Exmagma - Goldball. 1975 Germany

Back in the late 80s, when I was first deep diving into the rarities' catalogs of the day, Goldball was a title that showed up fairly often (I had no idea there was a "first" album). Being on Richard Pinhas' Urus label, I was most intrigued by which members of Magma had branched off and what kind of Zeuhl album they'd created.

BZZT! Imagine my surprise when I first heard the album. I wasn't pleased. But only a few short years later, I began to appreciate the type of underground proggy jazz rock that Exmagma dabbled in. While I tend to see many reviews point the listener to Soft Machine and Weather Report, I personally hear very little of that. What I do hear is exactly the pedigree of the band - and that would be Wolfgang Dauner's Et Cetera. It's a bit more progged up, and less improvisational overall, but in effect Dauner's stamp is all over this. It's keyboard driven, and quite inventive, with multiple shifts within each short track.

The odd thing about this album, is it contains 6 solid 4.0/Gnosis 11 tracks (out of 10), and yet I'm walking away with a 3.5/Gnosis 10 here. Part of the problem is the album comes across more as outtakes than a cohesive whole. But worse is the longest track 'Greetings to the Moroccan Farmers' is a complete waste of time. It's generously called free jazz, but really it's nothing more than noodling around, sounding like they're tuning their instruments. Why anyone would think someone would want to hear this is beyond my guess - and it's incongruous with the rest of the album. 'Tango Wolperaiso' is also a weak improv entry, but at least it fits the motif. So there's about 21 minutes of excellent music, which is worthy in of itself, but not a monster album in my estimation.

Personal collection
CD: 2003 Daily (w/ their debut album)

As noted above my first copy was the LP on Urus, which I sold for a nice profit after getting the 2 for 1 CD upon release. No regrets here.

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