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Univeria Zekt - The Unnamables CD (album) cover


Univeria Zekt



3.15 | 56 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The band wasn't really unnamable; this was simply Christian Vander and Magma recording outside their Kobaļan mythology, under an assumed name. In retrospect the pseudonym wasn't very secure: the album and song titles may have been (mostly) English, but the band alias was undisguised, grade-school Zeuhl.

The project itself has its own unique legend, recounted in detail elsewhere in these Archives. Briefly, it was intended as a beginner's guide to a sometimes willfully difficult group: a more listener-friendly alternate to the alternate universe of Magma, twice removed from reality and thus closer to terra firma. In an odd way the effort might be said to validate the geometric curvature of space-time, taking the music so far beyond planet Kobaļa that it almost returns to Earth.

The results couldn't hope to match the impact of its parent band, but even lo-fat Magma-Lite has its moments, more so the longer it plays. The album closer "Undia" is probably the most conventional song within the classic Magma cosmology of the early-to-mid 1970s: the closest Magma ever got in their Golden Age to popular music (the song was actually released, a little optimistically, as the B-Side to a 45-rpm single). This is music to inspire an intergalactic gospel revival, with a beautiful vocal melody and simple-yet-strange instrumental chorus, all very catchy but unmistakably Zeuhl.

But as a watered-down primer it didn't work at all...thankfully. To its credit, the album wasn't mainstream enough, and the lack of any commercial impact left Vander free to pursue his less compromised instincts, with a vengeance in the upcoming Magma album "M.D.K." A further benefit to the album's relative failure is that it improved with age, revealing some of the uncomplicated joy tucked deep beneath the band's otherwise dense conceptual and thematic masterpieces.

The album in total is a worthwhile companion piece to the earlier, jazzier Zeuhl of Magma's first two albums, in particular the horn-dominated "1001° Centigrades", recorded the same year. Consider it a pleasant dip in the kiddie pool for cautious listeners afraid to dive headlong into the deeper, darker waters of classic Magma.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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