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Exmagma Exmagma album cover
3.26 | 27 ratings | 4 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The First Tune (7:37)
2. Tönjès Dream Interruption (4:17)
3. Interessante Olè (2:50)
4. Two Times (2:25)
5. Trippin With Birds / Kudu / Horny (18:48)

Total Time: 35:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Thomas Balluff / organ, electric piano, clavinett-c effects
- Fred Braceful / sonor drums, percussion extraordinaire
- Andy Goldner / fretless electric bass, electric guitar, alto sax, tape recorder

Releases information

Private / Neusi

Track 1 recorded by Himbi at Jankoeski 1972
Tracks 2-4 recorded at home 1973
Track 5 recorded live by D. Lindauer 1973

Thanks to Joren for the addition
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EXMAGMA Exmagma ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

EXMAGMA Exmagma reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With two young veterans from Germany's R'n'B scene who happened to be talented musicians and an extraordinary African American drummer who seemed to have the swing right there under his skins and all over his muscles and bones, it is no wonder that Exmagma came to be one of the greatest acts in the jazzy trend of krautrock. All it needed was a proper cohesion that could bring together Braceful's infinite dynamics, Balluff's avant-garde sensible creativity and Goldner's vigor and refinement for Exmagma to fulfill its inherent promise. and boy, did they achieve it dearly!! The 1973 eponymous debut album is an outstanding example of experimental jazz-rock with a high degree of psychedelic heat and a lucid progressive-oriented awareness. Funny how the band's name makes a straight allusion to the trio's resignation of its original name - this sort of humor that is evident in the album covers is also present in the music itself, among the obvious cleverness provided on the articulated jams, improvisational moves and strategic variations. 'The First Tune' is the first tune in the album, although more exactly it is a conglomerated series of various tunes. With a basis of organ, bass and drum kit, the band first indulges on a slow-tempo 3 minute jam full of psychedelic vibe; the second section is a brief interlude that states a denser aura, featuring distorted clavinet and a more distorted bass guitar (pretty much like Soft Machine at its noisiest), while the drummer brings complex adornments to his steady funky rhythm pace; the third and last section turns down the density a bit while retaining the power and the funk-oriented foundation. 'Tönjés Dream Interruption' further enhances the SM connection ("Third" and "Fourh" eras) in a very robust fashion, while 'Interessante Olé' travels to the North American territory of free jazz, featuring sustained flows on organ and bass conveniently supported by Braceful's precise swing and soaring rolls. Too bad that the fade-out arrives so soon!... Anyway, 'Two Times' follows with its 2-part sequence: the first one is very soul-oriented, led by the bass guitar's pounding line, while the second one shifts to an extroverted jazz-rock climax. Again, the "too early fade-out" syndrome settles in to destroy the hope of an expanded jam of epic proportions, but well, that's OK I guess. The album's second half is occupied by the gigantic piece 'Trippin With Birds / Kudu / Horny', a convincing manifesto of Exmagma's pretentious of explosive experimental jazz-rock. The artistic goal encompassed in this 19- minute musical journey is so challenging that it really has to be a crowning moment in the history of krautrock, rivalling with the quintaessential weirdness of Faust, the exquisite dynamics of Agitation Free or the Dadaist spirit of Amon Düül II. Rivalling with the commonly acknowledged greatest, I mean. The 'Trippin' with Birds'section is a deconstructive full of electrifying tension and surreal landscapes that include ultra- spacey organ effects, tortured sax improvisations and calibrated dramatic percussive interventions. The 'Kudu' section enters a gradual transition to a jazz-rock jam partially structured under a "free form" guise, plus some extra Hendrixian ingredients (on organ, not guitar). In moments like this I can feel a close relatedness between Exmagma and other jazz-krautrock heroes such as Embryo and Dzyan. Finally, the 'Horny' section finds Goldner switching to guitar, somehow emulating Guru Guru while the whole ensemble aims at a moment of solid dispersion. Well, then the fade-out arrives too soon to let us enjoy a prolonged elaboration of this motif, but by now the attentive listener is convinced that this monster track is the perfect closure for this spectacularly abrasive gem of krautrock.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars EXMAGMA were a trio out of Germany who played a brand of avant and experimental Jazz / Psychedelia. Someone described their music as sounding like EMBRYO playing XHOL CARAVAN songs.This is raw, trippy and would have fit in better if this was 1969 instead of 1973. The band was made up of two Germans and an American drummer who is incredible (they all are). Fred Braceful the drummer had been playing with the band ET CETERA but bolted when they started playing more Jazz flavoured music. SOFT MACHINE ("Third") is no doubt an influence as well with the distorted and Jazz flavoured tunes.

"The First Tune" is my favourite. Guitar and drums sounds to opens as the keyboards join in. Great sound here. A change 3 minutes in as we get keyboards, drums and fuzzed out bass. Organ then leads the way with more distortion. "Tonjes Dream Interuption" opens with bass and drums as the keyboards come in making some noise. A calm after 2 minutes with lots of atmosphere. "Interessante Ole" opens with organ as bass and light drums join in. The organ and bass really begin to dominate.

"Two Times" has some great fuzz 1 1/2 minutes in. "Trippin With Birds / Kudu / Horny" is the second side of the original LP and unlike the first this is live. It opens with the sound of lots of birds over this bubbling bed of sounds. Dissonant sax comes and goes. Other strange sounds come and go as well. Insanity. It settles 8 1/2 minutes in as drums crash away with organ.The tempo picks up 11 minutes in as we get a rhythm.The organ is going wild.The rhythm stops before 17 minutes as we get some guitar to end it.

I'm really impressed with the way these guys play, also the spirit of Krautrock is alive and well on this recording. I can't see too many people getting into this but those who like experimental Jazz should check this out.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Music you put on when you´re climbing trees

I think the story goes a bit like this: The band was initially named Magma, and upon finding out about Vander and his fellow Kobaians - they changed it to Exmagma. Says quite a bit about the mentality of this highly eclectic group...

This is Dadaism a la Frank Zappa, that just dabbles in muddy Krautrock waters. The music is all about having fun whilst reaching the boundaries of the musical universe, which is why this band - in my collection is filed under Kraut. There´s a Kosmische vibe going on here, it ´s just infused by the spirit of mad jazzy beats and saxophone tirades, that occasionally makes me think of those crazy Canterbury bands. One of my favorite things on this record is the drumming. Fred Braceful is actually an American that sort of seeped into the German scene, but you could easily be fooled though, because he swings with these guys like you wouldn´t believe - even when the music gets cacophonous and avant garde, which also happens quite frequently - he´s there battling it out with his German accomplices.

I talk a lot about drummers, who are able to keep things tight and rumbling yet still retaining that sloppy all over the place feel - and Fred is just my kind of guy. I´ve said it before and I´ll say it again: He can play with such a loose and effortless feel, that every now and again you wonder how on earth the guy manages to stay in an upright position and why in the blue hell he doesn´t fall off his chair. Then again he also sounds like a ton of wood dropped into a bathtub...

One of the most characteristic aspects of this debut is the organs, and if you´ve heard the new Norwegian fusion act Elephant9 and the way they wield the organs - then you´re not entirely off. Aggressive, snarling, heavy, psychedelic and distorted organs that most of the time sound like they are blasting through those old school speakers, where the artists had fiddled with the screws - or punched holes in the woofer to get that wild, blurry and messy sound.

Like I said, this is perfect for climbing trees, and if you ever come across those silly birds, that chirp like: Piuw Piuuuuuw pow PI Pow - then you might be on to the very essence of these guys - their inspiration so to speak. Like jazzy bebop - inter webbing different tonalities and rhythmic explosions - Exmagma utilizes the instrumentation similarly, but in a psychedelic and slightly more adventurous way( I still hear birds in that organ though).

If you are curious about the world of Kosmische Musik, but feel more at home in the jazzier realms of experimental music, then I wholeheartedly recommend this album and this band. You just need 2 things now: One of Exmagma´s albums and a fully grown oak tree.

Review by Dobermensch
1 stars Was there anyone in the early 70's that did NOT look sinister and creepy?

In terms of appearances the 70's was the most appalling decade in living memory. No-one looks good hidden beneath acres of facial hair, wearing flares and that soul sapping mixture of orange and brown that everyone seemed to favour.

This album is a bit like listening to an episode of 'Kojak'. It's entirely instrumental and displays the usual guitar, drums and bass approach with some discordant keyboard screeches and whines thrown in, in an attempt to generate some interest.

Unfortunately it fails as a listening experience due to the randomness of everything that occurs. It sounds improvisational with no real sense of direction or coherence. Maybe if I drank 8 pints of beer I might be a bit more lenient towards it. There will be some folk out there in prog-land who'll like this messy, irritating album due to it's extremely 70's vibe. There are some awful wailing tuneless saxophones on the final track 'Trippin' With Birds'. This is played over the top of some rhythmless drums and random keyboards and reminds me of some of the worst moments of 'Sun Ra' .

It's also poorly recorded with some of the flattest, tinniest sounds you'll here on any of the bands listed on this website.

As for me, by the end of this album, I feel like a dead cowboy draped over my saddle being brought into town on the back of a horse.

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