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CHRISTIAN VANDER

Zeuhl • France


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Christian Vander picture
Christian Vander biography
Born February 21, 1948 (Nogent-sur-Marne, France)

Known equally well for his virtuoso drumming, his compositional skills, and his creation of the Kobaian mythology and language, Christian Vander has achieved truly legendary status in the field of progressive rock. As a boy, he listened to and studied jazz, and through 1969 performed in jazz bands. However, in 1969 he was struck by a deeply moving spiritual vision and formed MAGMA as an outlet for his visions. For a few years, Magma performed rather straightforward jazz-rock without any member of the band being a clear leader. However, in 1973, Vander stepped up as leader and unleashed the force known as Zeuhl on the world with Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, written entirely by Vander. From then on, he was to be the only constant member of the band in a dizzying whirlwind of lineup changes as over 100 musicians passed through Magma. Counting MDK, a total of five Zeuhl albums and one "sell-out" pop album would comprise Magma's canon before the band broke up in 1985.

Following the breakup of Magma, Vander pursued several projects in the late 1980's and early 1990's. He formed a Zeuhl-soul hybrid band called Offering, which unfortunately saw Vander put away the drumsticks and focus on the vocals. He formed a self-titled jazz trio, and two fusion bands, Fusion and Alien, which both featured Magma alumni. In addition, he worked in time to release a few solo albums.

In the mid-late '90's, Vander reformed Magma with a new lineup, which has remained remarkably steady over the last several years. The band continues to tour, and has recorded two albums after this reformation, K.A. and Emehnteht-Re. Both of these compositions were pieces Vander had started in the 1970's but never felt they were complete enough to record until now.

Bio by rileydog22 (Jake)

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : Christian Vander are essentially the brain behind the Zeuhl genre, therefore a obvious and important addition the the site. Approved by the ZART.

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CHRISTIAN VANDER discography


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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Christian Vander & Frank Raholison: Fiesta In Drums
1973
4.00 | 12 ratings
To Love
1988
2.67 | 3 ratings
Les Voyages De Christophe Colomb
1992
3.29 | 5 ratings
Document 1973 - Le Manor
1993
3.33 | 6 ratings
A Tous Les Enfants
1994
4.06 | 14 ratings
Les Cygnes Et Les Corbeaux
2002
3.25 | 4 ratings
John Coltrane L'Homme Suprême
2011

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

3.67 | 3 ratings
Christian Vander Et Les 3 Jef
1973
3.50 | 2 ratings
Korusz
2000

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CHRISTIAN VANDER Reviews


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 Document 1973 - Le Manor by VANDER, CHRISTIAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.29 | 5 ratings

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Document 1973 - Le Manor
Christian Vander Zeuhl

Review by CrimsonComus

3 stars Improvisation, percussion, all covered by a Magma-esque feel. It is not essential. But I wouldn't deem it for collectors only, since it is something so different and outstanding in its own sense. I'll proceed to make my argument. Also, first review for me here. I've been a constant visitor of Progarchives for the past 7 years or so. But never found something where I considered my first review to be of importance. Hence this rare album being the subject of it.

This extended improvisation is something that not everyone is going to appreciate. It's is Magma's most raw and violent display of expression, with no clear line defined musically, neither melodically nor rhythmically. But I find it interesting and appealing, if you are particularly fond of improvisational jazz. Especially one where screams, B horror movies' howling and lots of percussive jamming are most prominent; then you'll really like this. It is a very experimental piece. The bass clarinet, which I thought was a sax at first, also contributes towards the cacophonous and quasi atonally dissonant atmosphere that this 70 minute percussive madness has to offer. Towards the last half hour, the organ starts to play a larger role in the background thread of music, that helps keep together the concatenation of drums and percussion, along with the howls, hollers and bellows that appear every now and then. The ending section is an interesting (or curious) repetitive, mantra-like sounds and rhythms that ends on a rhythmic drummed crescendo that fades out really quickly.

It is a wonderful piece, in its crazy improvisational anything-goes sense. It is different and daring. A challenge to listen to, and not one that may give out its rewards the moment you finish it. it is quite a journey, and I like imagining Christian Vader and Co. as they were performing the jam. How fun it must have been to do this kind of thing, and have people listen to you.

In conclusion, this is definitely not the place to start listening to Magma or any of the artists related to this. It is something different. And should be listened as that. Good, but non-essential seems appropriate, since it is a unique piece of musical history, but it isn't "prog" in the idealized sense that this site promotes. As with anything though, musical taste and open mindedness will determine everything. Enjoy the ride. I know I did.

Se recomienda escucharlo mientras se toma mate. (Drinking a good mate while listening to it, helps).

 Les Cygnes Et Les Corbeaux by VANDER, CHRISTIAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.06 | 14 ratings

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Les Cygnes Et Les Corbeaux
Christian Vander Zeuhl

Review by Tapfret
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams

4 stars Le percussionniste principal sans ses tambours (The master percussionist without his drums)

Sub-genre:Zeuhl (vocal and trance feel fit, though no bass and little percussion)
For Fans of: Magma, Choral Music
Vocal Style: True to Zeuhl, primarily female, with Christian Vander's strong operatic presence.
Guitar Style: none
Keyboard Style: Piano, Rhodes and synth string arrangements
Percussion Style: Little, mostly programmed with some natural tambourine.
Bass Style: Programmed background sequences
Other Instruments: None
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you do not appreciate modern classical or you are expecting traditional Zeuhl fare and a jazz/rock combo.



Summary: First of all, there is no mistaking that this is a Christian Vander composition. While the familiar overdriven bass, jazzy percussion and trademark imaginary language we have become accustomed to with Zeuhl are not there, Vander's dark brooding vocal arrangements and celestial motif is well intact. Broad operatic choral passages paint a very full and majestic landscape true to form for Christian and his wife Stella. While no specific piece is a direct Magma arrangement, the textures are eerily familiar; and I use the word "eerily" in the broadest and most literal sense. Les Cygnes Et Les Corbeaux is broken up into 27 mostly sub 3 minute movements which flow together seamlessly. At times Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire comes to mind, but the music is more accessible; just plain dark rather than obliquely dissonant.



Final Score: I could actually see this piece being appreciated by some listeners, particularly classical listeners, who did not otherwise like Magma or Zeuhl in general. This is a very fine work that should be explored. 4 stars.

Thanks to Bj-1 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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