Thursday, December 1, 2022

Exmagma - Exmagma / Goldball (1972-74 germany, eccentric jazzy space krautrock, 2003 remaster)

Exmagma was a jazzy Krautrock trio that released its eponymous debut in 1973. With a side of studio tracks and a side of live recordings, the album offers psychedelic jazz-rock with some avant-garde moves thrown in. The band falls somewhere between earlier Krautrock psychedelic jazz-rock groups like Xhol Caravan and Thirsty Moon and Canterbury groups like Soft Machine. The Soft Machine comparison is even more apt because Andy Goldner's fuzz bass style owes a debt to Hugh Hopper. "The First Tune" begins with a tripped-out jam with bass, drums, and keyboard locked into a relaxed groove, and then suddenly that trails off and is replaced by a far more free-form section, with schizophrenic organ chords over choppy drums and a very fat fuzzy bass rift. 

The second track makes a similar abrupt tangent, as a drum and bass workout with tweaky electro bleats suddenly slows into an electric guitar-driven space rock piece that comes off both dirgy and pastoral. The live side offers a trio of cuts on one long track, and finds the group further along in improvisational free form. It begins even more amorphously, with loose clatters of drums, the squall of an alto sax, bubbles of electronic noise, and high chirp twitters, the whole thing very apt for the title, "Trippin With Birds." Suddenly the drums launch out into rapid rhythms to raise the rest of the music into a loud racket that soon dies down again. Whereas the studio side skewered different sound spaces every few minutes, the live side has a more sustained effect. Eventually the group locks again on another wild groove jam to finish the record near where it began. 

Though not quite as avant-garde as the earlier eponymous debut, Goldball can hardly be called commercial or compromising. Though the music is less eccentric and unpredictable, they make up for it with tighter playing, and there are plenty of tweaked guitar and keyboard solos, funky drum and bass grooves, and lots of creative improvisation. "Marylin Kennedy" opens up the proceedings with a propulsive jazz-funk rhythm and swirls of keyboard tones. "Dada" tones down the energy just a little bit, as it locks into a repetitive riff for a couple minutes, before it gets hyper toward the end. 

"Jam Factory for People Insane" adds some whacked-out vocals, though most of the song is still instrumental. "Greetings to the Moroccan Farmers" is an amorphous free-form piece with piano tinkles, odd bits of drum clatter, and even the sound of a cow at one point, and it comes closest to the avant-gardism of their earlier effort. With most of the tracks being quite short, and only two over six minutes long, the group never gets into any excessively long jams, which may or may not be a good thing. Otherwise, the record is an interesting Krautrock mix of jazz and psychedelic rock. 
by Rolf Semprebon
1. The First Tune - 7:37
2. Tönjès Dream Interruption - 4:17
3. Interessante Olè - 2:50
4. Two Times - 2:26
5. Trippin With Birds / Kudu / Horny - 18:48
6. Marilyn F. Kennedy - 2:31
7. Dada - 3:37
8. Adventures With Long S. Tea 25 Two Seconds Before Sunrise - 2:53
8. Groove - 4:53
10.Tango Wolperaiso - 2:36
11.Jam Factory For People Insane - 4:05
12.Habits - 5:57
13.Dance Of The Crabs - 0:53
14.Greetings To The Maroccan Farmers - 6:36
15.Last But One Train To Amsterdam - 0:57
All compositions by Thomas Balluff, Fred Braceful, Andy Goldner

*Thomas Balluff - Organ, Electric Piano, Clavinett, Effects
*Fred Braceful - Sonor Drums, Percussion 
*Andy Goldner - Fretless Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Alto Sax, Tape Recorder