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MAGMA

Zeuhl • France


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Magma biography
MAGMA is a progressive group led by drummer/composer/vocalist Christian VANDER that has been active in the 'classic period' and in the 21th century. The music of MAGMA is often categorized as 'Zeuhl' (which means 'celestical' of 'heavenly' in Kobaïan, MAGMA's own language). The band doesn't clearly fit in any other progressive subgenre, though avant-prog would qualify.

Swirling riffs in odd time signatures, theatrical choir arrangements, heavy and distorted pulsing bass guitar, bombastic and minimalistic (sometimes both at the same time), dark and brooming, adventurous and angelic, jazzy or classical, but always with the highly innovative and original drums of founder and main composer Christian VANDER. The music of MAGMA is adopted by the progressive rock movement, though even for progressive standards it is very hard to get into because of its 'other worldly sound' and its extended compositions of often more then thirty minutes. The band has had almost no connection whatsoever with other bands of the progressive genre, though in France it would prove to be a big inspiration for other Fusion and Zeuhl bands. It is often though that the modern classical music of Carl ORFF (for instance Carmina Burana) must have been a big influence to MAGMA. VANDER himself has claimed on several occasions that his main influence was the jazz saxophone player John COLTRANE, and listening to COLTRANE's version of 'My favorite things' we do find a hint to what was to become the Zeuhl genre. Legend goes that MAGMA was formed after a vision that was revealed in a dream of Christian VANDER about a spiritual and ecological future for mankind. This vision would influence the three different multi-part saga's, namely the Kobaïan saga (debut and 1001 Centigrates), the Köhntarkösz triology (Kohntarkosz Anteria or K.A., Köhntarkösz and Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré) and the Theusz Hamtaahk triology (Theusz Hamtaahk, Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh or M.D.K and Wurdah Ïtah). The third studio-album of MAGMA, M.D.K., is often seen as the genre defining Zeuhl album, whereas the first two MAGMA albums have stronger jazzrock/fusion leanings and less Orffian choir arrangements.

Being heavily disturbed by his vision, classically trained drummer and composer Christian VANDER formed the first version of MAGMA in 1969 in Paris as a means to give musical expression to his fears for humanity. With a small list of fusion and rhythm and blues musicians, among them some wind-players and one of MAGMA's mai...
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Riah SahiltaahkRiah Sahiltaahk
Import
JAZZ VILLAGE 2014
Audio CD$8.06
$9.98 (used)
TrilogyTrilogy
Box set
Snapper UK 2012
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Live: MagmaLive: Magma
Import
JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
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$60.46 (used)
1001 Centigrades1001 Centigrades
Import
Seventh Records 2013
Audio CD$14.42
$25.25 (used)
Kohnzert ZundKohnzert Zund
Box set · Import
JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
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Wurdah ItahWurdah Itah
Import
JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
Vinyl$13.71
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Emehntehtt-ReEmehntehtt-Re
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Imports 2014
Audio CD$12.23
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Mekanik Destruktiw KommandohMekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
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JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
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Floe Essi; EktahFloe Essi; Ektah
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JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
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Udu WuduUdu Wudu
Import
JAZZ VILLAGE 2015
Vinyl$13.49
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Uber Kommandoh by Magma (France) (CD, Feb-2005, 2 Discs, Atom) USD $6.00 [0 bids]
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MAGMA "UDU WUDU" FRANCE 1976 ZEUHL PROG MASTERPIECE CHRISTIAN VANDER JANNICK TOP USD $6.99 [0 bids]
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MAGMA discography


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

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

4.05 | 368 ratings
Magma [Aka: Kobaïa]
1970
4.13 | 342 ratings
1001° Centigrades [Aka: 2]
1971
4.31 | 781 ratings
Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
1973
4.10 | 388 ratings
Köhntarkösz
1974
4.19 | 282 ratings
Christian Vander: Tristan Et Iseult [Aka: Ẁurdah Ïtah]
1974
3.74 | 333 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
1976
3.69 | 295 ratings
Attahk
1978
2.52 | 169 ratings
Merci
1984
3.80 | 89 ratings
Mekanïk Kommandöh
1989
4.27 | 551 ratings
K.A
2004
4.19 | 428 ratings
Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2009
4.16 | 309 ratings
Félicité Thösz
2012

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

4.44 | 198 ratings
Live/Hhaï (Köhntark)
1975
3.08 | 42 ratings
Inédits
1977
3.96 | 67 ratings
Retrospektïẁ III
1981
4.54 | 98 ratings
Retrospektïẁ I-II
1981
3.98 | 22 ratings
Concert 1992, Douarnenez:
1992
3.33 | 31 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
2.59 | 20 ratings
Concert 1971, Bruxelles - Théâtre 140
1996
4.32 | 23 ratings
Concert 1975, Toulouse - Théâtre Du Taur
1996
4.14 | 38 ratings
Concert 1976, Opéra De Reims
1996
4.28 | 45 ratings
BBC 1974 - Londres
1999
4.57 | 71 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie
2001
4.03 | 27 ratings
Bourges 1979
2008
3.18 | 14 ratings
Live In Tokyo
2009
4.00 | 24 ratings
Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974
2014

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

4.25 | 24 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
4.30 | 42 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
2001
4.40 | 50 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume I
2006
4.41 | 50 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume II
2006
4.81 | 59 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume III
2007
4.82 | 52 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume IV
2008
4.56 | 23 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Epok V
2013

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

3.73 | 13 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes
1985
2.58 | 10 ratings
Kompila
1997
3.86 | 17 ratings
Simples
1998
2.04 | 15 ratings
Spiritual
2002
2.57 | 12 ratings
Über Kommandoh
2004
4.40 | 10 ratings
Archiw I & II
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mythes Et Legendes (Box Set)
2008
4.90 | 54 ratings
Studio Zünd
2009
3.18 | 9 ratings
Trilogy
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
45 Ans De Creation Hors des Sentiers Battus
2014
4.94 | 7 ratings
Köhnzert Zünd
2015

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

4.20 | 5 ratings
Kobaia/Mûh
1970
3.50 | 2 ratings
Hamtaak / Tendeï Kobah
1971
4.33 | 6 ratings
Mekanïk Kommando / Klaus Kömbälad
1972
4.63 | 8 ratings
Mekanïk Machine/Köhntarkosz
1974
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lïhns / Hhaï
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Spiritual
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Retrovision
1981
2.29 | 7 ratings
Ooh Ooh Baby / Otis
1985
3.91 | 34 ratings
Floë Ëssi / Ëktah
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
K.A - Extraits - Edition Radio
2004
3.72 | 31 ratings
Rïah Sahïltaahk
2014
4.41 | 45 ratings
Slaǧ Tanƶ
2015

MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.31 | 781 ratings

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Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Magma Zeuhl

Review by marcobrusa

3 stars Polyrythm works along big instrumentation. The overall effect is impressive, but i do not listen to this unless i want to hear a march. Zeuhl is a hell of a sub-genre. In this case, the inventor is not the most likeable character for me. I get the trance every now and then but the music is too marching. The man's falsetto is a little annoying, the rest of the instruments are ok. Drummer and leader is a genius because he created something different. The music is very difficult to appreciate. I can listen to a couple songs but then i get bored. The changes are not different enough maybe... so 3 stars. It's a good album but not for any prog collection.
 Magma [Aka: Kobaïa] by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 368 ratings

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Magma [Aka: Kobaïa]
Magma Zeuhl

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "I've had dreams. Dreams about John Coltrane. In them I'm trying to get somewhere, but it's far, far away. I'm searching. I keep trying to get to the concert, the Coltrane Concert. But by the time I arrive, it's over." -Christian Vander, describing his recurring dreams about John Coltrane, 2015 [The Wire Issue 381]

Christian Vander was born in 1948 near Paris. From a very early age, he knew he was different from his peers. As he confesses in one of the interviews, he never wore stylish clothes, nor listened to popular music in his teenage years. His bohemian mother introduced him to classical music and jazz. Young Vander even had the privilege of meeting Chet Baker and future Coltrane drummer Elvin Jones. However, no other musician had a bigger impact on him than Coltrane. With his obsession growing, the young man started regarding the musician almost as a god, a prophet or his father, more so, because Vander never met his biological parent. When the jazzman passed away in 1967, out of depression, Vander went on tour to Italy. "I arrived in Milan and I did everything I could to destroy myself. Took stuff, drank... And I was like that for nearly two years. But one morning in Turin I woke up and saw the town completely illuminated, like I'd never seen before. And I said to myself: John Coltrane didn't allow himself to die like this." He left, returned to Paris, and became more involved with musical groups, playing around local casinos. Together with Laurent Thibault, the future Magma producer, they invented the whole mythology of Kobaïa and composed the opening track of Magma's first, eponymous (however, also often called Kobaïa), double-LP album, which was released under the Phillips label 1970.

Magma tells a story of the Earth's enlightened, intellectual elite deciding to escape their planet in search of a new world to create a better civilization, far from their home, destroyed by wars and politics. They finally settle on the planet Kobaïa.

The album opens with a Cuban-esque groove accompanied by throbbing bass, tight rhythm guitar, passionate drumming, and a jazzy horn section. When Klaus Basquiz's vocals take the lead, presenting a story in an unidentified, Gothic-sounding language, some listeners might picture a more elaborate version of Blood, Sweat and Tears or Chicago. However, at one point, after a short, baffling interlude, owing a great deal to European classical music traditions as well as spiritual, almost voodoo culture-like choir singing, the track drops into a rapid, heavy free-jazz section recalling musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, and even Peter Brötzmann. Then comes a contrasted, quieter, piano part, leading into a jazzy climax of this extremely powerful and effective opener - "Kobaïa.""Aïna" follows with a pleasant, laidback avant-jazz theme, including a double saxophone duel. The vocals posses a similar spiritual quality, rooted in New Orleans' soul music traditions, whose origins can be traced back to Africa. Suddenly, the track changes its path, expediting its pace and becoming far more sophisticated. "Malaria" continues the overall atmosphere with a somewhat unsettling intro, which dissolves into a more, catchy, Latin avant-rock motif, utilizing a dry overdriven guitar and, more prominently, a flute. Side two of the first LP is opened with a mysterious melody on interplaying flutes. The same melody is picked up by Claude Engel's guitar together with drums, piano, and a horn section accompanying. After numerous harmonic and dynamic variations on the theme, comes a quiet, Kind Of Blue-like cool-jazz part, hesitantly leading to the reprise of the introduction with a marching rhythm applied. This suddenly resolves into "Sckxyss", which takes no time to warm-up. The magic fusion of sexy jazz rhythms, Stravinsky-like neo-classical music, rocky guitar, and Magma's own avant-garde elements is a truly intoxicating one! "Auraë" follows a pattern similar to the previous tracks, stating a very different statement using a similar vocabulary. Here, Francois Cahen's flawless piano work in conjunction with one of the flutes plays a crucial role in the dark, ominous feel. The atmosphere, still unsettled, grows in power with other instruments starting to creep in. The tension is dissolved on a rather cheerful line, similar to Easter European music in its broken, uneven rhythms. Then, the song moves into jazzier scenery, without losing its quirky integrity. Once again, following the footsteps and describing the nature of each passage of this piece would create a biblical-length epic. The piece is closed in an aggressive, yet controlled manner.

Disc two starts as if presenting a new volume of the story, with a solo flute melody, picturing a lonely shepherd in the mountains sitting on a rock and entertaining himself with the instrument. Taking Magma's dynamic, expressive style into consideration, the calm atmosphere continues for a surprisingly long time, even when other instruments and vocals join in. "Thaud Zaïa" finally becomes very Magma-like with a slow, disciplined marching rhythm, which after many repetitions, and a few beat variations, leads to the lone flute passage. "Naü Ektila" opens with something very untypical of Magma - a folk acoustic guitar passage accompanied by a clarinet. The addition of vocals and bass don't make things more punchy, rather the opposite. Another acoustic, feminine part comes in. The remaining composition is built from there, featuring a great, dry rock guitar riff, powering the Santana-like Latin jazz-rock machine. The appearance of a percussion solo leads to loud free-form mayhem. As if from the ashes, comes a very Coltrane-like part with François Cahen's amazing piano solo. With reappearances of the acoustic motif, the piece ends in a very classy, stylish way. "Stöah" starts with a high-pitched, screaming monolog in Kobaïan. The repetitive piano sequence, bringing a neo-classical chamber style of Hindemith and Stravinsky to mind, is presented with Klaus Basquiz's vocals. Later on in the piece, we get a bit of a teaser of the style Magma would employ on Mekanïk Destruktïẁ Kommandöh - jazzy piano passages with choir work very much reminiscent of Carl Orff. "Mûh" opens with a dreamy, celestial piano passage and for the first few minutes follows a similar aura, until the very cheerful Cuban jazz-like melody comes in, broken by a short neo-classical interlude and a lengthy, varied instrumental workout. As I've said a few times already, describing the exact direction of the music on some of the tracks would create a pointlessly long and boring review. The whole album closes with an odd recital in Kobaïan.

Magma's debut is characterized, above all, by incredible eclecticism, variation, and diversity, sophisticated compositions, magnificent musicianship, and capability of making all the influences, ranging from Stravinsky's dark, neo-classical works to free-jazz a la Sun Ra to Easter European folk to New Orleans soul music, work together and create a unique, one of a kind fruit. Furthermore, Magma or Kobaïa gave birth to a whole new sub-genre of progressive music known as "zeuhl." Atmospheric, vigorous, creative, unorthodox, innovative - these are just a few of many adjectives perfectly describing this music. Essential listening!

 Üdü Ẁüdü by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 333 ratings

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Üdü Ẁüdü
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Welcome to a strange, grotesque, and musical alien world. It's a place where bouncing melodies, fat bass fuzz, and weird keyboard textures interplay to create songs that will make you smirk, tap your foot, and scratch your head all at once. Welcome to Üdü Ẁüdü.

This is my first Magma record; in fact, it's my first listen to the "zeuhl" genre here on Prog Archives, and it was an entertaining experience. Üdü Ẁüdü is weird while retaining melody, and moves at a fine pace through mostly upbeat songs that are packed with music and musical sounds. You'll boomerang from dancing rhythms to open-ended a breezy passages that feel improvised. The sound, instrumentation, and vibe fits right in with the '70's prog scene, though Magma's voice is literally a unique one, because all of the lyrics are nonsense words created by the band's founder. They're quirky, but they work, and really do make it feel like you're walking among aliens listening to their off- kilter pop music.

From a song writing perspective there's not much here to grab you, in part because of the overall feeling of mystery or ooky spooky vibes the band creates. This is accomplished by the instrumental work, which is great. There's moments of Zappa-like orchestration and flippancy, but for the most part this Magma album is all about keys, drums, and bass... bass especially, with a near-constant stream of off-kilter lines and experimentation to enjoy. For me, this album isn't about the songs, it's the effect. A lot sounds ad-libbed, giving Üdü Ẁüdü a jam session-like quality. The downside of this is that there isn't much variety, as the equal parts prog/jazz/funk/Tralfamadorian folk sort of blend together throughout the experience.

Creative and entertaining, Üdü Ẁüdü outdoes a handful of shortcomings to become a lot of fun. Recommended for those seeking a good dose of weirdness in their classic prog collection, especially bass lovers like me.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Merci by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.52 | 169 ratings

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Merci
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars Wow! Is this MAGMA or Earth, Wind & Fire? Christian Vander, are you there somewhere?!! Did the Kobaians beam you all back up to your planet? Or did they implant those dreaded disco soul chips in you again. What can we think of the most hated album in the MAGMA discography. After the excellent run of originality and channeling of otherworldly forces that lasted from their debut in 1970 to "Üdü Wüdü' in 1976, it seems even advanced technology could not help the Kobaians hold back the backlash that dethroned progressive leaning music of the early 70s. While some bands like King Crimson were wise enough to call it a day before the great shift, others who stuck around found themselves watering down their output album by album, whittling away their loyal fan bases and becoming shallow caricatures of their innovative glory years.

Even the Kobains succumbed to these pressures as heard on the watered down "Attahk" in 1978, add to that the financial pressures of operating such a huge number of musicians on board with an ever chaining cast of members and it's really not hard to imagine the temptation to dummy down the innovations and go for the gold in the highly profitable pop music world of the 80s. Perhaps a good idea at the time but considering this is a whole different band of musicians on board (at least 25!), Vander could have had the decency to at least release this under a different moniker that wouldn't tarnish the image of one of the 70s' most unique forces in the prog world. After six years of inactivity the album was a hodgepodge of tracks recorded throughout the early 80s and at this point Vander was bored with the whole MAGMA thing anyway and after the release of MERCI would suspend activities with the band and focus on his jazz-fusion oriented Offering albums.

"Call From The Dark" begins the album and after a few tinkles of some strings and immediately begins what sounds like something you would hear on a disco soul album around 1979 leaving a first time listener accustomed to all the zeuhlisciousness of previous MAGMA offerings totally bewildered and just a few notes away from pumping out "Boogie Wonderland." While the music itself is perfectly decent for that type of sound, complete with beautiful vocals, a horn section to die for and a nice booty shakin' rhythmic section, it's like whoa!!! Is this MAGMA? WTF?

The second track "Otis" is less danceable and at least has a faint trace of the vocal trade offs of Vander and female vocalists from the past, but this song is particularly weak although perhaps acceptable for aging Kobaians in nursing homes or doctor's offices. Vander's screams in the middle sound like a mating cat and totally out of step with this mellow repetitive soul music. "Do The Music" is a rather strange little track as it sounds like zeuhl is battling it out with disco leaving the listener with no clear winner but admittedly a unique experiment that does make me think of going to the disco on Kobaia! I mean, they need to get a little light now and again too! "Otis (ending)" is a gospel sounding organ track with Vander screeching. Hmmm. No comment.

The one long track on here "Eliphas Levi" is the anomaly. It actually feels more like the zeuhl music we were expecting albeit more serene, pacified and stripped down in both instrumentation and feel. It does however have those ratcheting vocal deliveries that build in repetition accompanied by piano and percussion. This one is actually pretty enjoyable although very much on simmer as opposed to the full intense pyroclastic flow MAGMA usually delivers as the track drags on for over eleven minutes and feels like it never gets up to expected speed. The vocals are quite pleasant though and this is probably the best track on board and has a pleasant complex interchange at the end.

The album ends with the appropriately titled "The Night We Died" suggesting a now neutered MAGMA calling it a day and throwing in the towel. This is basically a sombre piano ballad with the Kobain females singing in unison. Overall i end with the same impression as i began. WTF? This would be perfectly good music for the most part for a Motown act trying to revive their career although a little unfocused but this MAGMA! Those who are held to a higher standard of complexity and innovative incremental progression as well as a higher energy level. This album is too mellow for its own good with the most energetic track sounding like a Michael Jackson B-side with Earth, Wind & Fire backing it up. Nothing on here is bad per se but for a band that carved its own niche in music and continued to ratchet it up album by album, this is surely a let down. After hearing this, it's very hard to believe they would come back stronger than ever 20 years down the road. 2.5 rounded down

 Köhnzert Zünd by MAGMA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.94 | 7 ratings

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Köhnzert Zünd
Magma Zeuhl

Review by jazz2896

5 stars This is sheer Kobaian perfection. If you're a fan of Magma, of course you'll need to hear this in some form or another, it takes all the proper live releases from the band and adds extra punch and clarity to the proceedings, so new details will be heard even to those who have memorized the included disks. Not to mention there are two disks of glorious new material. For those who aren't die hard fans, it might be a slightly expensive gateway, but if you're willing to drop for it and throw yourself into the deep end, it's an excellent way to get into Magma, for live Magma is certainly best Magma. Heavily recommended to all fans of the darker, more transcendental side of the progressive spectrum.
 1001° Centigrades [Aka: 2] by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 342 ratings

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1001° Centigrades [Aka: 2]
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second chapter in the Gospel according to Christian Vander expands the mythology of planet Kobaïa even farther into the uncharted musical cosmos of Vander's imagination. The interplanetary narrative remains totally inscrutable, sung in an alien language to equally obscure (but exhilarating) music, more refined and sophisticated in the band's second outing but no less outrageous in its pinpoint, polyrhythmic weirdness.

The immediate surprise in this Magma album is how upbeat the music is, more so than anything else in their still expanding catalogue. Despite a few suitably bizarre digressions (look no deeper than the guttural Munchkin voices interrupting "Iss Lanseï Doïa"), this could almost be Zeuhl party music: a far cry from the hypnotic, sepulchral mantras of "M.D.K." or "Köhntarkösz".

Ditching their electric guitarist after the debut album only emphasized the jazzy horn work. But it still wasn't Jazz Rock, no matter what anyone might still be saying. The sequel stressed the more operatic elements in the music, strained as always through a unique sieve of jazz-like spontaneity and precise mathematic notation, all performed with eldritch Avant-Rock intensity.

The album's three long tracks might be too fractured at times, each one organized in an episodic medley of seemingly unrelated fragments and repetitive phrases (when it was revisited in 2014, the 22-minute "Rïah Sahïltaahk" was indexed into eight separate tracks). And the whole thing ends on a surprisingly anti-climactic note, with an unresolved fade-out in the middle of another groovy Zeuhl jam, this one shouldering the unwieldy title "Ki Ïahl Ö Lïahk"...grammatically normal in the universe of Magma, but still a tongue-twister worthy of Mr. Fox (in Socks, of Dr. Seuss fame, of course).

The element of surprise is missing too, after the outer-limit innovations of the first Magma LP. But the second album is illuminated by its own mysterious light, strong enough in retrospect to withstand the long shadow cast two years later by the band's magnum opus, "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïw Kömmandöh".

 Magma [Aka: Kobaïa] by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 368 ratings

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Magma [Aka: Kobaïa]
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not entirely sure why Magma's debut LP is sometimes called a Jazz Rock album. It's true the horn section gives the music a looser, jazzier vibe, but make no mistake: this is unadulterated Zeuhl from the first note to the final coda...repetitive, structured, and totally unnerving.

The music lacks the macabre Teutonic intensity of later Magma classics. But even with the outspoken Coltrane influence it's a poor fit in the Fusion cubbyhole, and weird enough to need an imaginary word in a fabricated language to describe it. The album might pass for traditional Jazz on planet Kobaïa, but here on Earth this is alien stuff, even more so when suddenly grounded by pastoral flutes and the unexpected acoustic guitar at the top of Disc Two.

Never mind the tongued-tied, extraterrestrial song titles (and how are we supposed to pronounce a word like "Sckxyss", anyway?). What's actually being fused here is an operatic blend of classical references, jazzy accents, and an Avant-Rock eccentricity any fan of early Zappa or The residents should immediately recognize.

Pick a track at random, and prepare to be (happily) confounded. The neo-classical beauty of "Naü Ektila", interrupted at intervals along its 13-minute length by thrilling passages of syncopated piano-and-sax mayhem. The shrieking introduction to "Stöah', sung (not the right word) like an inmate in Bedlam shredding his fingernails on the infirmary chalkboard. And after 82-uneasy minutes the album ends (in "Mûh", a song title sounding like a heavy object hitting the back of your head) with cliff-hanger abruptness, chanted as always in that coarse but compelling and otherworldly tongue.

In a single word: bizarre...and promising further madness to come. This was an album not only ahead of its time in1970, but totally outside of it.

 K.A by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.27 | 551 ratings

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K.A
Magma Zeuhl

Review by justaguy

2 stars This is Magma and everything is said by that. Extensive porridge of improvised sounds, heavy bas lines, proud drumming and operatic chorusses, all that is here. Not enjoyable for anybody who looks for a harmony in music. Magma is more for people who actually seek something really very original, other worldly, and who looks for joy in loud and heavy improvisation sound, but not metall, please. not much is changed in the sound comparing to other albums, it is still the same concept, thematically and musically. Me, I can not stand more then three minites of this, which in my ears sounds like a cacaphony . I would like to give it a one star, because I realy don't like this music. But then, 1 star = only for completioners. Which here cannot be true. There are lots of funs of Magma who can appreciate the music.
 Slaǧ Tanƶ by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.41 | 45 ratings

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Slaǧ Tanƶ
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This might be the single greatest piece of music that i've heard from MAGMA. According to Christian Vander it was written back in the seventies and played live in different forms since 2009. I'm such a big fan of not only dark and intense music like we have here but especially when contrasted with mellower passages. Now these more laid back sections often have this burning undercurrent to them but they also that lighter sound with female vocals at times. This is a 21 minute piece of seamless music divided into eight parts.

"Imehntosz-Alerte!" features Fender Rhodes, cymbals and bass early on as male vocals kick in. It settles back into a dark atmosphere as the male vocals return. Some tension here for sure as it blends into "Slag". The bass and vocals really impress here as it becomes fuller right away. It's picking up in tempo and in intensity a minute in. So good! Check out the insane vocals before 1 1/2 minutes as well as the killer drum work. It settles right down before 2 minutes as Fender Rhodes, drums, bass and female vocals lead the way. The insanity is back after 2 1/2 minutes but then it settles and blends into "Dumb" where female vocals and male vocals lead the way. They are burning it up with male vocals once again around a minute and check out the female vocal melodies that follow. Contrasts continue then a calm follows as bass and drums take the spotlight. It turns extreme again.

"Vers La Nuit" is led by female vocal melodies, bass and drums then the male vocals arrive as they trade off before both join in together as it turns fierce late. "Dumblae-Le Silence Des Mondes" settles to start with male vocals before it builds with male and female vocals. Check it out at 2 1/2 minutes! That female voice that cries out and the bass in that doom-like atmosphere. Incredible! "Zu Zain!" sounds amazing with the bass from Bussonnet that is just grooving and Vander's random drum patterns. Female vocals arrive around 1 1/2 minutes. "Slag Tanz" is beyond profound in my world with those intense vocals along with the Fender Rhodes, bass and drums. Simply killer! It settles late and it feels right that this EP should end here but then we get "Wohl Dunt" which is almost dirge-like with piano and Christian's slow vocals as it gives us a chance to figure out what the hell just happened.

I wasn't that impressed with the previous EP by MAGMA but man they have blown me away with this one.

 Félicité Thösz by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.16 | 309 ratings

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Félicité Thösz
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Originally composed in the years 2001-02, like many MAGMA releases FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ saw a delayed release but in this case didn't have to wait decades to grace our ears with Kobaian love music. This one only took one ten year period to ferment into the musical fluffiness that we hear! This is perhaps one of the softest and gracefully uplifting MAGMA albums ever to hit planet Earth. While it seems every previous album was some kind of piece to some ridiculously convoluted story about the Kobaians coming and going from planet Earth, FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ simply sounds like their version of a Sunday service where all chants, vocals, guitars, vibraphones, bass and drums are conspiring to celebrate their decades long achievement and to give thanks to the universe for allowing their muddled history to unfold and bring them to a place of eternal peace.

On this release we hear Stella Vander lead the group with a nice diva driven vocal range only much less aggressive and bombastic as on previous offerings. This musical journey contains ten tracks but in reality you cannot really distinguish them separately because they all flow together just perfectly making a very long epic track. This is one of the shorter MAGMA albums clocking in just past the 32 minute mark, but what graceful beautiful music this is. I would almost call this whole album one long Kobaian ballad as the piano and female vocals are what dominates the soundscape. Christian Vander has never sounded so subdued with his percussion skills and as a huge fan of vibraphones, glockenspiels and bells, this really hits me where it counts!

Soft and sensual and occasionally bombastic, this Kobaian journey takes us through the familiar zeuhl melodies and rhythms but once again MAGMA surprises us with yet another take on their sound. This album is very much focused on female vocals but male vocals are essential as well. In general the vocal harmonies are very much the focal point of the whole thing. Hypnotic and exercising control in minimalism, FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ continues the MAGMA legacy keeping the Kobaians relevant in yet another decade in the 21st century. While this band has more masterpieces than should be possible, i find FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ to be yet one more MAGMA- nanimous edition to their outstanding discography.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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