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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eruption of Magma, 8 Feb 2011
This review is from: Retrospektiw 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
The music of Magma will probably either horrify or enslave you - or both! Love it, hate it, sing it in your sleep, find yourself counting to seven over and over and over again whilst strange alien words form a crowd at the tip of your tongue, wanting you to sing them... It's seriously obsessive stuff! Made to unite all those people who never quite fit in, and to utterly exclude the rest... Anyway, if you are considering the purchase of this record, you know all that already!

This CD contains two tracks, which once formed the four sides of a double LP. There is an elegant, shiny version of Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh which will have you singing along feverishly (...or not. That could just be me...). It has a bright, proud, almost municipal quality, far removed from the dark and treacly MDK album version. One of my favourite outings for Magma's most famous epic. Perhaps too polished for some tastes, but I absolutely love the crispness, the precision, the feeling of triumphant unity... very Magma, that!

But the real star of the album is Theusz Hamtaahk, in what most consider its definitive version. Elegant, sparse, challenging, with rhythms so tantalising you'll be stricken with St Vitus's Dance... Complex keyboard runs that tangle themselves into exquisite knots with the gnarliest, most viciously barbed basslines known to man... Cultish, devotional singing that transcends the impenetrable syllablese of the lyrics to reach unexpected peaks of emotion... And of course, crisply authoritative drumming from Christian Vander, who manages to combine the deceptive casualness of a virtuoso with the sternest of passions as he propels the music on and on towards the cacophony of its painful final notes.

Wow, what hyperbole! But nothing else will do to describe this unearthly stuff!

Anyway, in conclusion, although there is some question over exactly how 'live' this record really is, it totally captures the uncompromising power of Magma in the flesh. This is probably my 'desert island' album and if you love Zeuhl Muzik as much as I do, you need this record! For the rest: approach with care; it will either unman or ensnare you!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Band, Big Drumming, Big all over, 23 Sep 2001
This review is from: Retrospektiw 1 & 2 (Audio CD)
Magma's creative career had all but been exhausted by 1980 (the year in which this live album was recorded). In the previous decade they had practically invented a new type of music and for these concerts there is a sense of celebration and nostalgia. The awesome Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh is weaker in the live context than the incredible album of the same name (partially due to a mystifyingly rhythym breaking bass solo), but Theusz Hamtaahk is performed with a discipline and beauty seldom heard in musical performance of any sort. Part rock, part jazz, part classical, part folk, music has never been created like this before or since. It is never lightweight, often scares, and is indespensible for the serious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magma at the top of their game, 1 Feb 2013
This review is from: Retrospektiw i - 2 (MP3 Download)
The two major Magma pieces performed by one of their classic lineups on top form. In particular Theusz Hamtaahk is powerful and even better that the BBC London version which I also love. Christian Vander's drumming is superb as is Bernard Paganotti's bass playing - who else could have taken over from Jannick Top? Great value download.
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