(All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
Christian Vander - Synthesizer, Percussion, Drums, Keyboards, Vocals, Art Direction
Benoit Widemann - Keyboards
Klaus Blasquiz - Percussion, Vocals, Animal Sounds
Lucille Cullaz - Vocals
Liza Deluxe - Vocals
Pierre Dutour - Trumpet
Patrick Gauthier - Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards
Chris Gavin - Flute
Michel Graillier - Keyboards
Alain Hatot - Flute, Saxophone
Bernard Paganotti - Bass
Catherine Szpira - Vocals
Jannick Top - Synthesizer, Bass, Percussion, Cello, Keyboards, Vocals, Horn Arrangements, Synthesizer Bass
Stella Vander - Vocals
Hatot - Flute, Saxophone
Despite having more personnel shifts than a struggling Internet company, Magma have managed to simultaneously retain a very recognizable identity and produce startling changes in its' music.
Biting at the heels of its highly praised Magma-Live, the band finds itself trying something very different on Udu Wudu for the most part. That first thing being shorter songs with nearly singable melodies. Secondly, synthesizers are introduced into the band's sonic palette for the first time. The production quality however returns to the dark, murky sound of earlier albums. It takes a bit of extra effort to get the details, but with a bit of perseverance, a lot of gems show themselves.
The album's title cut, "Udu Wudu" is the most shocking, mainly for the fact it's so blasted happy and festive sounding, quite un-Magma-like for certain, but somehow oddly engaging, with it's Brazilian samba rhythm and huge vocal choruses. My only gripe with this cut is the drums were mixed way too low.
However, the happy-slappy vibe of the title cut is short lived when the band returns to what it does best, spinning tales of life on Kobaia and all its uncertainties, underscored by manic drumming, funky and menacing fuzz bass, lots of horns and those semi-operatic vocal choruses.
The final track, "De Futura" is regarded by many Magma fans as a definitive performance and what makes the band so engaging to listen to. This 18-minute Jannick Top penned epic embodies all the things that Magma fans love, as layers build on top of layers, driven along by C. Vander's fierce drumming and that angry fuzz-bass that threatens to blow itself apart at any second. This is one wild, harrowing ride to put it mildly and is worth the price of the CD alone!!
Although not as consistent and well produced as other Magma offerings, Udu Wudu is still very much worth having for just "De Futura" alone!!