Magma — Wurdah Ïtah (Expanded)
(Seventh Records Rex IX, 1974/2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-10-05
This stone classic of the Magma canon was originally released in 1974 as a Christian Vander solo album, with members of Magma participating, as a soundtrack for the Yves Lagrange film Tristan & Yseult. One day I hope to actually see the picture; with a soundtrack like this I can only imagine how strange it must be. But back to the music at hand… This is classic Magma even if it only involves a small set of players, and fits nicely between the more robustly arranged MDK and Kohntarkosz, which bookend it chronologically. It is in fact, Magma at its essence. The twelve tracks here are organized into two lengthy suites, and offer the listener all the rhythms, melodies, and repetitions of the classic zeuhl style using only drums and piano (Vander), bass (Jannick Top), and percussion (Klaus Blasquiz), along with the powerful and rhythmic voices, harmonies, and choruses (with Christian Vander, Stella Vander, and Klaus Blasquiz all participating). The overall sound throughout is a bit more gentle, melodic, and harmonically complex than earlier Magma releases, as well as being a bit more rhythmically challenging, shifting around with regularity, and the leaner lineup only accentuates the beauty of the band's core sound. In this new expanded edition, we get an early alternate version of the epic, Wurdah Ïtah in its infancy, recorded in January 1972 by a slightly different lineup, with Rene “Stundehr” Garber singing in lieu of Stella, and Jean Pierre Lembert on bass instead of Top. It’s somewhat shorter, at only 25 minutes, and a bit more vocally manic, but it’s all there (some of the Kobaïan lyrics vary slightly from the definitive version), and it’s clearly an important and immensely enjoyable recording that I’m happy was included in this latest reissue. And, of course, it is finally officially a Magma album.
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