The title says it all: This archival release brings to the public a studio session recorded on March 14, 1974, at BBC Radio in London. The group looked very different 15 months before the string of Parisian dates that yielded Magma's first live album. Only singer Klaus Blasquiz and bassist Jannick Top would survive drummer and leader Christian Vander's lineup remodeling. Claude Olmos (guitar) and Michel Graillier and Gérard Bikialo (keyboards) complete the formation on this recording. At the time, "Theusz Hamtaahk" (the original) was known only to live audiences. Performed here in its full half-hour glory, it matches Magma's best material: Gothic, driving, complex, it features Blasquiz in one of his unbelievable vocal numbers. The last five minutes threaten to tear you up in excitement. The only other piece performed that day is a 27-minute version of "Köhntarkösz." Predating by a year the version released on the album by the same title, it contains many differences, from drastic tempi (the opening is crawling instead of soaring, giving it a very unusual feel) to completely new sections. Some of them attempt a looser structure, leaving room for improvisation, but it leads nowhere, the piece loosing its momentum. One can easily understand why Vander later tidied it up, but this recording remains interesting if only to compare. Casual listeners are better off starting with the group's original albums or Live. Seasoned fans will be delighted by this set.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture