MAGMA — Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh

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MAGMA - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh cover
4.43 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1973

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


A1 Hortz Fur Dëhn Stekëhn West 9:36
A2 Ïma Sürï Dondaï 4:30
A3 Kobaïa Is De Hündïn 3:34
B1 Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanïk 7:48
B2 Nebëhr Gudahtt 6:02
B3 Mekanïk Kommandöh 4:10
B4 Kreühn Köhrmahn Iss De Hündïn 3:13


Bass – Jannick Top
Clarinet [Bass], Vocals – René Garber
Composed By, Drums, Vocals, Organ, Percussion – Christian Vander
Guitar – Claude Olmos
Piano, Organ – Jean-Luc Manderlier
Saxophone, Flute – Teddy Lasry
Vocals – Doris Reinhardt, Evelyne Razymovski, Michèle Saulnier, Muriel Streisfeld, Stella Vander
Vocals, Percussion – Klaus Blasquiz

About this release

Vertigo ‎– 6499 729 (France)

Recorded at the Manor Studios, England and at Aquarium Studios, Paris

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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siLLy puPPy
Although MAGMA had released two wonderful jazz-fusion albums and already invented the whole mythology revolving around the planet Kobaia for which drummer and band leader Christian Vander even created a fictitious language to articulate the vocal utterings that would augment the instrumental nature of the compositions, the sound suddenly changed from a frantic all-over-the-map approach that incorporated myriad influences to a more focused sound that simply utilizes the zeuhl sound as a basis which of course is of their own inventiveness that emerged on the very first album. MËKANÏK DËSTRUKTÏẁ KÖMMANDÖH came out in 1973 and to critical acclaim Nothing like this had emerged on the jazz rock scene not even from the Kobaians themselves.

MDK apparently tells the tale of a Kobaian prophet named Nebehr Gudahtt, who warms the human race that they are destroying their planet and have to change their naughty ways. When all is said and down the people rise against him and through throughout the album's ups and downs and twists and turns the people finally begin to adopt the ways of the Kobaians in order to redeem themselves. I'll have to accept that since i no speako Kobaian but it sounds like a logical story that is a mere segment of a much larger tale drawn out in the many album that MAGMA put out in the 70s.

The music is melodic and bombastic. To the max. This must have been some of the most ambitious music of the time even topping all the other progressive goodies that were coming out. Although the music is based on simple bass line cycles that incorporate two competing choirs that often sound like orgasmic ghosts, it is the sprinkling of jazzy parts, rock attitude and Carl Off a la “Carmina Burana” rhythmic phrasing that really puts a percussive punch in the whole thing. Musically this is akin to organic chemistry where long repetitive carbon chains create an extremely strong yet flexible backbone to support the smaller elements that cling onto it.

Upon first listen I thought this was too repetitious and I do like this a tad less than the first more chaotic albums with far more influences than this but this was a grower and has blossomed into an outstanding album in its own right. If you want one of the most over-the-top rock operas ever to grace not only planet Earth but apparently the entire Universe than you simply must experience MDK for there is nothing else even remotely like it not even within their own alien and eclectic discography.
Third album and this album firmly puts them in the Zeuhl map. They invented Zeuhl, of course, and "Zeuhl" is a Kobaian word, Kobaian being a language made up by Christian Vander and implemented in their music. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh finally gave them international exposure as the album was released on A&M, but in France it was on Vertigo. This album emphasizes repetition, with themes recurring, repeating bass lines, and a more unified sound, where it's pretty guaranteed within one minute of listening to this album how you're going to enjoy it. Here the group now included Stella Vander (who married Christian) and bassist Jannick Top, amongst a ton of others. And of course Klaus Blasquiz. There are a lot of high pitched and shrilly vocals that might put some listeners off, and I have to warn you this album might not have a lot of middle ground. I've heard my share of people who can't stand the album, but I love it, and many others do, it's just a plain case of "not for everyone", just as I wouldn't recommend Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica to everyone. I've heard this album referred to as a "Klingon Space Opera". I guess you could probably listen to this while watching Star Trek and visualize the Klingons doing such music. I realize this album is part of a larger story explored on other albums, but I'm not a Magma expert, or an expert of the Planet Kobaia, but I do enjoy their music, and their albums are essential. Personally, it's a great album, but you probably want to listen before you buy. And if Mekanik Destruktiw puts you off, they have other albums easier to take in, like 1001 Degrees Centigrade, Udu Wudu, Attahk, or even their followup Kohntarkosz.

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