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Magma Christian Vander: Tristan et Iseult [Aka: Ẁurdah ¤tah] (OST) album cover
4.17 | 388 ratings | 28 reviews | 34% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mala Welekaahm (Incantation) (3:37)
2. Bradia Da Zimehn Iegah (L'InitiÚ a parlÚ) (2:17)
3. Maneh Fur Da Zess (Ensemble pour le Maţtre) (1:37)
4. Fur Di Hel Kobaia (Pour la vie Úternelle) (4:55)
5. BlŘm Tendiwa (L'Ôme du peuple) (3:25)
6. WohldŘnt M^Ű M Deweless (Message dans l'Útendue) (3:31)
7. Wainsaht!!! (En avant) (2:29)
8. Wlasik Steuhn Kobaia (Ascension vers l'╔ternel) (2:47)
9. Sehnnteht Dros Wurdah SŘms (La mort n'est rien) (3:25)
10. C'est la vie qui les a menÚs lÓ! (2:03)
11. Ek Sun Da Zess ? (Qui est le Maţtre ?) (2:57)
12. De ź Zeuhl ╗ Undazir (Vision de la musique cÚleste) (5:57)

Total Time 39:00

Bonus track on 2017 CD edition:
13. Ẁurdah ¤tah (Prima Materia) (25:53) *

* recorded at "Le petit studio des Úditions Chappell" on January 3, 1972

Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Vander / piano, electric piano, drums, vocals
- Jannick Top / bass
- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion
- Stella Vander / vocals

Releases information

Initially released under Christian Vander's name as a soundtrack studio album for Yvan Lagrange's 1972 avant-garde film Tristan et Iseult, it was re-released on Magma's label Seventh Records in 1989 with the Magma logo on its cover, and is generally regarded as a Magma album.

Ẁurdah ¤tah (which translates from Koba´an roughly as "Dead Earth") is the second part of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy.

Recorded and mixed at Studio de Milan (April 4-8, 1974)

LP Barclay - 80.528 (1974, France)

CD Seventh Records ‎- REX IX (1989, France) Newly entitled "Ẁurdah ¤tah" and different cover art
CD Seventh Records ‎- 274 1704 (2009, France) Remastered (?) and this time credited to Magma
CD Seventh Records - REX IX (2012, France) This time also credited to Magma

LP Jazz Village - JV33570069 (2015, France) Credited to Magma, with another cover art
CD Seventh Records - REX IX-V2 (2017, France) Remastered, credited to Magma, with 1 bonus track

Thanks to syzygy for the addition
and to Prog Network & projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MAGMA Christian Vander: Tristan et Iseult [Aka: Ẁurdah ¤tah] (OST) Music

MAGMA Christian Vander: Tristan et Iseult [Aka: Ẁurdah ¤tah] (OST) ratings distribution

(388 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAGMA Christian Vander: Tristan et Iseult [Aka: Ẁurdah ¤tah] (OST) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Officially a Christian Vander solo album, Wurdah Itah is the work of the core members of Magma's classic 1973 - 1976 line up. The album was recorded in just 4 days as the soundtrack to a film version of Tristan Et Yseult, which by all accounts was less than a cinematic masterpiece, but the soundtrack more than compensates for that.

Wurdah Itah is the second movement of Theusz Hamtaahk (Time of Hatred). The third Movement, Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, had been released the previous year, while the first movement, Theusz Hamtaahk, would not be released until 1981 on Retrospektiw, although an excellent version was recorded for the BBC in 1974 and can be heard on BBC 1974 Londres. All three parts were performed in their entirety on the 2000 tour, and can be heard on the excellent Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogie box set.

This is a very stripped down version of Magma: no choir, no horn section, not even a guitarist or a second keyboard player. Chris Cutler called it the clearest and most concentrated of Vander's work, and this album is a good demonstration of the melodic side of Magma. Although it is broken down into 12 short pieces, the album is really 2 lengthy sequences - tracks 1 - 6 (side 1 of the vinyl original) and tracks 7 - 12 (side 2). Live, it is performed as a continuous piece in the same way as Magma's other epics. The opening bars are the same as Theusz Hamtaahk, while later on in the album themes that would be more fully developed on MDK can be heard. These leitmotivs give the trilogy a sense of cohesion which which really falls into place when the pieces are heard in order. The wonderful Carl Orff style vocals familiar from other Magma albums are the dominant sound on this album, with Klaus Blasquiz heard to particularly good effect. Jannick Top turns in a superbly judged performance; subtle and understated without a single extraneous note. Vander likewise plays the drums with a delicate precision that the larger Magma line ups sometimes drowned out, while his piano playing is solid and assured and shows the influence of McCoy Tyner from John Coltrane's classic quartet.

Wurdah Itah is an essential part of Magma's output from their greatest era, and is a vital addition to any collection which contains MDK or Kontarkohsz. Whilst it may be atypical Magma, it could well be Christian Vander's masterpiece.

Review by laplace
4 stars Just in case you weren't already convinced that Magma were mysterious and esoteric, Christian Vander opts to keep releasing the chapters of his musical trilogy in reverse order, soon to confound us by deciding to begin a new story (in Kohntarkosz) before we have a chance to become familiar with the last. None of this is threatening or worrying to the Magma fan as it assures the continued flow of high quality music.

Although this score was presented as a soundtrack to a movie, it has a very definite plot of its own, coming just before the time Nebehr Gudahtt converted us all to Kohrmanites. Perusing my Kobaian to English dictionary, I learn that Wurdah ¤tah means "Dead Earth" - this album may well represent our crimes against the earth and the corresponding penalty to the human soul, necessitating our need to be saved spiritually by an outside hand.

Musically refined, the album's core players each stand out more than they ever could on MDK, and a few hidden talents are revealed - Vander himself plays all keyboards here, and they play an important role, being that the piano is perhaps the most omnipresent instrument on Wurdah ¤tah. Jannick Top reprises his role as the bass-playing reflection of Vander's eccentric rhythms, while being utterly attuned to the simple but original keyboard patterns, giving the music a flawless underpinning. Not enough is written about the voices of Stella Vander or Klaus Blasquiz, perhaps because Magma are rightfully an ensemble at this stage, but their singing is exemplary, maintaining a choral theme throughout while both managing to express their invididual vocal proficiencies. At this point in their career, Magma could have one of the most professional line-ups ever assembled.

As always, the succinct yet curiously misleading synopsis of zeuhl is "contemporary operatic jazz rock", with prayers and prophecies repeatedly chanted in an alien language while hypnotic countercurrents swirl beneath, making the whole affair seem more like a ritual than a song. - Themes and motifs previously heard on MDK are also present here, hinting at the trilogy's underlying operatic continuity. Flow and consistency are maintained throughout each side-long suite, making it difficult to suggest any individual part as exceptional, but overall the music is delightful and original - I remain amazed that no-one had the idea to write this type of music before Magma (allowing for Orff's opus and the music of Coltrane and Redding as roots) as it seems so natural, defying its complicated nature with a real sense of rightness. Subsequent bands have identified this and tried to further to path of zeuhl - in particular I associate the music of Koenji Hyakkei with this album more than any other as it is here that the most exuberant vocal lines appear, sometimes pushed further into the foreground by signatures designed to frame them perfectly.

This would be a good introduction into the Kobaian world. Keep your eyes open, because it has a hundred different covers splitting credit between Magma and Vander himself, but don't worry about which you choose as I've never discovered a version with bonus material.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars This Magma bizarrerie was issued as a Vander solo album, even if the spine of the band is present. But really, please regard it as a full-fledged Magma album, because this is the second installment of the Theusz Hamtaahk (Time of Hatred) trilogy. Wurdah Itah (Dead Earth), most likely a Kobaian message to earthlings wasting the planet. Presenting a reduced line-up, but still featuring the four Magma essentials, the pounding bass (J Top), the powerful but subtle drumming (Vander, also playing some keyboards, including the piano, another trademark), the Orff-inspired choir vocals (just Stella - Vander's wife - and Blasquiz), all four elements coming off clearer, less embedded than when the full Magma outfit is playing. This was supposed to be a soundtrack to a doubtful artistic and seldom-seen film, but let's face it: the present album is all you need.

If you are a more casual fan of the band, the subtleties will probably not appear immediately, especially so that there are quite a few motifs that had been used in MDK (Theusz Hamtaahk's final instalment released two years before), necessary for the full trilogy representations as a recurring theme linking/bridging the different sections, but here having a sense of dÚjÓ-vu. The stripped-down line-up (no guitars, flute, brass, large choirs and other keyboards present here) is actually the main (if not the only) novelty, when compared with the rest of the oeuvre. On the other hand the lesser density of the music gives us a chance to analyse easier how the music is built and just for that fact alone, Wurdah Itah is worth a few spins. You can even detect Vander's fascination with Trane's pianist, the awesome McCoy Tyner. (once again, I thank my friend Chris Gleeson-Syzygy for his outstanding review of this album, as this fact had escaped me before, until it became evident after reading it)

Presented as a series of short tracks (12 in all), this album is really made of two sidelong epics, apparently both melting into a single number once played in concert. Whether you shall consider this album essential is probably dependant on the number of albums you already own, but if you are just starting out, this album should get a certain priority, partly because of its stripped-to-the-bone quality, even making it a likely good introduction to Mazgma's Kobaian tales of tragedy and quests for salvation.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was originally released as a movie soundtrack. It's very similar in style to "MDK" but without the relentless chanting. Also we're down to four members for this one with Vander on drums and piano, Top on bass, Blasquiz does a little percussion, but he and Stella Vander are here to do the vocal melodies. All the songs blend into one another except for song 6 making it seem like your listening to two long tracks that flow beautifully.

"Malawelekaahm" hits the ground running with piano, vocals and drums. It calms down quickly with soft vocals and the rest of the band is playing quieter now. "Bradia Da Zimehn Iegah" features theatrical vocals as it starts to get tense. "Fur Dihhel Kobaia" is a great uptempo song with prominant drumming, female vocals and a frenzied ending. "Blum Tendiwa" builds up to a point and then starts to do the oposite as it calms down. This is really good.

"Wohldunt Mem Deweless" is all about the male and female vocals as they rise to a fevered pitch. "Wainsaht" features Vander's strange vocals as piano and drums lead the way instrumentally as usual on this album. "Wlasik Steuhn Kobaia" has some great drumming followed by a piano solo. "Sehnnteht Dros Wurdah Sums" features male and female vocals that build to a dramatic ending. "C'est La Vie Qui Les A Menes La !" has a drum and piano melody and the vocals are cool 4 minutes in. "Ek Sun Da Zess" has some great fat bass lines while the final track has more of Vander's crazy vocals.

This really seems like a companion to "MDK" with each album having it's own good qualities.

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars Oh, you caught me chanting to another haunting masterpiece. Sorry about that.

Yes, yes, I know. This isn't really a Magma album and more of a Christian Vander solo album that was supposed to be adapted to a film that is probably very corny/cheesy/bad and I know I opened this review up by rambling about for a bit. Alright, humor aside, yes, this is a Vander solo album that got shuffled into the Magma set, most likely because he brought on his wife, Blasquiz, and Top for this wild ride. And if you've heard any Magma, this is certainly not going to be a ride that eases up. However, it is easily just as enjoyable as most of the other Magma catalog (Merci? What's that?).

The songs on here are in the shorter vein, as none of them go outside the 3-5 minute range, but at the same time, this could be considered one whole extended piece. The vocals are just a manic as ever, the bass and drums retain their awe-inspiring power, and despite the loss of what is basically half an orchestra, this still remains a very important highlight in the discography of the best crazed jazz-rock spinoff to ever reach us Earthlings from the Planet Kobaia far away. Normally I'd point out a few of my favorite tracks, but I tend to think of this album as one 39 minute song anyway, so to me the whole album is in and of itself a highlight. If you already like Magma and don't have this album, what are you waiting for? If you haven't heard any Magma yet, this along with MDK is probably the best place to start. Actually, this might be slightly more accessible than MDK to most newcomers as it doesn't quite have the relentless, never-ending chanting in it. Definitely a 5 star masterpiece in every way, shape, and form nonetheless.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wurdah Itah was originally released as a Vander solo album but it has since gained its place amongst the real Magma albums, and rightfully so. However, the number of ratings on PA suggests that not all Magma fans have discovered this album yet. So here's a little teaser!

Wurdah Itah forms the second part of trilogy of which the MDK album from 1973 is the conclusion. The opening part is Theusz Hamtaahk, a piece which has never seen a regular studio release but which is featured on a couple of live albums of which the BBC London 1974 is most familiar to me. Needless to say, it's brilliant as well.

Christian Vander gathered a couple of Magma friends and his wife Stella Vander around him to record this album. With the ever impressive Jannick Top on bass and Vander on drums and piano, the instrumentation is as sparse as you will ever find on a Magma album. But by stripping down the excessive arrangements of MDK, the pure power of Magma's music really comes to the fore here. The music is slightly similar to MDK, but it sounds more energetic and focused. The muddled production and unbalanced mix that spoilt some of the MDK experience for me, are completely dealt with here.

This album is sequenced into 11 tracks, but it actually contains 2 continuous pieces of 19.30 minutes each, both of them heavy with gruff bass, piano, forceful drumming and a small choir consisting of mr & mrs Vander and Klaus Blasquiz. The rhythms are wild and disconcerting, the piano and vocals are dark and intense and the composition is simply brilliant. For me, Wurdah Itah is one of the few examples where rock music (RIO) manages to mould influences from Stravinsky and Bartok to something that reaches comparable artistic heights. It's never an obvious copy of the master, the addition of jazz influences and the extraordinary vocals make it entirely unique.

This album renders the essence of Magma's lyrical, rhythmical and vocal side. Together with K÷hntark÷sz, which presents a more rocking sound with less vocals and an even darker atmosphere, it is the essential Magma studio pick for me.

Review by friso
5 stars Magma - Wurdah Itah (1974)

This makes the prog-giants look silly...

By the time Magma had released MDK is was clear they were a band playing in their own league. They have little to do with 'ordinary' progressive rock, hence the sub-genre 'Zeuhl'. On the Wurdah Itah album, which was released as a Christian Vander solo-album, the band has less members. This problem was solved by the unbelievable composition of Vander, which doesn't give you a moment to doubt about this 'stripped' Magma crew.

Ok, right now I'm searching words to describe this extraordinary album. Well, it's just a bit more of everything when comparing it to MDK. It's more melodic, it has many even darker moments (like the opening section), it's more hypnotic, it's has great vocal performances as well as sublime choir performances, it's extremely atmospheric, it has a lot of tension.. it just has everything! The technical and rhythmically extremely challenging compositions of Vander seems almost impossible to play, yet the Magma crew doesn't seem to have any problems with it. Even on the Trianon version of the song the band manages to play the album faultless. Wurdah Itah has some great atmospheric parts, as well as beautiful melodic parts (without being dark or too technical). Perhaps one could say there are some world music influences. There's only one part on the album I don't like too much, which is 'dwarfsong-like passage'. All other parts are between great and divine.

Conclusion. Perhaps not the best way to start your Magma collection, for this album is extremely challenging. The opening section is hard to digest, though perhaps the rest of the album is quite relaxing for fans of the band. This album is for me a perfect combination of technical and atmospheric genius. Since this is quite rare this is something to consider whilst listening to Magma. This is top 10 PA material. Five stars.

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ẁurdah ¤tah is the fourth album released by Magma. This album is the second in the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy, placed between Theusz Hamtaahk (which is only available on live recordings) and MDK. After their previous masterpiece (MDK), this one (which as others mention, was officially released as a Christian Vander solo album) continues on in basically the same style, but with a very stripped down lineup. Gone are the horns, gone is the guitar, gone are the female vocalists (except Stella). Vander himself plays drums, adds vocals, plays the piano/keyboard parts, and some auxiliary percussion. Klaus sings and plays some hand percussions. Stella only sings, Jannick (as always) only plays some thundering bass. What the band lost in lineup, they didn't lose in quality of material, though - this one is nearly on par with MDK. For my tastes, it's not quite at the same level, but it is very close. The chant on this album isn't as all-encompassing as on MDK. Just like that album (and K÷hntark÷sz, and K.A., and ╦mŰhntŰhtt-RÚ, and Theusz Hamtaahk) this one is technically one big epic. Pointing out specific "favorite tracks" isn't the way to go with many of Magma's albums, as they're meant to be heard in their entirety.

Rating for this one is difficult for me - I love it quite a lot, as I love many Magma albums, but as I said it's not quite at the same level as my favorite Magma studio albums. Thus, I give it four stars - still an excellent (beyond excellent, really) addition to any prog collection. Would be four and a half if we had half stars here.

Review by The Quiet One
3 stars Theusz Hamtaahk Part 2

The antecessor of M.D.K. story-wise, Ẁurdah ¤tah was conceived as a Christian Vander solo album, the mastermind of Magma. Although compositionally you'll find this similar to M.D.K., Wurdah Itah unfortunately lacks the 'grandiose', the 'opera', the 'ecstatic', the 'amazing' (and so on) feel of Part 3 of Theusz Hamtaahk.

Why the hell did Christian sacrifice the brass instruments and the big choir? Those were the main components of M.D.K. and what made that album so amazing; you had the tension and the complexity done by those features. Wurdah Itah sounds like empty in that aspect, though it has grown on me, it's great to listen to Vander playing the piano all through this record.

Mind you, there still is Christian, Stella and Klaus Blasquiz singing operatically, but it's by no means as intense as the choral work featured in M.D.K., still there's lot of angelical moments, mainly when the vocals are alone with the piano.

Like I said, compositionally this is similar to M.D.K., Wurdah Itah is also one single piece of 38 minutes splitted in various tracks, in which each track progresses from calmer rhythms to more intense ones, so don't expect this album to be inferior in a compositional level, if not in a execution one, Ẁurdah ¤tah doesn't reach such a climax as the sixth track, 'Mekanik Kommandoh', of the aforementioned album does.

To conclude I'll just restate that this album for me sounds rather empty compared to M.D.K. and that if it weren't for that emptiness Ẁurdah ¤tah could have been another masterful Magma album.

3.5 stars: Of course still excellent in compositional quality and the unique feature of this album, which is Christian's extensive piano work, is a great thing to hear. This is undoubtedly a must for Magma fans, but for the rest of Prog fans this is not really essentially listening as M.D.K. is.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars Not very different from MDK, so another masterpiece. The second chapter of this "reverse- order" trilogy is at the same level of its predecessor with just two main differences: first of all as many other reviewers have correctly underlined this is officially a Christian Vander's solo album. Second difference, no brasses or orchestra here.

Being played by less instruments/instrumentists, doesn't make it sound flat and allows a full appreciation of the composing and arranging skills of Vander.

The repetitive parts are what I prefer in Magma's music. I mean when vocals are rhytmically repeated to increase the strength of the rhythmic parts. The way they alternate with jazzy moments is unique.

The best tracks are, for me, the two with the word Kobaia in the title. I don't speak Kobaian and I'm not intentioned to learn it. I sometimes take care of lyrics as they can provide a key to understand what an artist is trying to communicate. This is not the case with Magma.

I have never payed attention to the Kobaian stuff and I have learned that there was a trilogy only reading other's reviews. The reason why I listen to Magma is that I like their music and their vision of music. In their specific case, not knowing what the songs are about leaves me the possibility to imagine situations, build images in my mind and give to the music a meaning that it may not have.

So even if there are lyrics and choirs (and the incredibly voice of Stella Vander), I listen to this album as to a long instrumental suite able to evocate imagines and situations as other great instrumental suites are able to do.

Sticking more to this album, it's a classical Magma release in the vein of MDK and reaches the same huge results even without the orchestral parts. Vander is more known as drummer but let me remark his piano playing, too.

It's a masterpiece. Of course one has to be a Zeuhl fan or at least wishing to discover what Zeuhl is to appreciate it, so not for neo-prog fans but I can't rate it with less than 5 stars. C'est la vie qui les a menÚs lÓ.....

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm thinking of an Off-Broadway musical rock opera performed by escaped patients from a sanitarium who are convinced that they are among an elite class of citizens from an undiscovered country between Germany and Denmark. They also forgot to bring a guitar for their opening night performance, so the piano has to make up for the missing instrument by being perpetually busy while the bass is given some extra volume as further compensation. And the drums, those rhythmic patterns that make a 4/4 beat sound downright vital and visionary at times, like jazz musicians forced at gunpoint into a marching band.

The vocals are the key as to whether this album clicks or not. Admittedly, the first time I listened to this opus there were times in which I almost had to laugh. Not being invested enough in this particular piece of art, it was difficult accepting the fact that these guys & gal were belting out complete gibberish with conviction, heart and a ton of vibrato without finding the whole concept a bit goofy. Certainly during the second track or the hilarious Ẁa´nsaht!!!, the vocals emote in an operatic fashion quite clearly over the somewhat sparse number of instruments, like a smorgasbord of Teutonic blathering that only those in the land of Magma can comprehend. And yet I suppose it's not mere blathering since it is an actual created language and not just pointless syllable spouting.

The fact that this monstrous piece was also a soundtrack to an art film about two ill-fated lovers makes Wurdah Itah an even more enigmatic creation. The music is often as sweeping and romantic as two helicopters colliding, but I haven't seen the film, so I can't say whether the soundtrack gives the film a reason for viewing, although I've never heard "Tristan and Isolde" ever mentioned alongside heralded French films of the early 70s.

It's jazzy with a driving beat. It's a bit wacky and wild with the choirs and vocals, but strip away the language barrier and the voices themselves are quite skillful. Speaking of skillful, Vander does not mess around on drums & piano. The album flows by pretty fast as these short tracks blend into each other. It took a few listens, but I eventually got it, and I'm looking forward to checking out some more Magma material in the future.

Review by Warthur
5 stars In theory a Christian Vander solo project to provide a soundtrack for an Arthurian-themed art movie, Wurdah Itah was in fact the second part of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy that also includes Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh. Because of the limitations of the budget provided to record the soundtrack, the album was recorded with a stripped-down Magma lineup - Vander on drums and piano, Jannick Top on bass and Klaus Blasquiz on percussion. Most importantly, though, is that three of the four performers contribute to the vocals, and against the scaled-back instrumental backdrop Wurdah Itah does a wonderful job of demonstrating the power of the human voice as an instrument and its importance to Magma's music. The advantage of singing all the songs on Kobaian, after all, is that this frees the listener from trying to listen to the words - because they won't understand them - and lets them just sit back and appreciate the sound created by them. A wonderful, delicate counterpoint to the apocalyptic fury of MDK, Wurdah Itah is yet another Magma achievement, made all the better by the unusual approach taken with the instrumentation on this album.
Review by obiter
4 stars Zeuhl is marmite. You either get it (suspend the disbelief) or you don't. It's hard to describe this without relying on MDK. Well I'll try ... I keep thinking I've been transported to a 1930s Nazi rally on a bizarre acid trip where they are trying to record the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian. However, being neither a time-travelling Nazi nor ever having taken acid this is a bit of a stretch but if you listen you will understand what I'm trying to convey: especially about the Conan bit. Stirring and moving in a Carmina Burana way. It's great, but a voice in the back of your mind suggests that there is something deeply disturbing under the surface: why do I keep thinking of the human soup on Thulsa Doom's lair ... "Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark... etc " Well it would be a better analogy for teh music if the lethargic slaves jumped into a Pan's People routine (showing my age: no time travelling required). Do you need this, maybe not. Do you need Zeuhl abso ...f...lutely Zeuhl is essential to any prog collection. For me Live at the Taverne De L'Olympia is the keeper: this is merely added pleasure (in a marmite way). You have been warned.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars More Magma means more Innovation, diversity, originality, intensity, dynamic hyper-music, Kobaian language... This is Magma! No actually it is Christian Vander's solo album?

So I avoided this thinking it was just going to be a diversion from the awesome magma sound of the 70s, namely masterpiece MDK. However, this follow up is unbelievably similar and really sounds like Magma, delightfully not like a solo album. Bombastic rhythms, Kobaian, female vocals, Janick Top's bass, Stella Vander's shrieks and sopranoisms, Klaus Blasquiz's vocal intonations, and wild percussion, and of course Vander's manic screams and low groans and Gregorian chants pervade the sound, along with his sporadic drumming and crashing piano, and Fender Rhodes instrumentation.

From end to end the album squelches out the chunk and funk sounds of Magma, the recipe consisting of a concoction of moderate jazz, rinsed liberally in tribal chants and drained with opera chants. The Teutonic alien language based on some alien civilisation is as bizarre as anything on other Magma albums. There are flavours of RIO and Krautrock, with generous slices of avant garde and dollops of Wagnerian Opera. It is impossible to single out the tracks as they kind of run together mixed in a blender, but it really takes off on 'ẀohldŘnt M/Űm DŰẁŰlŰss' that sounds so much like the material on MDK, that I thought I had put the wrong album on. The formula is so right for magma, and they occasionally plagiarise themselves without complaints from me. The signature sound is powerful and haunting and it seeps into your system after a while causing an addiction to their uncanny and creepy meanderings. At times one may pick up words but it is only an illusion as nothing is intelligible.

Side 2 is a real ear opener with bizarre screechings to begin and then the violins slice out a rather disconcerting signature. The chants begin and follow the violin slices with admirable precision. One must take an excursion into the murky Zeuhl territory and at least hear the MDK Magmasterpiece, though admittedly it is definitely not for the faint hearted. Depending on your mood at the time may depend on your overall impression, but you can let the music take you into which ever direction it decides as personal interpretation is essential in the Magmaverse. The vocals are an absolute delight and you will hear Gregorian chanting, choral yelling, high octave shrills and deep resonances. As usual vocalists Stella Vander and her estranged husband are the centrifugal force of this album. The intensity of polyrhythmic time signatures are intense, and at times the music takes surprising detours, such as 'SŰhnntŰht Dros Ẁurdah SŘms' with all that fast paced rhythmic jangling and tweaking.

The sound is stripped down on the album though without massive choirs, big brass sounds and multiple instrumentation, but it exudes a charm of its own as a result. There are sustained atonal chord progressions and tribal drumming metrical patterns throughout and an everpresent piano played like nothing I have ever heard since MDK. The repetition is entrancing, with all the staccato stabs that darken the sound and these are contrasted by very light passages of minimalist strings and serene choral vocals. There is a real tension and release, like gravity forced up and down along the soundwaves. Repetitious mantras are a key feature of the Magma sound, primitive tribalisations and Vander himself are a centrifugal force of the Magmaverse, but it is so well executed on this sparser lineup, that it is quite a stunning achievement. It is anti-music atonal jazz certainly, but Magma stand alone and proud as their own entity, and Vander has created a solo album of hypnotic and compelling soul stirring constituent Zeuhl.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As many reviewers have stated before me, this is, for all intents and purposes, a MAGMA album, not really a Crhistian Vander solo album. But then, aren't all MAGMA albums Christian VANDER albums? Released after the ominous, deliberately-paced, more spacious K÷hntark÷sz and just one year after the ground-breaking, band-, and sub genre-defining MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´w K÷mmand÷h, Wurdah ¤tah is a powerful, more fast-paced submission into the saga of the relationship between planets Earth and Kobaia. What makes Wurdah ¤tah such a great album is the wonderful clarity and definition each voice and instrument receives in the recording and engineering. The voices and every piece of percussion are so clean and clear and distinctive. And yet the mix transposes the music masterfully into one well-woven web of power and effect. I love this! What sets this piece apart from the 'big' and 'bombastic' feel and effect of MDK-like Magma albums is that there is less ecstatic frenzy, more control and respect or even reverence in the feel of the music, as well as the feel of a much smaller, more intimate ensemble. MDK feels like it's being performed in a large cathedral (as if it needs to have that kind of space) while Wurdah ¤tah feels like it's in a small studio. For some reason I like this. (Not that I like it 'better' but rather, I like its difference.) Wurdah ¤tah is much more piano-based than other Magma recordings I've heard. Like the scaled-down accompaniment one might find during a rehearsal for a Broadway musical. This undoubtedly has a great deal to do with why I find the performances of the vocalists, bass and drummer to be so much more vibrant and in-your-face. It is a nice effect--different from so many other Magma recordings. I have lots of favorite little moments, but the one that stands above all others is the opening to the final song, "De Zeuhl ▄daz´r" (3:41) (10/10) in which Vander transports the listener back to MDK and in which every instrument, every sound is augmented and defined to be sure to register this fact deep within the subconscious. I also love the numerous excesses, embellishments and flourishes contributed by the vocalists throughout. They always seem so random, spontaneous, and expressive. Wonderful! To my ear and heart, this is yet another amazingly masterful contribution to the lexicon of progressive rock music. I feel no hesitation in dishing out another five star rating for yet another Magma recording. They're worth it!
Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars ẀURDAH ¤TAH is a strange little album in the MAGMA discography. It was originally released as a Christian Vander solo album as the soundtrack for Yvan Lagrange's avant-garde take on "Tristan et Iseult." The album has always been considered a MAGMA album by fans and is now released only as ẀURDAH ¤TAH (Kobaian for "dead Earth"). It's also strange (as are most MAGMA albums) in that despite being released in 1974 after "MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h (MDK)" it is the second movement in the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy, while MDK is the third and final one. The first is "Theusz Hamtaahk" itself which was only released live (now on Retrospektiw Parts I & II) but you know what? This is just the technical sorting out after the fact as far as i'm concerned. Listening to and enjoying any MAGMA album is not dependent on listening to another, in any particular sequence or otherwise.

This brilliant little beast as well as the following "K÷hntark÷sz" are important in the MAGMA world because they prove without a doubt that it doesn't take thirteen performers and an army of producers to create a MAGMA-nificent MAGMA-sterpiece. This album was reduced to a mere quartet (Stella Vander / vocals, Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion, Jannick Top / bass, Christian Vander / drums, piano, Fender Rhodes, vocals) but delivers an epic and beautiful total reinvention of the mesmerizing zeuhl fully developed on MDK. While the basic idea is the same of repetitive zeuhl rhythms, everything else is tweaked and contorted to become a totally new species of this fledgling subgenre of progressive music. The operatic vocal styles incorporate myriad creative forms as do the instrumental parts. While MDK has a huge epic style, ẀURDAH ¤TAH has more of an intimate feel to it like you could go to some coffee house and hear this. I'm totally curious as to what kind of film the version of "Tristan et Iseult" is because it's hard to believe that any film could incorporate music this quirky and bizarre into it's story line!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Magma's next album has the most interesting backstory of any of their releases. Released in mid-1974, Ẁurdah ¤tah (Koba´an for "Dead Earth") is the second movement of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy and a prequel to MDK. As mentioned above, the eponymous Theusz Hamtaahk is the first movement, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904551) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Originally Christian Vander's soundtrack to a little known film Tristan Et Iseult, Ẁurdah ¤tah is remastered and rereleased as part of the Magma canon these days - as a result of it being the key quartet of Christian and Stella Vander, Klaus Blasquiz and Jannick Top. As a result of the strippe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2448132) | Posted by bartymj | Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The second movement of the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy (being MDK the last part, but released before this one). It sound similar to MDK, but it's more focused on jazz than classical. The first track is a very strange song: MalawŰlŰkaahm. It's like a horde of vikings and prehistoric men want to destr ... (read more)

Report this review (#807031) | Posted by mau | Saturday, August 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A hardcore zeuhl album. For those who wonders what zeuhl is all about, this album is the answer. This is an album full of hypnotic, repetetive marching band rhythms driven by piano taken out into symphonic prog and jazz land. The vocals are male, twisted mental asylum male vocals and operatic f ... (read more)

Report this review (#573429) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wurdah Itah ? 1974 (4/5) 12 ? Best Song: No point in wondering Now this is more like it, you pretentious freaks! Wurdah Itah takes the soft, stripped down throb of, er, that one I reviewed last time and combines it with the staunch howling angel-hell of the choirs and opera singers. This, to ... (read more)

Report this review (#443276) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars MDK vol.2 If a fan, then you must have been already looking to see that film and find out if Wurdah ¤tah conforms to the greatest difference between a film and its soundtrack ever. This album, unfortunately less known Magma's masterpiece, perhaps stands out as their most subtle and one of the mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#278818) | Posted by Psychedelist | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've put off writing this review, simply because the I find the music on this album so touching and awe-inspiring that I'm in danger of drooling out one of those unrestrained and unhelpful reviews that betray a complete and utter lack of judgement on the part of the reviewer. (What's that you sa ... (read more)

Report this review (#174290) | Posted by song_of_copper | Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After a huge composition like the grandiose Mekan´k Destrukt´w Kommand÷h, Magma (more specifically Christian Vander) decided to shave off the unnecessities, and all the encumbering layers, and just do the basics. All horns have been stripped, the choir is greatly toned down, and even keyboards and ... (read more)

Report this review (#155983) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is part II of Trilogie Theusz Hamtaahk" (part III is Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh) What can i say that not already been said except this is a masterpiece from a to z (° in norway) Stripped down version with only bass,drums,piano and vocals. This is a good place to start if you dont know Mag ... (read more)

Report this review (#82925) | Posted by zebehnn | Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Stunning album! Often credited as a Vander solo album but it sounds mostly like Magma then anything else. With Klaus on vocals it's pretty hard to call it something else than Magma. I've never seen the movie that goes with this soundtrack but judging by the music it must be one of weirdest movie ... (read more)

Report this review (#82203) | Posted by Dr4Wazo | Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Solo album of Christian VANDER released in 1974 "Wurdar Itah". Work released in haste because it was used for sound track of movie though Demotac is unpermission. Music is a work of MAGMA on substance though it is a name of Christian VANDER. The tune divided into 12, and was performed continuo ... (read more)

Report this review (#80590) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 1974 was the critical hour of many musical outfits, including Magma. This album took quite a while to reveal its potential for me, but it was very rewarding. It shows us the vision of Christian Vander in its most refined version, of true human beings creating music together, of inflicting true ... (read more)

Report this review (#62193) | Posted by | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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