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Magma - 1001 Centigrades [Aka: 2] CD (album) cover





4.13 | 378 ratings

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5 stars Magma - 1001 Centigrades (1971)

Climbing in their discography, the second offering of Magma is 1001 Centigrades. First of all. This cd-cover (also shown here on PA) is inferior to the original vinyl cover, which was also used for my vinyl reissue. The burning lava path to the Magma logo with it's warm red colors stands out as perhaps Magma's best cover and fans of the band should try to find this original artwork.

The second Magma album is a recognizable follow-up for their innovative debut. The sound of the band became a bit more professional and precise, but the real difference is the great recording of 1001 Centigrades. This makes it less hard to get into the music. Another big difference from the debut is the fact this isn't a double lp, but a single one. Side one has one big Zeuhl epic, side two has two compositions with more jazz moments albeit very atmospheric jazz.

On 1001 Centigrades there are still no female choirs, but male (double) vocals. For those who aren't knowledgeable of the Magma-experience it is important to know this is the truly Progressive side of prog with innovation being the basis of the music. Magma plays dark music with diverse influences such as classical music, jazz-rock, minimal music, war rhythms and avant-garde. The emphasis is on the rhythmic department led by founder and main composer Christian Vander. The brass section plays the intelligent rhythmical melodies that often have a dark impact. There are few recognizable emotions in Magma music, therefore it has been called Zeuhl or celestial music. The vocals are sung in an own language.

The storyline continues on 1001 Centigrades. The Kobaians are asked to teach about their magnificent culture on earth. This becomes a problem for the local authorities on earth and it is decided the Kobaians are imprisoned. The great planet of Kobaia reacts by threatening the Earthlings with Kobaia's main weapon (which I think feels very hot). Enough storyline to make dark music.

It is apparent to me this record is far better digestible if one first listens to side two and then ends with the big epic on side one. Emotionally this sound way more logical though I know this disrupts the continuation of the storyline.

Conclusion. This record might not be as innovative as the debut, but I think the quality is high throughout the record and there are no forgettable moments. The recording is very good, the compositions are great, the band amazing. I will give it four stars for now, but I just might change it to five stars someday. I really like this record and I think it's essential for fans of Magma and proggies interested in Zeuhl, psychedelic, jazz-rock and the heavy side of eclectic prog.

* Eddited *

I have listened to this album some more and it turned out to be a perfect masterpiece that fully deserves the five star rating. The technical aspect combined with it's un-earthly atmospheres and out-of-the-box thinking is unique. The sound of the album has a special transitional sound, coming from the male-vocals debut - going to the choirs of MDK. The jazzy aspect of side two is very strong: they made the best jazz I know of!

friso | 5/5 |


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