Magma – Félicité Thösz

The new Magma album is a short one. It consists mainly of the epic title track which is divided into different tracks but flow as one piece. An unrelated track ends the album. I’m familiar with K.A. but have not yet heard the last album in its entirety. Like the last two albums, the sound and production here is a step up from their work in the 1970s but the bass does not stand out as much as on pre-2000s albums. There is very little guitar here and good ole regular acoustic piano is the main keyboard. There is some vibraphone here which is barely noticeable but seems to take the place of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in places. “Dzoi” sounds like it has some Rhodes in it, but again this just may be the vibes. Parts of this track reminds me of East Asian music. Vocals, piano and drums are the main ingredients on this album. This is very vocal oriented music with at least four of the band members doing vocals.

The epic goes through many moods, sometimes subdued and other times bombastic. The vocal melody of “Teha” is one of the highlights of the album with emotive singing on it. I almost hear a very 1960s R&B vibe in this track. This is followed by “Waahrz” which is basically a piano solo and probably the least interesting part of the album. I like the guitar and drums playing in unison during “Tsai,” which also has one of the most memorable vocal parts. I think you notice the vibraphone here the most. “Ohst” has some of the best singing on the album, very classic Magma. Some jazzy guitar playing as well. “Zaahr” is the last piece of the epic and is the most avant thing on here. Magma at their darkest, sounding like Art Zoyd (who were of course themselves heavily influenced by Magma).

The last track is called “Les hommes sont venus” and is very repetative and hypnotic. Very different from the main epic, the main instrument here is a glockenspiel. This sounds similar to minimalist composer Terry Riley’s piece “In C” although I think this song is actually in E. Well, there you go folks…the new Magma album. Too short? Yes. Sounds like classic Magma? Yes. Essential? Hmmm. Overall Felicite Thosz compares favourably to earlier epics but this is no Kohntarkosz or Theusz Hamtaahk. Pure Magma, not their best but far from their worst.

Tracklist:

1. Félicité Thösz (28:06)

Ëkmah – 2:39
Ëlss – 1:11
Dzoï – 2:27
Nüms – 1:51
Tëha – 5:15
Waahrz – 4:03
Dühl – 1:19
Tsaï ! – 3:41
Öhst – 4:53
Zahrr – 0:49

2. Les hommes sont venus (4:18)

Line-up:

* Stella VANDER – vocals, tambourine
* Isabelle FEUILLEBOIS – vocals, bells
* Hervé AKNIN – vocals
* Benoît ALZIARY – vibraphone
* James MAC GAW – guitar
* Bruno RUDER – piano
* Philippe BUSSONNET – bass
* Christian VANDER – drums, vocals, piano, keyboard

LES HOMMES SONT VENUS

* Stella VANDER – vocals
* Isabelle FEUILLEBOIS – vocals
* Hervé AKNIN, Sandrine DESTEFANIS, Sylvie FISICHELLA, Marcus LINON – vocals
* Christian VANDER – keyboard, glockenspiel

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