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Magma Monday
July 7, 2014 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Not many bands can claim to have inspired whole genres of music from a single track. But in addition to wholly inventing Zeuhl from scratch, Magma laid the basis for what evolved into the Brutal Prog scene populated by bass-heavy acts like The Flying Luttenbachers, Lightning Bolt, and Ruins by recording "De Futura" in 1976 for their Üdü Ẁüdü release. posted by mediocre (16 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lines from my upcoming fantasy saga's world-building backstory:

"But in addition to wholly inventing Zeuhl from scratch, Magma laid the basis for what evolved into the Brutal Prog scene..."
posted by leotrotsky at 12:04 PM on July 7


I like Magma too but isn't this sort of a self double of sorts?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:15 PM on July 7


On second thought... it's different enough to not be a double. Never mind.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:17 PM on July 7


Now I'm not sure if I should quit playing bass, or buy a Bass Big Muff
posted by thelonius at 12:21 PM on July 7


Same poster posts about the same band one week later? Come on.
posted by The World Famous at 12:27 PM on July 7


what's wrong with enthusiasm?
posted by philip-random at 12:30 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Same poster posts about the same band one week later? Come on.

It's only surprising if for some weird reason you don't love Magma.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:30 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


I for one, fucking love Magma.

(as long as they stay underground)
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:37 PM on July 7


I should also add that Klaus Blasquiz is one of my favorite vocalists ever.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:39 PM on July 7


I have to assume we're going to get a Magma post a week for a while. I don't mind that at all.

It's interesting to compare the Conservatoire Kids' MDK with the Magma version. Christian Vander seems to drive the whole thing by sheer force of personality.

The one time I got to see them was around the time of that video, though it was a stripped-down version. They played the Theusz Haamtaak / Ẁurdah Ïtah / Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh trilogy with Hhaï as an encore, and it was really quite transcendent.
posted by Grangousier at 12:43 PM on July 7


Klaus Blasquiz is one of my favorite vocalists ever.

Ah crap, I forgot to ad this acapella, and signficantly shortened, version of De Futura that Blasquiz did for a tribute record. Though it seems odd to be both a member of the original recording lineup and part of a tribute album.
posted by mediocre at 12:48 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I only heard of them via the recent post on Jodorowsky's Dune...
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:56 PM on July 7


Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh is a wonderful album and earns Magma my undying appreciation. I guess it's time to check out some other albums by them. Thanks for the FPP.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 12:59 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


G.Y.O.M.B.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:15 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to compare the Conservatoire Kids' MDK with the Magma version. Christian Vander seems to drive the whole thing by sheer force of personality.

To me, it's not Vander's personality but the strength of his compositional style that stand out by comparison with cover. Magma at their best manages to combine insane bombast and evident virtuosity with a sense of restraint that much ambitious prog lacks. Magma can sound really wanky when one is first hearing them, but I find the more I listen to them the more I appreciate with the economy of their (better) songs. Vander writes in a very tightly controlled way - generally, only the drums and his crazy falsetto vocals are allowed much in the way of "wanky" flourishes. As with certain lesser Zeuhl imitators, in the cover, the guitar in the cover, for instance, is foregrounded in a way that's totally inappropriate to the style, both in that guitar shouldn't be foregrounded in the first place and that the vocals should generally be providing nearly all of the song's melodic line. The beefed up guitar is gilt on the lily.

Also, this is a toddler singing Magma. (found in one of the previous Magma posts)
posted by vathek at 1:43 PM on July 7


I think the guitar was foregrounded the way it was for two reasons:

A. With the lack of a horn section, there needed to be a suitable analog for it in place. A powerfully distorted guitar will do that quite well.

B. The guitar player appeared to be the primary force driving the group as opposed to the drummer, and as with all guitarists who get some solo time he wanted some glory. Inappropriate perhaps as part of a tribute act where the entire goal is to perfectly recreate another groups performance. But as you said, wanky flourishes are too often par for the course in Prog. One reason their guitar-heavy interpretation of De Futura works, despite the fact it is traditionally defined as a bass-heavy composition, is because it is less a recreation of an existing Magma version live or recorded and more unique to themselves. The kids version of MDK however, is basically just a straight recreation of the 2000-era Magma performances so its a bit jarring when it goes for guitar theatrics. One remarkable thing like you said in the Magma performance is that the wanky flourishes are so few, there is a few minutes of relatively unnecessary guitar solo sure.. but out of a 40 minute performance that is still a quality:wank ratio that is unheard of in Prog.

But shit, these kids look what.. 20 years old? I still give them all the credit in the world for doing as well as they did in covering a difficult composition like MDK.
posted by mediocre at 3:11 PM on July 10


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