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Magma - 1001░ Centigrades [Aka: 2] CD (album) cover





4.13 | 378 ratings

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4 stars The second chapter in the Gospel according to Christian Vander expands the mythology of planet Koba´a even farther into the uncharted musical cosmos of Vander's imagination. The interplanetary narrative remains totally inscrutable, sung in an alien language to equally obscure (but exhilarating) music, more refined and sophisticated in the band's second outing but no less outrageous in its pinpoint, polyrhythmic weirdness.

The immediate surprise in this Magma album is how upbeat the music is, more so than anything else in their still expanding catalogue. Despite a few suitably bizarre digressions (look no deeper than the guttural Munchkin voices interrupting "Iss Lanse´ Do´a"), this could almost be Zeuhl party music: a far cry from the hypnotic, sepulchral mantras of "M.D.K." or "K÷hntark÷sz".

Ditching their electric guitarist after the debut album only emphasized the jazzy horn work. But it still wasn't Jazz Rock, no matter what anyone might still be saying. The sequel stressed the more operatic elements in the music, strained as always through a unique sieve of jazz-like spontaneity and precise mathematic notation, all performed with eldritch Avant-Rock intensity.

The album's three long tracks might be too fractured at times, each one organized in an episodic medley of seemingly unrelated fragments and repetitive phrases (when it was revisited in 2014, the 22-minute "R´ah Sah´ltaahk" was indexed into eight separate tracks). And the whole thing ends on a surprisingly anti-climactic note, with an unresolved fade-out in the middle of another groovy Zeuhl jam, this one shouldering the unwieldy title "Ki ¤ahl Í L´ahk"...grammatically normal in the universe of Magma, but still a tongue-twister worthy of Mr. Fox (in Socks, of Dr. Seuss fame, of course).

The element of surprise is missing too, after the outer-limit innovations of the first Magma LP. But the second album is illuminated by its own mysterious light, strong enough in retrospect to withstand the long shadow cast two years later by the band's magnum opus, "MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´w K÷mmand÷h".

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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