Magma - Üdü Ẁüdü (1976), 6/10

Jannick Top’s influence can be heard throughout Üdü Ẁüdü, but particularly in his eighteen-minute creation, the adventure that is “De Futura”. There are a number of sounds explored here from Magma that excel beyond the rest, sometimes due to a focus on instrumental innovation rather than vocal prominence. Along with this change, they really let you settle into each idea before exploring the next, something often lacking in zeuhl. Because of this newfound aesthetic, Üdü Ẁüdü quickly becomes more organically entertaining and thrilling than much of their other work. I do enjoy the more extreme and foundational size of zeuhl, but this funky bass-driven, joyous set of jams is too powerful to deny. As early as “Weïdorje” the band establish a hypnotic, driving psychedelia that soars into the heavens in less than five measly minutes. Then the supremely funky and clearly Top centric “Soleil d'Ork” sets the tone going forward, an intentional and thematically effective shift that feels natural rather than forcefully contrived. “Zombies” breathes fresh momentum back into the story before the retreat into the aforementioned and massively epic “De Futura”, a set of ideas and motifs worthy of its almost nineteen-minute existence as the entire second half of the record. Although it initially sounds too droning for such a massive composition, it evolves into something entirely different than its introduction, exploring several varied repetitious themes along the way but eventually landing in an environment much like that of the first half of the album. While certainly the highlight from an ambition perspective, I actually prefer many passages from the first half, including their pacing and transitions that keep the flavor superbly fresh. Certainly one of Magma’s more refined and focused albums and among the better quality zeuhl releases to be found.