Magma — Slag Tanz
(Jazz Village JV570051, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-04-08
Finally we get some more new music from one of the finest bands from any planet anywhere in the known universe, this time released on the Jazz Village label instead of their usual Seventh Records (as was the Rïah Sahïltaahk re-recording, reviewed here a couple weeks ago). The official description of Slag Tanz says that it’s a “...masterpiece of symphonic metal...” Symphonic Metal ?!?! Gimme a break. This is classic Magma: intense and hypnotic cosmic jazz of the highest order, bristling with power and lush vocal arrangements that suit the pace of the music perfectly – not unlike recent studio releases like Féliceté Thösz, or classic material like Köhntarkösz or the 1975 live album Hhai. The crew for this flight includes drummer, vocalist and bandleader Christian Vander, longtime members Isabelle Feuillebois and Stella Vander on vocals, along with vocalist Hervé Aknin, bassist Philippe Bussonnet, guitarist James Mac Gaw, Jérémie Ternoy on piano and Fender Rhodes, and vibraphonist Benoît Alziary, which is nearly the same as the recent live performance of this piece on the Mythes et Légendes Epok V DVD from 2013 – Ternoy replaces previous keyboardist Bruno Ruder, which explains the similarities between the two versions, this one clocking in at a few more minutes (nearly 21 minutes) for some great additional bass and drum interplay. This is the classic Magma style beginning to end, with the ever throbbing bass, menacing progressions, manic but meticulously arranged interlocking vocals, and the blistering intensities alternating with gentle repose led by the ever-changing pace set by Vander’s drumming. The liner notes list eight distinct movements (and there are eight index points as the disc plays), but there are no breaks between any of them, so it’s really just one continuous piece as far as a listener is concerned. For the long time fan, this is about all one could hope for in a new Magma studio release; for anyone who has never heard the band (is there anyone out there?), this would be a fine place to start. Now available on LP also.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more