Magma's first new proper album in ages, Kohntarkosz Anteria (or K.A, as it is abbreviated on the cover) surprised everyone, fans and detractors alike. Christian Vander's gamble to revisit an old unrecorded composition and give it a modern-day reinterpretation pays off big-time, introducing a new group sound that blends the vintage "Da Zeuhl" elements from Magma's Kohntarkosz-era material and the engrossing cosmic jazz and massed vocals of Vander's later group, Offering. Add excellent sound quality and more studio time than the group was ever able to afford, and you get a very strong Magma opus, one that will stand the test of time, and certainly one of its most ecstatic numbers. A continuous three-piece suite, "Kohntarkosz Anteria" was written just before "Kohntarkosz" (which puts it in 1973-1974), as the first opus in a new compositional cycle -- of which only "Kohntarkosz" was brought to recorded life. The relationship between "K.A" and "Kohntarkosz" is somewhat similar to the one uniting "Theuz Hamtaahk," "Wurdah Itah" and "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" -- it is mostly lyrical, and slightly rhythmical and thematic, although the latter two aspects are further toned down through Vander's new approach in terms of arrangements. Some sections of this piece had been recorded as demo versions back in the mid-'70s and were released in the forms of fragments on the collection Inedits (in particular, the "Allehluia" finale), but these reworkings (more than that, a continuation in Vander's compositional approach that sets the piece closer in time to "Les Cygnes" than "Kohntarkosz") are something else. The lineup featured here is very similar to the one appearing on the 2001 live CD and DVD Theusz Hamtaakh La Trilogie au Trianon, including keyboardist Emmanuel Borghi (supported by Frédéric d'Oelsnitz), guitarist James Mac Gaw, and bassist extraordinaire Philippe Bussonet. The vocal section has been slightly revised and scaled down to five singers: Antoine Paganotti and Christian Vander for the male parts, Stella Vander, Isabelle Feuillebois and newcomer Himiko Paganotti for the female parts. Because it goes beyond what Magma used to be without lessening the impact of what the music used to be, K.A. stands as one of the biggest surprises of 2004 and a must-have for fans and newcomers alike.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture