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Magma — Kompila
(Seventh Records REX XX, 1975/1997, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1998-07-01

Kompila Cover art

Kompila. Why? When a band’s catalog has so many great entry points for the newcomer — Magma Live, Retrospektiw I & II, even Üdü Ẁüdü — what’s the point of this little ragtag collection of 22 edits, each a fragment of a longer piece that would be better heard in its complete unedited form? Then again, this is from the perspective of one who has been a fan of the band ever since hearing “De Futura” growling out of the speaker cabinets in the back of Rather Ripped almost 22 years ago. I still maintain that Magma Live is the ideal place to start — it gives a solid career overview of the band’s material up to that point in time, and features one of the hottest lineups in the band’s history. Then again, Live is a two-disc set, maybe a little too pricey for someone not already predisposed to liking the band’s unique vocal-oriented take on driving celestial jazz-rock, better known as “zeuhl” (refer to issue #8 for a complete rundown on the history and mystery of Magma). Indeed there have been a lot of negative vibes put out by those unwilling to accept this style of music, and I will be the first to admit that what Magma does may not be for everyone. But like they say, you’ll never know for sure until you try it for yourself, which is where Kompila comes in. For less than the cost of a regular disc, the not-so-sure-footed newbie can experience extracts from a number of Magma’s finest pieces, including “Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh,” “Köhntarkösz,” “Theusz Hamtaahk,” “Ẁurdah Ïtah,” “Rïah Sahïltaahk,” and “Hhaï,” as well as a few others. After a handful of listens to this, one should know if the seeds for further exploration have been planted. Definitely Kompila is one for the newbie and not for the longtime fan.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 15, 1997 releases, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): Magma, Jannick Top, Stella Vander, Yochk'o Seffer, Christian Vander / Offering, Patrick Gauthier, Bernard Paganotti, Didier Lockwood, François "Faton" Cahen

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