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GOLDBALL

Exmagma

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
5 stars If you love krautrock dementia and jazz rock fusion eccentries this album is for you. Exmagma is a captivating german rock collective that published only two albums in their entire career but believe me all their compositions are highly inspired, catchy, playful and cearly accomplished in term of technical skills. This second album is as brilliant as their first, delivering an impressive free form jazzy rock with lot of energy and an immense feeling for improvisation. Marylin f Kennedy starts with a trippy, stoned jazz rockin' epic ballad. An atmospheric acid piece that combines a perfectly achieved sense of improvisation with a solid rhythmical background. Adventures With Long S.tea & 25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise are moving jazzy rockin' improvisation plenty of Hammond organs, moving hallucinatory harmonies and efficient rythms. Some tracks as Groove Tango Wolperaiso and Greetings To The Maroccan Farmers feature rock in opposition sense of derision and a particular taste for avant garde. Compositions as Jam Factory For People Insane or Last But One Train To Amsterdam represent the band at their most progressive moments, with incredibly technical improvisations and constant changing moods. This band almost beat Embryo, Kraan and others kraut-jazz fusion at their own game. Supreme stuff! My favourite kraut-jazz-psych band with Xhol and Annexus Quam.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#163604)
Posted Sunday, March 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In their sophomore release, the Exmagma guys tend to slow down their penchant for fiery experimental jazz-rock as exposed on their debut album and move to a somewhat different strategy focused on varying demonstrations of energy ? this is "Goldball" in a nutshell. All in all, the creativity and dynamics remain unchanged, since Exmagma remains a solid ensemble where each piece of sound finds its proper place in an overall scheme. Sometimes I find myself regretting that the musical ideas don't get enough room for wider expansion, especially when enjoying the power delivered on tracks 2 and 3: I find myself wishing that the promising climaxes would eventually lead to frantic explosions of sound a- la Dzyan or Agitation Free... but well, what you hear is what you get and Exmagma is a band that on should not have anything to complain about. Additionally, band members have said in interviews that they were not too keen on showing off too much, so I guess that the time constrictions posed on this album's repertoire make sense. So, now let's take a look to the repertoire itself. The half-funky jam that makes up the basis for 'Marilyn F. Kennedy' starts the album on a joyful mood before the progressive element gets augmented by the controlled mood shifts and polyrhythms delivered on the next two tracks, 'Da Da' and 'Adventures with Long S. Tea 25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise', in this way exploring the band's ability to provide density and sonic defiance. If the opener showed the band leaning toward the Canterbury factor, the other two numbers state a closeness to the avant- garde jazz ventures of Weather Report and Return to Forever, naturally ornamented with free-form sounds that were not rare in the overall krautrock scene. Oh, by the way, Long S. Tea 25 was a nickname for good old LSD. 'Groove', while bearing a simpler framework, continues to retain the dense climate of the previous track, this time on a semi-slow soul tempo. 'Tango Wolperaiso' is a curious piece: all three musicians alternate their inputs through any turns, gradually making them fuller, in a sequence wrapped up by a funny chorale. 'Jam Factory (For People Insane)' returns to the complexity of tracks 2-3, only this time with a heavy emphasis on the psychedelic tradition (somewhere between early PF and early Gong), in this way becoming genuinely intense despite its not too frantic pace ? anyway, the percussive input is amazing. 'Habits' rounds like a mixture of "Yeti"/ "Tanz der Lemminge"-era Amon Düül II and Agitation Free, while 'Dance of the Crabs' brings a brief exercise on exciting jazz-rock. 'Greetings to the Maroccan Farmers' picks up the pieces of pure krautrock that 'Habits' had left scattered on the floor, glues them back in a clever utilization of improvised chaos, which clearly states a reference to the wildest side of experimental prog: Balluff's finesse on piano is outstanding, and so is Braceful's endeavor of tribal and cosmic cadences on his drum kit and other percussive resources. 'Last but One Train to Amsterdam' is another little jazzy piece that closes down the album on a Canterbury-friendly note: it wouldn't have felt out of place in a Hatfield or Caravan album, but in this case, it is an entertaining closure for yet another great Exmagma album. So, here we have "Goldball", a lovely example of the best legacy of jazz-oriented krautrock from the 70s.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#238172)
Posted Tuesday, September 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Most fans prefer this sophomore release to their debut. The songs are more structured here with less experimental and avant moments (they still have those moments though). For me it really is a toss-up between the two. I like the ideas of the debut and how raw and crazy it is, but this one sounds better and is more melodic. Gotta love the album cover though (haha).

"Marilyn F. Kennedy" is led by bass and drums then the organ comes in ripping it up. "Dada" is more laid back with keys, drums and guitar. I like this. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes followed by a haunting calm. It picks up again with some fuzz this time. "Adventures With Long S. Tea" is a little heavier as drums pound in random patterns and organ and bass provide the base. Fuzz after 2 minutes to the end. "25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise" opens with sounds that build. I like the background organ. Psychedelic sounding guitar plays over top. Nice. Love the groove here. Speaking of groove "Groove Tango Wolperaiso" is up next and it opens with guitar as spacey sounds follow. Experimental sounds come in and are contrasted with the guitar. Sax late.

"Jam Factory For People Insane" actually has some vocals on it ! They're spoken at first then he sings as the sound gets fuller. Intricate drum work follows as the vocals stop. Some crazy vocals after 3 1/2 minutes. Cool song. "Habits" opens with laid back guitar and keys. Light drums join in. It builds. Settles before 2 minutes. The electric piano before 3 minutes is a nice touch. I really like the second half of this tune,it makes me think of Miles. "Dance Of The Crabs" is a short Jazzy tune. "Greetings To The Moroccan Farmers" has some samples and piano before a minute. Flute before 3 minutes and percussion. It sounds like a sheep after 3 1/2 minutes (haha). Piano is back. Not really any melody here just sounds and samples. Sax 6 minutes in. "Last But One Train To Amsterdam" is only a minute long but it's a good uptempo track.

A talented trio that more peole need to check out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#243537)
Posted Wednesday, October 07, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Forget the 70's date, this is jazzrock/prog at its best. Well recorded and inventive playing. It's Krautrock but progressive & sounds like late Soft Machine, Mahavishnu, Jan Hammer, Passport, Guru Guru, some early Return to Forever, etc. But an emphasis on the rock elements. Great grooves and superior playing ability by the musicians. EXmagma is completely listenable in 2010 as anything current. This is the style of jazz rock that is still what everybody thinks is cool today for the genre. Odd time signatures. Inventive guitar playing, & classic keyboards like Rhodes lend a jazz feel at times. Really tasteful drumming too. A bit of Sax and some Mothers of Invention style musical moments. A bit experimental at times, but always with a groove. They were ahead of their time (and I just discovered them this year after 40 years of collecting good prog music.) The inventive song arrangements and construction leave you wondering where its going ...but it always goes there with a groove. Sometimes along the lines of Porcupine Tree's groove.

I as many others immediately assumed this was some sort of offshoot of Christian Vander's Magma, but this is completely different style of jazz rock. And no operatic singers with weird lyrics. Magma was French and this is German. But this a better album than some of Magma Lps. (altho there are some fierce grooves between drummer Vander & bassist Jannick Top on live recordings.) Why this band is called EXMAGMA is merely a fluke. Hard to find but definitely worth having as an essential in your prog rock collection. If you like the jazzier stuff Guru Guru did, this is right up your alley. Surprisingly good and modern sounding.

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Send comments to mr.superdigital (BETA) | Report this review (#278923)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album has it's strong characteristic atmosphere of early 70-s: compositions there are almost all endless psychedelic jams, but differently from usual German krautrock, one of influential sources there is funk-jazz.

First album's part is mostly all funky groovy instrumentals, melting strong funk rhythm with keyboards based spacey/psych jazz rock. Second half is different and when less funky includes much more free jazz elements. In both cases, "rock" component is quite energetic and heavy sharp jazz-rock.

I have a mixed feeling to this album - from one hand I really like that funky groove in their psychedelic jamming, but from the other compositions all are raw and bulky, in fact - just jamming on the edge of noodles. Nice music for fans of such specific genre, but for me it's often sounds too raw, structureless and sometimes just openly kind of psychedelic rehearsals session.

Interesting album but far not for every taste.My rating is 3+.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#369641)
Posted Saturday, January 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Goldball at first sounds like a typical fusion album, perhaps with a bit of a funk influence, but soon enough it transforms into something a bit more interesting, with the sort of experimental, avant-garde features more associated with fellow German group Faust beginning to creep in. The overall impression is not a million miles away from the work being done by Henry Cow at around the same time, though with a bit more of an influence from American fusion bands as opposed to Canterbury jazz-psychedelia. This unique approach makes the album stand out from the fusion crowd - a trait vital when dealing with the explosion of fusion bands in the mid-1970s - but at the same time not all the experiments quite work to the same extent and it isn't the most consistent of albums.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#516510)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This lemon sounds more like rehearsal noodling to me. 6 years and dozens of tries have soured the milk, not sweetened it. Anything Conny Plank touched in the 70's turned to gold in my eyes, just like Bruce Dickinson. He's allowed one stinker, for me it's Goldball by fusion/experimental German trio Exmagma.

The only song that sports any substance is Habits. It still floats along, but there's structure and fury. Then comes the delightful Dance of the Crabs, all of 53 seconds.

I'd much rather spin Thirsty Moon's Blitz. At least the experiments there are interesting. A star and half rounded up to two on my scale. Poor sound and a silly cover round out this overrated pile.

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Send comments to Suedevanshoe (BETA) | Report this review (#1164278)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | Review Permalink

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