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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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Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974Zuhn Wol Unsai: Live 1974
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2014
Audio CD$12.82
$21.02 (used)
Slag tanzSlag tanz
Import
Jazz Village 2015
Audio CD$9.48
$16.36 (used)
Emehntehtt-ReEmehntehtt-Re
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$14.11
$38.70 (used)
Riah SahiltaahkRiah Sahiltaahk
Import
Jazz Village 2014
Audio CD$7.33
$16.96 (used)
TrilogyTrilogy
Box set
Snapper UK 2012
Audio CD$17.57
$18.08 (used)
Udu WuduUdu Wudu
Import
Indie Europe/Zoom 2003
Audio CD$6.58
$8.00 (used)
Mekanik Destruktïw KommandöhMekanik Destruktïw Kommandöh
Jazz Village 2015
Vinyl$19.98
Mekanik Destruktiw KommandohMekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
Import
Imports 2003
Audio CD$25.68
$20.00 (used)
1.001 Centigrades [Vinyl]1.001 Centigrades [Vinyl]
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Vinyl$28.21
$49.20 (used)
Theusz Hamtaahk TrilogyTheusz Hamtaahk Trilogy
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$31.26
$71.29 (used)
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MAGMA shows & tickets


  • Magma at CCM John Lennon, Limoges on 1 Feb 2015
  • Magma at l'Observatoire, Cergy on 6 Feb 2015
  • The Endless Tour featuring Magma on 8 Apr 2015
  • Magma on 11 Apr 2015
  • Magma at (le) poisson rouge, New York on 13 Apr 2015
  • Magma on 7 May 2015
  • Magma at Cadogan Hall, London on 8 May 2015
  • Festival Musique Actuelle Victoriaville 2015 on 14 May 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)

4.04 | 314 ratings
Magma (Kobaïa)
1970
4.13 | 299 ratings
1001° Centigrades
1971
4.27 | 649 ratings
Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
1973
4.09 | 343 ratings
Köhntarkösz
1974
4.20 | 242 ratings
Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander)
1974
3.74 | 288 ratings
Üdü Ẁüdü
1976
3.69 | 250 ratings
Attahk
1978
2.47 | 147 ratings
Merci
1984
3.79 | 75 ratings
Mëkanïk Kömmandöh
1989
4.28 | 460 ratings
K.A
2004
4.18 | 392 ratings
Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2009
4.07 | 270 ratings
Félicité Thösz
2012

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

4.44 | 175 ratings
Live/Hhaï (Köhntark)
1975
3.09 | 36 ratings
Inédits
1977
3.98 | 61 ratings
Retrospektïẁ III
1981
4.56 | 91 ratings
Retrospektïẁ I-II
1981
4.07 | 17 ratings
Concert 1992, Douarnenez:
1992
3.33 | 29 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
2.63 | 16 ratings
Concert 1971, Bruxelles - Théâtre 140
1996
4.40 | 20 ratings
Concert 1975, Toulouse - Théâtre Du Taur
1996
4.17 | 36 ratings
Concert 1976, Opéra De Reims
1996
4.26 | 40 ratings
BBC 1974 - Londres
1999
4.53 | 59 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie
2001
4.10 | 24 ratings
Bourges 1979
2008
3.20 | 11 ratings
Live In Tokyo
2009
3.97 | 17 ratings
Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974
2014

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

4.47 | 17 ratings
Concert Bobino 1981
1995
4.28 | 30 ratings
Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie Au Trianon
2001
4.37 | 41 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume I
2006
4.39 | 42 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume II
2006
4.80 | 51 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume III
2007
4.83 | 46 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Volume IV
2008
4.63 | 16 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes, Epok V
2013

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

3.75 | 11 ratings
Mythes Et Légendes
1985
2.56 | 9 ratings
Kompila
1997
3.87 | 13 ratings
Simples
1998
1.95 | 13 ratings
Spiritual
2002
2.57 | 12 ratings
Über Kommandoh
2004
4.29 | 7 ratings
Archiw I & II
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mythes Et Legendes (Box Set)
2008
4.90 | 47 ratings
Studio Zünd
2009
3.26 | 8 ratings
Trilogy
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
45 Ans De Creation Hors des Sentiers Battus
2014

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

4.20 | 5 ratings
Kobaia/Mûh
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hamtaak / Tendeï Kobah
1971
4.20 | 5 ratings
Mekanïk Kommando / Klaus Kömbälad
1972
4.57 | 7 ratings
Mekanïk Machine/Köhntarkosz
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lïhns / Hhaï
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spiritual
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Retrovision
1981
2.29 | 7 ratings
Ooh Ooh Baby / Otis
1985
3.92 | 30 ratings
Floë Ëssi / Ëktah
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
K.A - Extraits - Edition Radio
2004
3.96 | 20 ratings
Rïah Sahïltaahk
2014
3.89 | 10 ratings
Slag Tanz
2015

MAGMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Üdü Ẁüdü by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 288 ratings

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Üdü Ẁüdü
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Another development for MAGMA after the space opera in the form of the Theusz Hamtaahk Triology had run its course. While many of the previous styles and sounds can be heard sparingly on ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ, this is a much less busy affair with only a few of the many musicians on the album taking part in any particular track. The star of this album is Jannick Top who delivers the funkiest and most in-yer-face bass lines that occur on any MAGMA album. He also handles the brass arrangements and synths as well leaving his indelible stamp on this album that sounds like no other.

The title track begins the album and has the most musicians participating and to be honest is my least favorite track on the album. The repetitive piano roll with the call and response Kobaian vocals with a nice jazzy sax appearing sounds like MAGMA making a tribute to African ritual music or something with its unrelenting rhythms. The problem for me is that it just doesn't do much with all the sounds going on and seems like a four minute group drone of some kind. The same is also true of the second track "Weidorje" which has a weak groove and vocal phrasings that i find really boring. Not a good start.

Luckily everything changes for the better with the brilliant third track "Tröller Tanz (Ghost Dance)" which starts with a cool synth run followed by an infectious bass groove with awesome interaction between the keyboards. The synth run has a haunting oscillating effect that actually sounds like haunting ghosts. This effect is heard from here on and adds a very effective spookiness to the mix including the other Ghost Dance of "Zombies" that also has a nice dissonant jazziness to it.

Most tracks are short and to the point but there is one progressive behemoth in the form of "De Futura." I wouldn't exactly call it more progressive than the other tracks, i would simply call it longer. It utilizes the exact same formula with beefy groovy double bass lines, oscillating ghost sounds and alternating themes and tempos, and basically it pretty much takes different songs and sows them together into an 18 minute monster that morphs into another track instead of being separate. It is the perfect way to end the album. Another successful MAGMA release in my book and although not as perfect as others, still quite a worthy addition.

I was surprised by the addition of"Ëmëhntëht-Rê (extrait no. 2)" as a final track until i realized it's a bonus track on the CD, but since it sounds more like the operatic craziness from MDK it is a nice reminder just how different ÜDÜ ẀÜDÜ is in comparison and how lucky we are to get a band that can not only invent a progressive rock sub genre out of the sonic boiling pots of jazz, classical and rock but that they can reinvent it with every move they make. Although MAGMA would not continue this sound beyond this sole album, keyboardist Patrick Gauthier and bassist Bernard Paganotti would leave MAGMA to carry it on with their own group Weidorje which not only took on the sound but the name from the track as well, and i personally think they did an excellent job at perfecting this style of zeuhl.

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 Slag Tanz by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.89 | 10 ratings

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Slag Tanz
Magma Zeuhl

Review by floflo79

4 stars After the cool re recording of Rïah Sahiltaak (I remember the name !), Magma came back with a studio recording of a live piece called Slag Tanz. The music is in the pure tradition of Magma. Dissonant, complex time signatures, vocals in kobaïan... Logic, it's Magma. The musicians are very skilled as always, and the drum work of Vander is outstanding. For me, the highlights of the album are : the trilogy Dümb, Vers La Nuit, Dümblaë - Le Silence Des Mondes, the song Slag and the furious Zü Zaïn. In fact, all the album is very cool. But it's too short. 20 minutes for an album ! They should put an album with the re recording of Rîah Sahiltaak on the side A, and Slag Tanz on the side B. But I don't have to tell Vander how to make his job. Great stuff, excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Four stars.

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 Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974 by MAGMA album cover Live, 2014
3.97 | 17 ratings

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Zühn Wöhl Ünsaï - Live 1974
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This really makes for an excellent companion record with their live "BBC 1974-Londres" album. The London sessions were recorded about a month after this Radio Brememn recording from Germany and feature the exact same lineup. Nice thing too is that only one track is featured on both albums, that being "Theusz Hamtaahk". This one is a double cd release with both discs clocking in at around 45 minutes which is just right in my opinion. The lineup here features Vander on drums, Top on bass, Blasquiz on vocals, Olmos on guitar and Graillier and Bikialo on keyboards. Sort of a stripped down lineup I suppose with Stella not being part of it as well.

"Sowiloi(Soi Soi)" is like a slow burn as it never really breaks out like you would anticipate. Sparse piano, cymbals and more are added but it's still very laid back early on. Vocals before 2 1/2 minutes then it all picks up about a minute later. It then settles back before 6 minutes. I like this section a lot, it's building. So good! The fuzzed out bass especially. The guitar is killer later on. Great track! "MDK" is a 35 minute version but it is divided into six parts. The first section builds like a slow moving train. High pitched vocals join in then it seems to settle in around 2 1/2 minutes with normal sounding vocals. It's kind of odd hearing the CAMEL-like guitar after 6 minutes, nice bass though. The second part puts the focus on the drumming and vocals. Guitar to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes. Piano is good too. I love the third section with the electric piano and fuzzed out bass. Some passionate vocal expressions late. Part four builds as the vocals dominate along with drums and piano. Great sound on part five early on. Such a cool atmosphere as piano and cymbals lead. A change after 4 minutes as it turns more intense but not for long. The final section continues where the last section left off with the focus on the vocals and it's an uptempo piece.

The second disc starts off with "Korusz" and it's pretty much a Vander drum solo throughout. It's interesting though and quite laid back at times. Some strange vocal expressions too. A big applause when it ends."Theusz Hamaahk" is the almost 26 minute closer. A frantic intro but it settles down quickly. It stays laid back with vocals to match with several outbursts. A change around 13 minutes as we get some intricate guitar along with electric piano and cymbals. A beautiful section. It kicks back in after 16 minutes and the vocals are more passionate as well. An intense instrumental section starts 17 1/2 minutes in. So good! Vocals are back after 19 minutes. The guitar comes to the forefront before 23 minutes but the vocals still dominate until the final 2 minutes(all-instrumental) arrive which is such a great way to end the album.

Easily 4 stars and the German audience seems to be in wonder with what they are seeing and hearing on this 6th day of February 1974. It was a free concert too by the way. Killer sound as usual from the Radio Bremen people.

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 Köhntarkösz by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.09 | 343 ratings

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Köhntarkösz
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars I may bemoan, as may others, the fact that MAGMA didn't repeat a certain formula because we really loved an album, but one thing is for sure: this band really knows how to keep things innovative and interesting by adding just enough of what came before but still really throwing your expectations out the window. This is the case for KÖHNTARKÖSZ, the fifth studio album by zeuhl innovators and Kobaians fronted by none other than the star of the show Christian Vander.

Basically MAGMA takes the approach of "Ẁurdah Ïtah" and presents a more fluffy and friendly sound. While that album was a stripped down to a quartet, this one actually has seven musicians on board, yet it sounds more reserved. The album basically consists of two sprawling title tracks (Part 1 &2) plus two shorter tracks. This album is also technically the first of another trilogy which includes "K.A. (Köhntarkösz Anteria)" (2004), and "Ëmëhntëhtt-Rê "(2009). Whatever the theme may be is beyond me and like all MAGMA albums doesn't really matter.

This album has a slow repetitive feel to most of it. Once the teapot starts boiling it is quite exciting, but there is a lot of building up to get to these points and although Vander has had a long love affair with John Coltrane and cited him as one of his major influences, I had never really heard it in MAGMA music until the tribute called "Coltrane Sundia" on this album. Overall, another great album but I do like this one less than the previous ones.

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 Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander) by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.20 | 242 ratings

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Ẁurdah Ïtah (Christian Vander)
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars ẀURDAH ÏTAH is a strange little album in the MAGMA discography. It was originally released as a Christian Vander solo album as the soundtrack for Yvan Lagrange's avant-garde take on "Tristan et Iseult." The album has always been considered a MAGMA album by fans and is now released only as ẀURDAH ÏTAH (Kobaian for "dead Earth"). It's also strange (as are most MAGMA albums) in that despite being released in 1974 after "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh (MDK)" it is the second movement in the Theusz Hamtaahk Trilogy, while MDK is the third and final one. The first is "Theusz Hamtaahk" itself which was only released live (now on Retrospektiw Parts I & II) but you know what? This is just the technical sorting out after the fact as far as i'm concerned. Listening to and enjoying any MAGMA album is not dependent on listening to another, in any particular sequence or otherwise.

This brilliant little beast as well as the following "Köhntarkösz" are important in the MAGMA world because they prove without a doubt that it doesn't take thirteen performers and an army of producers to create a MAGMA-nificent MAGMA-sterpiece. This album was reduced to a mere quartet (Stella Vander / vocals, Klaus Blasquiz / vocals, percussion, Jannick Top / bass, Christian Vander / drums, piano, Fender Rhodes, vocals) but delivers an epic and beautiful total reinvention of the mesmerizing zeuhl fully developed on MDK. While the basic idea is the same of repetitive zeuhl rhythms, everything else is tweaked and contorted to become a totally new species of this fledgling subgenre of progressive music. The operatic vocal styles incorporate myriad creative forms as do the instrumental parts. While MDK has a huge epic style, ẀURDAH ÏTAH has more of an intimate feel to it like you could go to some coffee house and hear this. I'm totally curious as to what kind of film the version of "Tristan et Iseult" is because it's hard to believe that any film could incorporate music this quirky and bizarre into it's story line!

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 Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 649 ratings

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Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Although MAGMA had released two wonderful jazz-fusion albums and already invented the whole mythology revolving around the planet Kobaia for which drummer and band leader Christian Vander even created a fictitious language to articulate the vocal utterings that would augment the instrumental nature of the compositions, the sound suddenly changed from a frantic all-over-the-map approach that incorporated myriad influences to a more focused sound that simply utilizes the zeuhl sound as a basis which of course is of their own inventiveness that emerged on the very first album. MËKANÏK DËSTRUKTÏẁ KÖMMANDÖH came out in 1973 and to critical acclaim Nothing like this had emerged on the jazz rock scene not even from the Kobaians themselves.

MDK apparently tells the tale of a Kobaian prophet named Nebehr Gudahtt, who warms the human race that they are destroying their planet and have to change their naughty ways. When all is said and down the people rise against him and through throughout the album's ups and downs and twists and turns the people finally begin to adopt the ways of the Kobaians in order to redeem themselves. I'll have to accept that since i no speako Kobaian but it sounds like a logical story that is a mere segment of a much larger tale drawn out in the many album that MAGMA put out in the 70s.

The music is melodic and bombastic. To the max. This must have been some of the most ambitious music of the time even topping all the other progressive goodies that were coming out. Although the music is based on simple bass line cycles that incorporate two competing choirs that often sound like orgasmic ghosts, it is the sprinkling of jazzy parts, rock attitude and Carl Off a la "Carmina Burana" rhythmic phrasing that really puts a percussive punch in the whole thing. Musically this is akin to organic chemistry where long repetitive carbon chains create an extremely strong yet flexible backbone to support the smaller elements that cling onto it.

Upon first listen I thought this was too repetitious and I do like this a tad less than the first more chaotic albums with far more influences than this but this was a grower and has blossomed into an outstanding album in its own right. If you want one of the most over-the-top rock operas ever to grace not only planet Earth but apparently the entire Universe than you simply must experience MDK for there is nothing else even remotely like it not even within their own alien and eclectic discography.

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 Rïah Sahïltaahk by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.96 | 20 ratings

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Rïah Sahïltaahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars RÏAH SAHÏLTAAHK is listed by most sources as a new studio album by MAGMA but it is in fact simply a re-recording of the first track of the same name from their second album "1001 Degrees Centigrades" which came out all the way back in 1971. This album clocks in at a mere 24:24 so no matter what it "officially" is, this is a freakin' EP in my book. This is one of those projects that makes you scratch your head and wonder why such a thing was necessary. To the casual listener there seems to be few differences between the two but a more careful inspection and repeated listens does yield some substantial changes. Just check out the lineup between the 1971 version and the newest of 2014.

1971 verison

- Christian VANDER : vocals, drums, percussion - Klaus BLASQUIZ : vocals, percussion - François CAHEN : acoustic & electric pianos - Francis MOZE : bass - Teddy LASRY : clarinet, sax, flute, voice - Jeff SEFFER : sax, bass clarinet - Louis TOESCA : trumpet

2014 version

Stella VANDER : vocals Isabelle FEUILLEBOIS : vocals Hervé AKNIN : vocals Benoît ALZIARY : vibraphone James MAC GAW : guitar Jérémie TERNOY : piano Philippe BUSSONNET : bass Christian VANDER : drums, vocals, piano

On the newer version basically we get no horns, more female vocals and a vibraphone. Also the production is quite different as well. The music is one continuous track on the original but only clocks in at 21:45 so a few minutes shorter. On the newer version we we get eight separate tracks that constitute the movements. The artwork is remnant of the original album as well only instead of duct tape grey it is a glimmering silver with the MAGMA emblem wrapped around the front and back instead of boldly displayed in full on the front.

This is story on the Seventh Records website: RÏAH SAHÏLTAAHK is the name of the Kobaïan who left after all the others, despite their disapproval. He thought he was better than anyone else and he was sure he could convert Kobaïa's enemies to the Kobaïan spirit. But he failed and left alone for Kobaïa. On the symbolic stop-over planet, Malaria, he has to face the raging elements he thinks he can dominate. With his ship almost sunk, he ends up begging them - to no avail. He will disappear. Drowned, swept away by the frenzied elements. After the noise? silence. At dawn, only a finally calmed remains, enlightened by the soft beams of the sun in this new day.

Honestly, I can't say I really like one thing better than the original. The first thing you notice on the new version is that the tempo is just a bit slower and the production is amped up which seems too beefy for some reason. The original version seemed to have more spontaneity and improvisation in the zaniness department. Absent are the blood-curdling screams and high pitched freakouts during frenzied time-outs from the main scheme of things. I actually really love the horn sections of the first two MAGMA albums and find that here Vander sounds like he is trying to MDK his earlier works. This just seems unnecessary to me as a fan, but as a man Christian Vander who has obviously been pining over re-releasing this for sometime just had to bring it to fruition. Now that he has I am dumbfounded by his decision to carry through when, to me at least, the original is the superior. I categorize this as indulgently unnecessary so I cannot give this the same five star rating that I gave the "1001 Degrees Centigrades" album, however this music even if inferior to the original is still completely enchanting and simply MAGMA-nanimous so to give it less than four stars would simply be a crime against humanity. I just hope this isn't the beginning of a trend to repackage the entire back catalog when MAGMA proves time and time again that as a musical outfit it is quite capable of releasing fresh and relevant music in the 21st century.

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 Rïah Sahïltaahk by MAGMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.96 | 20 ratings

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Rïah Sahïltaahk
Magma Zeuhl

Review by jazz2896

4 stars It pains me to give this album 4 stars, in my personal opinion this would easily be a 5 star release, but my opinion is not and should not be everyone's opinion, so hear me out. I am a die hard fan of Magma, there is not a single piece of recorded material from this band that has not reached my ears, and I find it all utterly fantastic, including this amazing new release by the band. Gone is the horn section and the fretless bass, and to replace them we get some heavy fuzz bass, gloriously pristine guitar, female vocals, and vibraphone. Of course this brings a completely different sound to the band, and it makes this version of the piece sound much more planned out and mature, as opposed to the original's more quirky, wild sound. This is what makes this album very worthwhile to the Magma fan, it shows Vander's maturity as a composer. His ability to take the original piece, change very few notes, and give the piece a completely different texture and atmosphere is where the magic lies on this album. Yet this is also why I am going to give this album 4 stars, it is completely essential for the Magma fan, for it's a great way to see how Vander's composing and arranging skills have grown throughout the years and his various projects, but to the general prog fan unfamiliar with this genius's work, this may be of less interest, and the original would probably be the best bet for the Magma newcomer.

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 1001° Centigrades by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.13 | 299 ratings

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1001° Centigrades
Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars The Kobaian zeuhl rhythms that came bursting forth on the debut album seem to have wrested control from the other jazz-fusion tendencies of Christian Vander and his strange new musical entity MAGMA. On their second album 1001 DEGREES CENTIGRADES, that zeuhl bursts onto the scene right away indicating that a transition was taking place from the all encompassing type of a fusion to a more focused one that was quickly establishing itself as an entirely separate subgenre within the progressive rock world. However despite the ongoing battle between the newly formed zeuhl sound and jazz, it is the jazz-fusion aspect of the music that ultimately dominates the soundscape as it still retains a horn dominated arrangement. The operatic Orff inspired female vocals haven't come to be yet and the band began the continued decline in band members due to disagreement in musical direction. On this album Claude Engel took off leaving one less guitarist two other band members left and were replaced.

I love this album a lot. It takes a lot of the zaniness of the debut but it is clearly more refined and focused. The zeuhl developments seem to add a stabilizing effect to the whole thing. The midway point between the full-on frenzy of anything goes jazz-fusion to the total loss of it is a successful formula that finds zeuhl rhythms accompanied by beautiful jazz tinged melodies that have beautiful horn passages, lovely flute and clarinet parts and of course, frantic and frenzied Kobaian language skills finding itself shouted, screeched, screamed and uttered in startling ways. This album like the debut is one of my favorite MAGMA albums and although I love their entire output it is these first two that I find the most exotic and adventurous and unpredictable. As Christian Vander kept pushing the band towards the fully fledged zeuhl that would come to be on "MDK" it caused a rift in the band and ultimately saxophonist Jeff Seffer and keyboardist Francois Cahen would leave to form Zao which would continue the musical style of the first two MAGMA releases.

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 Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie by MAGMA album cover Live, 2001
4.53 | 59 ratings

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Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie
Magma Zeuhl

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whatever your opinion, not one can say that Magma treads a path travelled by many. In progressive rock there are many a genre and direction but, however, few bands can honestly claim to be all that unique. (By "unique" I mean a sound that is only yours and where similarities to others are in abscense.) Ideas and inspirations are traded frequently and that is good. Magma are, on the other hand, a band which (nigh on) never took the path down the more walked upon soil in the land of Prog. They have maintained their sound and identity through out the ages and continue to do so. There is really no other band like them. That can be for better or worse but at least they are intriguing and genuinely groundbreaking.

My first venture into Magma was by way of their first, the self-titled one from 1970. Now there was something of a shock. I had never really heard anything like it but I loved it nevertheless. The rest is history, really. I cannot claim to have been able to squeeze myself into all of the music in the way I have done with some other bands. To enjoy Magma you need to give it time. This is not Music for the faint hearted. The chanting and terrifying (I cannot describe it in any other fashion) musical landscape can be frightening but all the more rewarding therefore.

This box is a collection of Three suites recorded in the year of 2000, though written way back in the early 70's. The first suite, Theusz Hamtaahk, is a really stripped down performance. The bass is in the foreground, as often with Magma, along with Vander's Amazing drumming. At times one do understand the power of chanting in what we like to call "primitive" cultures, being the gateway to connecting with the gods. It is really out of this World.

The second disc is a rendition of Würdah Ïtah. Again, so well played and conducted. Just like with Theusz Hamtaahk the songs blend into one Another making it a really long piece of Music, flowing seamlessly together.

The third disc is probably Magma's most famous work: Mëkanik Dëstruktiw Kömmandöh. Again, this was recorded way back in 1973 but the live version on this box is really outstanding. I have Always loved MDK, hailing it as one of prog's greatest efforts. Though I am not normally partial to live renditions, I have to say that this is magnificent and a real treat. There are certainly othe live offerings of this suite but I think this just a tiny bit more interesting, It sounds different and why shouldn't it? Nigh on 30 years after the album was released, why wouldn't it sound slightly altered? Again, Magma is an entity of it's own and though basking in their own sun of Zeuhl they do transform within their own universe.

When all is said and done, how am I going to rate this box, then? I guess for newcomers this box could be a good place to start but I would recommend the original MDK from 1973. On the other hand this album shows off Magma's larger than life persona in the grandest of ways. I hold this box as something of a favorite in the canon of Magma and it showcases the band at it's best. (It's peak would be almost insane to write since they've almost been at the peak all through their career. I will not mention Merci in this Review, though I just did.) So, based on the sum of Everything I have to give this box four stars. It is brilliant, challenging and utterly rewarding. Great progressive music from the masters of Zeuhl.

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