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Prog Folk • Argentina

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Although their first recording did not appear until 1982, the Argentinian group MAGMA has its origins in the early 70s, and their early style betrays their psychedelic roots. Their first two albums were produced by MIA's Lito Vitale.

At turns jazz, Andean folk, and symphonic, with haunting vocals, brilliant flutes, and poetic lyrics, it is almost always mellow, hypnotic and easy listening. It nonetheless boasts many challenging and entertaining aspects. The range of political climates through which MAGMA have endured has affected their sound, which had to be pretty subversive in the early going.

MAGMA later emphasized more of the Argentinian folk qualities and persisted as a trio into the 90s. It appears a new album has been planned (and possibly released), the first containing original material in over 15 years.

Most recommended for those on progarchives would be a double CD containing a re-release of their first 2 albums, called "Kronicas".

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MAGMA discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.47 | 5 ratings
Canto para una consagracion
3.00 | 4 ratings
La Transformacion
0.00 | 0 ratings
Musiqueros del silencio
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chau al tiempo
0.00 | 0 ratings

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

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

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

3.53 | 5 ratings

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

MAGMA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Canto para una consagracion by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.47 | 5 ratings

Canto para una consagracion
Magma Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars One of the many bands named MAGMA that doesn't have Christian Vander or Kobaians in it. This one is from Argentina and emerged all the way back in 1974 in the city of Paraná founded by lead vocalist Alberto Felice who was the only constant member appearing on all five albums with the purpose of promoting his poetry accompanied by his own version of strange ethereal folky jazz music which led to the band's first release CANTO PARA UNA CONSAGRACIÓN (Song For A Consecration). MAGMA was part of the underground music scene in Argentina in the 80s along with other local contemporary bands like M.I.A. (Músicos Independientes Asociados), Redd and Irreal, all of which remain fairly obscure even within the greater niche world of progressive rock in general.

This is some rather strange music i must say. The first time i heard this it kinda went over my head as it's somewhat accessible but just sounds off and may alienate many listeners unless a few spins are given to calibrate your perceptions to it. This is above all a dreamy and pastoral symphonic folk with jazzy underpinnings and just enough progressive rock touches to create a very eclectic and unique overall sound. The make or break deal for most i'm sure will be the vocals of Alberto Felice who has a rather androgynous way of keeping you guessing if this is a female mezzo-soprano or a male falsetto with the latter being the correct answer. The only equivalent in prog i've heard is David Surkamp from Pavlov's Dog, not because they sound alike but more in the eclectic approach they take in setting themselves apart in their own vocal universe. The music is super laid back and perhaps a tad too mellow for its own good but after a few listens it has actually clicked and now i find this to be extraordinarily beautiful albeit surreal and utterly outside any familiarities i've had of Argentinean progressive music. Whereas bands like M.I.A., Alas or La Máquina De Hace Pájaros are clearly symphonic prog bands emulating their favorite European heroes, MAGMA doesn't sound like any other band out there to my knowledge. It even eschews the catchy pop sensibilities of other popular Argentinean bands such as Sui Generis.

MAGMA incorporates a healthy dose of Andean folklore, eclectic progressive rock quirkiness and a healthy dose of symphonic touches that can for fleeting moments bring The Moody Blues to mind but then dish out an arpeggio that can also speak the language of early 70s Pink Floyd, an early Trespass era Genesis sound or even the mellower side of PFM but these are small moments as the music is much stranger and quirkier than any of those bands. This is a nice blend of dreamy vocals, jazzy percussion, acoustic guitar, flittering flute and melodic piano all embellished with surreal synth sounds. However mellow this may be it is quite complex in its compositional approach with oddly spaced out passages where time seems to melt at times and speed up only to fall into a steady beat for a while. The vocals of Alberto Felice are equally bizarre as he has strange ways of keeping with the music and slowly drifting out. In fact all the instruments seem to be only partially tuned into each other just enough to keep the relativity dynamics in play. The whole thing really does feel as if i'm in a dream state where elements are familiar but are just kind of off, just like when you wake up and realize that the characters in your dream are familiar but nothing is actually as it is in reality. It's just out of reach of getting but seems so close at the same time.

When all is said and done, this is an album constructed for the Spanish speaking audience for it is about the poetic folklore which is just as dreamy and pastoral as the countryside in rural Iowa. The whole thing will remind the listener most of the mellower Italian symphonic prog bands of the early 70s and since the singer is of Italian decent and the Spanish language is a close relative of the Romance languages, it is not too hard to understand how the music revolves around the rhythmic flow of the poetic lyrics on display. However it's not mandatory to understand the lyrics because the music is very strange and eerily beautiful. As a metalhead i have to be in the right mood for this kind of mellow and ethereal type of strangeness but when the mood hits, this scratches the itch in a very satisfying progressive way.

While all the tracks have interesting progressive ideas woven into the parade of poetry, the last track "Un Pequeño Tema Para Jugar" (A Small Subject To Play) is probably the most interesting as it reaches the 12:21 length and has lots of cool instrumental meanderings into the most progressive experiments on the album drenched with trippy synth runs, guitar licks, jazzed up drumming and off-kilter song developments. I like to think of this album as psychedelic angelic folk jazz because it is the soundtrack of the clouds in some ethereal realm where angels licked the toads or sipped the nectar of the peyote or something. Just weird. This one was a grower but i have ultimately succumbed to its charm, however the band was clearly misnamed as the name MAGMA makes it sound hot and sizzling while this is super-chilled and of course they probably had no idea there was another band with the same name thousands of miles away doing much stranger things with a much higher energetic intensity!

 La Transformacion by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.00 | 4 ratings

La Transformacion
Magma Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Argentinean MAGMA took three years to release their second album LA TRANSFORMACIÓN (The Transformation) but pretty much continues down the path laid out on their debut "Canto Para Una Consagracion" however the band slightly went in a more accessible direction. All the attributes of the debut are in full play here. We still have Alberto Felici doing his falsetto acrobats stealing the show. We still get the quirky mix of jazzified piano, surreal synth and guitar all accompanied by sweet flute runs and nice thoughtful percussive performances but on this second album it seems that the songs may have tried to hang on to the melodies a tad more and focus on the overall sound instead of the meandering effect of the debut.

This is a double edged sword for me because it was the strange unpredictability of the debut that got me hooked in the first place but this second release certainly has a more instantly gratifying quality to it so in effect it's a nice balancing act going and for those who felt the debut was a bit too unfocused will surely find this to be a more satisfying display of eclectic Argentinean folk gone wild!

I would also say that the Andean folk music elements are more pronounced here and more recognizable as is the increased use of jazz inspired elements which still lend an exotic feel to this brand of folk music but at least not as alienating as album number one. Whereas the debut album was consistent in its dream state vibes always flittering half way in the familiar while flaying about in one's subconscious in a strange way, LA TRANSFORMACIÓN is much more the music of musicians who have awakened towards attaining an agreed upon goal and as a result the instruments play together in a more cohesive manner.

There are also a lot less vocals on this album with a lot more emphasis on instrumentals. Gone is the bizarreness of the debut which made it so unique and now we are treated to a sort of jazz light South American version of The Weather Report or something of the sort. While i do find this second release to be a pleasant listen it doesn't conjure up the same unique and wild ride that the debut did. This TRANSFORMACIÓN seems about being more accepted by a wider audience and given the state of progressive music in the early 80s it's not hard to understand why a band would want to be going in that direction at a time when band's like Genesis were raking in the dough by diving headfirst into the pop rock arenas of the music industries.

At the end of the day, i do like listening to this one but it pales in comparison to its predecessor. The magic of the dream state has been shattered and this one is merely a nice collection of accessible jazzy folk tunes that allow a little more of the ethnic influences to unfurl in an untainted manner. While this isn't bad by any means, it doesn't rise to the same level of creative furtiveness as did the debut. Despite my not liking this one as much it does turn up the tempo a bit compared to the debut. There are more periods where it rocks out more although in the most mellow definition allowed while still being classified as rock. The band would go on to release a few more albums but never really caught on and is obviously from their eclectic proclivities to be destined to remain in the world of obscurities only appealing to those who want to hear something that falls between the cracks (like me!) This one is pretty good but less satisfying than "Canto Para Una Consagracion" simply because that was mind-blowing while this one is much tamer.

 Kronicas by MAGMA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
3.53 | 5 ratings

Magma Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars KRONICAS is the twofer compilation released by the Argentinian progressive folk band MAGMA in 1995 which showcases their first two albums 'Canto Para Una Consagracion' and 'La Transformaci'n.' Since the band remains fairly obscure this to date is the only release which has seen these albums on CD and the original LPs remain fairly expensive for collectors.

There are no perks here. There are no bonus tracks, there are no special features in packaging or nothing. This is pretty lo-fi all the way and all you get is the first two MAGMA albums on CD but unfortunately in order to fit both albums on the limitations of a CD, a few of the shorter tracks from'La Transformaci'n' were nixed. These three tracks 'El Atravido,' 'El Otro' and 'Nuestro Rio' can still only be found on the original vinyl LP released in 1985.

This is however recommended just to get the debut album which i like much better. Think of the second album as bonus tracks and all is good. MAGMA was a unique band in the Argentinean scene and still remains so as on the world's stage so definitely worth checking out for those interested in strange eclectic angelic jazzy prog folk. 3.5 but rounded up because it's the only way to get the first album on CD.

 Canto para una consagracion by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.47 | 5 ratings

Canto para una consagracion
Magma Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Formed in 1974 in Parana, Entre Rios, Argentina, Magma were led by singer Alberto Felici and the early line-up included also Ernesto Mockert and his brother Jorge along with Sergio Petrich.It wasn't though until early-80's, when Magma had a chance to record an album with only Felici and Ernesto Mockert from the early days along with drummer Mario Caligaris, keyboardist Alfredo Ibarrola and flutist Luis Rocco.Their debut ''Canto para una consagracion'' from 1982 was released in the small private label Wormo, managed by M.I.A.'s Lito Vitale.

The album kicks off with the eponymous track, which is a soft flute-driven Folk Rock piece with a smooth rhythm section and a pastoral atmosphere.However Felici's incredible crystal-clear vocals are the absolute highlight already from the start.With the 9-min. '' Araucaria'' things become more serious.Delicate Prog Folk with a dreamy atmosphere, where moog synths eventually make their appearance all the way, adding a district symphonic touch.Flutes and Felici's voice are again dominant.''Eveda, Juntando Pan En El Parque'' sees a return to the opening style.Sweet Folk Rock with piano, percussions and flutes on the front, still a slight symphonic touch is evident on the arrangement.'''La Ultima Vuelta De Calesita'' is an opportunity for Magma to present their already obvious progressive roots.Opening with a great synth/piano/electric guitars introduction, the track moves on with a mix between soft Progressive Rock and vocal-based Folk with synths and piano dominating and Felici in great shape.Magma's debut closes with the longest song, the 12-min. ''Un Pequeno Tema Para Jugar'', definitely the most interesting and dramatic composition of the album, eventually the electric guitars are in evidence, the synth work delivers clearly a symphonic mood, the piano work is great and, while there is still plenty of vocals, there is also room for some fine instrumental weirdness.

This is an album with a very relaxing atmosphere overall, the time of its release would not allow some trully bombastic prog musicianship, but there are plenty of decent arrangements in Magma's debut, not to say the vocals are among the greatest to be heard in the league.Recommended, especially for fans of Progressive Folk Rock and soft Symphonic Rock.

 Kronicas by MAGMA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
3.53 | 5 ratings

Magma Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars A splendid blend of South American folk, psychedelia, and contemporary jazz are on display on this compilation CD. The first two Magma LPs are contained herein. Produced as they were by Lito Vitale by MIA, they came with instant prog credentials, and remain the most collectible items in the Magma discography, the original recordings commanding high prices.

The main features of the Magma sound at this point are mellowness, plaintive and yet gentle vocal harmonies, omnipresent flutes, and highly poetic lyrics in Spanish. It is definitely not for those into heavier prog or even heavier symphonic prog, but more for those among us who enjoy reflective beautiful music, but even there I find much to be somnolent. In the end, while it's all nice, only those tracks which go beyond mere pleasantness end up distinguishing themselves. "Araucaria" does so by its strong and varied melodies. The real highlight of the first half (and hence the first original album) is the 12 minute "Un pequeno tema para jugar", which builds slowly into a simply stunning vocal and electric piano exercise.

The second album, "Transformacion" from 1985, is the stronger, incorporating more jazz elements as in "Posdata para una resureccion", which has a gorgeous melody in the emotional chorus. "El loco de las puertas" is a relatively lively blend of Andean folklore and prog, and the closer, the song "Transformacion" itself, blends expressive flute and vocals which display Magma at their best.

Not an all guns blazing type of progressive group, Magma nonetheless possesses the capacity to cool and solidify in your subconscious. Recommended for those who like prog but also want to relax.

Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition.

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