Saturday, 20 December 2014

Review: Magma - Riah Sahiltaahk

A release by Magma is normally the sort of thing that could only be approached with caution by the

Magma are not what you might regard as approachable, with complicated concept works sprawling over multiple releases, often decades apart. Albums regarded as canonical Magma work being issued apparently as solo works, a Magma releasing an album under a pseudonym.  Key material scattered over live and studio albums released years apart. That's before we even look at the fact that the songs are themselves generally jazz-informed progressive rock pieces performed in the a language apparently used by aliens.

In short,  it's complicated...

Much of Magma's work in recent years has seemed to be a matter of sorting out the band's legacy, and this album continues that  process.

The album is a short one,  consisting of  a re-recording of the first side of their 1001° Centigrades second album from 1971. Christain Vander was apparently unhappy with that release, the line up changing shortly after it came out.

Vander's always had clear ideas about Magma, getting others to realise the vision has evidently always been a struggle.  Riah Sahiltaahk benefits from a more sympathetic production, and if anything puts Magma more in the light of modern classical than in the outer limits of rock.

Riah Sahiltaahk leaves you wanting to hear more, and if anything, a release like this makes entry into the wonderful and frightening world of Magma that bit easier.

This new release on Jazz Village records marks the start of a new period for Magma, with a major programme of releases over forthcoming months. Other recent works such as K.A. (Köhntarkösz Anteria), Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré and Félicité Thösz are getting vinyl releases.

Earlier work is also getting re-issued and a box set of live material is in the pipeline, following on from their Studio Zund 12-disc box from 2009.

There are also live dates scheduled, with shows in London and Manchester in May.  Riah Sahiltaahk is a strong start for what looks like a key period for Magma.

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