songofcopper: (le pop a part)
Yes, absolutely ‘in Concert’: together, in unison, in symbiosis. I am not objective about Magma; this is not really a ‘concert review’, more like a thoroughly subjective, highly indulgent account of An Experience. There, consider yerself Warned.

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Your Interplanetary Alchemist Prince, Reporting From The Field )
songofcopper: (le pop a part)
When reading a Heavy Tome, it can be helpful to listen to the Right Kind of Music. What you need is an Auditory Lens with which to focus the mind’s ear to a pin sharp inward hearing of the words you are reading. I’m currently reading a Heavy Tome Indeed, and I do find that the words seep in more readily when gently pushed by a soundtrack that is either wholly instrumental or sung in some language other than English. Herewith: a glimpse of recent soundtraquerie.

Recently I received my copy of the new album by Monomyth, entitled ‘Further’. I was prompt in pre-ordering and so it came autographed - it is rare that I am following along the career of a current band, so it is a nice experience to have that personal touch. I really enjoyed their first, self-titled album (definitely recommended). This is not an area of music I’m really knowledgeable about (they describe their stuff as ‘Instrumental Space Kraut Stoner Rock from the Netherlands’) but I would say it does manage to be more than just a session of ‘spot the influence’. Yes, the influences are tangible, but it’s not one of those ‘serious rock Jive Bunny’ experiences - it’s not ‘classic rock bingo’.

‘Further’ has - how to put it? - fewer ‘memorable tunes’ (!?) than its predecessor, and I feel as though this is the kind of music that, for full effect, really needs to be experienced live with the entire person rather than only via the ears whilst sitting sedately on a sofa, but I can already point to favourite moments. My favourite piece would have to be ’Spheres’, which builds its stubborn, jagged, geometric repetitions with Fripp-like patience ’n’ persistence. This is a well-structured album, too. The best side-effect of the resurgence of the vinyl lp (if you ask me…) is the return of the 40-something-minute album. Here we have that classic format of side A: two tracks of roughly equal length; side B: short piece followed by Epic. The Epic in this case is ‘6EQUJ5’, in which you can definitely pick up echoes of that dogged ’n’ determined Düsseldorf Motorik Beat, along with guitar sounds that occasionally remind my (biased?!) ears of 1980s Beefheart/Magic Band. The splendid artwork (by Maarten Donders) is not best served by the limited canvas of CD packaging, but I bet it looks grand on the lp sleeve. Goes rather well as visual accompaniment to an inward voyage in search of the Prima Materia.

I also received Magma’s new… what… mini-album? EP?? It’s around twenty Earth-minutes in length, let’s put it that way, and contains a new version of an old familiar piece: ‘Rïah Sahïltaahk’. This originally appeared on their second album, ‘1001° Centigrades’. Apparently, Maestro Christian Vander was dissatisfied with the original arrangement. Having listened to both versions several times back to back, along with the live version that’s on the ‘Mythes et Legendes: Epok V’ DVD, I have to admit that the difference is not really that striking. The original version has its brass/woodwind element, whilst the new version has vibraphone and female backing vocals. The original has that slightly claustrophobic production common to lps from the early 1970s, whilst the new one sounds more clean and vibrant - well, no kidding. The lead vocals on the original are by the wondrous Klaus Blasquiz; Magma’s current male lead vocalist, Herve Aknin, sings in a very similar style.

There is nothing to complain about at all with this new version, although the live incarnation of it on the DVD has more Oomph and Zeuhl Energy than the studio effort. If you know the original, you'll kind of miss the brass on the new version. On the other hand, the added vocals on the new one, along with the presence of Philippe Bussonnet on bass guitar (a proper Zeuhl Knight as opposed to Francis Moze’s jazzier style on the original), add a little something. Argh - I dunno. I would say this new 'Rïah Sahïltaahk' is non-essential but well executed. If you particularly like this piece, or if you are the classic obsessed Magma aficionado who will buy anything they release, it’s a no-brainer; you want this. But if there is such a person as the mildly-interested consumer of Magma product (?!), he/she/they may happily pass on this one.

HOWEVER, let me say this: the packaging is very elegant (silver mirrored surface with black offset Zeuhl Griffe) and as always it is Joyful Indeed for any devout Zeuhl Kadett to be presented with a singalong Kobaïan libretto and a sizeable fragment of the Magma mythos (the story of Rïah Sahïltaahk is told in French; it’s a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Hubris).

And that seems like a good place to terminate this travelogue of Musical Opinion Territory. Time perhaps to divert my attentions away from the potential Hubris of Album Reviewin’, back to the hoped-for Humility of Heavy Tome Readin’.

My thanks, as ever, for your company on this rrrramble. :-)

OMG MDK

Saturday, 23 November 2013 13:44
songofcopper: (Da Zess!)
D'you remember a while back my little mail order misadventure? An attempt at buying Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh on lp via the wonders of the online 2nd-hand record market? That ended unexpectedly in sheer Mozart - an interrupted cadence, one might say. (Indeed, one just did. GCSE Music thus finds its function: informing these blogly witterings with a filmy sheen of semi-education...)

Unresolved Musical Tension is a blight on calm, as you must know. But soon afterwards another copy appeared for sale, this time in far better condition and still at a very grabbable price. I gamely grabbed, sensing a satisfyingly plagal conclusion to this toccata-'n'-fugue hoving comfortably into place.

But the Koszmik Komposzer has a sense of humour. (Well, I'm calling it 'a sense of humour' out of stubborn optimism. It might be more like 'a sense of cruel glee'.)

I had to prod the seller (gently, not in any very senstive parts) to get an invoice out of him. Then I commenced to wait for shipping... and wait... and wait... and-- WAAAIIITTT a minute, what is going on here?! You have my pounds, feller. Lob the round thing in my direction, won't you? I sent him a polite message asking for an update. Cue SIILLEEENCCEEE. (That's what a deafening silence looks like typed out, d'you see?) Our friend the Koszmik K. was obviously experimenting with the effective deployment of rests.

Time oozed on in its habitual way. I decided it was time to say Stern Things. Instead of using the Discogs message function, I sent the chap a direct email. (Well, there might have been a technical issue with messaging...) Stern Things (couched in terms of clipped politesse undercut with ominous threat such that only the English language may convey) duly offloaded, I was favoured - at long last - with a reply.

It was priceless. "Sorry," says the bloke. "I'm in Europe at the moment. I'm on tour with my band."

Now, I don't know about you, but in my opinion 'I'm on tour with my band' is just about the ideal excuse for such circumstances. There's something classic about it, it's almost as solemnly symbolic as 'The dog ate my homework' or 'I have to work late tonight darling'.

This delighted me severely, and I commenced to wait some more (the chap was not due back in this country for a little while).

Eventually, my round thing did arrive - and I am very happy to say that it was worth the anticipation! Condition as described: sleeve in good nick, side 2 looks unplayed - rather as if Zeuhl intolerance/buyer's remorse kicked in after the original purchaser had spun side 1 - and lyric insert miraculously present. It has enjoyed an outing on the turntable and is thereby officially welcomed to the household. I'm happy to give it a loving home! :-)

DSCF3078

DSCF3079

'Kobaïa iss de hundin' may mean 'The Eternal is Infinite' (or perhaps 'Eternal is the Infinite'), and a round thing (a Zund!) may have no beginning and no end, but we have here a dénouement - maybe not 'la fin des fins', but I guess the old Koszmik Komposzer is working up to that one. I am still not 100% convinced that buying lps online is something my nerves can stand, but at least I got my plagal cadence in the end. ;-)
songofcopper: (Da Zess!)
…in other words, I am currently listening to some marvellous music, Made in France (some of it via Kobaïa, of course!).


From Yé-Yé... )



...to Zeuhl! )
songofcopper: (Da Zess!)
…in other words, I am currently listening to some marvellous music, Made in France (some of it via Kobaïa, of course!).


From Yé-Yé... )



...to Zeuhl! )
songofcopper: (magma lava)
Here are some photos from 13th February!
Ikonographie... )
songofcopper: (magma lava)
Here are some photos from 13th February!
Ikonographie... )
songofcopper: (le pop a part)
I’ll sequester this fan-drivel under a cosy LJ-cut to spare your eyes!

Roll of honour... )
songofcopper: (le pop a part)
I’ll sequester this fan-drivel under a cosy LJ-cut to spare your eyes!

Roll of honour... )
songofcopper: (zeuhl kadett)
After that onslaught of Blitzfunk bombast, and an interval, it was time for Magma!  I must note here that the interval was made memorable on the 13th by the inevitable visit to the Ladies’, where I discovered one of the benefits of being a girl at a progressive rock concert: hardly any queue for the loos.  In fact, in a classic demonstration of Parisian impatience and bravado, some of the men were using the Ladies’.  Two of them conversed with me in French, although I’m sorry to say it was not a thrilling exchange of witty toilet-related repartee: one of them took it upon himself to justify his presence in the feminine holy of holies; the other chivalrously allowed me to go ahead of him in the queue.

After I’d got back to my seat in the auditorium, my shy next-neighbour reappeared with the results of a shopping expedition: a Zeuhl pendant, which he put on in readiness for la séance; and the ‘Studio Zünd’ box set.  I silently wished him ‘happy listening’.

(On the 14th, during the interval, I found myself in the slightly undignified position of sitting there in my Magma finery, eating a Magnum ice-cream-on-a-stick.  The uncomfortable thought flashed through my mind that was I not, as I sat there, bedizened with Zeuhl Griffes and attempting not to get chocolate down my décolletage, the very incarnation of a teen-aged music snob’s wet dream?!  For some moments I felt extremely self-conscious!  Look, just you try and eat one of those things politely without inadvertently re-enacting a Cadbury’s Flake ad…)

Ok, enough twittering - here's where we get Serious. )
songofcopper: (zeuhl kadett)
After that onslaught of Blitzfunk bombast, and an interval, it was time for Magma!  I must note here that the interval was made memorable on the 13th by the inevitable visit to the Ladies’, where I discovered one of the benefits of being a girl at a progressive rock concert: hardly any queue for the loos.  In fact, in a classic demonstration of Parisian impatience and bravado, some of the men were using the Ladies’.  Two of them conversed with me in French, although I’m sorry to say it was not a thrilling exchange of witty toilet-related repartee: one of them took it upon himself to justify his presence in the feminine holy of holies; the other chivalrously allowed me to go ahead of him in the queue.

After I’d got back to my seat in the auditorium, my shy next-neighbour reappeared with the results of a shopping expedition: a Zeuhl pendant, which he put on in readiness for la séance; and the ‘Studio Zünd’ box set.  I silently wished him ‘happy listening’.

(On the 14th, during the interval, I found myself in the slightly undignified position of sitting there in my Magma finery, eating a Magnum ice-cream-on-a-stick.  The uncomfortable thought flashed through my mind that was I not, as I sat there, bedizened with Zeuhl Griffes and attempting not to get chocolate down my décolletage, the very incarnation of a teen-aged music snob’s wet dream?!  For some moments I felt extremely self-conscious!  Look, just you try and eat one of those things politely without inadvertently re-enacting a Cadbury’s Flake ad…)

Ok, enough twittering - here's where we get Serious. )
songofcopper: (wurdah itah)
First we were treated to a performance of Jannick Top’s ‘Infernal Machina’ (the title of which gives me an instant mental image of a demonically-possessed vacuum cleaner! Sorry…). Now, you’ll have to forgive me for saying this, but I tend to feel that Jannick only really has one tune in him, and that tune (if ‘tune’ is even the right word…) is ‘De Futura’. Let’s just say that ‘Infernal Machina’ induces a certain feeling of… how can I put this… déjà entendu! Not only does ‘De Futura’ get a bit of a reprise, there are also quotations from other Magma pieces in there. That’s not to say that it’s not worth listening to, but it has this inescapable aroma of ‘Zeuhl Greatest Hits Medley’, if such a concept is humanly possible! (Imagine an unholy alliance between Wahrgenuhr Reugëhlëm /ëstëh and Jive Bunny…) I am happy to say, however, that it was much more enjoyable live than it is on the CD.

Blitzfunk Bombast!! )
songofcopper: (wurdah itah)
First we were treated to a performance of Jannick Top’s ‘Infernal Machina’ (the title of which gives me an instant mental image of a demonically-possessed vacuum cleaner! Sorry…). Now, you’ll have to forgive me for saying this, but I tend to feel that Jannick only really has one tune in him, and that tune (if ‘tune’ is even the right word…) is ‘De Futura’. Let’s just say that ‘Infernal Machina’ induces a certain feeling of… how can I put this… déjà entendu! Not only does ‘De Futura’ get a bit of a reprise, there are also quotations from other Magma pieces in there. That’s not to say that it’s not worth listening to, but it has this inescapable aroma of ‘Zeuhl Greatest Hits Medley’, if such a concept is humanly possible! (Imagine an unholy alliance between Wahrgenuhr Reugëhlëm /ëstëh and Jive Bunny…) I am happy to say, however, that it was much more enjoyable live than it is on the CD.

Blitzfunk Bombast!! )
songofcopper: (Zebehn)
Well now, enough rambling.  On with a proper account of the concerts themselves.  Can I just say to anyone reading this who has seen Magma fifty-three times and is used to the experience and can view such performances with a more detached, critical eye… it was my first time. ^_^  Please, therefore, excuse any excess of superlatives.

Three 40th Anniversary concerts were scheduled to take place – I couldn’t make the first one on the 12th, but I absolutely had to be there for the second and last!  The set list was exactly the same both nights, so I won’t repeat myself by doing two separate reviews: instead I’ll just concentrate on the actual pieces played, with the occasional aside re. the specifics on particular nights.

Marvellous Magmatic Minutiae )
songofcopper: (Zebehn)
Well now, enough rambling.  On with a proper account of the concerts themselves.  Can I just say to anyone reading this who has seen Magma fifty-three times and is used to the experience and can view such performances with a more detached, critical eye… it was my first time. ^_^  Please, therefore, excuse any excess of superlatives.

Three 40th Anniversary concerts were scheduled to take place – I couldn’t make the first one on the 12th, but I absolutely had to be there for the second and last!  The set list was exactly the same both nights, so I won’t repeat myself by doing two separate reviews: instead I’ll just concentrate on the actual pieces played, with the occasional aside re. the specifics on particular nights.

Marvellous Magmatic Minutiae )
songofcopper: (zeuhl kadett)
Declaration/Warning: I am an unashamed, unapologetic MAGMA FREAK.  I completely LOVE this music… on practically every level.  For me, it’s the most exciting, rousing, beautiful and – yes, really – moving, uplifting, occasionally transcendent, even spiritual, music I’ve ever heard.  You wouldn’t want to read a lengthy analysis of why it makes me feel so strongly, and why it became, within seconds of my first hearing it, such an important accompaniment to my life, so I won’t inflict that on you.

Instead, I'll inflict this rrrrramblement! )
songofcopper: (zeuhl kadett)
Declaration/Warning: I am an unashamed, unapologetic MAGMA FREAK.  I completely LOVE this music… on practically every level.  For me, it’s the most exciting, rousing, beautiful and – yes, really – moving, uplifting, occasionally transcendent, even spiritual, music I’ve ever heard.  You wouldn’t want to read a lengthy analysis of why it makes me feel so strongly, and why it became, within seconds of my first hearing it, such an important accompaniment to my life, so I won’t inflict that on you.

Instead, I'll inflict this rrrrramblement! )

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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