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5 stars Volume I of Magma's Mythes Et Légendes DVD series was a satisfying experience. We got to hear several songs that hadn't been performed in ages with competent help from one of the original members, former lead singer Klaus Blasquiz. Now it looks as though all of that will be put to shame, for Volume II features none other than Wahrgenuhr Reugehlemoesteh - also known as Jannick Top - on bass!

This Zeuhl tour de force starts out with a beautiful version of the second movement of the epic Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy. Just as I think Volume I included the definitive version of the first momement, I think Volume II includes the definitive version of the second. Le Triton is truly a great venue for concert documents such as this. The music is preserved in all its might while there is the intimacy that the Trianon DVDs sorely missed. If there is one minus about this amazing piece of music, it is that Top has not yet entered the stage. However, it should be mentioned that Philippe "Bubu" Bussonnet, their current bassist, is a worthy match.

After a short intermission, we're back in gear with Magma's possibly best known and most acclaimed work, Mëkanďk Destruktďw Kommandöh where Bussonnet takes a short break and is replaced by Monsieur Top himself! That's not the only detail that makes this version of M.D.K. one of the most interesting; unlike the Trianon version that featured a full brass section, this is a stripped-down version closer to the one on the CD Mëkanďk Kommandöh. It is a joy to watch Top play here - not only does he look genuinely happy (and so does Vander, I might add), but his playing is sheer clockwork precision. He does power a little bit down during his solo spot, Mekanďk Zain, but still manages to wring out some great Zeuhl bass. The end of M.D.K. features a huge surprise: under thunderous applause from the audience, Klaus Blasquiz enters the stage and sings along! If there are anybody that understand Vander, it is Blasquiz and Top, so it's great to see this trio together again. After the climactic culmination of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy, the band leaves the stage to let Top demonstrate his bass skills.

Alas, this is seemingly already the "love it or hate it"-section of the DVD. Top's playing isn't as furious as in the old days, so Suite pour Violoncelle (a classic Bach piece) and Quadrivium aren't as furious as oldies such as Mekanďk Machine or KMX B12. Everyone gets older, but in my opinion, Jannick's playing has aged well: the soloes are still mesmerizing, so I can certainly live with the lack of his trademark distortion. After this short bass intermission, the rest of the band (including Bussonnet on piccolo bass and Blasquiz on vocals) enters the stage again to finish the set off with Top's masterpiece, De Futura.

This is definitely a different version of De Futura - I have never heard a version this slow and restrained before. It is not neccessarily a bad thing, but it does have to grow on you. At any rate, the final part will not disappoint - the band can still turn up the tempo to such a degree that you fear for Vander's heart! After a thunderous finish, this brief reincarnation of 1976's VanderTop leaves the stage while Vander and Top cannot stop exchanging smiles.

They must have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Report this review (#101374)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not so much to say, after Olzens glorious review, but i totally agree with what he says, this is an absolute must have for zeuhl fans, the mdk version with jannic is so brilliant (give it a few spin before you make up your mind) and wurdah have never sounded tighter.

The only complain i have about this disc is that Christian sometimes rely abit much on the band, an not punching the drums in the same hynotic way he often do, but this is a minor detail, his drumming is incredible anyway.

And hey we get a new intro to de futura (which last a bit too long), and de futura starts off very slow, but this i can understand, jannic and christian isnt 25 anymore, but hey....after some minutes the song goes to a new level of exitement for me, and the tempo goes alot faster, which i find very amusing, damn good!

The whole show is a complete stunner, and i can`t wait for the next two dvd releases, i have heard the bootlegs of some of these shows, and boy the next epoke will blast us all into space!!

Report this review (#104457)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Magma - Mythes et Légandes II (2006)

This is the third volume of the prestigious M et L series of Magma, in which they play almost 80% of their discography. This third volume has three major pieces of Magma; Wurdah Itah, MDK and De Futura (the last two feature Jannick Top on bass-guitar).

Magma plays in a relatively small venue, the stage is perhaps a big tight for this big arrangements of Magma: drums, bass, Rodes piano 2x, guitar and three vocalists. When comparing the footage with dvd's of the big symphonic prog-bands it becomes clear this is a relatively amateurish film-crew. The good thing is Magma apparently doesn't need a big expensive production in order to make a fantastic dvd, as M&T volume I already proved.

Why? Because Magma plays awfully hard, technical and emotional music as perfect as possible. It's simply amazing to see Christian Vander play the drums with total commitment, to see the four vocalists sing very intensive material, the concentration of the players behind the Rhodes pianos and of course the fast fingers on the often distorted bass-guitar by Philippe Bussonnet (who is accompanied by Top in MDK and De Futura). Additionally James Mac Gaw gives a double performance by singing on Wurdah Itah, whilst playing guitar on MDK and De Futura. The vocal cast is excellent with the enchanting Stella Vander, the Paganotti duo (with perhaps my favorite male vocalist of Magma) and Isabelle Feuillebois who is still a Magma member to this day. Klaus Blasquiz also joint on De Futura.

The versions of Wurdah Itah are both strong. MDK has a thick duo-bass sound, but no wind- section like on the Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon dvd. Since both track were also played on that gig and dvd this M&L volume II is actually a bit unnecessary. Luckily the live version of De Futura is here to safe the day.

..but... it just didn't. I don't like the studio version to much, but I must say this opportunity to renew the otherwise flat piece has been a bit disappointing. The long opening section is played in a much lower pace, making it a bit silly. The second halve of the piece is played at a bizarre speed, which also turns out to sound.. a bit silly. The piece didn't have the Magma kind of intelligent compositions (instead it has freaky a-tonal bass-loops origination from Jannick Top), but now it has also lost direction. The great vocals of the vocal crew, with now additionally Klaus Blasquiz, improve the sound of the piece a lot, but is unable to safe the day.

Just before De Futura Jannick Top plays some very hard bass-parts, but it doesn't sound very interesting to me. A classical piece played on bass-guitar just doesn't improve it.

Conclusion. This dvd isn't as essential to me as part one of the series. Both MDK & Wurdah Itah were recorded perfectly (with same amazing vocal crew) at the Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon dvd and the live version of De Futura doesn't impress me at all. Still this is strong dvd for fans, who can't get enough version of their beloved Magma pieces. Furthermore, I'm convinced the live version of De Futura is going to make a lot of other fans much happier then it made me (as I didn't like the piece before). This dvd is thus recommended to fans of Magma, whilst I recommend the Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon for all others (which fans should already own!). Three stars for Magma, they just have some better live documents.

Report this review (#409551)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm on the impact of watching Magma's Wurda Itah in this DVD.

Almost all bands of the golden era that reformed and released new albums and live DVDs put themselves in a embarrasing situation when we compare their classic output/performance and their status today. EL&P and, quite frankly, Yes had to slowdown their songs to be able of playing it alive, cutting the long impros and all those things that made them great..

But Magma... These guys are the sole members of the circuit that grew (very) old and can face their past with an altive look, even a menacing one. The whole collective that presents itself as Magma seems to be a mere vehicle for the great and dark Music that exists out there and within us, deep inside our unconscient. I can't say that Vander or the great Busonette or the keyboard player or any of the singers are the lead figures on stage. All of them seems to be possessed by the soturn chants and music that makes Magma so great and so difficult at the same time.

I hate the sublabels that we use to create genres inside genres, like proto-doom metal, symphonic pop-prog or whatever, but in Magma's case it makes sense. Name it Zehul or other labele if you want it, but Magma is so transcedent of the labelling as Hermeto Paschoal, to quote a Brazilian master musician and composer. It's not jazz, neither rock in any form (even prog): it's just Magma music.

Although you have only the Vanders as the members of the first Magma era (with Jannick Top in some cuts) this is the case where the force of the music is greater than the individuals that played it. It seems that this whole crew was the only Magma that always has existed.

Finally, the single DVD that I thank for not having subtitles is this one. The ininteligibility of the kobaian chant makes it most deep than if we had the translation. Of course is interesting to get it, but Yes music told me how ridiculous some lyrics of gorgeus music can be. In the end I don't care for lyrics at all, only their matching with the music, what in Magma's music is perfect since there is no lyrics at all in a sense, only pure singing. And yes, I like the dark poetry of "Zëss" but knowing its lyrics doesn't make this song bigger to me than it was before.

Buy it from their site. I bought it in a pack with vol. I of this series and it is a really nice pair with a just price.

Report this review (#414971)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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