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5 stars A must for all Magma fans if only for the legendary rare A&M single 'Mekanik Machine' from the Kohntarkosz sessions. I once saw this in 7" format in 1978 at a disco, never again. Must be worth a fortune!
Report this review (#22405)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Coming in at number 7 in our countdown, we have the hot new single from that funky little band Magma! Get ready for 'Mekanik Komandoh'!

Can you imagine these words being said by a radio DJ? Neither can I...except in a perfect prog-world maybe... There was unlikely to ever be a hit pop single from our favourite Zeuhl visionaries, but that didn't stop them from releasing a few, which are collected here on this compilation.

The first two cuts are edits from much larger works, Tendei Kobah actually being a very truncated version of R´ah Sah´ltaahk from 1001 Degrees Centigrades. Then we are treated to a piece of an interesting early version of the classic Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h...which begins as a lounge-esque bossa nova before moving into more familiar sections. The transition from jazzy bossa nova to maniacal, menacing, mechanical MDK (I love alliteration!) fascinates certainly must have gone through several evolutions before arriving at the LP version we all know and love. I would like to know the story behind that!

Klaus kombalad seems to be a track that has no predecessor, so I imagine it was just a B-Side of the aforementioned MDK single. It is a nice mellow number, with a nice Fender Rhodes melody at the forefront, which builds steadily with vocal ease la la la's by Klaus, Stella, and the group. A nice jazz-tinged soul tune.

The real highlight, without a doubt, is the final track here - Mekanik Machine, released in 1975. We hear Jannick Top's bass up front in the mix, just as growly and menacing as ever. Add to that a funky, relentless beat courtesy of Mr. Vander, wonderfully dissonant vocals, and some truly sinister fuzz guitar, and you have an irresistible combination! Makes you wonder why they left it off the K÷hntark÷sz album...

While this collection is certainly interesting and quite enjoyable, I have given it three stars for a couple of reasons. First, it has a short running time of just over 20 minutes...shorter than many single Magma tracks! Second, it really is non-essential. If you already have most of the other records, you will get a kick out of these versions. If you do not, this collection will do you little good on its own.

Having said that, however, this disc is worth picking up if only for Mekanik Machine! But only for big Magma fans.

Report this review (#172976)
Posted Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
3 stars Rather than have an accidental "quick rating" deleted, I decided to give this collection of singles a listen, then another, and another. Moments that I totally expected, but obviously I found enough enjoyable aspects to these 5 songs to warrant several listens and a review.

Familiarity arrived in the form of Mekanik Kommandoh, which as is it implies, is the 6th movement of MDK; and Tendei Kobah, which is recognizable as the intro to 1001 Centigrades opener Riah Sahiltaahk. The latter would be identified in the 2014 re-recording of Riah Sahiltaahk as Watse´ koba´a. The recordings sound comparatively primitive to later renditions, but take nothing away from their enjoyability in that regard. Whether hearing these pieces outside of the context of their parent compositions is left for the subjectivity individual listener.

The highlight of the album for me was Mekanik Machine, which I will be presume to label "proto-funk-metal". By most Magma standards it appears quite simple. But it is a raw and heavy tidbit that most Magma listeners should find joy in.

The low point would be Klaus kombalad, which I would not be able to pick out of a lineup of late 60's psychedelia as an actual Magma tune.

Overall, Simples exists in the early horn-heavy phase of Magma. I would say it is not likely a good starting point for Magma noobs, but an enjoyable enough listen that it should be included in any Magma collection. Unless you have all these singles individually. In which case, forget it.

Report this review (#1692651)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 | Review Permalink

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