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Magma - Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974 CD (album) cover

ZÜHN WÖHL ÜNSAÏ - LIVE 1974

Magma

 

Zeuhl

3.69 | 27 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Christian Vander and MAGMA were fairly busy during the early 70s when they pumped out an amazing number of complex and innovative progressive rock albums that cleverly mixed and mingled jazz and rock together and would ultimately fuse into their new style tagged as zeuhl. During this productive time the band not only put out five studio albums but created enough retro material to fuel a new series of releases well into the 21st century. Amongst these archival gems are a great number of live recordings and in 2014, Vander released a 40th anniversary collection of material titled ZÜHN WÖHL ÜNSAÏ - LIVE 1974 which was recorded at Radio Bremen Sendesaal in Germany on the 6th of February, 1974.

The two disc set contains the majority of the 'Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh' album (on CD 1) in a live setting with only the final 'Kreühn Köhrmahn Iss De Hündïn' missing from the set however a new intro 'Sowiloï (soï soï)' (12:24) is included which adds a bizarre slow moving rhythmic build up to the main show mostly focusing on Vander's percussive and vocal combo evoking a sense of Kobaian harmony with the universe. It is accompanied by the guitar and keys and ratchets up so slowly it could possibly qualify as the most extensive intro in music history. It also has a noticeably different feel from the rest of the set which while competently performed seems a little isolated in mood and feel.

Disc 2 contains only two long tracks each clocking in over twenty minutes. The first 'Korusz II' is basically nothing more than a twenty minute drum workout by Vander himself as he uses percussion as the sole means to narrate a cosmic tale as he paints the picture with one rhythmic drum roll at a time. The second track 'Theusz Hamtaahk' is the opening first movement in the 'Trianon Trilogy' which is was already released as a live album of the same title in 2001 along with the second movement 'Ẁurdah Ïtah' and 'Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh' thus making this one a little redundant in the live archival releases.

Most importantly rather than the material presented which has been released in better forms, this album seems to be about displaying a short timeframe in the band's short lived lineup which included Christian Vander on the usual drums and vocals, Jannick Top on bass, Michel Graillier and G'rard Bikialo on keyboards, Claude Olmos on guitars and Klaus Blasquiz on additional vocals and percussion.This lineup is the bridge between the heavily fortified personnel on 'Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh' and the majorly trimmed down simplification of Vander's 'Ẁurdah Ïtah' which originally emerged as the soundtrack for the avant-garde film 'Tristan et Iseult'

Personally i don't find ZÜHN WÖHL ÜNSAÏ - LIVE 1974 to be in the same league as other MAGMA live releases. Firstly, almost all the material has already been unleashed from the vaults and the small differences are of no significant interest or consequence. Secondly i really find the stripped down versions of 'Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh' to sound woefully incomplete and missing all the stuff that made it so powerful and dramatic. Without the horn section and woodwinds, the whole thing comes off a nothing more than stripped down Teutonic stomp into rock opera territory which is the same reason the 1989 release of 'Mëkanïk Kömmandöh' has never much appealed to me either. And thirdly, the twenty drum solo 'Korusz II' is well performed but frankly doesn't seem too exciting either as it simply churns on and on without the dynamics and bombast that make MAGMA live experiences so magical. A nice supplement to a MAGMA collection but this one just seems mediocre.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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