album is in general more of the same. The music is spectacular, but very similar to all the music the band has already released. The album is in every way straight to the infectious Magma style, and is a very good introductory Zeuhl album, but it isn't the incredible experimental incredibleness that we all love about Magma.

The album's bulk is the 45 minute long title track, which has been broken into four parts. Die hard Magma fans would most likely find something very familiar about this music, mostly because it is familiar music. Across Magma's history there have occasionally been tracks titled the same as this album, such as the track of the band's first live album, a track off Udu Wudu, and other excerpts and movements scattered around their discography. This album is Vander's compilation of all these smaller songs into one massive one. He took bits and pieces of these compositions and combined them and rerecorded them for a single release, and here we have mhnthtt-R. The music is in the familiar Magma style, with angelic choral vocals, heavily complex rhythmic work, and heavy bass and keyboard work. It may be nothing new, but it certainly isn't bad. The music segues in and out of moods, feelings, and movements with ease, expressing emotion, passion, and drive all throughout the composition. The instrumentation is at its jazzy, Zeuhly best, and the vocals are top notch. But it's just not new.

There isn't much more to say. In the end, the album is still one of classic Magma merit and style, and is sure to rank up there with their classic albums. The hype that was expected was duly matched, with countless five star ratings when it was released and the album reaching the number one spot on the collaborator's list of top 2009 albums. But, as the hype cooled down, it might be good for reviewers look retrospectively at the album. Although I try to not compare albums to previous albums a band has done, I can't help but say this album really isn't anything special purely because it's all been done before in an even more grand and luxurious style. In conclusion, although this album is a very good Zeuhl album by the true masters of the genre, it is no masterpiece or essential album, although huge Magma fans would do no harm in acquiring this album. 3+ stars.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |


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