Hamatai fu luszt kalain kobaia Malawelekaahm
June 30, 2014 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Magma, basically the go-to band when one wants to prove their music snobbery due to their ridiculously dense music to go along with their ridiculously dense mythology told completely in their own constructed language of Kobaïan over the course of every single release they have ever made. Save for one. The band once and only once recorded an album of songs that not only diverged from their celestial storytelling but used Earthly languages. An attempt to bring the band to a wider audience by bandleader Christian Vander, it is regarded fairly universally as their worst record, "Merci" was a mixed bag of 80's synth pop and attempts at being soulful. posted by mediocre (16 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I liked them before they cooled.
posted by gwint at 2:57 PM on June 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

I am disappointed. Based on the created language, I thought they were going to be the minions from Despicable Me.
posted by happyroach at 2:58 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Magma is so, so, so amazing.
posted by kenko at 3:00 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Er, not Merci, though.
posted by kenko at 3:01 PM on June 30, 2014

I recently caught Jodorowsky's Dune, and HR Giger relates how he was drug to a Magma show in the mid 70s. I think Vander is interviewed, too. They'd have supplied music for the Harkonnen.
posted by Catblack at 3:07 PM on June 30, 2014

Magma was one of those bands that I never really explored despite the fact that I clearly should have given my other interests. I finally dove in a couple of months ago and, perhaps unsurprisingly, really dug it. If you don't think that rock is capable of extended forms, you haven't heard this 40-minute-plus performance of Mekanïk Destrüktïw Komandöh, compelling from beginning to end. It's kind of too bad that the two main posts about Magma on Metafilter are about the embarrassing Merci.
posted by dfan at 4:38 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love Magma.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:09 PM on June 30, 2014

Teenage Stella, before Magma, already taking the piss.
posted by pracowity at 6:28 PM on June 30, 2014

It's a bit of a stretch to say that the previous Magma posts on Metafilter are about Merci specifically. They are really about the track "Otis" just for its oddity. For a band that is primarily known for being such a strange beast, their tribute to a soul slash rhythm and blues legend is just so ripe for sharing due to its head scratching What The Fuck-ness.

I posted this, as opposed to a career-spanning superpost primarily because A. I just learned about this albums existence recently and really enjoy it on its own merit and B. Most people who are inclined to enjoy something like Magma already are familiar with them. I find it doubtful a Metafilter superpost like the kind I'm sure I could come up with would actively introduce the band to anyone. Which is why I put this up, with a link to my favorite performance of arguably their greatest songwriting achievement (MDK) to provide contrast. Anyone who likes the MDK performance will dive into the rabbit hole, and if even a single person does than I think a post highlighting their Love Beach (to use a Prog Rock term) was worth it.
posted by mediocre at 6:47 PM on June 30, 2014

Also, Christian Vander in the 70's is one of the most intense looking musicians I have seen in any genre. He looks like he should be in some extreme occult metal act. But hell, MDK is a more intense composition than anything any metal act was trying to make at the time.

I just wish there were English subtitles for even one of his interviews. Even the attempts to translate Kobaian are based on his own broad translations in liner notes or magazine articles to French only. So being that the best we can get is Kobaian to French to English, I can't even imagine how much gets lost in translation.
posted by mediocre at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2014

Jodorowsky's Dune

It is amazing to think of Magma providing music for House Harkonnen. But like the whole of Jodorowsky's Dune, its best to keep it something in your imagination. I keep reading reviews of people wishing so hard that the movie would have happened, or that it happen still via crowdfunding or something and it's like.. no. Jodorowsky selling the movie to viewers for 90 minutes works because we all get to use our imagination aided by some great concept art but the movie would have been so far beyond a clusterfuck. If it had happened, it would have been a career destroyer for everyone involved.
posted by mediocre at 6:56 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Too jazzy for me.
posted by signal at 8:13 PM on June 30, 2014

Eh, I don't know. I have listened to a few of these tracks and to be honest it really sounds to me like schlock with an interesting backstory.
posted by awfurby at 8:14 PM on June 30, 2014

Previously unaware of Magma, now listening to MDK, and cannot resist believing that these are the people Yes existed in order to troll. I can just see Jon Anderson watching this performance and giggling and going OMG the French took us seriously...
posted by flabdablet at 10:50 PM on June 30, 2014

Jodorowsky's Dune

I totally forgot they were mentioned in that movie, and was totally thinking "they should have done the music for a Dune movie!"
posted by cthuljew at 11:22 PM on June 30, 2014

Apologies, mediocre, I didn't intend to disparage this post with my comments. I didn't realize until after I wrote my comment that it could be taken that way. Any post that introduces more people to Magma is a net positive.
posted by dfan at 6:21 AM on July 1, 2014

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