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Magma - Köhntarkösz CD (album) cover

KÖHNTARKÖSZ

Magma

 

Zeuhl

4.15 | 465 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I began to listen MAGMA a few months ago, and to be honest I never cared for Zeuhl before this, but there's something in the pompous, arrogant and self indulgent music of the French band that makes me come again to their albums over and over and what is worst (for my pocket) to buy all their albums, like an addiction I can't explain.

Lets start saying something that falls by it own weight...."Köhntarkösz" is a weird album not for everybody, any listener who wants to get into this album, or better said allow the music to get into him/her, needs to like pompous and strong music, with few but complex vocal sections in Kobaian (A language invented by Christian Vander to sing in the MAGMA ALBUMS) and of course the mysterious chorus hat seem like a combination between the sacred and the pagan, but if you achieve this, the experience is rewarding.

One first recommendation is to buy the Seventh Records CD version and not any other, because you get "Köhntarkösz" parts I and II as a 30 minutes super epic, only separate originally due to the limitations of the Vinyl format

"Köhntarkösz" opens the album with the unusual (even for MAGMA), Psyche Space intro that reminds me of PINK FLOYD, but the real deal comes after a few ,minutes, when the organ starts adding an incredibly portentous section as a theme for an epic movie in the vein of Ben Hur, and the dark male chorus blending with the haunting female ones create a terrifying atmosphere that keeps the listener awaiting in expectation for an sonic blast that never happens.

As a fact, the track keeps getting even more complex with unexpected piano interruptions that instead of bringing calm, contribute to the magical chaos so characteristic of MAGMA.

Even when there are no dramatic changes, the collision of styles happen so gradually that sound natural and not forced, simply brilliant.

If "Köhntarkösz" Part I was strong and haunting, part II is a radical change, the chorus are relaxing and softer, some Jazz passages appear out of nowhere, still the haunting atmosphere is kept by the keys and soft drumming, this time is less claustrophobic.

But my changed part is yet to come, around the 5th minute (or 20th if we take "Köhntarkösz" as a whole track), the music gets faster and explosive with a desperate and repetitive chorus that goes in crescendo both in volume and speed until it breaks into an absolutely dissonant Jazzy section that no Avant band could envy................But even when Jazz or Avant are not my cup of tea, I love this, don't ask me why but is fabulous like getting trapped in a close space but enjoying that fear.

This chaotic section keeps increasing and then in an undetermined moment and for no reason, starts to fade, simply beautiful, elaborate and perfectly structured, 30 minutes of pure Progressive Rock in it's more complex facet.

If this 30 minutes weren't enough "Ork Alarm" hits us with a semi Gregorian Choir in the vein of 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD, the unusual violin passages are absolutely frightening and after them, everything starts again, absolutely brilliant.

"Köhntarkösz Version 2" again starts with a spacey intro and after that you can expect almost anything, the confusing and frenetic lyrics by Vander are almost hypnotic, but I won't make a detailed review of this track because it's not in the original album, but most important because It's hard to describe all that happens here in simple and limited words.

As it may be obvious for everybody "Coltrane Sündïa" (Coltrane Rest in Peace) is a tribute to John Coltrane, a gorgeous and exquisite piano performance, that seems a bit odd in this album, because it collisions with the almost paranoic and clearly mystic "Köhntarkösz" atmosphere, but serves as a relax after all those weird songs.

Maybe if the album had more variations, I would go with 5 stars, but it's a bit too repetitive even when unpredictable (If you listen the album, this phrase won't sound contradictory), so I will go with 4 very solid stars, which I consider an extremely high rating.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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