Monday, 9 July 2012

Magma: Félicité Thösz

When I heard that there was a new Magma album - Félicité Thösz - coming out I was hugely excited, and a little surprised.

I'm a huge fan of Christain Vander's band, and have been for years. Their music is a unique take on progressive rock, with elements of classical music, soul and jazz at the forefront. They're not an easy band to sum up in a trite phrase, and while their massively complex multi-album concepts and the apparent complexity of their music may seem daunting, the simple matter remains that they make fabulous music that few other acts can match.

Their work is awesome  - in the most correct definition of the word - as well as beautiful.

I was surprised to hear of the new album because the last, Ëmëhntëhtt-Rê , brough their Köhntarkösz trilogy to a conclusion. This trilogy was begun with the Köhntarkösz album in '74, which although the part of the work to be releases, was actually its second part. The K.A. album , which was released in 2004 formed the first part of the work, Ëmëhntëhtt-Rê from 2009 bringing it to a close. Both later parts featured work that was part written and performed in the 1970s.

Their discography is a complicated one. Their other trilogy, Theusz Hamtaahk, includes Vander's solo album Ẁurdah Ïtah (a film soundtrack for a film adaptation of Tristan et Iseult, now considered retrospectively part of the Magma canon) and Theusz Hamtaahk, initially available only on the  Retrospektiw (Parts I+II) live albums.

Where the new material fits in with their work, I'm not sure as yet. I know Félicité Thösz has been played live in the past, but it probably has a part in a larger picture as well.  Magma is the kind of band that inspires fanaticism and detailed study.

Despite the band's vintage, their resent albums have been as strong as any of their work from the 1970s, and if anything they've benfitted from modern production and recording techniques.

I would urge anyone curious about Magma to pick up the Studio Zünd box set from 2008 that collects their studio work to that point. In the meantime, I look forward to thouroughly listening to Félicité Thösz, and hoping that at some point they follow up their massive studio box set with an equally impressive live box set.

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