Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Magma

I’ve been spending the morning immersing myself in the music of Magma… It’s taken me a while to reach this point, in less enlightened times, I would often dismiss Magma with the usual prog rock prejudice (always at one’s peril I’ve come to believe) but my interest has been piqued by their association with Jodorowsky’s ill-fated Dune film. I’ve amassed quite an extensive chunk of Magma back catalogue on mp3 (call it a try n’ buy) and am journeying thru the first salvo of albums from the early 70’s. This is not easy music to absorb in a few initial fly-bys - the jazz-rock fusion is formidable, the arrangements knotty and complex with ever shifting time changes and tempos, and the vocals, sung in Magma’s own devised language often sound like they’ve strayed from a bombastic symphonic opera. But perseverance yields rewards and I'm particularly enjoying Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh, perhaps the first of Magma’s signature albums. The evolutionary leap from Kobaïa and 1001° Centigrades is apparent, the jazz-rock workouts abandoned in favor of what might be described as inter-galactic gospel music backed by pounding martial rhythms. The extraordinary vocals which range from operatic to freak-out wailing and shrieking sound to my ear like people swearing in Polish. Truly incredible stuff. Listening to this album, I can better appreciate Alejandro Jodorowsky’s idea of using Magma’s music in Dune to represent the brutal forces of the House Harkonnen...



Speaking of Dune... Unmade movies are the opium dreams of film junkies, and with so much pre-production done on Jodorowsky's Dune there's always that threat that one of the major studios will shoehorn it into a hollow effects extravaganza, diluting Jodorowsky and Moebius' more outrageous inventions (the anal staircase entrance into the Emperor's throne room comes to mind!). My dream of Dune is to see it realized as a huge animated film and looking around at some of the Dune art on the web, the potential for such a film seems limitless. I'm particularly fond of concept artist/illustrator Mark Molnar's Dune artwork at his Project Dune page



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