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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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Buy MAGMA Music


Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2014
Audio CD$12.80
$18.48 (used)
Udu WuduUdu Wudu
Import
Indie Europe/Zoom 2003
Audio CD$6.69
$18.23 (used)
Wurdah ItahWurdah Itah
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$18.44
$26.75 (used)
TrilogyTrilogy
Box set
Snapper UK 2012
Audio CD$15.25
$21.61 (used)
Live 1975Live 1975
Indie Europe/Zoom 2001
Audio CD$6.96
$5.66 (used)
Mekanik Destructiw [Vinyl]Mekanik Destructiw [Vinyl]
Import
2009
Vinyl$83.75
Mekanik Destruktiw KommandohMekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$30.55
$27.95 (used)
Uber KommandohUber Kommandoh
ATOM 2011
Audio CD$4.99
$3.19 (used)
Felicite ThoszFelicite Thosz
Import
Seventh Records 2013
Audio CD$17.83
$14.99 (used)
AttahkAttahk
Import
Seventh Records 2013
Audio CD$31.44
$12.85 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Giants of the Big Band Era: Charlie Barnet by Charlie Barnet (CD, 1994, Magma) US $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 59m
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MAGMA Kohntarkosz lp 1974 A&M SP-3650 French Prog Christian Vander EX Condition US $10.99 [3 bids]
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Official Poster For Guitar Wolf Tour Magma Nov 2013 Australian Tour US $23.30 [0 bids]
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Magma Udu Wudu LP Tomato (TOM-6001) In Shrink Wrap W/ Sticker Prog Rock Jazz US $25.00 [0 bids]
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ESKATON "Fiction", SEALED CD, Magma, Zeuhl, Univers Zero ... US $28.00 [0 bids]
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MAGMA ATTAHK ORG. LP STILL SEALED FREE COMBINED U.S. SHIPPING LP US $2.99 [1 bids]
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Visitors- s/t (SHM) Mini Lp (Didier Lockwood, Magma) US $36.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Magma - Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh [CD New] US $39.36 Buy It Now 2 days
KOURTYL JAPAN CD STELLA VANDER MAGMA FRENCH PROG SEAL US $22.94 [0 bids]
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Giants of the Big Band Era: Harry James by Harry James (CD, Jan-1994, Magma) US $0.49 [0 bids]
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MAGMA-INEDITS LIVE-Christian Vander-Orig French Tapioca LP-vinyl VG+ cover VG US $22.98 [0 bids]
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MAGMA (FRANCE) - FELICITE THOSZ [DIGIPAK] - NEW CD US $35.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Magma Kobaia 2009 Japan Mini LP SHM 2 CD L/E With Obi SJMD-4/5 OOP HTF Very Rare US $99.80 Buy It Now 2 days
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MAGMA - HHAI LIVE (2CD BOX SET) NEW & SEALED US $20.27 Buy It Now 2 days
MAGMA:FELICITE THOSZ US $15.21 [7 bids]
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MAGMA "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh" A&M Records #SP-4397 (1973) USA Promo Copy US $199.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Magma/Zazie - Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh-Rodeo [Vinyl New] US $28.37 Buy It Now 3 days
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Weidorje- s/t (Magma, Patrick Gauthier) US $18.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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MAGMA Inedits TAPIOCA original French release NEAR MINT US $48.95 Buy It Now 3 days
Lasry-Baschet: Chronophagie Structures Sonores sound sculpture+tabla psych Magma US $35.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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Magma Udu Wudu prog French import US $9.00 [0 bids]
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Mint CHRISTIAN VANDER Offering Part 1/2 2-LP+Postcard GateFold FRANCE Magma US $99.98 Buy It Now 4 days
MAGMA / VANDER : Retrospective VOL 3 ZHEUL ROCK PROG FRANCE US $20.00 [0 bids]
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KOURTYL JAPAN CD STELLA VANDER MAGMA FRENCH PROG SEAL PromoPrice US $22.94 [0 bids]
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?LISTEN n13110 LP MAGMA - French Original - GROOOOVY French Caribbean US $15.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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FARBROR RESANDE MAC - Magma - 12" US $18.34 Buy It Now 5 days
MAGMA / CHRISTIAN VANDER RETROSPECTIVE VOL 3 1981 RCA NEAR MINT FRENCH PRESSING US $32.10 Buy It Now 5 days
MAGMA ATTAHK 1979 TOMATO / ARIOLA 200 685 NEAR MINT CONDITION GERMAN PRESSING US $32.10 Buy It Now 5 days
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Un Festin Sagita -Sic Deus Dilexit Mundum -Pierre Henry, Magma, Nurse with Wound US $16.00 [0 bids]
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SEVEN THAT SPELLS Future Retro Spasm Magma Ohr New CD US $9.99 [0 bids]
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Magma symbol necklace made by hand only one piece made french ZEUHL, PROG NO CD US $50.00 [0 bids]
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MAGMA MUSIQUEROS DEL SILENCIO ARGENTINA NM LP US $59.37 Buy It Now 6 days
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More places to buy MAGMA music online Buy MAGMA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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MAGMA shows & tickets


  • Rock in Opposition 2014 on 19 Sep 2014
  • Magma + Gong at Le Cèdre, Chenôve on 16 Oct 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 5 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 6 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 7 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 8 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 12 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 13 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 14 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 15 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 19 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 20 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 21 Nov 2014
  • Magma at Le Triton, Les Lilas on 22 Nov 2014
  • Magma + Gong at Les Tanzmatten, Sélestat on 5 Dec 2014
  • Magma at Stereolux, Nantes on 29 Jan 2015
  • Magma at Le Rocher de Palmer, Cenon on 30 Jan 2015

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)

4.00 | 295 ratings
Magma (Kobaïa)
1970
4.10 | 278 ratings
1001° Centigrades
1971
4.26 | 594 ratings
Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
1973
4.08 | 325 ratings
Köhntarkösz
1974
4.16 | 222 ratings
Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander)
1974
3.72 | 270 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
1976
3.69 | 234 ratings
Attahk
1978
2.47 | 136 ratings
Merci
1984
3.71 | 75 ratings
Mëkanïk Kömmandöh
1989
4.28 | 425 ratings
K.A
2004
4.16 | 365 ratings
Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2009
4.06 | 271 ratings
Félicité Thösz
2012

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

4.41 | 167 ratings
Live/Hhaï (Köhntark)
1975
3.09 | 33 ratings
Inédits
1977
3.88 | 59 ratings
Retrospektïẁ III
1981
4.48 | 89 ratings
Retrospektïẁ I-II
1981
4.05 | 16 ratings
Concert 1992, Douarnenez:
1992
3.31 | 26 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
2.59 | 13 ratings
Concert 1971, Bruxelles - Théâtre 140
1996
4.42 | 18 ratings
Concert 1975, Toulouse - Théâtre Du Taur
1996
4.07 | 37 ratings
Concert 1976, Opéra De Reims
1996
4.16 | 40 ratings
BBC 1974 - Londres
1999
4.55 | 54 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie
2001
3.65 | 22 ratings
Bourges 1979
2008
3.14 | 9 ratings
Live In Tokyo
2009
4.67 | 3 ratings
Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974
2014

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

4.12 | 34 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
2001
4.44 | 16 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
2004
4.13 | 43 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume I
2006
4.13 | 44 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume II
2006
4.53 | 52 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume III
2007
4.48 | 46 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume IV
2008
4.57 | 7 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Epok V
2013

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

3.60 | 11 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes
1985
2.47 | 8 ratings
Kompila
1997
3.69 | 14 ratings
Simples
1998
1.75 | 11 ratings
Spiritual
2002
2.50 | 11 ratings
Über Kommandoh
2004
4.00 | 4 ratings
Archiw I & II
2008
4.72 | 46 ratings
Studio Zünd
2009
3.38 | 7 ratings
Trilogy
2012

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
Kobaia/Mûh
1970
4.00 | 4 ratings
Mekanïk Kommando / Klaus Kömbälad
1972
4.40 | 5 ratings
Mekanïk Machine/Köhntarkosz
1974
2.33 | 6 ratings
Ooh Ooh Baby / Otis
1985
3.89 | 28 ratings
Floë Ëssi / Ëktah
1998

MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Attahk by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.69 | 234 ratings

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Attahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Despite lacking the outright intensity and fully dark alien atmospheres that made `Kohntarkosz' and `Udu Wudu' such hypnotic and unsettling Zeuhl albums, `Attahk' from 1977 is still more or less an essential part of Magma's catalogue. It's not quite as immediate as those above mentioned works, but once you get past the initial disappointment of it lacking the more sinister elements (and don't worry, they're still there in subtle ways), you start to focus on everything it does right. Dark jazz still remains, the choral and vocal elements are given even more exquisite focus, the spiritual qualities are more heightened than ever, a heavy dose of ballistic funk has been implemented, and despite being comprised of seven shorter pieces, they are all tightly composed and some even rank among the greatest pieces from the band.

Magma leader Christian Vander mentions in the CD booklet how much he wanted to push his voice with this record, to especially focus on the best performance possible, and the results paid off superbly. Taking on the full lead role, the man has never sounded so gloriously inspired, passionate or complex, and he fills the pieces with a break-neck insane experimental scat vocalising that sounds like no-one else on the planet. Although he mentions as well that the drumming was not as much of a priority at the time, you wouldn't know it by listening to the album. The opening piece alone is full of so much furious and exhausting percussion fury, but throughout the disc Vander knows when to show restraint and not dominate the overall arrangements.

`The Last Seven Minutes' is one of the most frantic compositions ever from the band, full of quick- change tempo changes, devilish unpredictable drum fills and some supremely dirty grooves, with Vander's confident voice a lusty mix of squealing, yodelling and inhuman crooning. Right from the start the piece grabs your attention and it's the perfect punchy opener. `Spiritual' could not be more appropriately named, it's one of the most glorious and uplifting gospel-inspired works from the band. Hand claps, lovely shimmering Fender Rhodes, Vander and his female choir caught up in the most rapturous joy. The melancholic interlude `Rinde' has Vander's sweetly crying falsetto spiralling around dazzling classical piano. The relentless `Lirik Necronomicus Kant' has a maddening repetitive humming vocal melody over thick murky slab-like bass puttering away in the background with a chaotic finale.

The seriously weird `Maaht' brings back some of the unnerving sci-fi tension, a deranged blast with skittering drumming, sped-up voices, belching, ranting vocals and stomping call-to-arms trumpet/trombone fanfare and bluster. `Dondai' is one of the most romantic and sumptuous pieces ever to appear on a Magma album. Wistful and deeply passionate, filled with great spirit, some lovely call-and-response chorals from Stella and her choir a real highlight. Confident piano and some bass moments that creep to the foreground briefly add just a touch of tension, with nice Chamberlin bursts adding a touch of sophistication and majesty. The album closer `Nono' comes the closest to the apocalyptic menace of the darker previous albums. A sinister and brooding chanting female choirs builds in intensity to weigh down on the listener, with growled spitting vocals that turn proudly victorious in the final minutes. Oddly, the track also has a strangely powerful and triumphant symphonic prog finale that sounds quite unlike Magma, the bouncy and grand briefly even resembling E.L.P or Genesis!

Considering the level of upheaval and uncertainty in the structure of the band at this point (some of the Magma musicians taking off to form Weidourje), it's amazing to discover that the recording sessions still resulted in a cohesive and quality album. Admittedly the loss of Jannick Top's thick and prominent bass is instantly noticeable, but Guy Delacroix is not merely some poor substitute. Sadly, Vander reveals in the lavish CD booklet that the pieces `Dondai' and `Maahnt' were both originally over 25 minutes in length, so in some ways it's disappointing to know what we missed out on here (although parts of these ended up reworked on later Magma albums). However, `Attahk' is still an example of a band refusing to repeat itself, finding new facets to their sound and offering an energetic, fascinating and rewarding work.

Four stars.

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 Concert Bobino 1981 by MAGMA album cover Live, 1995
3.31 | 26 ratings

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Concert Bobino 1981
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is one of those albums that really surprised me. I guess the fact that this concert took place in 1981 should have been a heads-up that it probably won't be your typical MAGMA recording if there is such a thing. This is more of a commercial beast although listening to some of the crazed vocals featured on here reveals that this is very far away from the mainstream. Still I was left intrigued by what I was hearing. Usually an album with the focus on the vocals doesn't do a lot for me but perhaps it's my appreciation for Vander's other project called OFFERING that prepared me for this. By the way I haven't heard the 1984 MAGMA release called "Merci" that some people reference when talking about this double live album. I should also mention that Patrick Gauthier's "Bebe Godzilla" was released the same year as this concert was played and half of the MAGMA lineup here played on it including the Guillard brothers(horns) who were also part of WEIDORJE. Just a killer lineup anyway with Chevallier offering up some ripping guitar at times and Bertam who played with ZAO and Jochk'o Seffer adding some prominant bass. Plus we get dual keyboards from Widemann and Khalifa.

So yes a double album which starts with "Zain" and it begins innocently enough with piano before that weird and spacey atmosphere takes over with Vander speaking at times with passion. Female words too. The music kicks in before 4 minutes sounding really good. Check out the bass after Vander says "Magma!". So much going on as the horns blast. Feel-good female vocal melodies come in around 6 minutes. "Hhai" is classic MAGMA no doubt, and the crowd certainly agrees. Christian starts to sing. I really enjoy this as female vocals help out followed by a second male vocalist. There's a real urgency to this one. It's 4 minutes in when the instrumental work of the band comes to the fore. So good. Check out the guitar and drum work here, then the bass that follows. Nice. The vocals return before 8 minutes. Just a fantastic track. "Urgon Gorgo" opens with some killer drum work as Bertram jumps in with some great sounding bass lines. The tempo picks up before 3 1/2 minutes. The focus here is certainly on the bass and drums and it's a pleasure to listen to. "Retrovision" ends disc one and it's almost 20 minutes in length. The female vocals early on surprised me as she sings in a theatrical manner as we hear some intricate and complex instrumental work helping out. It all settles in around 3 minutes. Male vocals lead before 5 1/2 minutes but the female vocals do continue. A calm 2 minutes later then it builds before kicking back in. An instrumental section takes over before 9 minutes that is quite impressive. Vocals are back to the fore 12 1/2 minutes in. Intensity follows. The male and female vocals seem to compete with one another 18 minutes in.

Disc two begins with "Who's My Love" and as Phil mentions in his review this second disc really reveals the direction the band was heading and that direction would be summed up with the studio album "Merci" a few years from this concert. This is a commercial sounding tune, quite catchy although I love the intensity late to end it. And what's with the English vocals?! "Otis" takes a couple of minutes to get going after many spoken words. This is a song about Otis Redding and it's laid back for the most part. This is good. "Zess" is the over 30 minute epic and without question one of the highlights of this live recording. It's fairly dark and atmospheric to start then vocal melodies join in. The drums kick in just before 5 minutes as the tempo picks up and the vocal melodies stop. Vander comes in speaking words as the drums continue. The same melody continues and then Christian starts to sing the words, eventually getting very dramatic with his vocal style. Crazy but so good. I really like how repetitive this is. Check out the ripping guitar solo after 17 minutes. Man that rhythm section is so intense and urgent sounding. Horns continue to come and go then another fiery guitar solo sets the soundscape ablaze as he lets it rip for a very long period. Vocals kick back in including female vocal melodies. Just an amazing track that makes this worth the price of admission alone. "You" is the ten minute closer. Back to the more commercial sounds with this one. I like the vocal melodies from Christian early on. Catchy and passionate stuff. Everyone seems to be having a great time anyway. It picks up before 2 1/2 minutes.

This reminds me of when I first started doing reviews on here, I used to often struggle with my rating. Well, in my world this is a low 4 star album. The appeal is hearing MAGMA sounding different than the past but at the same time they combine the old and the new. This is a less serious MAGMA at this point but it's still the same band and i'm really glad I own this.

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 Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.26 | 594 ratings

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Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
Magma Zeuhl

Review by ebil0505

5 stars Delivering a genre of music completely unfamiliar to me, I was fascinated by the prowess of M.D.K. and the musical talent therein. A sinister record with equally fierce vocals, this album is a dark journey through transcendence and dissonance itself. Each instrument harmoniously working together are at the same time alone in their melodic voices. The vocals range from chants to choir soundscapes and deliver something of an insanity to the music. The piano serves to prove that this insanity has a purpose and should not be disregarded or frowned upon, but cherished as the other instruments. There are memorable themes side-by-side with challenging passages that, in the end, seem to work out together in a grand masterpiece of progressive music. For anyone keen on expanding their range of musical tastes or curious to see how far some prog musicians can go with their creative impulses, this album is a must.

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 Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 365 ratings

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Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
Magma Zeuhl

Review by BatBacon

4 stars I think "apocalyptic musical" would be a fair way of describing this album (and most of the Magma albums). Talk about drama, this album opens with a bang! After a short second of silence a dead serious voice speaks to you in a languish you don't understand. Then comes another bang! Typical for a Magma creation, very serious and very very exciting. I can't say that I have any idea at all about what´s going on, I never have any idea at all when it comes to Magma, but thats not a bad thing.

The music is melodic and, in some weird way, very beautiful. At the same time its dramatic and very haunting, and even though all the lyrics are written in Kobaïan, the strange languish created by Christian Vander, you get the feeling of something terrible going on. I don't know, but I like to think the story got something to do with the destruction of some civilization somewhere in universe, as it is known to be a common theme for the conceptual music of Magma. Drummer and bandleader Christian Vander´s playing is as driving as it is mindblowing! Who ever thought jazz drums could create a feeling this ominous, its like he´s playing theater with his drums. He also provides the album with his scary, almost preaching voice, which in combination with the choir of destruction (thats the sound of it, anyway) should be able to lay ground for some really nasty nightmares for those listening to Ëmëhntëhtt-ré just before bedtime.

Just like a great movie, this album has a great dramaturgy. There is ups and there is downs, often the songs builds up really slow to keep the excitement on top and the listener very alert. It goes from slower and more atmospheric phases to fast and action packed phases. Also the end pursues this dramatic way of storytelling; with some very serious words the album comes to an dramatic but quick conclusion. Those last words will keep on echoing in your head (even though you still don't have a clue what they meant), thats exactly how powerful this piece of music is. The silence after the music is over is almost as important as the music itself.

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 Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 365 ratings

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Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Roundabot

5 stars First released on: riversofreverb.blogspot.dk

This was the first Magma album I ever listened to, and it was a magical experience to listen to something as unique and mystic as this. Christian Vander, the mastermind behind Magma, is in top form here, being responsible not only of the outstanding drumming, but also of composing this wonderful piece of music. All members of this Magma incarnation give their best in this album, bringing to the table the best of them to fulfill Vander's perfectionist vision. The result is one of the best albums of the past decade, at least in my book.

The first three minutes work as an introduction, first with spoken words and then some classic Magma chanting surrounded by a very dense atmosphere created by the drums, the bass and the piano. Following this we have Stella Vander's beautiful vocals in the forefront accompanied by the piano and the choir sporadically singing with her. This section attracted my attention from the start; it is gorgeous what all this voices do together and the chemistry that the piano, drums and vocals achieve. Christian Vander is, as always, masterful in playing minimalist drum passages in this section. They are a great companion to the sheer beauty that we are witnessing.

As the first section of 'm'hnt'htt-R' ends, the Stella gives the main vocal duties to Christian. This transition always puts a joyful smile on my face; it is so amazing how naturally the composition flows from a more contemplative mood to this almost celebratory section. Section II of 'm'hnt'htt-R' has many moods, as it is more than 20 minutes long, but this first part is a favorite of mine. The bass is the star here flowing very nicely and playing the melody the vocals sing. All the elements the musicians display such passion and talent in section II, they all play as tightly as they can showcasing some of the most amazing musicianship I've had listened to in the process.

As said before, this first part of section II has a celebratory sound, which is mostly displayed by the beautiful and complex vocals, but also by the playful bass and guitar playing and the constant piano line which surprisingly is what gives rhythm to the song even more than the relentless almost schizophrenic drums. It ends in a blast of musical genius when the piano gets loose and shifts from playing the main repetitive melody it had been playing and plays a very beautiful melody to finish the first fourteen minutes of section II.

The last eight minutes are more somber and take the jazz elements from the first half to a more aggressive and urgent place. The darker tone is accomplished by the outstanding bass and the male vocals, which keep the listener on edge by building a tension that seems to be endless. The guitar and the drums create a delightful sense of madness and paranoia that is palpable throughout this whole section. It feels like a trip into the mind of a very insane person, and it is a real treat to listen.

As section II unravels, the choir introduces the third section with one of its most outstanding performances, a blast of vocal genius that leads to a very quiet and minimalist section with the drums, bass and piano displaying their talent for minimalism. The vocals then re-enter, with Stella in the forefront again, accompanied by the jazzy drums that displays its talents on minimalism and avant-garde in this part of section III. The song starts taking shape as the bass starts playing a repetitive riff that gives pace to the song. There is a ritualistic feel throughout section III that is reminiscent to section I but with the jazzy and relentless complexity of the ending part of section II.

By the middle of this section we have been witness to some of the most virtuosic display of avant-garde, not just by the usual incredible drums, but also by the bass when it gets loose from its main riff to give a master class on bass playing. The rhythm section is in top form throughout the thirteen minutes that compose this track, but this is not the only treat we get on it. The mysterious piano playing and the almost menacing vocals are of the highest quality and the guitar in the final part of the section also contributes to the overall feeling of apprehension this section portrays. In the end the chants come back as the song becomes faster and playful again as section III comes to a magnificent conclusion.

Section IV opens with the beautiful vocals of Stella Vander preparing us for what promises to be a gorgeous conclusion. The chants that follow are evocative of the ritualistic celebratory moments we have heard throughout the album. The piano is the main attraction here, with beautiful melodies that carry the section along with Stella's vocals. The section surprisingly also has its dark and its jazzy moments, but the general feel is calmed and melodic instead of the dissonance from before. The song ends in an enigmatic tone that leaves the listener baffled to what he has just listened to. In me, it created a need to go back to listen to this composition again and again until I could grasp all of its complexity and beauty.

'm'hnt'htt-R' is not the only composition we have here, even though it is the most important one. Fun'hrar'um Kanht works as a sort of funerary march with its dark and depressive tone. The vocals here are almost like Gregorian chants, and have a mournful feel. There is a very hard hitting piano accompanying the chants that make the feeling of dread the song has even more despairing. Finally S'h' is a short piece of spoken word that is surrounded by an obscure atmosphere that makes it very cryptic, leaving the listener puzzled by what it means.

As this was my first experience with Magma, which is one of my favorite bands, this record is very dear to me. This is a band that begs to be listened and acknowledged as the musical geniuses they are. This album is one more addition to the series of masterpieces of Magma's outstanding catalogue, and shows this incarnation at its best. This legendary ensemble has achieved here a level of maturity that establishes its status as one of the best in musical history, and confirms once again that Christian Vander is one of the most talented and creative composers of all time.

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 Magma (Kobaïa) by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.00 | 295 ratings

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Magma (Kobaïa)
Magma Zeuhl

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars What is Zeuhl? Imagine John Coltrane riding a space battleship ruling an utopic (or dystopic?) universe. I can clearly see space troopers marching and praising him and singing Magma tunes like M. D. K. Well, this first record has a different meaning for a lot of progressive rock and zeuhl followers. To fully understand this album, you need to be very ecletic. And think ecletic. Magma is a space opera. The concept of the albums were written right from the planet Kobaia. And their music are not focused on something you will learn from the first time. You will never understand their language. Christian Vander don't know about King Crimson. And he doesn't need to. He came from jazz, classical music, avant-garde, and finally, the music from his own universe and the Kobaia planet. I play the sax and the guitar. And I'm saying, if you know Coltrane, you know who's influenced by him. A lot of Magma sweet came from his soul. Nowadays, some extreme & experimental bands like Gorguts are highly influenced by the dissonant Magmatic free-jazz/fusion.

While MDK defines Zeuhl genre for me, their Kobaia debut was the most complete Magma work. This album has many faces, but everything fits perfect. From the smooth parts to Vander alien-screaming proclamations. There's a lot of horror and creepy passages, and I must admit, those are the best moments, evoking classic soundtracks. Unique and creative. If I should find a concept for this album music, comparing it to their other releases, I would say this album studies Kobaia ambient, policy and history. And it's awesome.

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 Studio Zünd by MAGMA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.72 | 46 ratings

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Studio Zünd
Magma Zeuhl

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Box sets comprised of a groups entire studio output are quite a nice thing to behold, especially if the box is as magnificent as this one. If there is one of my precious boxes I will keep to my dying days and probably use as pillow in the coffin, it's this one. I adore it. It is pornography for the music lover and when it comes to this edition I can proudly proclaim myself to be a pornographer of the highest level. I can look at this box and marvel for what seems to be forever and ever. And yet that is only the visual part of it all. The musical content is unmatched in so many ways. Individual to the T and furthermore displays a groups hard core vision of music as medium. Lovely.

Zeuhl needs to be approached with care, especially when we are talking Magma. No other group sounds like this. It is aggressive, harsh and dark. I think it is rawer than any black metal group, harder than any metal band and more inventive than many a prog band. With Studio Zünd you get all their studio albums up to K.A., which is one hell of great selection of prog.

As with other boxes like this, the Modry Efekt box is one example, not all albums are five star discs. Maybe it is even so that there's only one certified five star album, as far as I am concerned, but the package is of such importance and grandeur that no other rating is possible. This is a glorious way of getting all albums. While the zeuhl found within can be a bit hard to digest and swallow, it'll come to you. No need to wait for postal deliveries or racing through record stores (however enjoyable that may be). You simply pick out the next album and put in your player and there you go.

There are no live cuts in here but a full two disc collection of rarities, which is very nice. There is for instance tracks from Univeria Zekts only album and that I find thrilling, alongside very early recordings of Kobaïa. Great stuff!

Now, I managed to get the last copy of this box available at the HMV website (in the UK) and maybe it is hard to get a hold of but if you ever get the chance i command you to buy it immediately. This is a five star box if ever there was one. It just do not get any better than this, musically or package wise*. Extraordinary.

*Well, maybe package wise. Still, it is a wonderful piece of package.

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 Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.26 | 594 ratings

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Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
Magma Zeuhl

Review by cris_ostoma

5 stars If I put this record on, my mother comes to my place and looks at me with her weirdest face. And I understand her. Really, this album is crazy (and, perhaps, so I am).

First of all, I love the story behind: it's about an extraterrestrial prophet that wants all of us to follow his religion. At the beginning, nobody wants him but in the end all of us fall in his suggestion. The funniest thing is that you can recognize in the music this progression. At some points it gets quasi-operistic (maybe Wagnerian?).

This is clearly not for everyone, but as far I'm concerned this is one of the most peculiar things I have heard.

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 Attahk by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.69 | 234 ratings

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Attahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Fenrispuppy

4 stars The late 1970s and early 1980s were a tough time for prog-rock. Disco was king, punk was hot and new-wave was on the horizon. Many great prog bands broke up (E.L.P. and VdGG, for example). Others tried to change with the times (E.L.O., Gentle Giant, Genesis etc...), often infuriating hard-core fans. Magma ultimately did both. "Attahk" would be Magma's last album of new original material for several years.

This album is often bashed by hardcore Magma fans, however it contains all of the elements that made Magma so interesting: a great rhythm section with bizarre vocals and prog-rock flourishes. The musicianship is great and the piano, bass and drums really drive the music.

Yes, the album does lag a little bit in the middle, but it gets off to a great start with "The Last Seven Minutes", which is downright funky. "Spiritual" is a bit of gospel flavored fun. "Rindae" is very slow and plodding, and is just okay. "Lirik Nekronomicus Kahnt" is a funky, fusion jam with complicated and bizarre vocals. Closing out the album are "Mahnt", "Dondai" and "Nono". "Mahnt" is fun and frenetically paced. "Dondai" is mid-tempo and has a nice groove to it. "Nono" builds up to a frantic pace, has a catchy chant and closes the album in style.

"Attahk" is not a cohesive album which flows seamlessly or hangs on a single concept like many of Magma's other albums. However, most of the songs taken on their own are very good and a lot of fun. This writer still feels that this album is very enjoyable and is funkier than anything Magma has ever done before...or since. While this album may not be among the very best that Magma has to offer, it is still quite good...especially if one considers how many of their British, Italian and American counterparts were in decline in the late 1970s. "Attahk" does not sound like a band in decline, rather it sounds more like an exploration of new territory. Unfortunately the market for this album was pretty slim. Hardcore Magma fans abandoned it, while it was not nearly mainstream enough to attract new fans. However, from the music to the H.R. Giger album cover, this listener considers it a minor masterpiece. 4 stars easily...

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 Retrospektïẁ I-II by MAGMA album cover Live, 1981
4.48 | 89 ratings

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Retrospektïẁ I-II
Magma Zeuhl

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars You've probably heard the story before: Magma is a tough band to swallow at first. I've had a hard time trying to "get" their music. My first album of theirs was Mekanik Destructiw Kommandoh and, to be honest, I didn't understand what was happening. The vocals were too grating, the beat was too repetitive and the music sounded too chaotic. Magma scared me. It took me a lot of time to understand what they were doing, years, to be a bit more precise. But one day it clicked. I don't know how to explain it. One day I played it and it all made sense. The jazz-rock, that I didn't even realized at first because of the shock of all the music, grooved throughout the whole album and I was chanting gibberish and dancing all the way until the end. The chaos in their sound started to take form and everything, even the vocals, were necessary for it to click. The repetition made it all more intense and engaging (it'll grab you, alright, and it won't let you go.) Before I knew it I was downloading albums like crazy. I was hooked on Magma like a junkie. To be fair, some albums weren't as good, but I still went through.

But if you, reader, want to get into Magma, don't do as I did, don't start with MDK. Heck! Start with K.A., since everything sounds so crisp, pounding, aggressive compared to the studio version of MDK. But if you really want to know what all the MDK fuss is about, then you should do yourself a favor a get this live album. MDK is a beast! For starters, the studio version of MDK gives more importance to the orchestration and it drowns the sound of the band. In Retrospektiw the sound is evenly balanced. The rhythm section, which is the driving force behind Magma, sounds crystal clear and up front. This is the important thing here and it does make a difference, since THEY are the band, not the orchestra. The music sounds more organic and less polished, though not less tight. Magma needs to sound gritty for it to be effective. The other composition, Theusz Hamtaahk, is no less interesting, though it is a bit less explosive. The middle section of Theusz will put you in a trance and you'll end up nodding your head without even knowing it.

All in all, this live album is a must for Magma fans and for people trying to get into 70's Magma. Considering that you're knowing what you're getting yourself into, this album will deliver, and how it delivers!

4.5, but I'd rather give it a 5 than a 4. It deserves it, and you deserve this album, too.

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