Friday, October 9, 2009

Michael's Zeuhl Initiation

This is a piece from Michael Bohn, who maintains a great web page that has many Zeuhl links.

O.K. - How I became addicted :-):

I was 15 years old (1973) had moved to a new town with my parents and was hungry for any kind of serious music, but had no money. As a kid my dad exposed me to Strawinsky, Carl Orff, Bach, balkan music etc. and I was hungry for more.

I went to the town library where you could borrow music home (LP's), and I borrowed everything that looked just vaguely interesting.

It was a good library, one of the educating ones with a mission, not the pleasing ones. I remember LP's with Quintessence, Zappa, Gentle Giant, Association PC, Volker Kriegel, Klaus Schulze - and Magma MDK.
I took it home and found it intriguing and strange, what 'kind' of music was this, not rock, not jazz, but? The cover was not very informative I thought. The music very Carl Orff'ish, apparently made by a band from the eastern side of the iron curtain, I guessed, due to the unknown peculiar language (the lyrics was writtten on a inlay sheet), the funny names of the musicians, no references to any country, and the dull recording sound (virgin recording) - I am still looking forward to a good remastering.

I took it with me to my school but my music teacher hadn't a clue who or what it was, except she recognized the Orff'ish influence too - and she was always pleased when rock musicians had learned something from classical music (" the real music"). 2 years later I heard the live version of Kobaia in the Danish Radio and realized it was the same band ! That drum sound and bass sound... I crapped my pants!

I bought Hhai! at once (Called 'Magma Live' at the time),and have been hooked on this (as someone wrote) 'Nietzche meets Coltrane' music ever since. This was before the CD media was invented, so I bought 2 more spare copies just in case it should become worn out and unavailable :-). I am deeply fascinated by the many live boots where the rather few tunes Magmas repertoire consist of, are never performed the same way, sometimes just different in mood or speed, but sometimes completely rearranged, and every time it's a blast!
Have only seen them live once, 1984, 3½ hours concert mostly with Merci and Offering material, but nevertheless incredibly interesting, I sincerely hope they will play near Denmark again.

Since in those days libraries, music shops and the big radio stations were better equipped, it wasn't as difficult to stumple upon Magma as it maybe is today, and they played at the Roskilde festival On the other hand, I'm sure the internet more than compensates by spreading the word, but it must be quite difficult to make a business on releasing albums :-(

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