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OFFERING

Zeuhl • France


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Offering biography
Offering came to the world as one of Christian Vander's post Magma projects, functioning throughout the later half of the 80s up till the early 90s Offering ventures into territory where only Magma's 'Merci' dared the tread. While the 70s Magma revolved around a more classical interpretation, Offering shows Vander's fascination with Coltrane's acoustic inspired Jazz blossom into full realization. Offering is sited by many as Christian Vander's most praised post-Magma project.
Offering takes a step aside from Magma's tight formulas, introducing compositions of a much looser, improvisational design. Vander's drumming expertises sadly take to the bench, while focusing more specifically on vocal experimentations alongside his wife Stella. We hear an evolution of the soul-scat vocals utilized throughout Magma's 1984 album 'Merci'. Offering went on to record 3 albums, which hold many draw backs for most listeners. Much of the time the musical insights become quite unfocused and produces a patchy final product
Their latest recording 'A Fiieh' is their most concise document; bring in a full line-up including the likes of Isabelle Feullebois, Philippe Dardelle and Emmanuel Borghi. The usually suspect are augmented by four other percussionist, four vocalist and one Keyboardist. The style becomes dark, minimalist and even a little more symphonic. While the epic 'Purificatem' reverts back into the familiar vibe of the two prior albums.
Boasting as one of Vander's most accomplished post-Magma projects, this will appease Christian Vander fans, but could still facilitate your average listener's enjoyment.

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OFFERING discography


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OFFERING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 31 ratings
Offering Part I / Part II
1986
3.81 | 27 ratings
Offering Part III / Part IV
1990
3.78 | 23 ratings
A Fh
1993

OFFERING Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 9 ratings
Paris Thtre Djazet 1987
1998
4.67 | 6 ratings
Concert Triton 2013
2014

OFFERING Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OFFERING Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 15 ratings
Offering (Magma Prsente Offering)
2003

OFFERING Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OFFERING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Fh by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.78 | 23 ratings

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A Fh
Offering Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars The third and final Offering album, with Christian Vander again exploring life outside Zeuhl and Kobaia (mostly). Not as Coltrane-heavy as the previous two albums but still a decent part of Vander's wider discography.

It starts on a bum note though, with the first track taking the title literally, a cathedral organ solo. Meh.

Cosmos starts with dark piano chords before becoming more ethereal thanks to the dual female vocalisations. Its not a dynamic track on its own but is a pre-cursor to title track Affieh which starts with similar vocals but a faster paced piano and cymbals. Interplay between these vocals and Christian Vander's early Zeuhl style 'lyrics' is excellent, with the track building in intensity with a range of percussion too. Some lyrics also in English ('Just for you'). After the intensity of percussion and piano peaks after 6 minutes it settles back down to the original cymbal roll and light piano chords, building again with even more dynamic vocal interplay. Probably the best track on the album (and the 2nd longest at over 10 minutes).

The next section begins with deep male vocals from Vander and a handful of guests, with the women joining in for a full choir after a minute and a half. As the title would suggest, the accompanying piano is very march-like, but unlike peak Magma this isn't quite the dystopian military march and is a lot more upbeat.

Magnifi is a mysterious sounding monologue accompanied by alternating piano chords and string effects, a strange interlude. The prelude to Purificatem is the most jazzy track, mainly due to the freeplay saxophone and piano, starting slow and lazy but building quickly into fast tempo free jazz after half the track with the addition of drums.

Vander's piece de resistance is the 26 minute Purificatem, which can be broken down into several phases. It begins like a classic early Magma jazzy Kobaian track, with Vander's vocals alongside jazzy sax, glockenspiel and drums, with just a hint of foreboding thanks to the rolling piano chords. After 4 minutes or so, Vander's smooth vocals become more abstract and scatty, with the instruments following suit, becoming more chaotic as his 'manic' vocalisations build in intensity. This continues to a crescendo and at half way the vocals give way to a 3 minute jazzy instrumental which peaks and troughs between minimal and intense. Vander then returns and the track gets even more intense, with him and the saxophone practically screaming at each other before everything slows to a break on 17 minutes, but it builds quickly up again for a second shouting match. Vocals return periodically for the remainder of the track, with the intensity still shifting up and down, often signified by strong low pitched piano chords (think of cartoons dropping a piano out of a window...). Cracking track.

I'd therefore focus on the two longer tracks - the rest seem a bit like filler really. Hard to compare the three Offerign albums, they're all good in very different ways!

 Offering Part III / Part IV by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.81 | 27 ratings

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Offering Part III / Part IV
Offering Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Christian Vander's more jazz-oriented Coltrane tribute side project came back with a second album, built around a 44 minute journey which is made god by Emmanuel Borghi's piano work and the vocals of Mr & Mrs Vander. Another Day is pretty catchy from the start, with light and fast paced jazz stylings and a back and forth vocal from the Vanders, and for the most part is entertaining throughout its length. The vocals switch almost seamlessly between English and 'lyric free'. There's very little break from the call and response style in the first passage which slowly rises in intensity until the 13 minute mark where everything is stripped back to Vander's wide range of scatty melodies and some light piano and drums for 5 minutes or so. 20 minutes in we get some chaotic jazz, with the piano just getting mashed with ham fists and Animal from the Muppets on drums. This is the part of jazz I don't like... That's a few minutes before we're back into the previous calm style briefly before returning to the chaos and noodling. Some of the noodling is tuneful but its no where near as fun as the first 20 minutes of the track. In honesty, they probably could have cut the track in half.

The footnotes are then the confusingly titled Offering Part 2 which is a short track featuring a triumphant piano jingle and Stella Vander's almost yodelling vocals, and Ehn Deiss, which is very melodic on piano again, and this time with Christian Vander on the main vocals. Its quite a mysterious sounding track, particularly when Stella and Isabelle Feullebois' backing vocals and Khalifa's flute is introduced. If anything I actually enjoy this 5 minute track more than the 45 minute one!

 Offering Part I / Part II by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.84 | 31 ratings

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Offering Part I / Part II
Offering Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Christian Vander's side project allowing him to properly explore his jazzy side - and doing it pretty well. Lots to like here but also plenty that's a bit of a swing and a miss for my tastes, and a found myself getting quite bored at times.

Part I - Opens like a dawning, all flutes and piano before Stella's vocals and a brass fanfare. The tuneful vocals eventually turn shrieky as the fanfare builds to a crescendo mid-track. It calms down and repeats the pattern once more. Pretty nice opener

Earth - A foreboding bassline kiks in straight away, something of an old Magma signature. Its a jazzy toetapper though, with male vocals once again descending into Zeuhl style shrieks. There's no change to the bass and drum rhythm throughout the 10 minutes so there's not a huge amount of variety

Joia - a very long track starting with scatting over a single piano chord which goes on for almost four minutes before a short passage in English. the chord changes slightly on occasion as a rhythm section builds slowly. It constantly gives the impression that it's building up to something, but it takes 9 minutes until a call and response section starts which dies away again almost immediately into a flute section. Pretty much in the same style with more frantic vocals until 13 minutes in when of all things a bongo solo briefly breaks it up. Long old track for not a lot of content again.

C'est pour nous - far more interesting, twinkly piano and Stella's vocals before a brass section that reminds me of Santana. Vocals duet on occasion

Love In the Darkness - Another long-ish track for not a lot of variety but I did like this one a fair bit. Its a calm start with electronic sounds followed by piano. The calm vocal style for some reason makes me think of Earth Wind and Fire

Tilim M'Dohm - bright and breezy scatty track. Very nice

Mazur-Kojawiak-Oberek, Solitude, Uguma Melimeh Gingeh - A collection of short piano pieces, a calm and choral track, and another very calm one has the album fizzling out a lot for me

 Paris Thtre Djazet 1987 by OFFERING album cover Live, 1998
3.68 | 9 ratings

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Paris Thtre Djazet 1987
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I noticed as I was about to review this live double album from OFFERING that they have just released a new live album from a 2013 performance. It's probably about time really as this live album i'm reviewing was recorded way back in 1987 and at that point they had only released one studio album. Two studio albums would follow and in my opinion they got better as they went. If you don't know, OFFERING is a Christian Vander side project that is dedicated to his hero John Coltrane. The music is jazzy and led by piano and vocals for the most part, but this music is also fairly experimental at times so it's difficult to say that OFFERING is a more commercial sounding MAGMA in my opinion.

Because this is a live recording the music does seem more experimental than the studio albums with plenty of improvization. So for my tastes it's a little inconsistant with some passages over-staying their welcome. A few of these tracks would end up on the next two studio albums. Like many double albums I could edit this one down to one disc and be very impressed. Disc one starts off with "Lohengrin:Prelude" which is a disappointing start in my opinion with the classical sounding instrumental music going on for about 8 1/2 minutes, just not a fan. "Ole" sounds really good early on with some flute playing over top. Stella comes in and eventually her vocals will be the focus. There's a nice piano interlude. Good song. "Cosmos" is a short piece led by piano and female vocals. It's okay but I do tire of the vocals. "Afiieh" is much better and the audience seems to agree with their response when this one starts. Christian is outstanding on vocals here. It seems like everything is being held back and restrained throughout. I like it!

"Les Anges" is piano with Christian on vocals to start. Some female vocals are added later. Again like the previous tune this one is restrained although Stella breaks free of that late. "Les Cygnes" is one where Stella's vocals get a little theatrical at times. The song is okay but i'm not a big fan of it. "Solitude" as the title suggests is laid back early on until the vocals break out. Contrasts continue. An average track really. "La Nuit Du Chasseur" is less than 2 minutes of Stella on vocals with orchestral background sounds. It blends into another short song called "Les Vagues" where it continues in the same style but without vocals. "Lush Life" is one I just don't like with Guy on vocals with piano helping out. "Joia" certainly makes up for the last song as Christian simply kills with his vocals on this over 22 minute journey. Well done!

Disc two begins with the over 47 minute "Another Day" which is such a journey with the vocals and catchy sound dominating. "Anta" is filled with intricate sounds, especially percussion. "Chorus De Batterie Introduction A "You've Got To Have Freedom"" is a 14 1/2 minute drum solo basically as an intro to the next song "You've Got To Have Freedom" which clocks in at around 6 minutes. Not a fan of the drum solo for the most part but the following song is really good with the vocals and drumming standing out.

Well at over 2 1/2 hours it's not surprising that it's inconsistant to my ears and tastes, although even then it's hard not giving this 4 stars. Still I can't do it and I much prefer the three studio albums.

 Offering Part I / Part II by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.84 | 31 ratings

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Offering Part I / Part II
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Neil C

3 stars This album will appeal to those who like the more extreme solo vocalising side of Magma - often what is missing are the really killer melodies, chord progressions, grooves and instrumental interplay. In addition the pieces on this album stay in one place with a kind of minimalist aesthetic, rather than change direction like Magma music does. This is very much a chamber music, rather than symphonic, project and to enjoy it you have to afford leader Christian Vander a little more license for indulgence especially on the vocal front. The album will probably appeal mainly to those who enjoy the music of Magma but many Magma fans may find it problematic.

Here are the tracks:

The first half of the album is darker with more meandering melodies (perhaps even more improvisational):

Offering (Part 1): Some free and intense vocalising rising to a climax and becoming sweeter as the piece continues. It sets the scene but is not of great interest in and of itself - ** stars

Earth: Intense vocals and fantastic Magma-like groove on the plus side but on the negative side not much thematic or harmonic (or rhythmic for that matter) development... It's all about the groove - ***1/2 stars

Joia: a two chord vamp - quite hypnotic with some decidedly strange and indulgent vocalising. It builds a little as it goes on but is a very long track which ultimately outstays its welcome - ** stars

The second half of the album is lighter, more melodic and more concise:

C'est Pour Nous: A real feel-good track - tight arrangement with excellent brass, latin style percussion and precise interlocking virtuoso scat style vocals. Very enjoyable - **** stars

Love in the Darkness: takes the melodic and rhythmic essence of 'Love in the Darkness' from Merci (by Magma) and transforms it from a semi-Euro disco track to something with a great deal of sophistication and sensitivity. It is light, perhaps 'slight' in a way (and the English vocals do not contribute to any sense of profundity) but it does make for a very satisfying listen - **** stars

Tilim M'Dohm: lively female unison scat vocals with piano and light percussion. Very syncopated, very light, deft, beautiful and complex - **** stars

Mazur Kujiawiak Oberek: a piece for solo piano with a strange East European sounding modality. The opening is a strident kind of waltz but then the piece shifts into a very beautiful semi-impressionistic second section which is reminiscent of the Catalonian composer Mompou - **** stars

Solitude: gentle, lyrical and beautiful - **** stars

gma M Mlimh Gngeh: quite an impromptu way to end the album with what seems to be (off mic) chit chat etc.... But nevertheless quite pleasant - *** stars

 Offering Part III / Part IV by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.81 | 27 ratings

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Offering Part III / Part IV
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Smegcake!

4 stars This is the second longest opening track on an album I've come across, and I must admit, it's where all the action is. It's sprawling, entertaining and very progressive. I enjoy about 35 minutes of the 44 though. Another Day has places in its middle section which really don't do much except squeal and groan, but its placed in between such wonderfully catchy and energetic musical pieces that you can't help but slap your head in frustration that it drags down the album quality that little bit to stop it being perfect by having these additional chunks. And being the mighty length of 44 minutes does make it hard to simply skip when you reach the less wonderful parts.

But make no mistake, this is good music. Even the attempt to make a song of 44 minutes consistently entertaining the whole way through deserves some praise - and that they managed to pull it off pretty well; really shows the talent we're talking about here. And if you look at Christian Vander's earlier work, there's certainly a lot of it. And it shows in the title track. The other two closing pieces don't stand up to the 44 minute Another Day, but they are still nice small additions.

Highly recommended, if you can find it.

 Offering (Magma Prsente Offering) by OFFERING album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
4.15 | 15 ratings

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Offering (Magma Prsente Offering)
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The appeal of getting this 4 cd compilation of OFFERING's 3 albums is the over 32 minute bonus track "Out Of This World" which is why they've had to make this a 4 cd set instead of 3. I've reviewed all the other songs on those 3 records already so i'll just focus on the new track.

It was composed in 1987 like "Ehn Deiss" so it fits well on the "Offering IV" disc. It begins with bass as soft flute and drums join in. Piano too. Stella comes in around a minute. This is all fairly laid back. That changes around 3 minutes as the intensity rises and so does Stella's voice as sax joins in. It calms down as sax continues with piano and light drums. The sax is dissonant. The piano comes to the fore 6 minutes in as the sax takes a back seat. It settles before 16 minutes to an almost dead calm. Drums only can be heard almost like they're in the background. Christian's drum work starts to get louder though. Piano comes in at 29 1/2 minutes as Vander continues.

4 stars for the compilation. I must say this project really surprised me, it was very enjoyable to say the least. I would recommend this to MAGMA fans.

 A Fh by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.78 | 23 ratings

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A Fh
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the third and final OFFERING album. It's quite different from the first two, and it's the only one not dedicated to John Coltrane. And that might be the key because the first two records are so full of joy, it's like they are celebrating John Coltrane for all the great music he has created that has so inspired Christian Vander. Both are like offerings to Christian's musical hero. This one is darker and more serious. A much larger band participates as well with more vocalists and percussionists etc.

"Hymne Kobaien" is basically Christian playing an orchestral-like keyboard solo. Not a big fan of this one. "Cosmos" is a different story though. It opens with a dark atmosphere before piano takes over playing slowly. Soft vocal melodies join in. It builds as cymbals clash. Cool song. "A Fiieh" opens with piano as cymbals and vocal melodies join in. Dual female vocals here. Christian comes in vocally before a minute. Great sound here. Strong vocals before 4 1/2 minutes. Intense. It settles back like earlier but with male and female vocals as piano and cymbals continue. Great track. "La March Celeste" features these deep male vocals with piano. Female vocals join in and the vocals get more passionate. It settles after 4 minutes.

"Magnifi" is a minimilistic track with spoken words and piano. "Purificatem (Accord Des Instruments)" is a jazzy tune with lazy sax melodies as piano and synths join in. Drums after 2 minutes as the sax gets more passionate. "Purificatem" is the 26 1/2 minute closer. This is the most difficult track to digest at times. A lot of dissonance and crazy vocals too. It seems to meander a lot. It opens with piano as drums join in then sax. Christian arrives vocally before a minute. Check out Christian after 4 1/2 minutes with his odd vocal expressions. More of this with tambourine after 10 minutes. The sax then becomes prominant when the vocals stop. Piano joins in. Dissonant 13 minutes in. Vocals join the chaos. Christian is screaming 16 minutes in. It calms down 17 1/2 minutes in but the dissonace returns as these are contrasted the rest of the way. What a song !

Easily 4 stars. For the adventerous and especially MAGMA fans.

 Offering Part III / Part IV by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.81 | 27 ratings

BUY
Offering Part III / Part IV
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars OFFERING are back 4 years later with their second release and not much has changed. I think I like this a little more than the first one but once again it's the piano and vocals that steal the spotlight. This time we have Emmanual Borghi (MAGMA, ONE SHOT) on piano for the over 44 minute opening track and he doesn't disappoint. I have to say though that the vocals of Christian and Stella Vander are really what makes this recording so special. Once again it's dedicated to Christian's hero John Coltrane, and Vander gives him his all here.

"Another Day" is the over 44 minute highlight reel. Would love to see this performed live in it's entirety. It opens with piano melodies before female (Stella) vocals arrive around a minute. It kicks in with drums before 1 1/2 minutes. Christian comes in vocally a minute later as it settles some. Contrasts will continue. Stella is back trading vocals with Christian. So much passion in their vocals. This is so much fun. It starts to calm down around 13 minutes. Christian offers up some vocal melodies after 14 minutes for about 5 minutes as the piano and drums continue in an almost dissonant manner. The piano stops after 21 minutes but drums continue. The earlier melody is back and so is Christian 23 minutes in. Nice bass here. It settles back and we get some percussion. Piano before 26 minutes then the tempo picks up. Vocals stop as dissonant piano takes over. A dead calm 29 minutes in then it starts to rebuild. Flute before 31 1/2 minutes as piano then vocals come to the fore. Stella's back too, as well as the drums. Stella and Christian battle again vocally. Great sound 37 1/2 minutes in as we get that full sound. Christian keeps shouting "Good God y'all" (haha). Too much fun ! It settles around 41 minutes with Stella's vocal melodies, piano and drums. Wow!

"Ehn Deiss" opens with piano as Christian comes in vocally. Stella after 2 1/2 minutes takes over. Flute before 4 minutes then dual vocals end it. A mellow track. "Offering (2)" is led by drums and piano as Stella comes in, and she does get threatrical.

I mentioned how pleasantly surprised I was with their debut on that review, well this might even be better. Highly recommended to MAGMA fans out there.

 Offering Part I / Part II by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.84 | 31 ratings

BUY
Offering Part I / Part II
Offering Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Christian Vander's side project which is very much influenced and also dedicated to his music hero John Coltrane. When I open the cd case on the inside cover at the top it says "In the memory of John Coltrane 1926-1967", and at the bottom of the same page is a flower with the words "To John". I like the way Wayside Music describes OFFERING as a "vocal / Jazz / piano ensemble". A good description of the music. Lots of vocals and chanting along with piano, while we also get some horns, percussion, flute and drums. I really didn't think I was going to like this a whole lot from some of the descriptions I read, but this has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me. Should have known with MAGMA members being involved and all the chanting with that Jazz flavour that this would turn out to be a favourite of mine.

"Offering (Part 1)" opens with piano, flute and intricate drums while the horns come and go. A collage of sounds. Stella comes in after a minute and steals the show. It all settles after 4 1/2 minutes as piano and Stella can only be heard. Although she does let it rip a few more times. "Earth" is the most MAGMA-like as we get that Zeuhl rhythm throughout. Male vocals before 1 1/2 minutes and really Vander is the focus on this one with an incredible vocal display. Check out Vander's vocals after 4 minutes. What a theatrical performance. You have to hear this ! Lots of flute in this one.The opening style vocals return before 9 minutes. Vander is still carring on though after this. "Joia" is by far the longest track, in fact it's a side long 18 minute song. Strange male vocal expressions are the focus to start with sparse piano and tambourine. It starts to build 6 1/2 minutes in. A second male vocalsist comes in at 9 minutes as he trades off with Vander back and forth. Vocals stop a minute later as flute comes in while percussion and piano continue. Vocals are back after 12 minutes. Percussion only before 13 1/2 minutes. Piano comes in then vocals before 15 minutes.

"C'est Pour Nous" opens with piano melodies. Stella comes in before a minute. It kicks in with horns 2 minutes in and male vocals. Stella and horns end it. "Love In The Darkness" makes me laugh because it's so catchy with Rhodes and vocals. Just a blast ! "Tilim M'dohm" is mostly Stella and piano. "Mazur Kujiawiak Oberek" is piano melodies only throughout. "Solitude" opens with piano as male and female vocals (both Vanders) join in. The vocals become more powerful before 1 1/2 minutes. Contrasts continue. "Uguma Ma Melimeh Gingeh" opens with spoken words and piano. Vocals come in. Sounds like rain before 2 minutes. A great way to end this record.

A special album where Christian Vander sings and chants his heart out for his hero.

Thanks to Black Velvet for the artist addition.

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