Christian Vander Ẁurdah Ïtah: Prog Rock passion with a direction all of his own
One of the great pleasures i’ve had this week is listening to the Christian Vander soundtrack to tristan & yseult Ẁurdah Ïtah. It’s usually credited as a Magma creation, though only 4 of the Magma members worked on the album. It’s really a Vander creation – and I do think this comes through in the tracks. Ẁurdah Ïtah was re-released on Magma’s label Seventh in 1989 with the Magma logo on its cover. All the songs are written and composed by Vander.
Ẁurdah Ïtah (which translates from Kobaïan roughly as Dead Earth) is the second part of the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy. It is preceded byTheusz Hamtaahk (Time of Hatred), which is only available on live albums, including Retrospektiw (Parts I+II), and succeeded by Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh.
Studio Album, released in 1974
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Malaẁëlëkaahm (3:37)
2. Bradïa Da Zïmehn Iëgah (2:18)
3. Manëh Fur Da Zëss (1:38)
4. Fur Dï Hël Kobaïa (4:55)
5. Blüm Tendiwa (3:29)
6. Ẁohldünt M/ëm Dëẁëlëss (3:29)
7. Ẁaïnsaht!!! (2:30)
8. Ẁlasïk Steuhn Kobaïa (2:46)
9. Sëhnntëht Dros Ẁurdah Süms (3:24)
10. C’est la vie qui les a menés là! (4:58)
11. Ëk Sün Da Zëss (2:16)
12. De Zeuhl Ündazïr (3:40)
Total Time: 38:58
Line-up / Musicians
– Christian Vander / drums, piano, Fender Rhodes, percussion, vocal
– Stella Vander / vocals
– Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion
– Jannick Top / bass
What is especially exciting about this album is the vocals. The performance is scaled back due to budgeting problems and the result is this incredible celebration of the human voice as an instrument and its importance to Magma’s music. The advantage of singing all the songs in Kobian is that we won’t understand them lyrically, which frees the listener up for a pure kind of voice/ear experience. Here is a group of musicians who can be trusted to produce something exciting with their vocal chords and deliver.
It’s also an important album in terms of defining something ‘new’ at the time, now known as ‘zeuhl’. I’ve mentioned the style a few times on this blog, but this album is the answer to any questions – it’s the nexus and acted as the birth canal if you like. This is an album full of hypnotic, repetitive marching band rhythms driven by piano taken out into symphonic prog and jazz land. The vocals are male, twisted mental asylum male vocals and operatic female vocals, falsetto male vocals. The music has more in common with german opera than it does with rock music. You can hear the loyalty to experimental jazz, one of the foundations of zeuhl. If you want a contemporary reference that might help, think of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody – only with more opera theatrics.
It’s really different, but for fans of Prog rock its a staple (as are all Magma albums). I am having a great time with this, enjoying the contrast on my shuffle. there is really nothing like it. It has a drive – a pounding march of a drive – that spurs you oon to listen to the next track and the one after that. In searching for a standout track to upload, I really can’t find one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth its weight in vinyl.